By The Tower Editorial Board
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
With National College Decision Day this Friday, many seniors must finally choose the school that they will be attending for the next four years. It can be a stressful time and a difficult decision to make, but it is important to remember that the college choice does not dictate the rest of your life.
Education is taken very seriously in the Grosse Pointe communities, and students are put under pressure from their parents, peers and themselves to perform well so that they can eventually attend a prestigious college or university. Although these high levels of competition create a strong academic environment, they can also lead to unhealthy amounts of stress for students and create a warped view of academic success.
Many students spend their four years of high school taking difficult classes and participating in as many sports and extracurricular activities as possible, all in hopes of getting into their dream school. It’s beneficial for students to challenge themselves, but when students are doing so solely to get into a college or university, part of the value is lost.
Education in both college and high school is first and foremost about gaining knowledge and growing intellectually. The competitive nature of college acceptances can often make students lose sight of what is really important in their schooling. Learning is meant to be an enjoyable, beneficial experience, not a mindless grind to get into a good college.
In order to truly value education and benefit from what’s being taught, students must realize that where a person attends college is not that important in the long run. Just like high school, a college education is what you make of it and is valuable no matter which school one ends up attending.
When making the decision on where to attend college, one should choose a school based on where they think that they will fit in and be successful, not by looking at rankings on U.S. News and World Report. And as difficult as rejection letters can be, they should be viewed as ways to make the decision easier, not as statements on one’s intelligence or academic abilities.
In terms of getting a job and starting a career, a college diploma is generally only used as a reference for the first job out of college. After that, previous job experience, the interview and work ethic are what will land a job.
According to U.S. News and World Report, “ … many employers won’t care where you went to school, or even what you earned your degree in. They’ll focus instead on your skills … ”
Also remember that it is easy to transfer to a different college if the school that you pick isn’t working out after the first year. Some students attend one school for a year and then transfer to their first choice school.
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to attend the most prestigious, academically challenging, or exclusive university, but in the end college is about one thing: learning. No matter where one attends college, they will be able to learn and grow intellectually as a person.