University prestige is unnecessary pressure

The pressure to go to prestigious schools takes away from student's receiving an education that's right for them

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Jules Whitaker, Features and Opinions Editor

When choosing to further their education, many students feel parental, societal, and internal pressure to account prestige and honor when deciding on where to go next. This pressure can lead to anxiety and an overwhelming fear of “failing” if they don’t go to an Ivy League or top state university.

On its own, a state school can be a great opportunity for a student post-high school. But not every student is the same. When I began the search for what I would do after high school, I was terrified by the idea of not going somewhere big and well known. After looking at Florida State and University of Florida, I was forcing myself to like them when I knew it didn’t feel right.

I do best in a smaller environment— like many students. Small class sizes or communities offer an opportunity for students to receive one-on-one help as well as a less distracting environment that inevitably comes with larger schools. On the other hand, some students need that space to independently grow and thrive and enjoy doing their own work. Neither is right or wrong. What works for some may not work for all and that needs to be normalized.

An important aspect to remember is that there is no specific path for college. Every student will be different and that should be celebrated. Diversity allows for individuality and fosters creativity as well as growth.

Senior year and life surrounding high school graduation is a stressful time. It’s normal to feel anxious, but some of that anxiety can be removed by the confidence that the student has made the right decision in choosing a university and goes for their own reasons.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 85% of college students reported they had felt overwhelmed with everything they had to do at some point within the past year.

This fact can be true at universities across America, but if a student is at a university that is best equipped to support their needs, then there is a higher chance that they will find success despite that statistic.

I think that state schools offer great opportunities and the accomplishment of get accepted should be celebrated, but I don’t think they are any better than smaller public universities. Each college presents its own unique fit and opportunity.

State schools may be seen as superior, but in the real world a diploma is a diploma. The fear of going to a junior college or a smaller public university should not keep students from following their aspirations. Their intellect should not be based around which college they go to but what they do with the education they receive. The accomplishment is in receiving the diploma, not necessarily where it comes from.

The stress a student feels in their senior year is already going to be a challenge, but they should also feel immense pride and excitement in preparing to go to a university or junior college and going no matter what ranking or accreditation it has. It is an achievement that should be celebrated because they will be stepping into the rest of their lives and they will be doing it for themselves.