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No pressure on legacy students

For Katie Aker, a senior business management and Spanish major, CSU was not her first choice.

But after spending her freshman year at Western Washington University, she knew she was ready to come back home.


“After a year there, I realized that wasn’t the school for me and I wanted to go back to Colorado,” Katie said. “When I was deciding between CU and CSU I was just thinking about what was most important to me in a school, and CSU hit everything point on, and it was just a much better option for me.”

Aker is a recipient of the Legacy Scholarship, which requires that a student have at least one parent or grandparent who graduated from CSU.

The fact that her mother graduated from CSU didn’t influence her decision, and Katie said she never felt pressure to attend CSU.

“I had always grown up (knowing) that she had gone to CSU, but I didn’t really have any interest in going when I was younger,” Katie said. “When I wanted to come back in state she was so excited.”

For some students, deciding whether to attend a school of their parent’s choosing—especially a school that their parent graduated from—or choosing one’s own path can be an agonizing, pressure-filled decision.

“I just applied to CSU and that’s the only place I even considered.”

Betsy Aker said she wanted her daughter to make her own decisions about where to go to school.

“We always thought CSU would be a good fit for her,” Betsy said, who attended CSU from 1975 to 1979. “I’m glad she went away and gave it a chance, but I’m also glad she came home.”

As an outdoor recreation and environmental interpretation major during her time at CSU, Betsy still has fond memories of her days as a student when she lived in Ellis Hall, a dorm that no longer exists at CSU. She remembers well her trips to Pingree Park and her time spent biking around the town that has seen many changes since she lived here.

“It’s definitely grown,” Betsy said. “It’s definitely getting to be a bigger town feel.”


Even through the changes, Betsy still likes to visit the place of her Alma Mater.

“We still like the town of Fort Collins, whether (Katie) is at the school or not,” she said.

Like Katie, Christine Carnicello, a freshman biochemistry major, never felt pressure to attend CSU even though her father graduated from the university.

“My dad didn’t really care where we went,” Christine said of her and her older brother, who is a senior at CSU. “I thought I would go somewhere else and not follow my brother but then I visited him my junior and senior years (of high school) and I was like ‘Nope, I’m going here.’ ”

Christine’s father, Greg Carnicello, said his experience at CSU was great and his decision to attend CSU was unwavering.

“I just applied to CSU and that’s the only place I even considered,” Greg said.

Greg said he’s not sure why CSU was his only choice other than that he visited the campus one time during high school but was glad that he made the decision to attend.

“It’s just a really friendly place — it’s not pretentious at all,” he said.

Although he is happy that his children chose CSU, Greg said he hopes that they chose the school on their own and not because he attended.

David Ferguson, a senior business administration major, is also a recipient of the Legacy Scholarship. In his junior year, Ferguson transferred from Gonzaga University to CSU because it “was just kind of the natural decision” after many family members had attended the school before him.

Ferguson said he never felt pressure to follow family members and attend CSU but it “definitely facilitated the process.” He said having family members who went to the same school is a neat connection.

“Just being able to relate in that way has been a lot of fun,” Ferguson said.

Collegian writer Katie O’Keefe can be reached at 

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