Is It Insensitive to Wear College Merchandise at School?

Many Bronx Science students like to buy college merchandise after getting accepted into college, but should they bring it to school?


Jon Tyson / Unsplash

Has wearing college merchandise to school gotten out of hand?

The college admissions process tends to be one of the more stressful periods of high school for students. At Bronx Science, where highly motivated students thrive in a prestigious, highly competitive academic environment, this process can be even more strenuous, as ambitious students seek entry into some of the top universities in the world. 

When college and university admissions decisions come back, either during mid-December for early applicants or early April for regular applicants, the entire senior class is thrown into a frenzy of anxiety and anticipation. After the long-awaited decisions are released, students are either filled with jubilation or full of disappointment. For accepted students, one of the most rewarding parts of being admitted is being able to buy apparel that represents their acceptance to college. Though it is common practice to purchase college merchandise, there is a divide amongst the Bronx Science student body on whether it is acceptable to wear it in school.

“If I got accepted into my dream college, I’d definitely show up to school dressed in some nice merchandise from that school on the next day,” said Iskander Khan ’22. 

After early admissions decisions came during a week in mid-December 2021, it was clear that many students shared Khan’s mindset. From hoodies to water bottles to laptop stickers, college merchandise could be spotted in almost every classroom, with schools such as Harvard, University of Chicago, and Cornell being represented. Not every student, however, was happy to see this. 

“If I get rejected from a college, the last thing that I would want to experience is walking into school the next day and having merchandise put in my face by people who did get in. Just leave it at home,” said one class of ‘22 student, who asked to remain anonymous. 

While there are certainly a wide spectrum of opinions on whether bringing merchandise to school is insensitive or not, some students believe there is a middle ground option that should be explored. Gabby Huck ‘22, who often sports a purple New York University shirt, says that bringing college merchandise to school is perfectly acceptable as long as it isn’t during the same week that college decisions are coming out.

“There are two highly sensitive time periods for college admissions during a student’s senior year. One is during December when early admission decisions come out, and the other is at the end of March and early April when all of the regular decision results come out. I would avoid bringing college merchandise during those two times, but other than that, I think it should be encouraged!” said Huck.

It seems that most of the Bronx Science student body agrees with Huck. In a poll that I conducted of Bronx Science seniors, only 15% of respondents said that they would not see an issue with bringing college merchandise to school the week that decisions were coming out, while 65% of respondents agreed with Huck that bringing merchandise to school outside of the “two highly sensitive time periods” is okay. 

Some students point out that Bronx Science actually has a designated day for wearing college shirts, called “college t-shirt day.”

Yilin Manfredi ’22, believes that college t-shirt day should be the only time that college merchandise is brought to school. “I think it’s insensitive to bring any sort of college merchandise to school during the school year. People should just wait until the designated college t-shirt day towards the end of the year.” 

“If I got accepted into my dream college, I’d definitely show up to school dressed in some nice merchandise from that school on the next day,” said Iskander Khan ’22.