Don’t panic, it’s not over yet

William Chen, Staff Writer

To all the seniors, it’s that time of year. With each school cycle means we’ve come full circle- it’s time for college applications once again.

And with that, seniors are left with more than just a pile on their plate. Difficult Advanced Placement classes coupled with this looming task of college essays and applications makes for a stressful ordeal and many hours of lost sleep. Aspirants alike will be compiling their school achievements, transcripts and awards in hope of getting admitted into their dream college.

But for those who may not have chosen to spend their time in the school year earning coveted leadership positions or sports awards to plaster on their résumé, attaining that dream college acceptance letter may seem unattainable. And as such, those very same seniors might also have doubts on their future success. While, yes, getting into that top 10 college very likely entails success later on, one does not exactly need undergraduate prestige to be just as, or if not more, successful.

When considering a path after high school, many high school seniors are blinded by the folly of “brand-name” colleges. What many do not recognize is that one must also consider the big picture – long -term goals. Nobody wants to become another horror story of a college student with no idea what he/she wants to major in two years into studying. Even more glaring is the fact that undergraduate studies may not even be as important as one believes in the first place.

Consider fields such as medicine, law and even business. As conducted in many studies, including one from Dataverse, employers in these fields asserted that they focus primarily on candidates’ graduate degrees and experiences.

But, the college admission process that seniors are facing currently concerns undergraduate admissions, or really only the first part of their higher education. This poses the striking question: does undergraduate prestige really matter?

You might be able to argue that undergraduates from Stanford, Harvard, etc. are indeed overrepresented in the best graduate schools across the nation. Yes, while you would be correct, what is really shown here is the result of those students having on average more achievements and experiences than those from other schools in the same undergraduate programs. Briefly put, graduate schools are not necessarily just looking for the most prestigious degrees.

So, dear stressed high school senior, what this means for you is that your life is quite far from over. And on the other hand, to the already successful and gilded senior, let’s not fall into the trap of solely looking for prestige and brand-name recognition.

Instead, we should all take a step back and decide what we really want to get out of our higher education, and consider which colleges offer the programs tailored to your aspirations.

After all, in the crunch time which is the college application season, you most definitely will not have any time for worrying.