June 22, 2018

An amazing year for the wrestling team -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Experience at the Women’s March -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

El Regreso Del Racismo -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Parkland Shooting -

Friday, March 2, 2018

California Flu Crisis -

Friday, March 2, 2018

‘Rapping’ Up the Grammy Awards -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

¿Cuál Será el Futuro de DACA? -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Marcus Peters traded to the Rams -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 Upcoming Movies -

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Instagram-Worthy Desserts of San Francisco -

Monday, February 26, 2018

Upcoming Season of Baseball -

Monday, February 26, 2018

Black History Month -

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Black Panther Review -

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Destructive Culture of Social Media -

Friday, February 23, 2018

Badminton season launches into action! -

Friday, February 23, 2018

LimeBike Takes Over! -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

All Star Weekend Highlights -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chinese New Year Brought to SMHS -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

San Mateo Volleyball Season Kicks Off -

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Van Jones Show:Jay-Z -

Friday, February 16, 2018

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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