Westborough’s Elitist College Standards Need to Change

Ben Grossman '22, Executive Producer

Now that the November 1, College CommonApp deadline has passed, seniors are anxiously awaiting to hear back on whether or not they will be admitted into their dream schools. As students have begun to be accepted into schools, they are bombarded with congratulations and questions about whether or not a student will attend said school. However, for all of the praise that a student receives, there will also be people questioning their admissions: “Isn’t their acceptance rate 90%?”, “Don’t they accept everyone”?, and quite possibly the worst of them all “Oh, that’s just a state school.” 

The Westborough community places a strong emphasis on education as over 97% of students graduate WHS and more than 90% go on to college each year. On one hand this is great news for the success of WHS graduates.  However, on the other hand,  Westborough also tends to have a very elitist ideology when it comes to college admissions. Westborough has a belief that everyone is going to big name colleges and if you can’t keep up with “the Jones’” then you’re just dumb. And yet, this is not always the case as lots of students choose colleges based on more than just the name brand.  Major, location, and cost are three of the biggest factors in determining a college. 

In Westborough, many people grow up in wealthy households, so they never have to worry about paying for college, and thus don’t think of those with less financial security. Although Westborough is an affluent town, there are still people who struggle to survive here. Many seniors each year are the first in their family to graduate high school and even more are the first in their family to go on to attend college. 

In many cases, paying for college is a task given to students. If a student knows they want to attend college in Boston and live in the city, they are given two main options: either attend a state school or go to a more expensive private school with a big name. If the student goes to a state school such as University of Massachusetts Boston (Umass Boston), they will be paying $14,677 in tuition per year to attend college and work towards their degree. If a student determines that they want a big name school they could attend Boston University (BU), which costs $58,560 for tuition. This means a student at Umass Boston could pay for almost all of their tuition over four years for the same amount a BU student’s tuition is for one year. With the drastic difference in cost, it makes more sense for a student to attend Umass Boston over Boston University. The problem is, Westborough has a stigma about local state schools as many students believe that state schools are for “dumb” kids who don’t really have a plan in life. This is blatantly not true as many students cannot afford to pay tuition to name-brand private schools. The reality is that state schools and community colleges provide excellent education opportunities as well.

English teacher Kathy Stoker has a very positive outlook on state schools,“Throughout my years teaching, I have heard a lot of students talking about ‘good’ colleges.  I am quick to reply with: ‘every college is a good college.’ It is still a privilege in the United States to attend college.  I also hear students sometimes criticize state schools.  I went to UNH, which is a state school.  A lot of people I know attended state schools.  Again, ‘every college is a good college.’ Finally, I would like to add, if a student chooses not to go to college then that is a fine option too.”

After college, most graduates’ goals are to find a job in a field related to their major. A mass majority of hiring companies care that you have a degree, but don’t particularly care which university credited the potential employer with the degree. In a March 13, 2019 NBC article, former President Barack Obama had hundreds of people working for him, “I have no idea where most of the people who worked for me went to college. I just know: Did they get stuff done or did they not?” 

The elitist attitude that Westborough has toward colleges can have such a negative effect on students. They can often feel inferior to their peers if they aren’t attending a “prestigious” university. With the pressures that students feel about qualifying for said prestigious schools, some students even begin to suffer from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.  

There is nothing wrong with going to a local state school or community college, and the Westborough community needs to acknowledge and support that belief. 


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