Why does the Destinations issue matter to students?

Destinations issue celebrates seniors and enlightens underclassmen

The second-to-last annual issue of the Newspaper is almost always the Destinations issue, which shows students where most of the senior class is off to after graduation. This information is collected from a self-reported survey that seniors opt to take through Canvas.

One of the most popular topics leading up to the Destinations issue is the infamous question second semester seniors deal with on a daily basis: Where are you going to college?

Senior Kendal Pridgeon said, “The Destinations issue is a good way to inform students about where their classmates are spending the next four years. It is also interesting to see which schools are most popular.”

However, not every senior takes the survey.

“The results are probably skewed towards those who are able to attend one of their top choices. So for some seniors, this could evoke some envy from those who didn’t get into their top choice,” said senior John Crawford.

Many students have expressed that the weight of social pressure surrounding schools can be hurtful.

Pridgeon conceded, “The issue may open room for judgments about where people are going or embarrassment for people who are not happy with where they are going.”

“But the Destinations survey is optional so people who don’t want to share don’t have to and the goal of Destinations isn’t to make room for judgment,” she argued.

Another flaw of the Destinations issue is that students are not always honest when answering the survey. Post High School Counseling Department chair James Conroy estimated that there are about three or four students who lie about where they’re going to school each year.

“That’s something that bothers me, when someone says they’re going to a certain place when I know they haven’t even applied there. It’s never a less prestigious school,” said Conroy.

The Destinations issue also enables underclassmen to have a sneak peek of the college process that their friends and classmates experienced.

Junior Mya Kauffman said, “In addition to being a way for seniors to share where they’re going to college, it’s a good source of information for freshman, sophomores, and juniors to see what colleges are popular.”

Crawford said, “For those students, seeing people they know getting into some of the best colleges in the country would make aiming for a top school seem more achievable.”

Conroy agreed that the issue gives underclassmen a glimpse of the wide variety of colleges available to students.

“I hope the mature ones can look at it and say ‘All these kids are going to all these places’ and that they’ll be open to a wider range of colleges than only 10 schools that are very competitive,” he said.

Destinations is not limited to college, as students’ future plans do not all center around going to a college or university.

While this issue aims to expand students’ expectations and notions, they tend to focus on where their peers are going to college.   

Senior Frances Lafontant said, “I think it’s problematic to focus so much energy on where students are going to school. It makes students feel badly if they are not going to a great school, attending college, or have not made a final decision.”

The focus on college can have detrimental effects on the school’s environment.

English teacher Tony Gudwien said, “Reading the issue makes me feel bad about myself because I feel like I am reducing students to their future school’s reputation.”

“The issue is that it creates a more stressful, high pressure environment. It places too much pressure on where we are going to school when, in reality, what matters is how we act everyday,” said Lafontant.

The issue’s focus on college can make other post-high school endeavors feel ignored and unappreciated.

Sophomore adviser and Engineering teacher Nathan Silvers said, “It’s a shame that students who read the issue will spend a lot of their time focusing on the colleges their peers are going to. I’m excited to see the students who choose the path less taken, like the army.”

According to Illinois Report Card, 12% of students who graduate from New Trier do not enroll in a two-to-four-year college 16 months after graduating.

Despite these statistics, the idea of Destinations being college-focused remains prevalent.

“We need to create more conversations about the socioeconomic inequality that New Trier represents and be more active in spreading awareness,” said Lafontant. “Not everyone in this school can afford to go to college or take a gap year.”

The Destinations issue provokes deeper conversations within the student body and the school’s environment.

Ultimately, for seniors specifically, the Destinations issue can offer closure to their endeavors at New Trier and with their fellow classmates.

Pridgeon said, “This edition is not a necessity, but it is a good way to celebrate what all of the seniors are doing in their next four years and does more good than harm. It is a way to celebrate and inform others about where the seniors are going.”