The Pressure of College Admissions

College letters in a pile.

College letters in a pile.

Sharon Kim, Back Page Editor

The moment I graduated from my junior year of high school, the first thing that popped up into my head was, “I’m a senior now.” I will admit, it was exciting and frightening at the same time. However, like most adolescent teens my age I was oblivious of my own feelings until, time slowly crept up to me and I realized I was going off to college in a year, but only if I get in.

The fear of rejection flooded into my thoughts. For some time, the only thing recurring in my head was, “What if I don’t get in?” All seventeen years of my life had consisted of my constant need to prove myself to people. “If I really don’t get into college then my parents will surely disown me as their child. If I don’t get into a decent college, I’ll be a laughing stock. If I don’t get into the college of my dreams, I’ll be devastated and won’t be able to live life the same way.” Now, I’m sure that these same thoughts of mine have bombarded and trampled other brains and demolished other human beings’ self-esteems before. Nevertheless, knowing this fact doesn’t make me feel any better.

In addition to our own self-inflicted fear, comes the weight of other people’s expectations. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you can understand the sense of terror, anxiety, and a hint of agitation when someone asks, “Where are you applying to?” We all know that this translates to, “Tell me what school you want to go to, so I can judge you depending on if you get accepted or not.” If we were to live in a reasonable world where we wouldn’t be punished for our actions, my response would be a slap in the face. Why in the world are people so curious of others and care if we “succeed” in life or not? Yes, I most likely will not get into my reach school, I also have a good chance of getting wait listed or deferred from my I can possibly get in school, and even if it’s a 2% chance of me not getting in, I can still not get in to my I’ll definitely get in school. There are all these doubts and possibilities that we all end up profusely sweating for, so there is no need for the constant nagging of others.

Furthermore, we as teenagers cannot stop comparing ourselves to others. I believe this is the main component that puts even more pressure on students these days. As an adolescent, I catch myself comparing my looks, grades, and even how I present myself with my classmates, making me feel as if I’m never good enough. You look around while walking down the hallway and see the kid who’s most likely going to get into Harvard and say to yourself, “Why can’t I just be them.” Then, after you make it to your class and sit down, you look around again, and see the kid who has a nice car, and you think to yourself, “Why can’t I have what he/she has?” You start to wonder what it feels like the be that person. However, the most devastating part is when you realize every single person that surrounds you when you’re walking in the hallway are all whom make you see and believe that you are lesser then them.

Overall, many underestimate the pressure of getting into a school. Adults always say that they went throughout the same situation, and peers always end up making up for their self-esteem issue by publicly announcing their accomplishments. If that’s not enough, so many more components add up to the strain of just getting into another school. My advice to you, don’t worry so much. You need to understand that time has gone by and that what’s in the past is in the past, there’s no changing it. Don’t beat yourself up feeling guilty for not trying better and regretting some of the decisions you made, but it’s done and over with so make the best with what you have. Also know that your life is not over! Life in it’s definition is known for giving you crazy and different situations that will lead you to new and exciting situations. So don’t give up and know that you’re not the only one.