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Do Not Choose a College Based on a Prestigious Name

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Do Not Choose a College Based on a Prestigious Name

Josie Krupens

Josie Krupens

Josie Krupens

Elaina Martin, Opinions Editor

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   Harvard. Stanford. MIT. Each of these universities has different programs, different specialties, and caters to a different type of student. However, each has one thing in common — the prestige associated with its name. Many students are compelled to strive for high-ranking, highly-selective schools simply because of the prestige or the name that will appear on their diplomas. However, high ranking schools are seldom the most practical choice and can often perpetuate serious anxiety and debt. They might not even be a good fit for the student.

   No matter where you decide to go, college remains a huge decision. Students spend copious amounts of time crafting essays and getting letters of recommendation and, even before that, spend years piling on tough courses and extracurriculars to be as appealing as possible to colleges. After spending so much time being scrutinized in high school, many students begin to tie their worth as a person to their academic achievement. This can be catastrophic to students’ self-esteem if they get rejected from the high-ranking schools they believed would gain them acceptance in society. The Atlantic aptly stated, “The decision of a group of people you’ve never met isn’t as important as the sum of the decisions, habits, and relationships you’ve built up to this point in your young life” (

   There is much to take into consideration when considering which college to choose, and one important factor is the campus. Many students might disregard the university’s campus if they base their ideal college simply on its reputation.  Many prestigious universities have gargantuan campuses and staggering student body counts. This might not be ideal for every student, especially considering that professors at these universities may have intense research and publication requirements tied to their jobs and little time to meet with individual students who need help. UC High Counselor Kimberly George mentioned that students should look into campuses before they commit and look at the size and student body count.

   George also explained that students should take into account whether they want to be closer to home or near family. The convenience of a hot meal or a place to do laundry may be important to a student. Some students may also need the moral support of family. In the end, high ranking schools might not fit all the needs a student might have; individuals should never sacrifice the comfort of compatibility with a school for its reputation.

   Most universities are known for certain programs in which they specialize. This can be inspiring, but it might not be the best option for an individual. If a particular college is known for its law and business schools, but you want to be a doctor, you should probably consider other schools. When choosing a college, students should look at schools that are known to prepare students for their chosen careers.

   Another factor to be considered is finance. Unless a student manages to get a full-ride scholarship to a high-ranking school, the cost is going to be exorbitant. Choosing to go to a more pricey school can have benefits — Forbes acknowledged that Harvard graduates earned about 55,000 dollars a year, compared to 43,000 dollar starting salaries given to state school graduates. However, the cost of going to school for a Harvard graduate is so much more that they lose around 7,000 dollars out of their yearly salary to make up for tuition. A state school graduate earns back that same amount every year just for going to a less expensive school (

   The bottom line is that the world wouldn’t be able to function if the only successful people were top-tier graduates. According to Time Magazine, only a third of American adults are 4-year college graduates and most didn’t go to selective schools ( Future employers merely care that you went to college and are ultimately more concerned that you have the experience and skill required to perform — neither of which are guaranteed by a big name school.

   In the end, where you go to college won’t even matter once you’ve spent a couple years in the workforce. A degree is a degree — the only difference is that some might think one from Harvard looks nicer framed on the wall. Furthermore, the work you do in college is far more important than the school tied to your degree. As long as you continue to work hard out of high school, there is merit to your actions and value in your path, name-brand school be darned.

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Do Not Choose a College Based on a Prestigious Name