December 16, 2019

With Christmas Comes Nostalgia -

Monday, December 9, 2019

November Book Recommendations -

Monday, December 9, 2019

SMHS Mateobotics Gears Up for the Season -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Leap from High School to College Sports -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Mateo Comes up Short: 2019 Little Big Game -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Master of Self-Deprecating Humor -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

How Old is “Too Old” for Trick-or-Treating? -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We Need to Get Serious About Shootings -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How Boyan Slat Is Helping Solve The Great Pacific Garbage Patch -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Youtube’s Yankovic turned Chinese TikTok Star: Bart Baker -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#TeamTrees -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Varsity Football -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

CA Bill Pushes School Start Times Back -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why the Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pros and Cons of Energy Drinks -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Movies to Watch during Halloween -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Bearcats Strike for Climate -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Personal Account On Vaping -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Girls Water Polo Resumes Winning Ways -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Running into the 2019 season -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Branding of Higher Education

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A brand-name is a powerful tool – especially in America. Our distinctly American brands reach across the world, as Asian students adorn the latest Nike apparel, and our signature drink, Coca-Cola, is drunk as far as Antarctica. Even our biggest tourist destination, Times Square, is a commercial fantasyland, lit by the incandescent glow of corporate advertising. However, our obsession with branding goes beyond consumer culture, and has leaked into the world of higher education

As seniors begin receiving their acceptance decisions, rounding out the college application season, their tension is palpable. For years, these students have been working towards the goal of attending a “good” university, whether it be for themselves, their parents, or their peers. However, we have a vastly distorted view of what going to a “good” university really means – we focus less on the educational quality of the institution, and more on the name.

Driven students often see their chosen college as a defining factor of themselves – it’s easy to draw conclusions about the stereotypical Harvard student. Often, but not always, they’re extremely hard-working, smart as a whip, and serious about their future. It’s why we’re supposed to feel shock watching Legally Blonde, and wondering how in the world ditzy fashion-merchandising student Elle Woods was admitted to Harvard Law. It’s why students are hesitant about attending a less well-known, less “prestigious” university – how can people make (good) conclusions about them if they’re not familiar with the college they attend?

However, it’s not all self-validation. Here’s a commonly used example –

Two equally-capable, equally-advantaged students are applying for a job at a prestigious law firm. Both are seemingly identical, except for the college in which they graduated. One attended Cornell University. The other, College of the Ozarks. The employer is likely to hire the Cornell grad, even if the College of the Ozarks grad is equally (or more) qualified. However, Cornell has a higher acceptance rate – it’s simply the name recognition of Cornell, along with its Ivy League status, that makes it more attractive to employers. It’s a sad reality, and one students keep in mind as they choose their college.

Prestigious universities are extremely savvy at marketing – it’s why we see people all over the country wearing Harvard sweatshirts, UCLA tank tops, or Duke sweats, even if they have no affiliation with the college. Somehow, we’ve begun to treat these schools as we treat our brands, harming the legitimacy and quality education lesser-known universities can offer. As we begin to choose our schools, it’s crucial to remember that the “fit” is more important than the “name” – it’s four long years, do we really want to attend a university just so we get the most likes on our Facebook announcement?

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