Class of 2012: Where are They Now?
More than 93 perent of Watchung Hills Regional's recent graduates continue education.
Watchung Hills Regional's Class of 2012 was a smaller class, with 474 graduates, but the students held the same lofty goals as their predecessors: the students submitted 2,555 college applications to 356 different schools across the country and overseas.
And while prestigious Ivy League schools continue to draw top students' interest—100 applications to eight Ivy League schools with 14 students accepted—many are finding two-year schools a way to start college careers.
WHRHS Director of Guidance Catherine Angelastro told members of the school's board of education at the Sept. 6 board meeting the number of students attending two-year schools such as Raritan Valley Community College continued a three-year increase to 17.9 percent of the students.
She added students transferring to four-year schools after the two-year schools receive a "regular diploma" from the graduating school, nullifying any perceived shortcomings the first years may seem to reflect. But, she said, there are good financial and educational reasons to attend the schools.
"We had a student last year who wanted to major in sign language," she said, adding Union County College is one of the few schools to offer such a program in the country. "And the fact is, in New Jersey, the community colleges are very good."
Board members asked if the Guidance Department could keep tabs how many students actually transfer to four-year schools, which Angelastro said could be estimated based on the number of transcript requests the schools receives, but that would only serve as an estimate.
A break-down of post-graduation plans for the class showed increases in the number of students choosing full-time employment (2.5 percent, up from 2.2 percent last year but below 2008's 3.5 percent), and military service (up to 1.9 percent from last year's 1.1 percent).<p>
Student heading to technical or trade schools dropped to less than half of last year's number (from seven students to three), but last year was an outlier in the number attending the schools.
Since 2008, 90 to 95 percent of graduates have chosen to continue their education between four-year and two-year colleges.
Board member asked if last year's switch in course grouping designations aimed at bringing the schoo inline with other top New Jersey high schools had the desired benefit, but Angelastro said it's too early to tell—except for anecdotal comments from recruiters, who say they are no longer confused by the school's old system.
"Most of the college transcripts for these students went out in September through December, so the first three years still had J,K,L," she said. "I'm not sure the colleges so much noticed."