Right now, I am sitting in my kitchen watching my sister struggle with picking her classes next year. She is sing-songing “I’m so angry!” with a look in her eyes that can only be descried as Christian Bale in American Psycho.
The art class she wanted to take needs teacher approval (and she has no idea she needed that), her back up has already been filled by current juniors. She is only left with classes she has no initial interest in.
She is now trying to figure out what to do without having an existential crisis.
Unlike me at this age, she already knows what she wants to do with her life. She wants to go to college with a double major of graphic design and marketing. Months ago she made a list of all of her classes for the next two years to go along with her intended majors. Now, with the classes she wants out of her reach, she feels like she won’t get into the colleges she wants to get into. She feels that because she is not in a sport, or an after school club (only dedicated to After School Matters for over a year now) she has to have a AP heavy schedule that reflects what she wants to do in college.
All this stress and anxiety she is creating for herself is making me re-evaluate the whole school system more than my own education experiences have. How crazy is it that my little sister, who is a thousand times smarter than I will ever be, is stressing herself over some high school classes. In high school you should be able to pick from a range of classes to be able to figure out what you want in life. To take take classes you though you would like, but end up hatting. To take classes you though you would hate, but end up loving. The beautiful thing about Lane is the sense that it is a mini college in terms of electives, and unlike college, it is basically free. At Lane you have the opportunity to take these types of classes.
As of April 1st, reports from a range of news sources have flooded the internet expounding on how much harder it is to get into college. Stanford, for example, had an acceptance rate of 5 percent. This is largely in part because kids are just sending more applications out.
According to a New York Times article “For most of the past six decades, overall enrollment boomed, while the number of seats at elite colleges and universities grew much more slowly, making them steadily more selective.” This is partly in due because of the web based application the Common App that has almost double in college choices in the past ten years. Because college applications have become easier through the Common App “Students applying to seven or more colleges made up just 9 percent of the applicant pool in 1990, but accounted for 29 percent in 2011, according to surveys by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.”
Because there are so many high achieving students applying to colleges, each prospective has become indistinguishable from one another. Is there even a difference in kids that get accepted and rejected?
In the end, this knowledge is the stem of my sister’s problem. In order to get into the college of her dreams, how will she have to contort herself to be able to please admissions counselors?