Social Media and a New Era of College Admissions

In this day and age, a college submission means more than just the fate of your future: it also becomes your town’s gossip. It is common in Westchester for the overwhelming majority of a town to know where almost every individual is hoping to end up, whether it be from an Early or Regular Decision application. Many individuals judge people’s intelligence based on the schools they are looking at and what kind of acceptance rates those schools possess. Many people forget to consider aspects like a school’s area of academic expertise, which could be even more beneficial for a student than a competitive school with no expertise in a particular area. People also ignorantly fail to realize that not everyone thrives in an traditional academic environment like high school, which in turn means their grades don’t reflect their true intellect.

Caitlin Oestreicher, a Harrison High School senior, provided a first hand point of view on the matter, “I think the college process has become incredibly toxic because students get infatuated and obsessed with one school that they really don’t know much about, idolize it to be their dream school, and are often disappointed in the end. Logos, rankings, and what someone can put in their Instagram bio are taken more into account than whether or not a school is a good fit. I’m guilty of this and more; going through the process and hearing back from schools, I get mad at myself for not having as high a test score or GPA as the next student and feel like there’s more I could’ve done. I think for anyone going through this process it is most important to keep in the back of your mind that everything does happen for a reason and you will find your place.”

A common trend on social media is for all of your friends to post to all of their hundreds if not thousands of followers, where you got into college. Not only does this over-publicize everyone’s college decisions, it also creates unhealthy environments for those who did not get into their dream schools or possibly could not afford to go to their dream school. This is not to say that celebrating exciting news shouldn’t be allowed, but platforms such as Instagram are viewed by more than friends and family and it makes everyone’s business very public. One other social media trend is for a group of friends to decorate one friend’s bedroom with the merchandise of their future college, which the accepted student and their friends subsequently post on their social media. This only exacerbates the problem at hand and inevitably becomes something kids keep in mind as they are choosing the colleges they apply to.

Overall, as the years have gone by, not only have colleges become more competitive, but the household discussions and talk about college have added additional stress for kids. College applicants are now not only looking to please themselves with schools that hold promising education for their aspirations, but now they are additionally looking to satisfy the opinion of the hundreds of other people who have their eyes on them during this process.