The purpose of this blog has shifted with my mission more than once. Originally, it was a database to gather and compile educators’ opinions on the pros and cons of social media usage in the classroom. Then I became restless with the formal, objective approach and added my own flair and opinion–but I shied away from being too personal. However, the web address for this blog is my name in its entirety, so I believe it is only fair that I now delve into my life as a high school senior. My mission is tailored toward students and my title as “high school student,” after all, is my greatest credibility. Therefore, in this blog, I will provide insight into my experience applying to colleges and taking the dreaded SAT and ACT.
At least once during each interview I am asked, “So where do you think you are headed next? Are you going to college?” And the obvious answer is “Yes.” It is obvious not only because I am an intelligent student with big goals to achieve, but because it is the social norm. Though some will disagree, college is still needed (for a majority of the population) to “be something.” Though there are people who can successfully maneuver the 21st century workforce, usually by starting their own business, many others do not have that option for two reasons: 1. They have been instilled with fear of the consequences of social leprosy and doom they will face by skipping a college degree and 2. They are simply afraid to try to prove that stigma wrong.
Now, I will admit, I have been too afraid before to answer anything other than “Yes.” But now, my eyes are opened to alternatives. Yes, I probably will still go to college and get a degree, as I am fearful of the consequences; however, I do understand now that choosing to not attend college is as smart as attending, depending on the person and their aspirations for their life. I plan on exemplifying my reasons why more in a later blog post, but for now, watch Suli Breaks’ “Why I Hate School But Love Education” on Youtube. I will be discussing this video and how it changed my outlook on college and the education system and will post it on Twitter as soon as I muster the courage to write it.
Moreover, Breaks’ point in the video is “Education is the Key.” Politicians say it. Educators say it. Your parents say it. And they may truly believe it. But as students today know, education is not the only key. Growing up in the 2000s, we know that possibilities are endless for those without a college degree, both positive and negative. We know that not every possibility is greeted with endless amounts of money, but that every person pursuing their passion is happy they did.
Despite this, most high school seniors are still preoccupied with confirming their admission to college and deciding what to major in. This next section is for my fellow seniors, as well as underclassmen who are headed in the same direction.
Now, as I did promise I will detail my experience applying to college, I will first state that I have chosen my college and have been accepted into their rigorous School of Business. Before enrolling in Innovations, I was set on studying psychology and Spanish as a second language; however, this has since changed and I am extremely excited to begin my career as an entrepreneur!
Being a student with a GPA over 4.0 (my school has weighted classes), one would assume applying to college and getting into the school of one’s dreams would be easy as pie. I sure did! But by November of 2013, I realized it was not as easy of a feat as I had first led myself to believe. Unfortunately, I wasn’t even picked for the scholarships I pined over, writing a descriptive (and very personal) essay that took two months to perfect. If that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, I wasn’t even originally accepted into the Honors College due to my SAT score. This is not because I am a “bad test-taker.” I simply compensate for my math comprehension (or there lack of) with my writing skills, gaining a 700 on the SAT in writing that no college I applied to even glanced at. Yes, that’s right. They didn’t even bother to look at the score.
I was annoyed to say the least. “Why is it even on the stupid test then?” I once cried out in rage. “English teachers have been preaching since the beginning of time that we will always use our writing skills–especially in college–and yet colleges don’t even care to see how creative and accomplished you are in that section?”
I may never understand college admissions, though I do know I will never waste my time on another SAT again. After paying for lessons and taking the SAT another time, I know that trying the ACT was the best way for me to go. On my first go at the ACT, and after hard work and a lot of studying, I finally met the requirements for the Honors College and now have a scholarship for my tuition to be paid in full. I finally did it! I am college bound!
Many of my peers are still deciding where to go to school and this frustration is shared throughout the nation. High school seniors understand the definition of stress and frustration when filling out college and scholarship applications and trying to master required standardized tests before the deadline. They know the feeling of inadequacy when receiving a denial letter or when they don’t meet the academic requirements for a specific scholarship. Even a student with a high GPA and enough service hours to share with her entire second period couldn’t meet every expectation she set for herself. But I made it close enough to my goal. Reflecting on the situation now, I am still filled with bitterness. But perhaps that scholarship went to someone else who needed it more than me. And that I can’t be upset by.
I encourage educators to share this blog post with their students. Even if you don’t have a class of seniors–who wouldn’t benefit much from this anyways because they’re living this harrowing experience right now–many underclassmen are being told horror stories of college admissions and need to know it is all okay. Some colleges don’t pick you because of your race. Or because you are majoring in a field they don’t value as much as others (such as me when I wanted to study psychology). It isn’t personal. They have quotas to meet and don’t always look at a student for who one is as an individual, but what one can provide for the school. As I’ve learned to comfort myself over the last few months, “It’s not you, it’s them.”