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The Problem with College Admissions: An Op-Ed

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This is a momentous time in many high schoolrers]\\ lives. Senior Prom, College admissions, and leaving a schooling system that some of us have been in for close to 13 years. Graduating High School is often a time in which we start on a path that carries us through our life.

There are a few paths we can choose, and there can sometime be a looming pressure to decide on just one pathway. In my opinion, at age 18, we should not be told to pick a “life path” either university, community college, or join the workforce. We are largely unprepared to make such decisions, and are put in a scenario where we don’t think, we just do. This affects 100,000 of students every year and is largely a decision I feel receives less thought than it requires

Personally, I am bombarded with questions on the daily: “What are you planning?”, “Have you picked a school yet?”, “Tell me about A, B, C and how you are making your decision?”. In addition to every adult I see talking to me about nothing else, this intense line of questioning can create psychological tension over time. I am getting financial aid awards and decision letters up until yesterday, but my coaches, family, and teachers make it seem like I should’ve decided months ago.

Even if I had months more to decide – or even longer – I would still unprepared. Yesterday I had a near existential crisis trying to figure out where to go to lunch, (Taco Inn Vs Whole Foods. In retrospect, should’ve been an easy decision), and I am expected to pick a path that I may follow until I literally die?

I’m not legally allowed to buy a house, take out a loan, drink alcohol, or run for President because my “frontal cortex isn’t fully developed yet”, and yet I have to decide whether or not I want to be a doctor, electrician, or farmhand, often times for the rest of my life.

We live in a society that is purely goal oriented. We live in a society where working in a field for 50 years is celebrated. We live in a society that forces children to make a decision, on something we know almost nothing about.

So what’s my point? I firmly believe it is entirely unfair from an educational, developmental, and societal perspective to ask kids to make a decision this early in our lives.

But we don’t have to implement a huge overhaul on our society, in order to fix this problem. Simple steps like changing the general rhetoric we use to discuss college, and teaching kids early in High School to navigate the complicated and daunting web of College admissions, could go farther than we think. Even classes like, Take Charge, could go further into preparing us for applying to College, applying to the FAFSA, and figuring out the ever complicated Common Application.

With all this being said, I recognize my own hypocrisy. I have already decided what I want to do with my life and picture myself 10 or 20 years down the road. I have fallen victim to this binary thought process. Which leads me to a dead end. I can’t suggest solutions because I am only further perpetuating the issue. Playing into the system. Feeding into the Bourgeois system of life, until I realize I have become the thing that I oppose the most…

So go ahead, ask me “what i’m going to do next year”. I’ll be sure to give you a long winded response.

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The Problem with College Admissions: An Op-Ed