Making the right choices: New UOG students discuss being smart about money, close to family
Getting a college degree without incurring crushing costs and being close to family were common threads shared by some of the incoming freshmen at the University of Guam.
The UOG community welcomed 230 incoming freshmen at an orientation for new students at the Calvo Field House on Thursday, July 27. A second orientation for new students on Aug. 10 will welcome close to 300 students at the Fine Arts Theatre.
“After graduating from Harvest, I chose to go to UOG instead of a mainland college in the U.S. because UOG offers the same education that undergraduate Ivy (League) schools offer except at a way cheaper price. Since I plan to further my education at medical school, I determined that going to UOG would be the smarter financial option,” said incoming freshman Isabelle Sunga.
UOG is seeing a rising number of its pre-med students who got accepted into medical schools, and some gained full scholarships. One of the students is Megan Gimmen, UOG Class of 2020 valedictorian who received a full-ride scholarship to Harvard Medical School after having been accepted at 12 medical schools, four of which were Ivy League institutions. (https://www.uog.edu/news-announcements/2021-2022/2022-with-12-medical-school-acceptances-former-uog-valedictorian-selects-harvard.php)
The smaller class sizes at UOG will allow instructors to personally know and understand their students, Sunga said, adding later that a sense of community “is a great part of my culture.”
“Even after visiting some colleges in California, it just didn’t quite feel like the home I have here in Guam,” Sunga added.
Zulfiia Hechanova felt the same way.
Hechanova enrolled as a freshman at UOG to pursue dual-track biology and chemistry degrees after considering options for colleges stateside. She wants to apply to medical school after UOG so she can pursue her goal to become an obstetrician-gynecologist.
She eventually decided to stay in Guam and attend UOG because this is where home is.
“I just really love that everybody just helps each other – I kind of feel I belong here,” Hechanova said.
Sasha Calvo and Victoria Martinez, both from Notre Dame High School, saw UOG as the best fit to pursue their shared goal to become elementary school teachers.
“I just want to spare my parents from having to spend so much money, and I just want to stay close to home,” Calvo said.
The new student orientation also saw some students from other islands in the Micronesia region who saw UOG as the way to get a college education without having to live too far from home.
Alec Alosima enrolled in UOG as a freshman who aims to study civil engineering.
Alosima is from Pohnpei state in the Federated States of Micronesia, and he said he thought about getting an engineering degree in Hawaii.
He eventually chose to join his two older siblings, Abigail and Alliyah Alosima, who enrolled at UOG just a year before him so they all can be together and not too far from home.
College affordability is one of the factors driving Guam students to stay home for college.
“Always remind yourself you made the right choice,” said Dean Lawrence Camacho of Enrollment Management and Student Success, to the new students, referring to UOG’s pitch as an affordable option for college. “You are not taking on a lot of debt.”
UOG students pay $5,800 per year for tuition and fees, while students paying out-of-state tuition at a four-year public college in the mainland will pay on average $25,670 in addition to costs for transportation, housing, and occasional airfare that they would not otherwise have to pay attending school at UOG.
Interim Dean Roseann Jones of the School of Business and Public Administration thanked the students for choosing to pursue higher education.
Showing up at the student orientation is part of what showing up in life is about, Dr. Jones said.