By Freya Strasburg
First semester senior year is the most dreaded time in high school. According to NBC, the average teenager ranks a whole point higher on the stress scale than the average adult during this trying year. Furthermore, thirty percent of teens feel depressed from overwhelming stress. The culprit: college admissions.
College is a crucial element in young adult development, so why is the process to get there so psychologically stressful? The answer is unrealistic application requirements that colleges reinforce through faulty admission statistics.
Colleges are run as businesses. It is in their best interest to make their institutions seem as elite as possible in order to get endowments and tuition. They do this by inflating accepted students’ test scores on their websites and published media. Colleges believe that if test scores seem higher, their institution will seem more elite, which will increase grants to the school. According to the Los Angeles Times liberal arts college Claremont Mckenna College admitted to doing this for the past twelve years, saying, ¨The collective score averages often were hyped by about 10 to 20 points in sections of the SAT tests.¨
College admissions is currently a numbers game. Forbes lists one of the greatest factors in college admissions as test scores, and states that the 680-690 SAT student is a rare find at a top tier university. Even though we write an average of two supplements per college, we are still getting cut based on our test scores, and I find this to be completely ridiculous.
So how does this affect LC seniors? Well, we base our classes and testing around these phony scores, hoping to get admitted. We spend countless hours of our youth on applications trying to fit a standard that does not exist. If colleges aren’t spending the time in evaluating our applications and are cutting us based on numbers, then why should we put effort in trying to seem appealing to them? Furthermore, test scores cannot accurately reflect a person’s true personality and identity. All they reveal is how good someone is at taking a three hour multiple choice test.
This emphasis on testing not only gives an inaccurate reading of an applicant, it also puts lower income students at a disadvantage. A recent New York Times report showed that test scores and income are directly proportional, meaning that students coming from a high-income family have an advantage over low-income students.
The college admissions process doesn’t fit the society we live in. School is becoming more about critical thinking and learning, and less about grades, yet colleges still emphasize test scores more than anything else. Even though I will have to start doing that dreaded applications soon myself, I hope that the next generation of scholars will not be jumping through the ridiculous hoops that we current seniors have to.
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