As seniors prepare for college applications, each individual is faced with the task of reflecting on the past four years and assessing how much she has grown.
It is healthy for students to honestly gauge the strengths of their applications, spot where the weaknesses are, and bolster their defining qualities. However, seniors should avoid comparing each other’s achievements. Whenever a fellow classmate talks about his GPA or awards, block your ears and focus on you. Exaggerated comparisons are self-deprecating and unproductive, and they can actually hurt your chances of getting to your dream school.
“When I hear about other students’ stressing over tests, grades, academic records, etc, I feel somewhat [inadequate] because it seems like I haven’t done enough compared to my classmates,” said Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) senior Shuhrah Chowdhury in an interview with JSR.
“It’s crazy these days, when chill days of playing League of Legends suddenly turn into havok-filled months of finding out where I’m going and if I can go there,” said GHCHS senior Anthony Gonzalez.
“I feel the pressure not only from my parents but also from my peers,” Gonzalez stated, “since I know they are the people I’m competing against to get into college.”
During the period of college applications, students should wholly focus on their own achievements and reflect their individuality on their applications. Instead of wallowing in regret over things not accomplished, students should focus on growing and expanding as better leaders, speakers, or diplomats.
“The application process should be about, first, portraying yourself well, and second, understanding that one of your key goals should always be self improvement,” said head college counselor at iANT Education Albert Oh to JSR.
“The act of comparing yourself constantly to competition is both exhausting and fruitless,” Oh continued, “and it provides more cons like anti-social tendencies and extreme stress than any benefits. Students should be seeking to do things for the sake of self-improvement or helping their community.”
A high school graduate interviewed for this article offered his advice to current seniors and said the best way to deal with the stress and pressure of college applications is to stay true to yourself, take time off, and purely focus on what is important to you as an individual.
“Work hard on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday but leave Friday and Saturday as the holy days of rest. Play some soccer, engage in shenanigans, [and] make a fool of yourself. It’s easy to forget that we’re kids due to the pressure placed on us. Take time to be a kid,” said current Harvard freshman Nathan Williams.
“Focus on work, but don’t lose sight of enjoying the company of those around you,” advised Williams. “Work is forever; moments with comrades are what really make life worth living.”