Each year the very same process occurs beginning in January and ending in late June when passerby hover around the blue bulletin board that inhabits the lobby. The list of seniors and their accompanying college acceptances, paired with the amount of financial aid they received from each university are stapled on the wall so that students, staff, parents and virtually anyone walking into BSGE can see and comment. These displayed words and numbers are frequently met with either admiring acclaims, “Wow, she got into Stanford AND Columbia!” or critical remarks such as, “This person only got into CUNYs… This person didn’t receive any money from this school…”
Overall, it creates a very controversial environment, which was not intended when the idea of posting seniors’ acceptances on the wall, was born. The purpose of the college board was to glorify and congratulate Seniors on all the amazing schools they were gaining acceptance to, and to show how much money they received to attend these schools – an especially important factor in our current economy. It was a way to bring positive light to BSGE, and also a way for prospective students and parents to get an idea of what kind of schools BSGE’s seniors were gaining acceptance to.
But as most ideas with good intentions evolve, this board has received such negative connotations that many Seniors experience discomfort at the thought of having their name and college acceptances on the board.
Joleyne Herrera ’15 commented, “I don’t like it. I’m a private person so having my college acceptances and aid awarded plastered on the walls makes me feel uncomfortable. But I do like seeing where other people have gotten accepted to.”
Another Senior, Briana Spariosu ’15, shared the same opinion and explained, “I mean I guess it’s good in the sense that the board is able to show our accomplishments. I’m sure everyone is proud of the schools they’ve gotten into, and it’s great for sharing amongst the seniors.” She continued, “But I feel this is just a way for the underclassmen and teachers to judge us, which is really frustrating because they only see the end result and not all the steps it took to get into these schools and not into others.
Other Seniors disagree and view the college board in a more optimistic way.
“It’s obviously controversial but I think that in an environment as supportive as ours, it’s more of a way for all students to celebrate their achievements rather than a form of competition. However, if a student doesn’t want their name and schools published, that should certainly be an option,” said Joe Kates ’15, another BSGE Senior.
Nahin Ferdousi, who was one of the first names to go up on the board, also gave her opinion on the subject. “I’ve always dreamt of being on that board since 7th grade, for it reminds me that all of us are going places, something that you can’t really see in a lot of other high schools. Of course there’s competition, that’s natural, but we should all be proud of ourselves because we’re going to college.”
When looking at the board, viewers should be advised of a few things to remember before making a snarky remark. For one, each student has his or her own very personal list of prospective colleges that matched hopeful majors, preferred college settings and size, accessibility to home, and other factors. So just because a certain type of school is not on a senior’s list of acceptances, does not mean he or she was rejected, but perhaps means that that student never applied.
Secondly, the amount of aid awarded is commonly granted for merit, but is many times granted for financial need. Students with a greater need for monetary assistance are more likely to receive aid, so comparing students and trying to find who received the most money should not be a method of personal critique.
Lastly, many universities and schools on the board are easily recognized, whereas other schools may be more unknown. However, the prestige and fame of a school does not determine the value of the school, nor does it assess the level of intelligence of that student.
These are a few of many factors to think about when looking at the college bulletin board in the lobby. It is important to remember and appreciate the bravery of these students for displaying their college acceptances, but also their hard work and focus for being admitted to these wonderful schools.