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Majority of graduating Sewickley-area seniors sold on college

| Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 7:45 p.m.

As Sewickley-area seniors graduate, many of them will head off to college in the hope of paving the way to a satisfying career.

Some dream of leaving the Pittsburgh area.

Others just want to find a job that they enjoy and stick close to home.

Kelly Frank, Quaker Valley High School's director of collegiate affairs, said the number of students heading out of state for higher education has increased, and they are spreading out.

“With two students going to Maine, three to California and others headed for Arizona, Texas and Florida, our students are finding great schools all over the country, and internationally. There is a definite interest in carefully comparing financial-aid offers, scholarship offers and stepping outside of the normal zones,” she said.

School officials at Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy were given a brief survey about what graduating seniors planned to do next:

Quaker ValleyHigh School

Number of graduating seniors: 160.

Percentage planning to go to college: 87 percent — 50 percent out of state, 50 percent in-state; two students attending college overseas — one in Scotland, the other, London, England.

Financial help: 53 percent of the college-bound group were offered scholarships, and the average amount offered was $26,752 per year of college.

Most popular majors: Liberal arts and sciences; science including physics, biology, chemistry and nursing; business; engineering; and education.

Sports: 17 students, or 11 percent, plan to participate in college athletics.

Percentage of students going directly into the work force: 5 percent.

Of those going into the working world: Their fields of choice are culinary, health care and masonry.

Number of students going into the military: 1.2 percent.

Number of students going into career education or job training instead of traditional college: 6 percent.

Undetermined plans: 5 percent.

Sewickley Academy

Graduating seniors: 68.

Number going to four-year colleges or universities: All 68.

Financial help: 45 students received merit scholarships; the average scholarship was about $13,000 per year of college.

Most popular majors: Business and engineering.

Number of students leaving the state for college: 50.

Kishma Decastro-Sallis, director of the career center at Robert Morris University in Moon, said she is seeing a lot of young people heading into sales.

“This region has a lot of marketing and sales professionals. The top industries we have seen have been in sales, technology, engineering, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. It's not the first choice a lot of students think about, but it can be a lucrative or decent living,” she said.

She added that students planning careers with the Pittsburgh area in mind should look to local websites such as Imagine Pittsburgh, which she called a great resource for seeing who's hiring and uses it to bring in speakers for the university's students. It lists, on average, 24,000 jobs daily. Its online address is

Another source she suggested is the Allegheny Conference and its website,, which touts Pittsburgh-area industries and breaks down every facet of the local economy, industry and education, while setting goals for the future of the region and its people.

A link to its annual report includes the video stories of young people who have “made it” here out of high school and college and how they have succeeded.

Mya Koch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-324-1403.

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