By: Ankita Mallik (she/her)
Editorial Team Member

College admissions is a stressful topic for most high schoolers, with the looming suspense of where everyone will end up. Often, college is seen as the only path after high school, or at least the most ideal. As a current junior in high school, I am constantly stressed about how my actions will affect my future. If I don’t attend a well-reputed college, will this impact my future job? My future income? Or even my future husband? To me, and many other highschoolers, college has become something that seems to define my success in the future, and my happiness in my life. I often wonder if college is worth the hefty costs due to the emotional and intellectual progress an individual experiences, and the impact it can have on one’s future.  

Malala Yousafzai once said, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”. College is a place where there is an overwhelming level of access to knowledge, and students are encouraged to explore an endless array of topics to find what interests them and what they want to gain knowledge about.  Most expect the transition from highschool to college to be a difficult one, as the level of education in college is much more rigorous in comparison to high school. Knowledge is power, and colleges are able to grant this power to all students.  Colleges prepare students intellectually, and are able to help students who may have been stuck in cycles of poverty reach higher forms of education, thus increasing their chances to have significantly higher paying jobs in the future. Additionally, colleges offer scholarships and financial aid to those who may not be able to afford this higher form of education. This knowledge granted by colleges helps shape our future policymakers, doctors, lawyers, and businesspeople. The power of knowledge is the power to change the world, and college makes this knowledge easily accessible to those who choose to attend. 

Is the power of knowledge only what makes college worth the price tag? The answer is no. Although, with college comes degrees and knowledge, college is a rite of passage for many young adults. It is a chapter of life where there is alot of social and emotional learning. In highschool, you are still under your parent’s roof, and have restricted freedom. However, college grants you many more freedoms, and helps you gain independence, and fully blossom as a student, but also a human being. My dad often tells me, “You can be very successful, and wealthy, however you are nothing without character.”Character is what truly defines a person, far beyond a résumé or a degree. There is no one at college who is going to force you to do your homework, or take your phone when you have missing assignments. If you truly are interested in success, skills that build character and shape you for success will come through the experience of college. This work ethic will not only serve in your education, but in every aspect of your life -from your chosen profession, to your daily interactions with others. Additionally, college opens many other doors. You will have to adjust to living with someone other than your family, and dealing with having to live with others who are not used to your actions. And when there is conflict, or something wrong, you are not able to run home, and hide in your room. You must simply learn, and develop your social skills, and deal with people that you have to live with. For most, who have lived in their guardian’s homes most of their lives, college means a fresh start, and freedom. This freedom helps students grow emotionally and learn more about the world and their role in it. 

Lately, college admissions have been my biggest stress. I’ve applied to numerous schools, and am nervous to hear back. At times, I’ve asked myself, “Why do I want to go to college?” Is it because all my friends are going? Or because my parents expect me to? Or do I truly want to  learn and study? In some settings, college is simply seen as a chapter everyone takes, and in others, people see it as a waste of money. But this is a decision you have to make for yourself: is college worth it for you? The college admissions process often leads to students questioning their worth, and basing it on acceptances to college. It is hard not to do this, but remember you will end up where you are meant to be, and trust that you will find a college that is a good fit for YOU. At the end of the day, you are putting the time, money, and effort into college, so the choice of what school you go to, should be tailored to yourself.