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The Milton Measure

College Pressures: A Trying Rite of Passage for Milton Students

by on Friday, June 10th, 2016

Teachers, parents, and, certainly students, know that Milton Academy cultivates a rigorous academic environment chock-full of high achieving and passionate high schoolers. They also know that, more often than not, this kind of intense environment leads to a considerable amount of pressure to get into a good college. And, as college acceptance rates continue to drop, the pressure mounts. But, the transition to adulthood has never been easy.

Indeed, adolescents have always struggled with the pressures accompanied with growing up. So why do we now obsess over the challenges teens face, specifically how hard it is to get into college and the harshness of the admissions process? In my opinion, the college process and the pressures associated with it are simply a part of growing up — a rite of passage, comparable to the military training young Spartan warriors endured in the 5th Century B.C… sort of.

In all seriousness, pressures, including the college application process, are natural and unavoidable, especially for teenagers. I am not trying to imply that I enjoyed the stress of my Junior Spring; however, I do think that I might be the better version of myself for it. With the college process looming over my head, I pushed myself further and worked harder. I learned more and became a better student. So, I believe that if you simply accept college pressures as inevitable and a part of growing up, they can be used to your benefit — used to propel yourself forward rather than backwards.

In addition, looking back, most Milton students appreciate the work they did during their highschool years. They may even view the college process as an obstacle they overcame, which taught them valuable lessons or shaped their adolescence. It’s time to stop blaming colleges for their low acceptance rates or their harshness and, instead, take on the challenge, like every Milton student has before.

On another note, the idea that college is impossible to get into is somewhat of a myth in and of itself. In reality, there are a whole host of schools whose acceptance rate is 100%. Sure, Harvard isn’t one of them, but who invented the idea that we all have to go there? Ultimately, the point of the college process should be to find the school that best fits you and not the school with the most impressive reputation, right?

Of course, it’s all easier said than done when dealing with an anxiety inducing adventure like the college process. I’ve been spewing this nonsense about rising above the pressure, but the truth is, I get caught up in it all the time. That said, I do believe that it’s important to remember, and I try to, that there are thousands of great schools. In the end, Ivy League or NESCAC schools may not actually be the best or the right choice for me or for you.

What I am trying to say is that most of this pressure to get into a “good” school is in our heads. In fact, most great colleges, believe it or not, actually accept over 10% of their applicants. The pressure to matriculate into the highly coveted and ivy lined walls at one of the “Big Three” (e.g. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale) is understandable, but these schools are not the only “good” ones in America. So, why listen to whoever led us to believe they are?

Overall, college pressures are challenging — to say the least — and I would never argue they’re not. However, facing them is also a part of growing up and, in the end, they turn out to be simpler than we make them up to be.

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Posted by on Jun 10 2016. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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