In an attempt to portray the wide variation in college experiences—especially for students at the opposite ends of the income gap—The Washington Post recently assigned two reporters to follow two college students on the same day.
The profile features 23-year-old Sheila Suarez, a commuter at the University of Maryland Baltimore County from Gaithersburg, Maryland, and 19-year-old Lars E. Schonander, who grew up in Larchmont, New York, and is a sophomore living on campus at George Washington University. As the day unfolds, Suarez and Schonander have very different college experiences; Suarez, for instance, works the front desk at UMBC’s Women’s Center and will end up owing about $40,000 in student loans, while Schonander likely will graduate debt-free. He also has a meal plan and lives in a dorm with a private bathroom, while Suarez eats a free weekly breakfast for commuters and a homemade meal, and lives in an apartment with her mother. See what this April day looked like for Sheila and Lars by reading the full story.
The Post says these divergent stories “capture a more representative snapshot of what college looks like today,” adding that just 15 percent of undergraduates fit a “traditional profile” of a college student in 2015, down from 35 percent in 1986.