September 21, 2020

OPINION: You thought hard about where to apply to college, now think before you post

Each spring, it is not uncommon to see a flood of Facebook posts: “_________ University Class of 2016!” It is not uncommon to see college-bound seniors sporting sweatshirts branded with a logo of the university they will be attending. It is not uncommon to see bumper stickers in the parking lot displaying the name of the college the driver will be attending next year.

These displays represent completely acceptable examples of school spirit and pride. School spirit can facilitate a cohesive college campus community, and all students should be excited to begin next stage of their education. Students, when they decide which school to attend, should be proud of that institution of higher education, whatever it may be.

On the other hand, another type of display of “school spirit,” has become increasingly common kind; pride for mere acceptances to colleges. While all students should feel free to publically display what college they plan to attend, students should be cautious of what they are posting and displaying in the early stages of the application process. Fortunately, at this high school, these kinds of problematic posts occur rarely, as privacy in the college application process is valued.

Students should certainly feel proud of each and everyone of their acceptances. A college giving an emphatic yes to a student does not necessarily reflect who that student is as an individual, but it is a symbol of that student’s hard work throughout nearly four years of high school, and years of learning. Those students should feel free to tell family members and close friends about their acceptances.

They should not, however, publicly post about every single acceptance. What could be a “safety school” for one person could be a top choice for someone else. Posting about every school you get accepted to, with the knowledge that you will likely not attend that school, sends an indirect and inconsiderate message to someone who may have always have dreamed of attending that school.

Even students posting on Facebook about the college they plan to attend should be careful. Various extenuating circumstances can occur between the time people post, and the time people will actually be heading to college. While students should feel free to show their school pride, they should consider the fact that their plans could easily change in the next few months.

This provides a glimpse into a continuous problem among students at the high school today. Students frequently become preoccupied with the prestige of a university, rather than what that university can bring to them as a student and person, and how well of a fit that institution is.

To understand the problem of posting about acceptances, one must consider the motivation behind, and the result of the post. Posting about a mere acceptance does not effectively inform others about the student’s future plans. It is often just that student showing off their accomplishments in public, which then perpetuates the cycle of elitism surrounding the college process at the high school.

Students should have the opportunity to show their spirit, but only for the school they know they will be attending. While this change will certainly not eradicate the elitist culture that exists at competitive high schools across the nation, but it takes one step to diminish it. By being more cognizant of what they put in the public domain, students would be facilitating a more cohesive and supportive high school community.

The best advice for students during college acceptance season comes in the form of a cliche mantra often forced upon students by out-of-touch adults: “think before you post.”

(Matt Lieberman ’16, Editor-in-Chief)

 

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