College choices bring undue stress to HHS seniors

by Hannah Boggess, staff writer

Even though its name is technically fall, a more apt name for the next few months is college season. The only thing seniors have been hearing for the past few weeks is, “so, where are you going to college?”

College has been the center of almost every single conversation I’ve had recently. With my parents, my friends, my counselor, and my neighbors, I’ve had more discussions than I can count about the benefits of using the Common Application, whether I should apply early decision or regular, the problems Naviance has had lately, if I should send in supplements along with my application, and so on.

Of course it’s beneficial to discuss all of this, but is it too much?

College is important and undeniably a part of a lot of people’s future. But the way we address, discuss, and think about it can have more drawbacks than benefits.

The way our school system is structured right now is flawed when it comes to college. It’s just a huge catch-22: if you start thinking about college in junior high, or even sophomore year, you’re “over the top,” but if you leave it until the weeks before applications are due, you’re doomed.

So students first have to deal with that—an inherently negative system that causes them to be unprepared for college—on top of the other, more glaring problem.

For most of our lives, teachers and our parents have held our hands through everything. We’ve never really had to make a decision of this caliber for ourselves, and suddenly we’re thrust into it.

In a matter of months, we are expected to go from teenagers to adults prepared to make a choice that will have a huge effect on the rest of our lives, and on the basis of what? College is hugely important, and the notion that 17-year-olds are expected to know where they want to go to school and what they want to major in and what they want their career to be is more unfair than anything else.

We’ve been asked since we were children about what we want to be when we grow up, but now everyone takes our answer seriously.

I understand that this is preparing us for the “real world,” that no one will make decisions like this one for us, and that where we go to college is something that we need to decide for ourselves.

The only suggestion I have is a more comprehensive and gradual increase in self-directed autonomy so that students can feel prepared to make the decision that will undeniably impact their lives.