College plans put too much pressure on students

A few weeks ago I was asked what college I was planning on attending. My reaction was immediate: I was hit with the realization that in four short years I was expected to go to college and then somehow be prepared to face the future and real world head-on.

Expectations and stress put on for students to get into and attend college begins startlingly young in today’s world and frankly, it’s frightening.

Competition to get into college is fiercer than ever and it is essential for students to create their best possible application, but robbing a child of their youth in order to do so crosses the line.

These days, parents are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure their child’s entry into college, such as enlisting tutors for their children at ages as young as five or six.

Americans spent $15 billion on academic tutors in 2012, and since then, the amount spent on tutors has only increased.

Parents are hiring academic tutors for their children so their child has an edge and leg up over others. Other parents then see this and feel pressured, believing that in order for their child not to be left in the dust, they too have to hire an academic tutor.

In today’s world, students now not only have to excel in academics to get into college, but also have to have a colorful array of extracurriculars under their belt.

I’ve come to realize that, currently, most of my decisions are revolving around college. This has come to be the case with many other students. When presented with an opportunity, they first think of how it will look on a college application before considering how they feel about it.

Students today feel they need to juggle schoolwork, numerous extracurriculars and a social life and excel at them all in order to feel validated.

A frequent result of all of these responsibilities is a vast majority of students experiencing varying levels of stress.

A team of researchers from the New York University College of Nursing conducted a quantitative and qualitative study at two private schools and found that about 50% of all of the students surveyed reported experiencing high levels of stress daily.

This intense stress often times leads to students burning out before they even reach college. According to U.S. News, as many as one in three first-year college students will not go back for their sophomore year.

Parents and students alike need to adjust their expectations to lessen their stress and avoid prematurely burning out.

by Cela Migan

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