Here’s why The Midway won’t publish the college list this year


With the college admissions scandal breaking in March, it’s clear that there are unreasonably high levels of student and parent anxiety surrounding college admissions. At U-High, this manifests as an environment that is crushingly competitive and stress-inducing, as seen by 94% of students reporting schoolwork as a top source of stress in the 2017-18 Health and Wellness survey.

To limit the Midway’s contribution to this culture, we will not publish the college attendance list this June.

The list too often becomes a type of scorecard for each the graduating class. It’s all too easy to count the number of students going to Columbia, Stanford or Yale, and to judge an entire grade on their intelligence, capability and worth, relative to classes of years past. The list also facilitates comparisons of students to one another on the basis of college name alone.

By distilling each student to a name and a school, the list also has the tendency to remove all of the nuances of each student’s personal journey. While part of the purpose of high school is to prepare for college, students go through significant growth and accomplishments that are unrelated to college and the college process.

The name of the college a student is going to attend shouldn’t be seen as the definitive assessment of the contributions and successes of a student’s four years of high school, but the culture around college at Lab means that it often does, and the list gives easy access to information that perpetuates it.

Last year, 10% of the Class of 2018 did not provide permission to the Midway to print their college plans. The fact that a not insignificant portion of the Senior Class was unwilling to participate indicates that many students feel uncomfortable publicly declaring their college attendance. In a similar vein, we want to avoid putting pressure on students to reveal their future plans to avoid the assumptions and speculation associated with the “did not reply” category.

Many people have pushed themselves to their limits to get into the schools they will attend next year, and their hard work is admirable. But recognizing that work through the format of the Midway’s college list is an unnecessary contribution to an environment that already too often prioritizes college admissions over all else.