College is what you make of it

Throughout my three years as a student at Granada Hills Charter High School (GHC), all of my peers and I have had our eyes on the prize: College. At the start of the month, many of our seniors committed to a school. But beneath the joy of this moment lay a great amount of tension at our school.
GHC has always had a competitive and rigorous atmosphere which builds up more stress hormones in students than seagulls hovering the quad after lunch. Every student leading up to the spring semester of their senior year fights to get prized spots at colleges.
Unfortunately, a college’s name has become a big factor not only in high school, but also in our society. If students get accepted into an Ivy League school, they immediately become the poster child for their family and their high school. Though it is an amazing accomplishment to get accepted into an Ivy League, that does not mean that we should disregard the millions of students still receiving a college education from other schools.
The school scale often goes from top to bottom: Ivy League, select private schools, Universities of California (UCs), state schools, then community college. Placing these colleges and universities on a scale does not do justice to all of the hard work all students put in and disregards the amazing accomplishment these less regarded schools’ students have made.
I myself know this stressor of the “name brand college.” My mother always tells me to go where I want, yet also suggests “to still apply to Stanford… just see if you’ll get in.” It’s a lingering expectation that if I get into an Ivy League school, I have made it big. Any school a student attends should provide them with what they need to be successful, and that measure is different for every person.
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni highlighted several examples of Americans of all ages and from all walks of life who have found success without degrees from brand-name universities. Bruni points out, for instance, that among the American-born chief executives of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, only around 30 went to an Ivy League school or equally selective college.
A school is irrelevant to a student’s future and success if he or she is not motivated. There are plenty of state universities that demonstrate some of the highest performing specialty programs and many community colleges give kids an environment that they work well in. Each school can help a student with their own accomplishments. A name is just a name; in the end, each student will get a diploma like everyone else, but what they do in the four years of undergrad is entirely up to them.
Each student creates their own future, and where they go to college cannot define their rate of success or who they are to become. High school itself is no easy feat, so do not set unrealistic or unfair expectations for the future. Instead, let students do what they love, and the future will be the manifestation of hard work and pure passion.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper

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