Anxious acceptances: college does not determine your future

design: Cris Montoya

For many high school seniors, May 1was the final day they were able to commit to a university.  It marked the end of a stressful year of college applications and combating senioritis; much of this stress comes from the pressure for students to go to highly selective colleges in order to be successful. 

Despite what some may say, where someone goes to school does not define their success for the rest of their career.

As the school year began, I witnessed many of my senior friends slaving away at their college applications. Many of these seniors were applying to multiple schools with single-digit acceptance rates. 

A common misconception during the admissions process is that a good school guarantees a good career. Contrarily, many believe going to a state school is not as beneficial as going to a prestigious private university. Both of these views are flawed.

A popular study written in the early 2000s, colloquially known as the Dale-Krueger study after the paper’s authors, examined the career earnings of graduates from 27 U.S. universities. These universities ranged from small state schools to renowned schools’ part of the Ivy League. The study concluded that the university an employee attended has a negligible effect on the amount of money they earn. Instead, a better predictor of future success is the average SAT score of all the schools a student applies to.

A student’s work ethic and academic talent will take them further in their career than the school they attend will. 

It is likely more beneficial for students to attend a state school with a scholarship and graduate with little to no debt rather than going to Columbia University and in turn spending upwards of $300,000 for their education.

Frank Bruni, the author of the bestselling book “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be”, which informs parents and students about success after college, writes about how student study habits and effort made in and out of the classroom will lead to success, not the rank of the school a student attends.

Higher education is just that, a higher form of education. A good student at a school with fewer resources will fare better after college than an undisciplined student at a prestigious university.

High schoolers need to realize that not going to a reputable university does not mean they are failures. There are multiple ways to become successful and the school someone attends does not guarantee anything.

Many people assume employers will look at a prospective employee’s educational history first. In actuality employers are more inclined to hire a worker with more job experience. A survey published by Glassdoor showed that companies put more emphasis on a candidate’s skills and experience level and how those skills translate to their company then they did on the candidate’s education.

Rather than prioritizing the prestige of a university students should emulate admissions officers and look at a school holistically.

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