Senior Decision Day: Administration’s Failure

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For many seniors, getting accepted into college is a huge deal. They may post on social media, and tell their friends the news, but announcing it in front of the entire school apparently is not something seniors want to do.

The May 1 College Decision Day assembly, scheduled to last two hours, ended after less than an hour when fewer thanA 50 seniors showed up to walk across the stage and announce the colleges they would attend. Hopefully planners are rethinking this event for next year and brainstorming other ways to recognize seniors’ next steps.

While the idea of the College Decision Day assembly was intended in part as a way for seniors to find other people going to the same college as them, it can often feel dispiriting for people thinking of going to community colleges, or taking time off from school. The stigma around community college, especially in a community like Ann Arbor, is not something seniors would like to deal with in front of their peers. For many, community college is a gateway to other, larger universities. It may also help students boost their grades, and show universities that they are able to handle adulthood, as well as keeping up with a course. But all of that is lost when one’s name is called following such schools as Harvard and the University of Michigan.

College Decision Day also reinforces the idea that Ann Arbor students must go to U-M, since so many seniors end up going there. This causes many students to stress more than they should over SAT scores, and their GPAs, especially during junior year. The stress students experience due to the high expectations of needing to get into U-M, which has an ever decreasing acceptance rate, causes a lot of disappointment among students. 

Hosting a College Decision Day assembly in which only seniors who chose to go, or who signed up to go, would be much more convenient. That way, students wouldn’t miss classes, and it would give administrators a much better idea of how many people to expect, and how much time is required for the seniors to announce their decisions. The whole school does not need to hear in person where seniors are going. Putting it bluntly, most underclassmen only know 5-10 seniors at most, and will either leave halfway through the assembly, or just not show up to school.

Overall, a College Decision Day is a driver for anxiety, and stress for all classes, whether it’s worrying about judgement from peers or stressing about grades and scores more than is needed. For many students it feels invasive, that a private, momentous decision is thrown out for all to see and judge. College decisions are made for a lot of reasons beyond prestige and bragging rights, reasons that cannot be explained from the auditorium stage. The Administration should consider other alternatives to this idea. Though well intentioned, it is not having the impact at Pioneer that merits its continuation.