As I quietly type on my keyboard while flying back from Atlanta to Miami, I notice two things: one — Florida and Georgia are nothing alike; and two — the time between your college application writing and college decisions are surreal and a blur at the same time. During the surreal moments, I’ve realized that we tend to have a culture of judging people; whether it’s grades or achievements in life, we’re constantly judging people 24/7.
Everyone judges, and that’s not inherently bad. However, what deems itself as “bad” and inappropriate is when people judge character and base friendships off the college that students are accepted to/attend.
People need to understand that something such as ranks and prestige may not be the same priorities regarding schools as another student has, and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s the location of the school, the tuition, the socially active community or even the environment of the classroom. You never know what someone’s priorities are, and you shouldn’t judge them for thinking differently.
Equally competent people can go to a college that may not be as prestigious in name or rank, but the person who’s attending an institution regarded as “Ivy-League” level would be of no higher moral value if they decide to trash someone else because of their college decision. Eliteness doesn’t always equal happiness.
College shaming exists. Whether it’s basing an institution’s qualifications off an acceptance rate or a “US News College Rankings” article, the degradation of a person’s college choice happens more often than you think. I believe we need a change in our mentality; we as high school students need to realize that anyone pursuing higher education at any college/university should be commended. American Heritage is one of the few high schools that guarantee a 100% acceptance rate to 4-year institutions; we should proud of that. The fact that our society progresses on the basis of education and individual determination is beautiful. Even if someone decides not to attend college after high school, that personal decision does not give anyone (including you) the right to judge, degrade or humiliate someone because they don’t fit your idea of a “successful person.” Your college decisions are pertinent to you and only you.
Regardless of a student’s decision on their future after high school, friendships and perceptions of people shouldn’t change after you find out they’re not going to a college as equally prestigious as yours or vice versa.
I understand that society is not perfect; college bias is far from dying out. Nothing and no one is perfect, but that thought shouldn’t deter you from being a good person.