Name of College Shouldn’t Define Student

Emma Conrad, Editor-in-Chief

   May 1 is the deadline for students to commit to the college they wish to attend in the fall. The stress of deciding your home for the next four years, along with pressures from parents and counselors to choose one is overwhelming. There are many factors that students take into account when deciding what colleges they will be going to, and ultimately, the name or reputation of a college does not define how smart or how successful a student is or will turn out to be.

   Different people need different things. Some may want a small liberal arts college education where it’s more well-rounded and intimate. Other people may want a big university that has a lot of resources. Others go to community college for financial and emotional reasons. Instead of looking at the name of a college, such as Harvard or Princeton, students should be assessing what they need and want at this specific moment in time. According to the Washington Post, “A college alone doesn’t make a successful graduate. Sure, a top college provides a peer network that greatly helps students while they are on campus and afterwards as they go out into the workforce; but someone with grit and ambition can succeed at many different types of schools” ( So while a college benefits students by providing resources, ultimately it’s the students’ character that makes them successful.

   The perceived prestigiousness of a college or university is just that — perceived. When looking at most colleges, they all offer comparable educations. An article in Time Magazine, stated, “Forty years ago, elite colleges offered a demonstrably higher level of education. Today, as many as 200 colleges across the U.S. offer a similar level of education and have excellent faculty and facilities” ( The world is rapidly changing, and that means that there are plenty of smaller, lesser-known colleges that provide just as good an education as the Ivy Leagues. Additionally, the article goes on to explain how often times employers look mainly at the skillset the potential employee as acquired over the years, and not necessarily the name of the college that he or she attended.

   Of course there are advantages to going to a well-known school– lots of resources and a strong alumni network are among those. But there are plenty of benefits to going to a lesser-known school as well. Counselor Kelsey Bradshaw mentioned, “At a smaller school, students have the chance to get to really know their teachers and staff, and may get more opportunity to work with their professors.” At smaller schools, students get more personalized attention. They get to know their teachers better and create strong relationships with their teachers and their peers, which creates a safe environment for students to grow academically and in confidence.

   The pressures that students face to go to the top universities is unnecessary. Yes, they need to push themselves and expand their limits. But this can be done in a number of ways. Whether it’s more personalized classes at small liberal arts colleges, starting off at community colleges, or finding their way through a massive university, all these options are viable. Every individual heading off to college in the fall should be proud they are continuing their education and should be grateful of the fact that they have the opportunity to receive a college education.