Your College Application Should Not Be Your Leading Factor


Entering high school, students are encouraged to overload themselves with new class opportunities, clubs to join, sports to participate in, to aspire to exceed expectations curricularly and extracurricularly, all in order to complete one’s junior year with the most impressive college application they can put together. Whether attempting to get into Princeton or Grand Rapids Community College, if any student’s leading factor in high school is how each activity they participate in looks on a college app, they are far and a long way behind in life.

However, this problem may not be a result of their own failures as students, but a problem with the school system as a whole. Staff and school advisors press their students to become involved in an excessive amount of activities not thinking of how it will affect them mentally. Every student worries whether or not their experiences, the sum of their whole lives, are valuable enough to win them a place in college. While teachers have the best of intentions and their suggestions for involvement may be attainable on their own, but combined with every other suggestion from different teachers and staff members, it’s impossible to achieve all of it. Students do not know that every suggestion they receive is not attainable, they only see that they did not do enough when they simply tried their best. The “should’ve, could’ve, would’ves” they analyze every time a relative asks about their college plans could take a toll on anyone’s self esteem, forget the shaky, progressing mentality of a high schooler.

Students passing out on SAT days, staying up until 4 a.m. to finish the homework they could not do at their club or soccer practice, not eating other than the stress-induced put-anything-in-your-mouth-you-can-eat-in-five-minutes-while-one-hand-holds-the-pencil eating, having breakdowns, falling asleep in class, and crying over test scores is all a result of the responsibility and anxiety schools place on their students shoulders to check every little box and fill every single line on their college applications with a multitude of impressive “look-at-me” activities.

Newsflash: every student in this building can get into college. Perhaps not the most prestigious of universities unless following the mentality to exhaustion, but a college, nonetheless. Tuition is tuition, a pupil is a pupil, as long as an applicant works hard and loves what they do, they will fit into any college. Want to join the debate team? Go right ahead. Tennis sound intriguing? Try out for the team. Love chemistry? Take that AP class. But if something does not invoke an interest in the slightest, doing it for the application is ridiculous. Over involvement in activities that aren’t enjoyable because a counselor said it would make or break a college acceptance is not the answer.

Doing the things that are interesting enough to become involved in and doing them with enthusiasm is what will look good on a college application.