College stigmas influence student choices

Creative Commons Photo Courtesy of John Phelan

CHS alumna Jackie Geller of Manalapan currently attends Boston College, a prestigious school many CHS students apply to each year.

Emily Toro

On the night of Apr. 30, high school seniors across the nation scramble to pick their home for the next four years. May 1 is National Decision Day, and for many students, the culmination of years of small decisions.

Guidance counselor Sandra Gidos said that many students often opt for name recognition over affordability.

“A lot of students want a certain name where they go to college and see their flag on the cafeteria wall,” Gidos said.

Many students, including senior Alyssa Rasp of Hazlet, said that the pressure surrounding where to apply and ultimately accept stems from not only oneself, but one’s parents and peers.

“Pressure comes from my parents and also Communications High School because people judge you if you go to a lesser school,” Rasp said.

Class of 2018 alumna Jacqueline Geller of Manalapan is a first year student at Boston College. Geller said that the pressure to succeed from the CHS environment influenced her to apply to Ivy League schools.

“Everyone is so academically motivated at CHS… with that being said, tons of people in my class, including me, applied to Ivy Leagues and other prestigious school,” Geller said.

Although many students are inclined to attend schools with name recognition, others regard college as more of a financial decision. Junior Julia Rocco of Marlboro said she feels there are false stigmas surrounding community colleges, despite their lower cost.   

“People think [community] colleges aren’t as good or feel that going to them shows you’re not as smart,” Rocco said. “People are starting to realize it is more of a financial decision and a prestigious school is not always as realistic.”

In fact, starting at a community college could reduce the total cost of a bachelor’s degree by more than $20,000, according to Forbes.

Class of 2018 alumna Grace Maloney is a first year student at Brookdale Community College. Maloney said that while stigmas existed during her college decision, they ultimately did not affect her.

“When I decided I was going to Brookdale it was a little bit of a let down at first,” Maloney said.“I knew I wanted to go away but I couldn’t justify putting myself in debt to get an education.”

Maloney said that despite any negative connotations surrounding community college, she was ultimately happy with her choice.

“No matter where you go, college is what you make of it and as long as you’re happy there, then it’s all good,” Maloney said.