It’s time we accept the truth about college

If you plan to apply or have applied to colleges in the past, what was your number one priority? Many people would tell you that they looked for the school that they felt was the best fit for them. The reality is that for many people, this is not their number one priority in the college admissions process. The sad truth is that one of the most influential factors in the process is how “prestigious” a school is according to one’s peers.

Schools are considered “prestigious” if the majority of people consider it to be challenging to get admitted. These schools garner a reputation with notoriously low acceptance rates and a history of denying most students. Many people set their sights on one of these “prestigious” schools, and they convince themselves that anything else is a failure.

This feeling is especially apparent in schools like WHS where the majority of graduates attend college, creating a highly competitive atmosphere.

 Many times in the past, on May 1st, the day deposits are due, WHS students dressed in their college’s apparel, and as soon as someone finds out what college they are going to, people congratulate them with posts all over social media. This attention means that practically everyone knows when their classmates decide their college.

On its own, wearing college apparel to school and posting on social media is not a bad thing. However, what people fail to realize is that other students may be denied from the same schools, and they are forced to see their classmates congratulated in school and on social media. The result of so many people knowing where you go to college is that it creates a great deal of pressure. 

This pressure comes from the fear that your peers will judge you based on the college you are going to. Unfortunately, this fear is not irrational. Without even realizing it, many WHS students judge the colleges of their peers based solely on statistics such as acceptance rate, average GPA, average standardized test scores, and other statistics they find online. 

These statistics are useful when figuring out the odds of acceptance for yourself, but they should not be used to judge other students. Most people don’t realize that other factors such as distance, location, special programs, cost, and campus amenities, are part of the consideration. 

An additional reason that people should not be judged by their colleges is that not everyone follows the same academic path in high school. Some people learn good habits early in life that allows them to succeed as soon as they arrive in high school, while others bloom much later in life.  

People need to stop making assumptions about their peers based on where they go to college. Everyone is different because there are a number of factors that go into making each individual’s final decision; therefore, the types of colleges that they attend should also be different. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to challenge yourself and get into a good university, but people should not look at a percentage and automatically make assumptions about a person’s character or ability. People need to understand that everyone’s situation is different, and the college that best fits you should not be dependent on how it is viewed by your peers.