2023 graduates : The start of something new

91 percent of the senior class is represented in this data

Photo created by Lainey Deignan, Ciara Dursee and Ariana Keith using Google Maps

91 percent of the senior class is represented in this data

The class of 2023 will be attending 155 different colleges, with 4 traveling internationally to Canada. Rutgers University, once again, takes the top spot with 23 graduates joining the Scarlet Knights next fall. Penn State University follows with 15 WHS attendees. Close behind is Fairfield University and University of Pittsburgh with 14 and 13 students, respectively. Read below to find out why these schools are such popular choices for the Class of 2023.


Rutgers University remains the most popular university for WHS seniors to attend for the fourth year in a row. Its main campus, located in New Brunswick, is only 19 miles away from Westfield. Rutgers is a popular choice for Westfield students because of the close proximity to home. “It’s in-state, which is nice. I love the idea of being close to my family,” said senior Rachel Malkinzon. According to rutgers.edu, 82 percent of Rutgers students are New Jersey residents. “I’m also super excited about the social life. It’s a Big Ten school, so they will have fun game days,” said Malkinzon. Rutgers is ranked #55 in National Universities and #19 in Top Public Schools, according to usnews.com. The undergraduate class population boasts 48,000 students, and about 33 percent of students are first-generation college attendees, according to rutgers.edu.


Located in State College, PA, the Penn State Nittany Lions secure their position in the top four once again this year. Penn State is ranked #31 in public schools and #22 for their engineering program, according to psu.edu. Penn State is known for their rowdy athletic environment and variety of academic opportunities, aspects of college life that entice many Westfield graduates. For senior and future speech pathology major Grace Loder, the campus atmosphere is what helped her finalize her decision. “I really love the culture and I love how the students are so supportive of each other. They also have a very good program for my major, so it was an easy choice for me,” said Loder.


Fairfield University is a new addition to the top four colleges and universities this year. The campus is located in Fairfield, CT, only a two-hour drive from Westfield, and has an undergraduate population of 5,000 students. Fairfield resides as one of the top 75 private institutions in the country and is known for their nursing program ranked #29 nationally, per fairfield.edu. With a surrounding downtown area and a beach right around the corner, Fairfield was an easy choice for senior Mikey Pedersen. “I chose Fairfield because I wanted a school that was far enough away where I still had independence from my family, but close enough that if I needed to come home for the weekend, I could. I also liked Fairfield for its academics and small class sizes where I can have a connection with my teachers,” said Pedersen.


Though the University of Pittsburgh is a popular school for WHS seniors each year, this is the first time that it has made our top four list in the past few years. Located in Pittsburgh, PA, the school is the furthest away of our top four, just over a five-hour drive from Westfield. Pitt has an undergraduate class size of 20,000 students. The university is known for its pre-med track, ranked #7 in the nation for its undergraduate nursing program, according to usnews.com. Pitt is also recognized as a top 20 public university in the country, according to pitt.edu. Future nursing major and WHS senior Avery Pierce explained, “I chose Pitt because of its amazing pre-med programs. I know that they can provide me with so many life-changing opportunities, and on top of that I love the fun culture of the school.”