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Elitism does not belong in the college decision process

Elitism does not belong in the college decision process

Elitism does not belong in the college decision process
July 21
12:00 2022

Once the time comes for high school students to prepare for college applications, people have a common understanding of what the best schools are. Namely, the famed Ivy Leagues, private research institutions and state schools that are extremely selective.

Universities that are not as exclusive, such as community colleges and junior colleges, are often pushed to the bottom of the list. This competition over what the best colleges are is deeply rooted in elitism and helps nobody. No student is less than another because of where they decide to go to school.

Receiving a higher education is already difficult and it becomes even more challenging when a student’s education is questioned solely based on the institution they graduated from. Prestigious universities are not the only valid places of learning.

A major factor in college education has and will likely always be money. Income determines who can afford higher education and who must sit on the sidelines and watch. Lower income students are normally not on the frontlines to complete a bachelor’s degree, whereas wealthier students are more likely to attend a four-year school, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Knowing this, how far people go in their education can be linked to the types of schools they attend. For those with more money who are willing to get a bachelor’s degree, a four-year university is a no-brainer. On the other hand, community and junior colleges generally offer classes at more affordable price.

This factors into the smug, superior attitude of elitism. Higher-ranking schools are more selective, have lower admission rates and are disproportionately available. The attitude that a school is better based on these ties alone can be extremely damaging to students.

People that must work through school, nontraditional students and those who simply had a difficult college experience deserve to feel proud of making it through school, but the job market doesn’t see it that way.

Students from schools like Harvard or Yale are often offered more jobs straight out of college and end up making more money. How exactly is university rank a deciding factor in whether a person should be paid better even if they have the same skills?

The elitist attitude also leads to shame in college decision-making. Choosing a school should be a decision made solely by the future student — yet “university shaming” puts people in an uncomfortable position. University shaming occurs when would-be attendees are put down for their choice of education. The school that is their top choice may be at the very bottom of someone else’s list but that shouldn’t matter. Regardless, people make a mockery of those who may choose less prestigious schools.

A student choosing an “average” school as opposed to an Ivy League should not result in shame. It should be celebrated in understanding and comfort, instead of making them feel embarrassed about where they want to go.

Belittling students and testing their pride should not be something that higher education encourages. It isn’t a competition – it’s a sentence of shame that students are designed to carry whenever they discuss their degrees. If their school is not as well known or considered as prestigious, university shaming is yet again another way to harm people based on what most likely stems from their socioeconomic status.

Having pride in the school you attend is great but competing and putting down others who may not want to go to the most expensive and most selective school is not. Elitism has no place in the world of higher education because, at the end of the day, everyone is just trying to move forward.

Featured Illustration by Cuinn Cornwell

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Lauryn Barron

Lauryn Barron

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