College: Competition vs. Collaboration


Vanderbilt University

Are you more geared towards a competitive or a collaborative environment?

Mabel Ra, Editor

Private vs. Public. Urban vs. Suburban. Competitive vs. Collaborative. With college applications nearly over and college acceptance/rejection letters beginning to arrive, college-bound seniors have lots of factors to consider before finalizing their university commitments. Before deciding a choice in college, one aspect to note is whether or not you work better in competitive or collaborative environments.


When most people think of colleges, the first few names are the most prestigious and commonly known places, including, but not limited to, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia, Harvard. The similarity that these colleges share is in their competitive nature. This competitiveness is not a mere low and exclusive acceptance rate; rather, it extends into the college years as each class maintains a competitive and academic-oriented streak. So, although you may have been an extremely qualified applicant, the stress does not end with the college’s acceptance; it will only continue to grow as your academic years progress. While this competitive nature does seem to scare off many people, others have character traits that suit them well in competitive environments. For instance, Jenna Weitzman (12) believes that “competition motivates me to try and work harder. Without it, I either procrastinate or don’t try as much as I should have.”


On the other end of the spectrum are collaborative colleges. If you work best in environments where you learn from working with and helping others, a collaborative college may be a better fit for you. Example of colleges where collaboration is regarded more highly than competition includes Yale, University of Southern California, and MIT. Due to the fact that collaborative colleges encourage synergetic environments of students working together, each person can use his/her individual strengths and learn from one another. In this way, everyone is better off both in terms of understanding the material and in receiving more competent grades. Essentially, collaborate colleges demand less stress since you work alongside a group of others to aid and guide you, since students don’t have the fear of scrambling for the highest test score. However, the negative aspect is that with collaboration, there is a loss of efficiency and independence.


Although college is typically the place where you learn most about yourself, it is still important to take your high school academic experiences into account to select a college that fits what has been working for you for the past few years. The next chapter of your life is soon to commence, so make the best decisions today for a brighter tomorrow!