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Sleepy Hollow High Students Apply to More Colleges

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – The recovering economy, a more competitive admissions process and an easier online process means Sleepy Hollow High School seniors are sending out more college applications each year and making tough financial decisions about where they'll end up.

About 96 percent of the Sleepy Hollow High School Class of 2012 will head to a two- or four-year college in the fall, Guidance Department Chairman David Ziegler said. The number of college applications sent out rose to 1,221 from last year's 1,130. Students were accepted to 208 schools this year, up from last year's 166.

"Every year we've seen an increase in the number of applications," Ziegler said, noting that a rise in applications has led to a rise in acceptances.

Online applications have made it easier to apply to more colleges, he said. Schools are becoming more competitive and more selective, which leads students to apply to more places, he said. The economy also contributes to the rise in applications.

"More and more families are feeling that it's important for them to apply to more places, have more options, have more financial aid award letters to compare," he said.

School officials are also noting trends in where students apply. More kids have been going to state universities and community colleges, Ziegler said. Even though a private school may offer financial aid, Ziegler said it often can't compare with the price tag at a state school or community college.

"Kids get into four-year schools, but then when you're looking at $3,000 for WCC versus a SUNY-New Paltz at $17,000, that's a significant chunk of change," Ziegler said.

He has also seen more seniors, especially toward the top of the class, showing an interest in science and engineering careers.

"I think that speaks to a very strong science program," he said. "We have a number of AP offerings in that area. Kids and families also wanting a degree where it feels like it's going to serve them well in this current economic state."

Behind the scenes, Ziegler's department has been helping students to navigate the college admissions process. The Naviance program helps students discover schools that fit their academic profile, and a college prep course helps guidance counselors connect with students during their junior year.

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