The Big Decision: The Complexity of Choosing a College

May 9, 2023

There are a handful of choices that can shape one’s life experience forever. One of the biggest decisions is the choice of whether or not to attend college. More now than ever, going to college is viewed as a requirement, and people are left to choose a specific college based on their needs and preferences. Kayla Hawkins and Mike Dray were willing to give their opinions and information on what motivated them to decide to go to college.

Hawkins is a Thomas Worthington senior who decided to prioritize her financial needs. This is mostly because Hawkins is getting no help paying for college from her parents. She decided to start by going to Columbus State Community College, which is significantly less expensive than other college options in central Ohio.

“[It’s the] same thing for half the price of going to a larger college,” Hawkins said. “I have to pay for college myself, it would cost too much.”

Hawkins is sure of her decision and recognized a lot of people’s motivation for where they are going has to do with having fun, and less to do with being financially smart or getting a specific degree. She realized she didn’t need the big college experience or the typical college life, she just wants to get her degree and start her career, in an affordable way for her.

Another significant motivator going into college is parental influence. College now is more forced onto kids than ever before, parents are not asking as much as they are just telling kids that they have to go to college. 

We asked Hawkins what kind of influence her parents had on her decision, and she quoted her parents saying, “Do it the smart way.”

Another important thing to note for Hawkins is that her degree is not location or college-specific. She wants to study dental hygiene and Columbus State offers that at a fair price. However, another student, Mike Dray, has a different approach to the big decision. 

Dray decided he wanted to study at the University of Vermont. It has a great Environmental Science program, which is at the top of Dray’s interests. he doesn’t;t mind moving away from home if it is somewhere like Vermont.

“Guess I just want the college experience. Dray said. “It’s beautiful there, too.” 

It is important to note Dray’s biggest motivators are different because of his financial situation, where Hawkins had to take paying for college into account. In contrast, Dray chose based on preference and the strength of the program in which he intends to enroll.

In his case, Dray said he had pretty minimal parental influence. His parents have a college fund set up for him to provide more freedom in the decision.

“Both of my parents want me to go to OU because they went there, but I feel no pressure on that decision,” Dray said. “I want to get away from home.” 


After the publication of this interview, Mike Dray informed TWHSNEWS.COM that he would in fact be attending Ohio University. This further emphasizes the complexity of the college decision-making process. 

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