The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

College norms not necessary



College norms discussions, which have taken place the past two years for senior classes, appear to be in limbo for the Class of 2014.

These discussions, in which seniors establish a set of norms that dictate what one can and cannot talk or ask about, have received mixed reviews and have been mandatory up to this year.

Now, it is up to us, the students, to decide whether or not such a discussion about these norms are necessary. Going through this process and instituting college norms for the Class of 2014 would not only be wasteful, but also harmful to the college applications process as a whole.

As seniors, we do not need concrete rules to tell us that we should always be conscious and sensitive about such a delicate issue. The college process is a student’s biggest high school challenge; it is filled with stress, competition, hopes, dreams and, more likely than not, crushed dreams. At a time when having a support system is more crucial than ever, it seems counterintuitive to tell us to not talk about the process.

Yes, all students have a right to confidentiality regarding their college applications and decisions, but all students also have an equally important right to be able to turn to friends and peers throughout the process for advice and support.

Creating a list of norms also undermines one of ASL’s five core values: Respect. We should not need to be told to be respectful, and there is no need to raise general awareness about respecting people’s privacy; a little discretion here and there and knowing when and when not to talk about certain things is all it takes to ensure that nobody is made to feel awkward, anxious, or hurt. If, and hopefully when, you do get accepted, be proud, not boastful. Put yourself in your fellow classmate’s shoes. All we need to do is exhibit basic respect for each other throughout the process, rather than set ground rules which would seemingly alienate us from our peers.

One of the most fundamental norms instituted two years ago, “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” is far too black and white for any subject, especially college norms; discourse only makes for a healthier process. We are a tight-knit senior class, and I fully expect our class camaraderie to only grow as we go through this process, balancing an effective mix of open dialogue and conscious respect.

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    Will ThompsonOct 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Exactly. It’s bizarre to me as an incoming senior that “college norms” even exist. I went to a big public high school with lots of stupid rules in place. To some extent the point of the oppressive rules was to keep a large unruly class in check, because to the school system we were statistics rather than rational, living people. ASL’s leadership, in my limited experience, has a much better connection with its students. But even at my old school they didn’t have anything like this. I actually laughed when I first heard the norms, that’s how ridiculous they are. From my first impression of the school, they go against everything ASL stands for. But as long as this is encouraged by the administration I might need to re-evaluate what my impression of ASL actually is.