Opinión/ Opinion

Opinion: The superficial race for college applications stresses out students

BY GAEL PEREZ

Fall has begun. The sweaters and jackets to combat the cold have since been brought out of the closet, pumpkins and everything related have been resurrected but, most importantly to high school seniors, college applications have opened. 

It all starts the minute students step foot into their first year of high school. They are immediately told about college and the importance of attending. The presentation is almost always the same: emphasize hard work, achieve high standardized test scores and strive to be well-rounded overall. With these principles in mind and the daunting idea of college being an innately prodigious aspect of everyday life, most students seek to fulfill these principles that have been so heavily ingrained into their minds.

However, these ideal qualities have been exaggerated and distorted for the worse. With the introduction of school ranking in high schools based on GPA, students overload themselves with rigorous classes in hopes of achieving the status of rank one. Due to the intense nature of the classes, students’ lives are plagued by homework and tests.

Students quickly learn it is not all about a high GPA, and attempt to appear extremely well-rounded as well. They will monopolize officer positions, create countless clubs and do everything possible to portray themselves as the involved students that colleges look for. The question becomes whether students actually enjoy the club that they are a part of, or are they simply doing it to satisfy colleges’ expectations. There is no simple answer to the question. Some students are ecstatic to be involved within their clubs, and others may simply portray themselves in that way. However, one big idea arises out of all the club madness: students should do what they enjoy, not what colleges look for. 

Students should not have to put the workload of a gargantuan amount of officer positions on themselves just to impress colleges. They should pursue what they truly enjoy doing, even if it is not enough for the standards of colleges.

In spite of the difficulties, students have every right to continue doing everything possible to impress colleges. However, it may lead to unforeseen side effects that may not hit students until the end of their high school career. Students who overload themselves often forget a major part of their high school experience: to enjoy it. The countless hours spent studying and cramming in every bit of information replaces the time that students can use to do activities they actually enjoy. 

Of course, this is not entirely the students’ fault; perhaps it is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed. The pressure of college and manufactured success is placed on students by parents, society and, in some cases, even the students themselves. It is ingrained into the students’ minds that they will ultimately fail if they do not adhere to these principles. It is important to work hard and challenge oneself, but what is the limit? Students feel immense amounts of pressure that no teenager should feel at a time when they should be pursuing their interests and maintaining their mental health. 

In a survey done by WebMD in regard to what parents look for when making the decision for college for their children, mental health services was ranked ninth. This is a sign that the students’ health must have a greater emphasis than a reputation or a high test score.

Though it is the future that many students and parents are thinking about, a student’s mental health and desires should be taken into account, as well. The future does not mean anything if one is unhappy. Students are more than numbers and a list of activities and accomplishments.

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://laplaza.press/2019/11/18/la-carrera-superficial-para-aplicaciones-del-colegio-estresa-los-estudiantes/

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