High School Seniors Consider Campus Protests as They Face Crucial College Decisions

In the final hours leading up to the midnight deposit deadline, high school senior Sam Dodson from West Virginia found himself torn between his top choices for college. Although initially leaning towards a decision, the pull between Columbia University and Dartmouth College intensified as second thoughts crept in before making the final commitment.

Numerous factors were at play in Dodson’s decision-making process, ranging from academic offerings to social environments in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Hanover, New Hampshire. The recent pro-Palestinian campus protests and resulting arrests at Columbia added a new dimension to his deliberations, further complicating his choice.

Dodson, a track runner, closely followed the events unfolding at Columbia’s Hamilton Hall, where protesters were removed by the New York Police Department on Tuesday, leading him to delay his final decision until the eleventh hour.

Reflecting broader trends among the Class of 2024, high school seniors have witnessed significant national and campus-related news throughout their academic journey. From the onset of the pandemic to the recent protests, over 2,000 arrests have been reported nationwide, influencing prospective students’ university choices based on campus activism and administrative responses.

Dodson’s indecision mirrored that of other students like Safa Al-Omari, a senior at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, who remains undecided between City College and Hunter College, considering the responses to the ongoing protests before committing.

As Dodson grappled with his college choice, his mother, Sarah, also navigated conflicting feelings, highlighting the importance of a college that values free speech while expressing concerns over campus unrest. Despite the challenges, she remained hopeful for a resolution and engaging dialogue within the academic setting.

Amid the unrest on Columbia’s campus, academic activities, including finals, have transitioned to fully remote, with the campus under an increased police presence until after the commencement ceremony.

Source: [The 74](http://news.essayhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/High-School-Seniors-Eye-Campus-Protests-as-High-Stakes-College-Decision.jpg)

Sam Dodson, entering into his freshman year of high school during hybrid learning, acknowledged the potential shift to remote college classes due to campus turmoil, recognizing the unique academic experience of being at the center of unfolding events.

## Students reconsider and recommit

Following the establishment of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on Columbia’s campus, subsequent activism led to a student occupation of Hamilton Hall, culminating in 112 arrests, including unrelated individuals. The nationwide protest movement expanded to Dartmouth, where nearly 100 demonstrators were also arrested, shaping Dodson’s perspective during his campus visit.

Engaging with protesting students and acknowledging the cancellations of accepted student activities, Dodson formed his views firsthand, while high school senior Lila Ellis, committed to List College, navigated concerns as a Jewish student amidst campus tensions.

Ellis grappled with balancing religious identity and campus engagement, considering spaces of inclusion amidst anti-Zionist sentiments, emphasizing the complexity of their decision-making process in light of recent events.

Despite the challenges, Ellis remained committed to their enrollment at Columbia, contemplating strategies to navigate academic coursework while fostering open discussions within the campus environment.

As Ellis prepared to embark on their academic journey, they reflected on the importance of faculty support and conducive learning environments, with considerations extending to family apprehensions over campus unrest, particularly for Jewish students.

Source: [The 74](http://news.essayhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/1714766106_854_High-School-Seniors-Eye-Campus-Protests-as-High-Stakes-College-Decision.jpg)

Acknowledging the complexity of their decision, Ellis remained resolute in pursuing their academic path at Columbia, aiming to navigate campus dynamics while fostering inclusive dialogue within the academic community.

In West Virginia, Sam Dodson finalized his decision to join Columbia’s Class of 2028, opting to study political science and government, anticipating a transformative experience that bridges perspectives and backgrounds at the renowned institution.

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