Is college being a bully?


Alexa-Jada Nelson

photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Colleges have taken so much prevalence in today’s society; it is no wonder that they are negatively affecting the high school experience. Higher education institutions are indirectly “pressuring” college bound students to push themselves too hard by spreading themselves too thin with rigorous courses, volunteering, jobs, and extracurriculars.
One of the biggest mistakes colleges made was to create this mold for the coveted “well-rounded student”. This desire for excellence seems innocuous, but in reality, it is turning into an obsession for many high school students.
Colleges often promote rigor in a student by insinuating that taking regular classes may not ‘look good’ on college applications. This is understandable to an extent since college is no stroll in the park; it’s challenging, so taking harder classes in high school will make the adjustment a bit easier. However many students who are much more suitable for standard or academic classes have made the dangerous leap to AP classes in junior year. For many, this advancement has only impaired their GPAs and their confidence because their grades are not “college-worthy.”
The students that already take rigorous classes not only strive to pass AP and accelerated courses, but ace them. The stress is palpable. The “A” has become the only acceptable mark. Gosh forbid a B shows up on a report card: hours of hysteria, tears, and screaming may ensue.
It’s unsettling the measures students will go to to make sure they get an A: parent complaints, cheating, sleep deprivation, even drugs. These methods of getting a perfect grade is reflective of how the education system has shifted. We prefer the quantity of good test scores and letter grades over the quality of education.
Education is supposed to equip students with the tools they need to pursue a career. However, the system has been weathered down to memorizing facts and cramming useless information in their heads to fulfill the core curriculum. Many students go through a shock when they reach college because they have not properly mastered skills like critical thinking and problem solving. After all that stress, they are still not prepared for college as they should be. The true value of education depreciates.
As important as it is for colleges to modify their standards for acceptance, it’s also important for students to not over exert themselves. No student should ever have to risk anything, their GPA or health, to be considered a “well-rounded student.” Students must not believe that they have to do certain activities or enroll in rigorous courses to be accepted into college. Sure, it’s important that they push themselves and try to learn as much as possible, but it is also important that they only take on what they can handle. Once high school is over, they embark on their journey to the real world. You can only spread yourself thin for so long before you break; students need to learn how to put their health and happiness first if they want to be successful in the long run.