The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

OPINION: Don’t choose your college based on perceived prestige

Photo courtesy of Kenneth C. Zirkel (CC BY-SA 4.0)
High schoolers put too much pressure on getting into top-ranked schools.

Guaranteed job opportunities, strong alumni networks and an exceptional education are some of the qualifications that once separated Ivy League schools from the rest. However, as the college process becomes more competitive over time, it appears that every school holds similar, if not the same benefits, as the Ivys. Thus, students need to take more factors into account other than prestige when deciding where to attend college. 

The pressure teens put on themselves to end up at a top-ranked school is far too intense. Once you enter the real world, you rarely associate your value as an employee with the college you attended. While some colleges may offer better job opportunities, the applicant’s drive, passion and dedication is much more important to companies than being an alumni at a prestigious school. High schoolers need to take this principle into account and remember that there is more to them than where they get into college. 

There is also no guarantee, no matter where you attend college, that a job will be waiting for you after your four years. In December, Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, stated that he would not hire students from Harvard, MIT or UPenn due to the anti-Semitic comments made by the presidents of these universities. Portnoy told Fox News that the prestige of the school did not matter as much as the drive and integrity of his employees. Just a few short years ago, a move like this would have seemed preposterous. However, as people come to recognize that some of the most qualified employees come from colleges all over the country, this decision is more warranted. 

The climate of college applications changes so fast that there is no way to know whether your school will remain at the top of the rankings in the next ten years. For example, Northeastern University in Boston had a 55 percent increase in applicants over just five years, causing the acceptance rate to drop exponentially. What was once considered an average college is now one of the most difficult to get into in the country. This acceptance rate though does not equate to a perfect education. Of course, Northeastern probably has great things to offer, but a number doesn’t automatically give it so much merit. High schoolers need to realize that a ranking is just a number. They should choose their college based on what they think will make them the happiest and get them best prepared for the real world; this includes factoring in costs and location instead of what number ranking it’s given on Google.. 

There is immense value to an Ivy League education, as some colleges do have better connections or more involved alumni. However, there are also countless people who did not attend a top-ranked school and are still extremely successful. Those who graduate from a lesser-known university may have to network more on their own during post-grad, but is a little bit of extra work worth being $100,000 in debt simply to say you went to a “top-ranked” school? High schoolers should prioritize a school that will make them happy and fulfill their goals over those with a well-known name. 

Photo credit: Flags of the Ivy League by Kenneth C. Zirkel is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Behind the Byline
Brooke Kupferberg
Brooke Kupferberg, Editor-in-Chief
Brooke Kupferberg is the 2024-2025 Editor-in-Chief for The Wessex Wire. She enjoys listening to music, spending time with friends and family and taking naps. She also plays tennis for the school team and loves watching her favorite TV show “Friends”.
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