Our View: The student matters more than the school

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How many times in your life have you been told that you’re lucky to live in this school district and attend this school? Students in other areas ask for special permission to come here and teachers apply for positions from all over the state. We go to a good school with a multitude of opportunities and many possibilities for success. In this sense, we are lucky.

We can’t fall back on that, though. Yes, this school has provided us with a decent education and fostered both our academic and personal growth. But if we don’t grow up enough to be prepared to leave the safety of these four walls, we won’t get anywhere in life.

It turns out that colleges do not take the prospective student’s high school into consideration when deciding whether or not to admit them.

“It’s not the high school that matters; it’s the student, their application, GPA, SAT, essay, social media presence, and resume that matters,” a State Ivy League Interviewer said. “You are not penalized for the [high] school you go to, nor rewarded.”

Our Blue Ribbon status does give us a slight nudge ahead of other applicants, according to the interviewer, but rivaling school Dulaney has also been named a Blue Ribbon School and their building is quite literally falling apart.

Applying to colleges as a Hereford student is not going to give you any brownie points, no matter how many parents adopt an elitist attitude about this school. Quite frankly, it’s a standard public school. Out-of-state colleges likely have never even heard of it.

The perk of attending this school, though, is the type of student that it creates. A well-rounded, driven student who is involved in extracurriculars and who volunteers to help others. A student who voluntarily signs up for 12 AP courses and somehow manages to thrive despite five to eight hours of homework a night, not including the hours spent on sports and work.

“It’s not the school that is judged as much as the student’s ability and willingness to take advantage of what the high school has to offer,” the interviewer said. “If a student is active in clubs at school, has a job, and has over 1,000 service hours, [it’s a] huge plus.”

This is the type of student that colleges look for. They may not look twice at which school you attended, but the rigor of your courses, extracurriculars, service—these are essential.

At Hereford, we have a plethora of courses, clubs, athletics, programs, and chances to experiment and flourish.

“This year, I’m taking seven AP credits [and] I am on the school’s badminton and tennis team,” Zoe Hsieh (‘21) said. “Outside of school, I play tennis and violin, I’m on an International Genetically Engineered Machine (IGEM) team, I volunteer for ACEing Autism, and I have also had an internship at Johns Hopkins in the biomedical engineering field.”

Our school, in name alone, may not give us an edge during the application process, but it does provide us the opportunity to achieve our maximum potential as students and as human beings. The teachers support us and encourage us, and eventually, we get to where we need to be when it’s time to leave this building and move onto bigger and better things. We’ll always remember what Hereford did for us, but at the end of the day, we’re the ones who determine our success, not the school.