By Jesus Rojas Venzor
There is a pen held tightly against the fingertips and in-between the arc of a tired thumb, a hand prepared to write down ideas ready to write the colossal personal statement. Meanwhile, finals approach and students use that same pen for homework and studying. Luckily, a personal statement is just a 500 word description of who you are. Easy enough, right?
The personal statement is just one part of a stressful application process.
Students across the United States and the world, are all going through the same exact problems that deal with hopelessness when they are not accepted into their dream colleges. This is a problem that requires reform from college admission committees. The reality is that this problem has many facets and must be dealt with immediately to protect not only the opportunities of students, but also their health.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of students are part of a great amount of stress. A study by the University of New York, Columbia University and the National Development and Research Institutes revealed that high school students report a high level of stress with nearly half (49 percent) of all students feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis and 31 percent reported feeling somewhat stressed. The study specifies that grades, college preparation and homework are the main causes for such stress.
This needs to be taken into consideration since the road to achieving good grades for college and being prepared for standardized tests leaves students exhausted. Furthermore, these external factors could potentially lead to harming themselves in the process, both mentally and physically.
If students are putting this much work in high school and doing everything necessary to achieve the mighty A on each report card, then their work should at least be properly taken into consideration.
Furthermore, a large number of colleges advocate for holistic admissions, which in reality, is more of a problem than a promise of good. By saying that colleagues judge students holistically, as a whole and including personality and grades, means that if they are not accepted, they are not only rejected as students, but as people. As if the ones that were accepted are morally better or are worth more than the majority of students. Of course, this hinders students on psychological levels as well. Students can feel rejected as a person and thus make those difficult years of hard work suddenly feel worthless.
It is always good to have educational competition, but not to the point where it harms a student’s feeling of completion. This contributes to the unhealthy state of mind which adolescents can fall into because of the stressful situation that admission committees create.
Harvards Making Caring Common Project supports the idea of changing the tide into admissions that base student judgement not solely on the classroom, but outside and by encouraging the students involvement around the community. This could be the solution needed for the problem if more colleges support the idea. This not only allows students to enjoy other experiences they want to participate in, such as clubs and focus less on school. Overall, this would help students to feel less stressed and more prepared for the next step on their lives.
The admission process itself can become disastrous to students in a physical and emotional. level. Combine the stressful admissions process and potential psychological stress if students are not accepted to their dream schools, it evolves into a cocktail for disaster.There needs to be a reform and it hopefully comes soon, for the benefit of everyone.