Alex McGahagin Talks Choosing the Right College

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Senior Alex McGahagin will be attending the University of Texas at Dallas.

Top ten percenters aim to attend Ivy League or highly competitive colleges, however, senior and valedictorian Alex McGahagin would rather attend a college that specifically focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM.

I find myself pretty inclined towards STEM programs,” McGahagin said. “I want to major in physics and I’ve had a lot of experience with math. I don’t really find it necessary to go to a college that has an environment that overall has good programs especially if I am only trying to focus on one thing.”

Although McGahagin did not intentionally want to be valedictorian after he found out in his sophomore year he was number one in his class he continued to strive for it.

“Once I realized I could [become valedictorian] I worked harder towards maintaining my GPA, ” McGahagin said. “My first AP course was in my sophomore year, I took AP statistics over the years I have taken around twelve or thirteen AP classes.”

McGahagin feels the pressure to constantly be the best due to his honorable role. It can be especially difficult during college scouting because he is expected to aim higher by his peers and teachers.

“I’m generally more laid back for in-state schools, but I also feel it’s raised my standards to where I’m applying to,” McGahagin said. “If I don’t get into any, it’ll be pretty disappointing.”

McGahagin has college to worry about and also his challenging college-level classes. However, it is orchestra that is his most time-consuming extracurricular.

“It can be pretty demanding due to the different concerts, clinics, trips, etc,” McGahagin said. “However, for the most part, I find myself able to kind of maneuver around my extracurriculars and my academics.”

Even before high school, McGahagin showed interest in being an overachiever academically.

“In elementary school, he would do his homework when he first arrived home before he took downtime,” his mother Brenda McGahagin said. “By middle school, he began to consider the impact of the courses he would take based on his interests (math and science), what colleges he wanted to see and how the courses might impact his GPA.”

His father, Ralph McGahagin, believes that his son has always had a focused personality and continued to strive for his own satisfaction to do his personal best.

“Truly being interested in and passionate about something is really important towards learning, that’s especially true when it comes to school as well as with outside activities,” McGahagin said. “If you actually care about grades and about the content being provided, then you’re more likely to succeed.