BLOG: Elitist Attitudes

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It’s the time of year when seniors are concerned with only one thing: college applications. As seniors, we are focusing on where we want to end up post-high school, whether that be at college, in the military, at a job, or anywhere else. To some people, however, it’s not necessarily about their choice. It’s about the choices of others.

I find this sort of elitist mentality to be rampant in our suburban high school environment. If it’s not an ivy, you aren’t trying. I personally am not applying to an ivy league school, nor any other university that is highly regarded otherwise. It’s not that applying is a bad thing. I just simply do not want to attend a school like that, even if I could get in. That should be okay.

To some people, it’s not okay. I find this to be quite an unrealistic expectation since most people can’t even get into a highly ranked university. Even if a student has the perfect grade point average and test scores combined with a plethora of impressive extracurriculars, there’s still a high chance that person will not be admitted to an ivy league school.

From 2011-2015 at Mountain Vista, three students have been accepted to Harvard. Three. One was enrolled. The other ivies look similar, with two graduates going to Princeton, two going to Yale, one going to Brown, one going to Columbia, one going to Cornell, one going to Dartmouth, and one going to Pennsylvania. If you don’t believe me, the statistics are right on Naviance. 10 students out of the roughly 2500 (based on about 500 students per class) that have been seniors at Mountain Vista in that time span is not a lot. To expect that everyone applies to an ivy league or its equivalent is absolutely absurd.

Even if a student has the perfect record and can be admitted to the schools, there’s a chance that person could not even be able to pay for it. While a family at Harvard that makes less than $65,000 per year generally should not pay tuition, the families in Highlands Ranch often make more than that, and thus don’t qualify for many need-based scholarships. Yet, even with a larger income, students may still not have much saved based on the lifestyle of the parents. If a parent lives a more expensive lifestyle, there will be less money for college. I find that this is a dilemma a lot of families in the area face. Sometimes the financial burden of a prestigious college simply isn’t worth it.

Some people don’t even want to go to college. That’s okay too. Sometimes school just isn’t a person’s thing, and a college education isn’t needed for some professions. Sometimes college is also just too expensive, and a person may want to work and save up before heading off to receive more of an education. There are a lot of things that play into a person’s decision as to where they will end up after high school. Not going to a university that is prestigious doesn’t make someone any worse than the people who do want to go to that kind of university. There are so many factors that have to be considered – not just a person’s intelligence.

I shouldn’t be looked down on for having a Colorado State University water bottle and lanyard. Yet, here I am, being judged for liking a state university. The fact that I don’t like more prestigious universities shouldn’t undermine my intelligence.

If someone is applying to any ivy league school, that’s okay. It should also be okay, however, to not apply there or even to college at all. Whatever someone wants to do after high school, it’s not the business of anyone but themselves.

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