This will (hopefully) be part of a series of posts ranting about the college admission process. Keep in mind that some of these criticisms are merely my opinions, and that I’m most likely being overly harsh. Also keep in mind that if people found a better method for the process, I’m sure there would have been quite a bit of discussion surrounding it.
This is a real thing. Which personally, shows that this system is quite broken.
At the end of my middle school years, I was suffering far worse procrastination problems that I am now. It was decided that our family decided to seek out some external counselor for advice on how I should proceed to not fail miserably. I was given the general spheal of “You should work on improving your grades!” and that “If his GPA isn’t [insert number here], he won’t be able to get into [insert brand name colleges here].” Generic statements which I’m sure everyone knows anyways. Fortunately, that’s the most that I had to deal with. My grades ended up being less than stellar anyways, but I still am going to somewhere I enjoy.
Fortunately. At that time, I thought I had figured out what activities I wanted to in high school. (I ended up doing other things.) Other kids who were not as sure of what they wished to do ended up with more hassles. People who did not have the extracurricular slots of academics, fine arts, and athletics filled up were being shown various alternatives that they could participate in to make their application 3 years later seem appealing. With only a few exceptions, I can think of nobody who knows exactly what they want to do in their lives that early on. Expecting people to pick and choose what they are going to spend the next 3 years of their lives on is absurd. I mentioned how I already had activities planned? At least half of what I imagined never came to fruition. More than half the things I do now I didn’t even know existed before.
It may seem like I am criticizing the parents by mentioning this obsession, which is not true at all. These actions are simply a necessity that has been established by the powers that be. In addition to selecting the right classes such that one has “a high GPA while maintaining a challenging courseload”, students must now also demonstrate that they have interests other than in academics. In an effort to demonstrate that students are “broad”, their schedules will be filled up with various activities that they may or may not enjoy. Even if they hate drawing flowers, and would much rather be playing water polo (random example), they have to keep on drawing flowers, since they’re already doing enough water polo, and colleges like “broad” people, right?
Enough ranting about extracurriculars though, that’s for another post.
The college pressure keeps on creeping its way into younger and younger kids as time goes on. When I was finishing up middle school, I was given the advice of having good grades in high school, because they matter now. This month, my parents received a phone call from someone starting junior high, asking what math courses they should take to make their child excel in the future. This trend will inevitably continue as a result of competition, as logically speaking, those who start early will have an early lead against those who don’t. And similar to power creep, the trend simply results in a system that cannot sustain itself.
/end rant part 1. Though I am still not completely satisfied with my writing above, I shall simply post this for now, as I’m due to post something on this blog. Also apologize for a couple grammar mistakes in some places.