Archer seniors seek ‘community’ within politically diverse colleges

Archer students apply to a diverse group of colleges, many of which are represented by brochures in the College Guidance Office. After the results of the presidential election, more liberal seniors expressed concern about finding safe spaces within conservative schools.

Photo credit: Maya Wernick

Archer students apply to a diverse group of colleges, many of which are represented by brochures in the College Guidance Office. After the results of the presidential election, more liberal seniors expressed concern about finding safe spaces within conservative schools.

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At the end of a fiery election season, Archer seniors — who are already anticipating major change within the year — are facing an entirely new set of considerations for college decisions following Donald Trump’s victory.

Archer has been described as an “extremely liberal community,” so for more politically liberal seniors, the possibility of going to a conservative school is daunting.

Liadan Solomon ‘17 shared her thoughts on her fellow seniors moving to states that traditionally have more conservative viewpoints than liberal ones. 

“[It’s] going to be an adjustment for all of us, and especially people going into non-liberal areas of the US, where it’s going to be the first time that our views are likely in the minority,” Solomon said. “We’ve all kind of found our voice within Archer, but now we’re going to have to figure out how to adapt that when we get to college, which is just scary and unknown.”

Solomon added that the change seems even more drastic to students of her generation because for as long as they have been aware of political activity in the country, Barack Obama has been in office.

Similarly, Bella Ronson-Benenati ‘17, who has committed to Tulane University in Louisiana, says she worries about moving to a traditionally Republican state for the next four years.

“I’m afraid that [since] I’ve grown up in such a liberal state and liberal city that I’m going to be lacking a community,” she said.

However, Ronson-Benenati is hopeful that being in a liberal district will aid in her transition.

Rachel Pike ‘17 is committed to play soccer at Hamilton College in New York. She expressed her worries about the uncertainty of the next four years in a tense political climate.

“I think something that really concerns me is just how far away from my family I’m going to be,” Pike said. “That’s never been a concern for me up until this point. Just knowing that my family will be here, and I’ll be so far away, and not knowing what the future for the country is going to look like and not having them to support me [is scary].”

Archer and Los Angeles both provide a safe space for Pike to voice her opinions, she said. She expressed hope that she and her other classmates will find places in their new schools that do the same. She also commented on her classmates’ changing perceptions of colleges due to the newly politically charged environment.

“These are schools that my friends have loved for a while, and just one thing — it is a pretty big thing — but one thing can change that, and that makes me kind of sad. But, I think if someone really loves a school, even if it is in a conservative state, they should just make sure that that school does have a safe space like I was talking about. So that even if they are in a place that is not like Archer, or not like Los Angeles, they at least have a small community within that school,” Pike said.

Scottie Hill, the College Guidance Director, said that because the application process was mostly complete before the election, the election did not impact where seniors applied. She said that she thought students applying to more conservative areas of the country may have done so intentionally. To hear her complete answer, listen to this audio clip from her interview.

While Pike is fearful of what the transition into adulthood will look like for her and her classmates in light of the election, she is hopeful that they can channel their ideas into positive change.

“There are so many different passions in my grade, and if we just follow them, we will be able to make a change in so many different areas, and hopefully create something better for [the] next generation, so they do not have to have these same concerns when they’re looking for colleges,” Pike said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Scottie Hill’s position. She is the College Guidance Director, not a College Guidance Counselor. 

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