The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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The Value of a School Does Not Come From Its Name


Almost every conversation I have about college comes down to prestige. 

We have been conditioned since early childhood to want to go to prestigious Ivy League schools because we assume that is where we will get the best education. This makes a lot of South students discount schools simply because they aren’t brand-name schools, even though they may have better programs than their “brand-name” counterparts. 

There are many charms of prestigious schools that encourage many South students to flock to them. The level of prestige alone helps students find elite jobs with their massive and notable alumni network. Many of these schools also have very large endowments that they can use for student services such as mental and physical health care and “pay what you can” tuition at schools like Harvard and Princeton. These Ivy League schools have acceptance rates as low as 3 percent, making them even more enticing for students, building upon this image of prestigious value. 

Many of us think that our self-worth is tied to the university we end up at for four years after high school. I was trapped in this toxic mentality and it wasn’t until I hit a rock-bottom mental state that I questioned: Do I even want to go to a school that drives me this crazy to get in? It wasn’t until this enlightenment that I started looking into other schools that weren’t deemed “prestigious.”

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is incredible. According to Niche, a college reviewing platform, UIUC has the 11th best Engineering program in the nation, in-state tuition, and gives over 1,500 scholarships to students. It has the second best Computer Science program in the nation, yet many of us still view UIUC as “Highschool 2.0”. This nickname taints many state schools that ends up deterring students from seeing the real value of these schools. 

 I hate this phrase because it discounts the institution as a whole, making the students who go here seem like they never got out of high school, which is dead wrong. Even though UIUC doesn’t have the prestige of an Ivy League school, it is an incredible institution with programs that prove to be more than their name’s reputation.

Oakton College is another example of education being overlooked simply because of its lack of prestige. Oakton can be an incredible resource and accessible form of higher education for many people in our community. For example, through Oakton, students can obtain degrees that give employment opportunities in record time. This can be seen through the Oakton College nursing program. 

Many think that students must go to a prestigious college to obtain their nursing degrees, but Oakton offers their very own two-year Nursing Associate in Applied Science program. This program helps students start working faster; in many cases, these students can get their employer to pay for further education at a four-year college. This helps nurses get less expensive degrees and readies them for the workforce sooner. 

We shouldn’t get lost in the thinking that we must go to a prestigious college because they are the only good colleges. 

We shouldn’t base the quality of education on the prestige of the school it came from. 

Most importantly, we shouldn’t feel pressured to go to a brand-name school for that reason only – the name.

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