The Highlander

What makes a dream school?

San+Jose+State+University%2C+photo+courtesy+of+Pixabay+Creative+Commons
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What makes a dream school?

San Jose State University, photo courtesy of Pixabay Creative Commons

San Jose State University, photo courtesy of Pixabay Creative Commons

San Jose State University, photo courtesy of Pixabay Creative Commons

San Jose State University, photo courtesy of Pixabay Creative Commons

Josh Leong, Reporter

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There’s never been a shortage of dreams. But as McLean seniors receive their admission decisions from across the country, some lucky individuals get the opportunity to make them realities. With all the talk surrounding college admissions and future plans, the advent of “dream schools” have, for better or for worse, defined student’s aspirations.

Dream schools tend to consist of several factors.

“A dream school is a school in the right climate, in terms of social makeup and weather. It also needs to have the right programs and be in the right city,” senior Carson Flickinger said.

For some, a desired major can be all that constitutes a dream school. With every major publication from the Wall Street Journal to USNews eagerly distributing rankings of universities, it can be incredibly easy to be consumed by the #1 Business School in America, or the #1 Public School in the United States. But should rankings and academic statistics define a dream?

According to senior Sidnea Strelser, it shouldn’t.

“I think having a dream school is when you have your heart set on one school for a long time,” Strelser said. The imagination, the visualization of living in a perfect environment with ideal friends in an incredible city may remain just that: a dream. But the emotional investment stems from how long students dwell on it.

“It wasn’t a huge deal when I got rejected from my reach school because I hadn’t been dreaming of it forever. It was more of a “hey it would be nice to go there” type of thing.”

One of the most intriguing aspects of the dream school is that not everyone has one. With a growing number of students applying undeclared, the necessity to go to a major-specific strengthened school dwindles in significance. Even students who have lived in McLean their entire life struggle with imagining what life could be like anywhere else.

“Some people have [dream schools], some don’t. I know kids that had wanted to go to one school ever since they were kids and getting in meant a lot to them. For me, I didn’t have that, so I was a lot less disappointed in regards to the entire college process,” Strelser said. These students don’t lack ambition or clarity with their desires – they are simply open to wherever their path leads them.

It should be noted that students should never be expected to understand their dreams completely yet. College becomes an environment for individuals to discover their passions and ambitions. So while being accepted or denied to a dream school can either validate or shake an individual’s aspirations, dream schools remain exactly what they are: dreams. They motivate or hold you back as much as you let them.

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