By Emily Money
Early admission deadlines have come and gone, but seniors still have plenty of time to stress over college. There are many choices yet to make before seniors will be expected to commit to most colleges before National Decision Day on May 1.
Understandably, choosing the school that might alter the course of one’s entire life can be stressful. It feels like the school has to be the perfect fit and of course, it has to be within one’s price range. Of the many other elements that must be considered when making this life-changing decision, however, one factor shouldn’t even be given a passing thought: the opinions of peers.
For some seniors, peer-pressure about selecting a college is something that has become much more noticeable this year. It’s hard enough to find the right school. But then, seniors increasingly face criticism and judgment from peers over a college’s religious affiliation, reputation for partying, lax admission standards, etc. And going to a community college? Don’t even think about it.
Colleges should not be immediately discredited merely for their reputations. The overly conservative stereotype of religious colleges, for example, belies the versatile education that they provide in a smaller learning environment. However, large colleges cannot be degraded either, as false reputations for constant partying negate the advantageous community atmosphere.
Lesser-known schools cannot be belittled either. You don’t have to go to MSU or UofM just to receive an acceptable education. Kuyper College may be a better fit for you than Central Michigan, and there is no problem with that. As for community colleges, immediately neglect the horrible yearly chanting of “OCC” towards seniors at pep rallies. Local community colleges provide a fantastic education for very cheap, and even transferring to a university after a couple years makes no difference in the end. The constant, often subliminal college shaming has to be stopped.
This peer-pressure must end, but it’s unlikely that it will. Therefore, the choice is up to seniors to either pick the colleges right for them specifically, or let their friends influence the decisions. It is important to remember, though, that stereotypes about certain kinds of colleges aren’t always accurate. You have to ignore the criticism and judgement of others. Find the best fit for you, and invest in your own future happiness.