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The Name Game: Why a Prestigious College Might Not Be the Answer

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The Name Game: Why a Prestigious College Might Not Be the Answer

Rupa Syeda, Staff Writer

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As senior year shifts into full gear, most people have a list of colleges they would like to apply to. Whether you plan on applying to top colleges or not, we have all thought about going to a well known institution. Wouldn’t it be nice to go somewhere that demands national respect?

The American college education system is a scam. While we are under the impression that the name of a college carries weight, most employers could care less. Yet, people are willing to take out thousands of dollars worth of student loans to attend prestigious colleges solely for their national recognition. According to Forbes, the U.S. student debt crisis has reached $1.5 trillion dollars which is collectively owed by 44 million people. For those of you counting that’s eleven 0’s after the 15. In the same article Forbes states that the average Class of 2016 graduate in Connecticut owes about $35, 494 in student loan debt alone.

Why are we so eager to put ourselves into crushing debt when that validation we feel from college really does not help you in the field? Helen Collins, a licensed clinical social worker, believes that “the degree you come out with is the same, but the debt you come out with is completely different.” When comparing college tuitions the gap between schools is tremendously high. According to the financial aid website for Yale University, the estimated total cost of attendance for undergraduate students is $73,180 for the 2018-2019 school year. On the other hand, the total cost of attendance for Southern Connecticut State University is $26,821. Is that crippling debt really worth it?

Seniors of SHS are conflicted on the issue. Samantha Heller says, “I think the benefits to a ‘prestigious’ college would be a strong alumni network and connections to help advance career, but beyond that I believe college is what you make of it… you could go to a well known school and still not succeed in life if you don’t work hard and follow your passions.” However, Knadira Askew feels differently: “It’s not that important for me because the debt I would be in after I graduate isn’t worth it. Even though it’s a top school and it would help in the future, I can get the same education at a school that costs less.” When Shayna Druckman was asked about her opinion she said, “I want to study education in college, and after exploring different options for schools it seems that a program at an in-state school is just as valuable as one at a name school like Harvard.”

Many people believe that going to a prestigious school will guarantee them a job in their field. However, that isn’t necessarily true. An anonymous source from Stamford, Connecticut is a recent Harvard graduate from the Class of 2017. She says her engineering degree is not landing her a desirable job. She currently works for a fast food restaurant, slowly paying off her student loans.

Many successful people in our communities opt for public universities. Joe Biden, former U.S. Vice president, graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965. When the leaders of our country attends modest schools, need we say more about their benefits? When you look at the cost of attendance and college as a whole, attending a modest institution doesn’t seem that bad. So remember seniors: the value of your degree is not determined by a name, but the effort you put into it.

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The Name Game: Why a Prestigious College Might Not Be the Answer