The next chapter

SHS seniors discuss their plans for college after high school


Emma Main

Lauttlai poses in front of SHS on May 20,2021. She plans on going to Indiana University after high school.

According to Brown University, first generation college students are college students whose parents did not complete a four year college degree. SHS has many seniors who are going to be first generation college students next school year.

Seniors Van Par and Sui Lauttlai are just two of those students. Both students plan on going to IU Bloomington for their degree but majoring in different things. Par’s major will be business and Marketing while Lauttlai said she’s going to major in dentistry. 

Par said her biggest motivation was her mother, who had constantly talked about success in college. But, she also faced challenges to achieve the position she is in today.

“I arrived in the U.S. on January 8th of 2012. As a foreigner it was hard for me to learn English though I struggled and had improved. I still struggle a bit,” Par said. 

Like Par, Lauttlai said she has always wanted to go to college. She wanted to be the first in the family to attend college. But sometimes she had trouble with participating in things she wanted to because she didn’t have a ride.

“I’ve never really had a hard time in school, although I found it difficult at times to participate in some activities because I would have trouble finding rides,” Lauttlai said.

However, that didn’t stop her from continuing to work hard .

“My motivation was my family and I don’t think that will change,” Lauttlai said.

Sui attributes her achievements to getting involved in school activities. This really helped her work individually and socialize with people.

“I participated in clubs like Key Club, World Language Club and also volunteered. Joining these clubs got me where I am now,” Lauttlai said. “I also joined Burmese American Community Institute   and received help from Mrs. Peddie who had guided me with applying to colleges and shared with me information about my interests in colleges.” 

Lauttlai has also become a better student over the years. Math teacher Jason Adler is one of Lauttlai’s closest teachers, and he has noticed some progress in Lauttlai over the years.

“I just saw how much she’s grown into a mature  student who can fully understand what she’s missing educationally,” Adler said. “As far as things go, she will do perfectly fine in college.”

Similarly, Par has also improved as a student over the years. AP World History and AP US History teacher David Luers had Par as a student for both classes and noted the changes.

“She was social, she was quiet, but as time passed by, she was a completely different person by the end of junior year,” Luers said. “Because her critical thinking improved, she had more confidence when asking questions, which is something not many students could have.” 

Lauttlai and Par both said that filing the FAFSA form and applying to college were not as hard as they thought it would be. They said it felt as if they’re just doing an online survey.

“When I did the FAFSA form, it felt the same as filling up every other form,” Lauttlai said. “Even though it was a lot, they were simple. I think anyone can do this and apply for it. It’s fast and even though the process takes time, I think it’s worth your time to do it.”

For Par, the scholarships she received from her university will help her pay for most of her college. Par said she never expected she would get scholarships which included a  Federal Supplement Grant, IU 21st Century Covenant (D) , Provost Scholarship , 21st Century Award, Federal Pell Grant, and Prebys Fdtn Resident Scholarships.

“I was so surprised when I found out I got a scholarship and was accepted into college,” Par said. “It was my wish to be the first one in my family to go to college.”.

First generation college students often have issues in their time in college as they don’t know many things about college. They can’t ask anyone from their family about what college life is like. But Luers firmly believe the students can do it if they are responsible for their learning.