Class of ’22 College Announcement Instagram Page Promotes Comparison

Class of ’22 Instagram page fosters unhealthy competition, comparison, adds to toxic college prep culture

Bernadette Whitely, Features Section Editor

Created earlier this year, the @blakeclass22 Instagram page features members of the class of 2022 and their post-high school plans. Both the classes of 2020 and 2021 had similar accounts, mainly resulting from COVID-19 restrictions as it was harder to stay connected and learn about peers’ future plans. Although started with good intentions, these college announcement Instagram accounts can promote a toxic culture in which unhealthy competition thrives. Often, the competitive nature of both the accounts and our broader school community, results in the focus of the page becoming about attending a renowned, prestigious school, rather than celebrating a student’s acceptance into a college that is a best fit for them. Furthemore, these pages make it frighteningly easy to compare yourself to fellow peers. Although being involved with the account is completely optional, many students could feel pressured to share their college plans even if they don’t want to do so. 

Along with their hard work, students’ next steps deserve to be celebrated, as attending college is a major milestone for many. However, commemorating this milestone through the format of an Instagram page often doesn’t foster celebration, but rather ends up amplifying the toxic college culture that already exists in our community. Rather, we should highlight the hard work and dedication of our peers rather than obsessing over the status and prestige of the college they are attending. 

As someone who is in the middle of the rather stressful and overwhelming college process, many of my fellow senior classmates refrain from sharing the names of colleges they are applying to. This can partly be attributed to the consuming culture of competition as well as varying levels of anxiety surrounding the unknown result and decision. For example, if one person applied to a college and got rejected while their peer got accepted into that same college, this can create tension, embarrassment, comparison, and a loss of self-esteem and confidence. 

Although it is incredibly difficult to change broader community attitudes about the college process, it can be helpful to monitor the ways we all contribute to our school’s competitive environment surrounding college admissions. Rather than obsessing over the prestige of a classmate’s college decision, we should congratulate them without feeling the need to compare our achievements to one another. Getting accepted to college is something that should be celebrated, not turned into a toxic competition. In the end, every person has different goals, circumstances, and criteria for their college process, making it essentially useless to compare college decisions and acceptances to one another.