Cease College Competition; Pick Right Fit


Emily Seiden

Students should pick the college that is right for them.

By Maya Rosenberg, Print Editor-in-Chief

May 1st is a date that is burned into many CHS students’ minds; it’s the college-commitment deadline for students, with the long-standing tradition of wearing apparel representing their chosen colleges and displaying their up-and-coming school pride.

The sight of seniors decked out in their college apparel often inspires a sense of pride in both students and staff. CHS students work hard, study diligently and put a large amount of effort into their high school careers in order to get into a “good college” or “dream school.” That work is visibly rewarded on May 1.

Along with the hard work and dedication, however, students face unnecessary amounts of pressure about which schools to apply to, and ultimately, which school to attend. This stress comes from the toxic culture of college elitism that runs rampant here at CHS.

At CHS, getting a college education is stressed as one of the most important milestones. Even more emphasized is the school that the degree itself will come from. Is it from a prestigious Ivy League school? Did it come from a Big Ten university? Was it earned from a small liberal arts college?

While getting into any university is an accomplishment in itself, at CHS it can sometimes feel as if college is only an achievement if one gets into a name brand, elite school. Students should challenge themselves by applying to rigorous schools, but by no means should they be shamed for the colleges they apply to, receive admittance to or eventually attend. Choosing a college should be about what is best for the individual, not about pleasing others with the name brand or reputation of the school.

According to an Observer survey of 72 CHS students, 91 percent felt that CHS fosters an “elitist” attitude towards colleges.

From the second students enter CHS as ninth graders, the talk about college begins. Conversations about college and universities are seemingly never-ending, regardless of whether the discussion is between naive freshmen or a college-bound seniors.

At CHS, college has become a competition of who can get into the “best” school. This pressure seems like it would come from overly eager parents or administrators concerned about the school’s reputation, but the root of the problem actually seems to be at the very people it affects the most.

According to the Observer survey, almost 80 percent of people stated that the group that contributes most to the elitist attitude towards college at CHS are the students themselves.

As students at such a competitive school, it can be hard to let go of a dog-eat-dog mindset regarding college.
According to an American Psychology Association study about stress, 30 percent of teens reported feeling sad or depressed because of their stress levels. CHS is infamous for its stressful environment, especially revolving around the college process.

While some stress can motivate students to do the best that they can, too much pressure over grades, standardized testing scores and other academic factors are detrimental to students. It can cause them to burn out before they even reach the university they worked so hard to attend.

Students should push themselves to get the best grades that they can. They should enjoy participating in as many extracurricular activities that they can. They should strive to get into the best college that is right for them. But there comes a point when enough is enough.

CHS students: rather than stressing over getting into the most selective university out there, let’s focus on choosing schools that make us happy and excited.