SCOTCH PLAINS – For the 10th consecutive year, every senior in the graduating class at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains has been accepted to college. In 2010, there were 192 graduating seniors.
School officials attribute the record run of 100% college acceptance in part to the college prep curriculum emphasized at the private Catholic high school, the involvement of dedicated guidance counselors who work closely with students beginning in their freshman year to find the right fit at the college level, and parents who keep students focused on the goal of college attendance.
“Students come to Union Catholic knowing two things,” says Christine McCoid, Assistant Principal and Director of Guidance. “That they are going to get a foundation in faith and they’re going to be encouraged daily to attend college. We help students recognize their strengths and how those strengths can lead to academic success.”
While the school has enjoyed 100% college acceptance over the ten-year span, on average about 98% of Union Catholic students elect to attend college directly after high school. The other two percent join the workforce directly or enter military service.
The 10-year record comes at a time when educational budget cuts have put a strain on high schools across the country, leading to larger class sizes, higher teacher/student ratios, and cutbacks in the guidance staffs that assist juniors and seniors with college applications and planning.
“While the economic downturn has affected everyone in education, the support of our diocese and parents has allowed us to maintain our high academic level and keep our teacher/student ratio low,” says McCoid. “ Most importantly, our guidance counselors are as busy as ever assisting college bound students, and that means every student can aim for higher education.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70.1 percent of 2009 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities. This included community colleges, junior colleges and liberal arts colleges, as well as state and private universities. In addition, in 2006-2007 (the last year figures were available), 65% of seniors in private schools, including Catholic Schools, went on to attend a 4-year college.
In addition to 100% college acceptance in 2010, Union Catholic graduates also received $15,500,719 in college scholarships and grants, another record for the school. Colleges accepting Union Catholic graduates this year include University of Pennsylvania, Boston College, Villanova University, Seton Hall University, Notre Dame, Penn State, Northeastern University and about 70 others.
“While we’re proud to have this 10-year record of 100% college acceptances, we aren’t getting complacent,” says McCoid. “We’re already working with next year’s seniors to ensure they’re all headed in the same direction.”
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