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Graduates 'optimistic' about future, finds survey
THS grad pic1
Turlock High 2013 graduates prepare to receive their diplomas at Friday's commencement ceremony. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Graduation 2013

Look in the June 8 edition of the Turlock Journal for a complete list of local graduates, photos and feature stories.

Hundreds of graduates from Turlock, Pitman, Turlock Christian and Denair high schools donned traditional cap and gowns to receive their diplomas this week, joining their classmates in commencement ceremonies that have been held  throughout the week and will continue into early June.

While these graduates face drastic cuts in higher education and cutthroat competition for the few jobs available, a recent survey suggests they are not worried at what lies ahead.

In the last month 810 graduating seniors from the Turlock Unified School District completed a 13-question survey about their future plans and their educational experiences in the district.

A majority of graduates think their futures are bright, with 75.7 percent of seniors believing they will earn more money than their parents, in comparison to 70.6 percent of seniors back in 2011. Students also show to be “optimistic” about their future, with a 64.7 percent response.

Surprisingly, only 20.5 percent of seniors have changed their future plans because of the economic downturn. Nearly 36 percent have “somewhat” changed their plans.

The overwhelming majority of seniors, nearly 86 percent, plan on attending either junior college or a four-year university. A scan of 5.2 percent plan on going into military and 4.7 percent are going to vocational or technical schools.

“Going to Merced College was the best route for me,” said Turlock High School graduate Jocelyn Rodrigues. “I want to get my doctorate in nursing and I’ll be in school for a very long time. Choosing a community college will save me more money down the road.”

Graduates appear to be learning the value of higher education as a result of their parents not attending college. Nearly 44 percent of seniors said neither of their parents attended college.

According to the survey, the education that seniors received in high school played an essential part for continuing on with their education. Nearly 68 percent of students feel their high school education prepared them for the next few years after graduation.

The majority of graduates indicated that academic programs also contributed to their success. Elective, ROP programs, college preparatory and advanced placement classes provided plenty of opportunity for graduates throughout their education.

When it comes to choosing a college major, nearly 76 percent of seniors already have an idea of what they plan to study after high school graduation.

After summer most seniors will enter junior college at either Modesto Junior College of Merced College.

“I decided to enroll to MJC because I’m still a little uncertain to what I want to major in or which school I want to go at the moment,” said THS graduate Anshul Arora. “I figured I could get my general education classes out of the way.”

For most students, money will be one of the largest obstacles they must overcome on the road to success. Nearly 71 percent of graduates have a job lined up after graduation and most of them plan to work part-time while going to college.

The complete survey and results will be published in the Turlock Journal's Graduation 2013 special section on June 8.