By Samantha Simmons
Image via 246 Images of People Studying Anime.
In 2020, the number of applications sent to top tier colleges skyrocketed. High school students are taught by their teachers, parents, and peers that getting into a stable college is in fact the greatest achievement one can make in starting one’s climb to the top of their future career field. Higher education preparation is what drives schools around the country, and students are seen participating in multitudes of different clubs, studying relentlessly for standardized testing, and risking their mental stability in order to achieve the proper grades needed to earn an acceptance from their school of choice. Because mass amounts of students throughout the world choose to work towards a higher education, masses of colleges are seen denying students with great academic achievements, leaving many of us in younger generations wondering what exactly we need to achieve in our high school careers to be guaranteed a safe and secure chance at the future we have been taught by nature to strive towards.
Many younger scholars who have been accepted into prestigious schools have noted that one’s test scores and pending GPA must stand solidly in an application, but students must also thrive in an activity that is unique and rare in itself. For example, thousands of high school students across the country are involved in Student Government (SGA), meaning that college admissions denote SGA itself as an “inside the box” or “cookie cutter” program in the means of student-led extracurriculars. In participating in clubs that virtually every other student competitor participates in within the application process, students have a hard time standing in their college admissions. This in turn allows students who put time and effort into minimal clubs that stand out from the plethora of other extracurriculars to step ahead in the means of college acceptances. Some may think that in order to be admitted into college, one must find the cure to cancer, or win a Nobel Peace Prize, but the fact of the matter is that standing out within your extracurriculars is far easier than one might think.
For example, students can stand out from the crowd of applicants by starting a student-led club in the means of activism and teaching one’s school community about the importance of equality and environmentalism. Winning Nationals at a Speech and Debate competition, getting published in a magazine, or creating a local charity are all unique tasks that can easily set you apart from the thousands of other college applicants you are competing against for a spot at any given university. Instead of partaking in 15 different high school clubs, focus on pushing forward to great heights in just a few. This is the Philosophy of Gohar Khan, an MIT student who uses social media to inform highschool students of the rights and wrongs of applying to college. Khan notes to budding Gen-Z students that colleges tend to appreciate major student success in one activity they partake in, rather than an average student performance in multitudes of basic clubs.
College acceptance rates are at an all time low this application season, so standardized test scores are equally as important as electives when forming your college application. It is important that one takes advantage of online resources such as Khan Academy for free SAT preparation geared towards helping students achieve the best score possible on the SAT, and ACT.
Pictured above, Sal Khan, founder of Khan academy. Image via The Jakarta Post.
Before forming a goal score on an individualized standardized test, be sure to research the average scores on the SAT and ACT at your selected colleges that you apply to. From there, shoot to score at least two points above the average score at that said university, in order to stay ahead of the curve on application day.
Finally, it is important to remember to enjoy life as a highschool student while on the road to academic success. Though the requirements for college acceptances may seem out of reach and overwhelming, high school success is not impossible. As said in a popular movie by the name of High School Musical, “We're all in this together.”
Written by writer Samantha Simmons