Ivy League Isn’t Everything

Ivy+League+Isn%27t+Everything

Rory Summerville, In Culture Editor

As college admissions deadlines have steadily approached, the questions have increased. 

“What is your major? Have you finished your applications? How are the essay’s going?”

As a senior, I know first hand how difficult the college admissions process is. The hours spent answering these basic questions, filling out forms, researching schools, and writing various essays are more than just time-consuming – they’re extremely stressful.

While it may not seem like a big deal, the “where are you applying” question is the worst of all. It’s one I’ve heard asked one too many times, whether the circumstances call for it or not. In today’s world, where you go to college has turned into a sign of social status that seems to define one’s self. This frustrates me. 

There is so much pressure to succeed in high school, but that pressure is only increased when college enters the picture. 

Yes, everyone wants to go to a place that is right for them, but rigorous academics and prestigious names don’t always make these schools perfect. Whether you like an institution for the campus, size of student body, location, research opportunities, major, or even the sports teams, where you end up shouldn’t matter forever. 

There will always be someone smarter, more talented, or more successful than you, but the name of your college should not take away from the qualities that make you a stand-out applicant. Going to a community college or a smaller D3 school doesn’t make you less successful than someone who goes to a Big 10 or Ivy League school. Even taking a different route, such as entering the workforce or joining the military, doesn’t make you less prepared for the future.

Because in the end, it’s no one else’s future but yours. You are the only one that can determine your path.

Being a triplet, I know how easily one can compare themselves to others. Both my sister and brother are excellent students and are applying to extremely high-level academic universities. When people ask me, I feel embarrassed. I feel like I can’t match her achievements or list of schools, so I don’t know exactly what to say – it’s sad. Why does my college process suddenly make me less successful than the people around me?

I’ve always wondered why some schools have a higher reputation than others. What makes a school better than another? Its endowment? The average ACT or SAT score? Its graduation rate? Honestly, I don’t know. Regardless, no matter the qualities that each university boasts to its prospective students, where you spend the next few years is not everything. 

Yes, if you want to be a doctor or lawyer, for example, then where you receive your education can matter, but where you go shouldn’t make you feel embarrassed. An Ivy League school doesn’t suddenly put you on a pedestal, just as a community college doesn’t lower your image. The preconceived notions associated with the different levels of college learning are inherently toxic and counterproductive to the education system. 

The truth is that how you act and how you treat others shows more about your character than any test score or college diploma ever will. 

You shouldn’t be ashamed of where you came from or where you end up. Every school allows for the opportunity to explore a passion and graduate with a degree. There are over 5,000 colleges in the United States alone, which means not one school is going to fit every individual’s needs. Yes, not every person will get accepted into Yale, but it also isn’t the right fit for everyone. You will find somewhere that works for you. It’s easier said than done, but let go of others’ expectations. 

Whether you attend Harvard or CLC, those two to four years are only a small portion of your lifetime. They shouldn’t be embarrassing; they don’t limit your success; they don’t lower your social standing. Please, don’t let where you attend school become your entire identity. It doesn’t define who you are.