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Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 01/29/2010

College acceptance on display?

By Valerie Strauss

Now is the time that many high schools start making public--through posters, announcements, e-mails, etc.--where high school seniors have been accepted to college.

I wish they wouldn't.

Here’s why: Applying to a college is an individual, private affair. Kids often don’t tell their friends everywhere they are applying, for one reason or another. Asking for financial aid is even more secret.

Why should the school institutionalize a disclosure process that has the great potential to embarrass kids who don’t do well? (And in some schools, that is most of the kids.) The application process is grueling enough without having the results displayed for the world to see.

Some posters announcing admissions leave room for congratulations by other students, which, of course, can turn out to be taunts instead.

The schools don't need to make decisions public for kids to find out who got in where; word of mouth travels fast. And that's the way it should be. Shouldn’t it be left up to the student to tell whoever they want to know?

Do you think schools should stay out of the bragging about admissions business? Tell me why I’m wrong in a comment below or at


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By Valerie Strauss  | January 29, 2010; 11:18 AM ET
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions  
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I completely disagree.

As long the school has a student's permission to announce where they were admitted to college, I think it is acceptable to announce it.

Students that choose to take the hard classes, choose to study rather than go out to parties, and face daily ridicule for being a 'nerd' deserve to be celebrated. This is an important lesson for other students that feel regret for not making similar choices

Posted by: drmommy | January 29, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

As a former HS "nerd", I think it should be up to the student to publicize this information.High school social issues are difficult enough without adding this pressure. My daughter's private school published anonymized college acceptances, probably as a form of advertising. Thus prospective parents knew that students were admitted to Princeton,Harvard etc. but not who it was.

Posted by: bhrgarden1 | January 30, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

My high school didn't publish college acceptances (that I recall), but my senior year english teacher would allow students to announce to the class when they had received an acceptance letter. He also had a collection of "trophies" - action figures, small statues, a miniature watering can - we could have on our desk for the day. It added a bit of fun to the stress, and there was never any requirement that people make an announcement. It was also an AP class, and we all knew that everyone in the room would be going to college.

Posted by: kacd | January 30, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't think they need to post specific student admissions, but I do think it is useful for a list of colleges to which students have been admitted, in the past to be available. I'd like to see a college admissions over the past three years. I think it is helpful for students to see what their peers have chosen to do after high school. I think this list should also include vocational and service choices of those who don't go to college or do gap year types of things. The point of the exercise is to get the kids thinking about their options, not stressing about them. They need to realize its a big world out their and they have a lot of options, if they plan and prepare.

Posted by: Dpete1 | January 30, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Your worry is about the kids that don't get in and their feeling being hurt, but what about the feeling of pride that the students who are accepted to the school of their choice has. The students that don't get in, need to learn to deal with disappointment, it's part of life. You don't always get what you want and you better start learning to deal with it. The students that are successful deserve the recognition for a job well done. If there is no celebration of the successful - why strive to succeed. I would rather put my support behind the successful than the not as successful. On the other hand, too much emphasis is put on which college you go to. It should be more about finding a school where the student is a good fit and will succeed and grow as an individual.

Posted by: ucantbserious | January 30, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Those 18-20 are also adults. High school students must never be required to disclose which college or university they're are accepted to. College acceptances is a private affair with the young woman, young man, girl, or boy taking responsibility to who they will announce their acceptance to.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | January 30, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

When students and their schools collect admission letters as status symbols they distort the purpose of a university education. When adults place such importance on where students will go to college rather than on what students plan to do once they get to college there is a danger that acceptance becomes an end rather than means.

Posted by: susangraham | January 31, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

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