“Oh, you’re only taking TWO AP courses?!”
“Yeah, colleges like [insert extracurricular here] and [insert characteristic here]!”
“Uh oh, Collegeboard is not going to like that!”
These are only several of the many things I’ve heard students (my friends) say to each other. The high school I am attending is a private institution, and competition is extremely fierce. Every student works to make himself/herself stand out. To many of my friends, it is as if college is the final stage in life; get into a good college, and your life will unfold all by itself.
And here I see what I believe is a big problem: students force themselves, put themselves through rigorous, unnecessary studies and extracurriculars, just so they will stand out to college admission officers.
They work towards becoming the super-student, who takes 13 AP courses, is President of eight different clubs, volunteers at 21 different hospitals every week, goes on every single trip related to poverty, racism, or some contemporary world issue, etc. This, however, can actually go against you and your chances of admission. In fact, if you’ve never shown an interest for poverty in Africa, yet you go on trips to Sri Lanka to build houses, it looks pretty unconvincing (to the almighty and revered college admission officers).
So what’s so wrong about being a super-student?
If you spread yourself out too thin, you will not have enough passion left to focus on the things that you truly love, and enjoy doing. There is so much more to life than college, so don’t torture yourself during high school. Rather than be average at 20 things, why not be great at two or three?
Imagine yourself as a super-student. Say that you are admitted into (insert prestige school here). You can now take off that deceitful coat that you have worn throughout your high school. No longer do you have to pretend you care for the impoverished children in Africa; no longer do you have to pretend you enjoy working in a hospital around old people. Now you may end your double life and resume your normal life as the person who you truly were (if you even remember).
What I’m saying is, do what you really enjoy. Don’t do something just for the sake of putting it on your resume. Don’t put yourself through the physical and mental torture required to take six APs, all the while playing in four varsity sports and managing five different clubs. Because, unless you really plan on pursuing a career involving some horrendous amalgamation of physics, economics, psychology, calculus, U.S. history, etc., let your high school experience be a more pleasurable one!
There’s always transferring colleges should you not get into the one you aimed for. Let’s not forget about Grad School, which is actually so much more important than your undergrad.
And of course, I am quite the unreliable author. I’m not the Harvard/Yale/Princeton-bound student. In fact, I write this speech in complete guilt, for I have enrolled in AP Biology this year, though I know I will NEVER pursue a science career (to be fair though, AP Biology was not my first choice).
Cue the angry mob!!