Relax! Experts say that where you go to school isn’t everything


Right now, high school seniors nationwide are holding their breath, anxiously awaiting word on whether or not they were admitted to their top choice schools. Although the weeks leading up to notification emails might be some of the most stressful of a teenager’s life, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni thinks that high school students need to relax. In his new book, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, Bruni emphasizes that the pressure that high schoolers put on themselves to attend certain schools is unnecessary and where you go to school doesn’t define your entire future.


According to Bruni, kids and their parents are going to such extremes these days when it comes to impressing college admissions offices that doing everything and anything to get into top schools has become an unhealthy fixation. Bruni points out that the belief that one school can make or break a person’s entire future is rubbish, and that many different factors contribute to a person’s success in adulthood.


Exacerbating the problem – according to Bruni – is the test prep industry, which instills fear about the SATs and other college entrance tests. The test prep industry is fairly new, but students have been taking these exams for decades – the fear and desperation that the industry has created just isn’t necessary.


And if you don’t believe Bruni’s arguments that the name of your university won’t define your entire life, take a look at some of the statistics he mentions. Of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies for 2014, only one was headed by a CEO who attended an Ivy League school. Additionally, he says that if you look at the top 30 organizations on the list, you’ll see a mix of universities, including small liberal arts colleges and big state schools.


Bruni hopes that his book will help “restore sanity” to the college admissions process and relieve some of the anxiety and fixation that parents and students feel about it. He points out that it isn’t always about where you go to school – it’s about what you do once you’re there and moving forward.


Like Romeo Montague once so eloquently said, “What’s in a name?” Don’t get caught up in the hype. Stay focused on the big picture and you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.