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Oryx
August 12th, 2011, 02:38 AM
"Kids “do” school today. It’s not about learning; it’s piling up achievements that look good on the college app, and it’s gotten way, way out of hand. And you know what we as a society get out of it? A nation of test-takers, club presidents and volleyball captains! But we’re losing the innovators, the free thinkers, the dreamers. We lose our values: honesty, integrity, character. A bunch of outcome-oriented kids are being led by outcome-oriented teachers, who are pushed by goal-driven parents, and 20% of today’s teenagers experience depression."

"But how do you get your kid to decompress when she feels that if she doesn’t take four AP courses, if she doesn’t succeed in sports, if she isn’t involved in school government, then she can forget about going to a selective college? After all of her activities, she would come home from school at 9 or 10—only then to start her homework!"
-Boston Legal, "Rescue Me"

Is the college admissions process too high-stress for children these days? Many students are taking classes they'll never care about again just because it will look good on an application to college, memorizing just what they need to get by, and then never remembering it again. Future engineers are in AP History classes, future authors are in AP Calculus, and everyone is running for student council in schools they care nothing about so they can put "President" on the piece of paper that could determine their futures.

Meanwhile parents are fighting every bad grade and pushing their children to be involved in more, study more, do more, be more. Harvard, Yale, Princeton are goals to be constantly striven towards; failure is not an option, especially with the job market the way it is.

Colleges themselves have begun to notice this. Princeton is in the process of testing a "gap year"; a year where you go to another country, relax, and do community service or get an easy job before your freshman year in college. Why? Because students are starting college burned out. They're so stressed in high school, striving for college, that once they get to college they have nothing left to give.

What's your opinion on this? Does this only apply to the very top students and no one else? Have you experienced the academic stress, or did you breeze through without even noticing that stress existed? Do you think that going to the best college is necessary for success in life?

Blue Nocturne
August 12th, 2011, 06:20 AM
I made a point of avoiding extra credit stuff like the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and so many extra-curricular activities. I didn't make a big point of revising for any of my GCSE exams and I think I've done pretty well, the ones I did last year were mostly A-A*. I'm certainly not jumping through any hoops to get into college, because if a college is accepting people based on whether they've spent so many hours doing sport after school, then that's somewhere I don't want to go. I was accepted into my chosen college based on my intellectual merit, not rubbish that has nothing to do with my education.

Why did I make such a broad point of doing this? Because School is supposed to prepare you for life, not to wear you out. I would have rather failed my GCSE's than get stressed over revising for them, I have a personal life outside of school that I'd like to maintain and, frankly, if I'm not enjoying my life then what's the point in having it?

Kyoko
August 12th, 2011, 09:41 AM
I hate it so much :/ I'm really not a fan of standardized testing, I feel like people bring a lot more to the table than just a number. The competition at my schools AP/honors classes was ridiculous, people were doing as much as they could and bragging about what schools they got into, etc. It's sad that todays high schools place so much emphasis on testing as opposed to actually learning and enjoying the information. When my high school exit survey came out, the one thing I complained about was the fact that they focused so much on testing that they didn't even explain to us our college choices or talk to us about our interests. A lot of people felt unprepared for applying.

Esper
August 12th, 2011, 11:45 AM
Goodness, it's rough trying to keep up. One of the worst things I remember from senior year was getting into AP English. Yay me. Except... everyone there had taken the previous 3 years of advanced English classes and that was the assumption from the teacher. I was a fish out of water because I didn't know how to keep up and I ended up crying in the middle of class one day and soon after transferring back to regular English classes.

I had so much pressure my last year of high school that I just couldn't take it and broke down, stopped caring about my grades, and gave up on the idea of going to college. I still went to school and listened in class because I liked to learn things and was still interested, but I couldn't handle the pressure to succeed in everything. So I went to a community college for two years and then went through the application and transfer process to a four-year college after having time to detox from high school. It was STILL a hellish process, but I was able to handle it better than I think I would have while I was in high school still.

Melody
August 12th, 2011, 11:51 AM
I will agree. School, especially public schools, are far too focused on forcing you into a proper college. They promote all those extra unnecessary classes and then burn students out. It's no wonder you're burned out when you get to College.

That being said, there's also a lot of things they teach in college that you ALREADY learned in High School. So if you jump straight from High School into college, then there are some courses you shouldn't have to RE-TAKE if you did well on them in High School.

Preparation for selective colleges should take place at 2 year colleges. Not in High School. High School should not be overrun by overachievers with their helicopter parents. At the High School level, the only thing you NEED to take is the BASICS. Two years of it, Not Four. The remaining two years should be for you to take introductory courses in whatever direction you want to go...not waste time with more core crap unless that is what your path requires. For example, if you choose Computer Programming, additional year courses in math are made available to you, but not forced on. If you aspire to be a mathematician, then you can take all the math courses the school has to offer and your time isn't wasted by courses like English or History. Let basics like that be taught earlier, before High School and let students CHOOSE their path in High School.

Anders
August 12th, 2011, 12:07 PM
Goodness, it's rough trying to keep up. One of the worst things I remember from senior year was getting into AP English. Yay me. Except... everyone there had taken the previous 3 years of advanced English classes and that was the assumption from the teacher. I was a fish out of water because I didn't know how to keep up and I ended up crying in the middle of class one day and soon after transferring back to regular English classes.


:( This is what I'm doing going into senior year this year.

I'm wary of the college process, because I need to take my SAT's and apply to places still while trying to get the best grades I can this year on top of getting my license and a real job. It's partly my fault for putting these things off though.

But, I don't think it's going to be hard for me to get into the college I want, and I don't think it's unfair of the colleges that do want those things to want them. You're not obligated to go to them and if you want in you have to work for it. If it was made so everybody could get in then nobody would be pumping gas or flipping burgers, or any other minimum wage job that needs to be filled.

marz
August 12th, 2011, 12:12 PM
Yeah, I think that's true. I've known many people that ran for a spot on the student council simply to put it on their resume -- and I don't blame them either, it makes a difference. It's not a good system but with such a large population going to school and striving for a good education and a good future, competition and getting ahead of the game is the only way to get yourself somewhere. Unless you've got money, that is.

Although just one province east of mine, in Quebec, they have a school system that I wish the rest of Canada would adopt. What they've done is compacted the 4-year high school curriculum into a 3-year one. After three years in high school they do two years of something called "Cegep," which is essentially a cross between high school and University. The fact that it's two years long really is what makes the difference in my opinion, because that means you'll be entering University by the time you're 19 or 20 years old. I think that's much better than the system I've grown up in, which I think is the standard across North America. 4 years of high school and then straight off to University/College is a ridiculous change that takes a lot of adaptation.

And it's like you said Toujours, all I really used to do is cram information in my head a few days before my test, and memorize what I knew I needed to know. Ask me to take another one of my high school tests and I'd probably have a lot of trouble doing so. :\

Mr. X
August 21st, 2011, 06:43 AM
Meh, my senior year wasn't so bad. Lets see... TCM (Transition to collage math), Spanish II, Health/Arkansas History, Engish 4, Votech rest of the day.

I've never been good at math so I hated that class, Spanish was my favorite class for the first half of the day... And there were only 5 people in that class during that hour... and thats counting the teacher, Health was easy (Copy stuff on board down, sleep rest of class, take test a week later, pass, repeat) arkansas history was pretty much the same, English was fun because A) Teacher was great and B) I was dating his neice most of the year.

2nd half of the day was my favorite part since I was taking Votech (Vocational Training or something like that. Basicly, collage level classes) I was in computer engineering and it was great... Well, minus all the idiots that just took that class to get out of taking other classes, but still. Hour learning stuff from the book, two hours for projects/work (Since we were a computer class we repaired every other classes computers whenever they broke them... Or forgot to flip the power switch... Yes, this happened, and my group laughed for the rest of the month over it.) and then last hour we could do whatever we wanted. (Play games, watch a movie, listen to music, throw people into trashcans.)

Oryx
August 21st, 2011, 07:16 AM
Meh, my senior year wasn't so bad. Lets see... TCM (Transition to collage math), Spanish II, Health/Arkansas History, Engish 4, Votech rest of the day.

I've never been good at math so I hated that class, Spanish was my favorite class for the first half of the day... And there were only 5 people in that class during that hour... and thats counting the teacher, Health was easy (Copy stuff on board down, sleep rest of class, take test a week later, pass, repeat) arkansas history was pretty much the same, English was fun because A) Teacher was great and B) I was dating his neice most of the year.

2nd half of the day was my favorite part since I was taking Votech (Vocational Training or something like that. Basicly, collage level classes) I was in computer engineering and it was great... Well, minus all the idiots that just took that class to get out of taking other classes, but still. Hour learning stuff from the book, two hours for projects/work (Since we were a computer class we repaired every other classes computers whenever they broke them... Or forgot to flip the power switch... Yes, this happened, and my group laughed for the rest of the month over it.) and then last hour we could do whatever we wanted. (Play games, watch a movie, listen to music, throw people into trashcans.)

How did this affect your chances to get into colleges? The way it's been shown to me, there are two different camps of high school students - there are the over-achievers, that are interested in Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and will do whatever it takes to get there. They're the ones playing sports, in the school play, student council president, 4 AP classes every year and straight A grades. They spend all their time looking for more things that would look good on their application, because they know they're competing with the best of the best and they need no less than their absolute top-notch effort.

Then there are the people that either aren't interested in highly selective colleges and are fine going to a less selective one, or aren't interested in college at all. For them, generally high school gets easier the higher grade they are. It rounds out with a nice, easy, 4-5 class load senior year, spending the rest of the time just hanging out and not doing much of anything. These kids either go to a school that accepts 50-75% of its applicants, or don't go at all, and it doesn't bother them in the least.

I would like to see a few viewpoints from places other than the US - is it the same there as it is here, or no? How is the application process different, and does that affect the students?

yasu
August 21st, 2011, 11:14 AM
This is why I dropped out, it is not worth the effort just so you can get a white collar occupation. Not worth it unless you have your mind and dreams set on a certain study subject.
I'm not American btw.

Black Ice
August 21st, 2011, 11:27 AM
That being said, there's also a lot of things they teach in college that you ALREADY learned in High School. So if you jump straight from High School into college, then there are some courses you shouldn't have to RE-TAKE if you did well on them in High School.
AP/IB. If you actually did well in that class (getting an A doesn't count because some teachers are really easy) then you would have AP/IB test scores to prove it. And then you wouldn't have to take those classes in college. Sounds close enough to what you're saying, right?

The American school system is already pretty weak, which is why a significant portion (maybe even majority) of the population grow up to be idiots.

I agree that turning the last two years of high school into college-prep would be good, but only if the teens would actually be motivated in the first place. I'd say most high schoolers like to choose the easy way out. Those who are not doing so well in high school right now are not going to benefit at all from the change. The "overachievers" might, though.

I Laugh at your Misfortune!
August 21st, 2011, 03:38 PM
I'd say the real problem is too many people going into higher education, at least here in the UK. Tony Blair aimed to get 50% of people going to university, which sounds great on paper, but doesn't actually make sense. As a result, courses such as medicine are now far more competetive than necessary because kids are being pushed into them by parent. Kids with an interest in english, history and such like will take degrees in those subjects, then go on to do jobs completely unrelated to them in boring grey offices. Meanwhile, a significant number of people who want to be historians are out-competed because there are too many people going for too few places. And to top it all off, we're in need of thousands of skilled manual labourers - plumbers, carpenters, electricians - who just aren't there because you need qualification which you don't get at university. Universities are meant to be there for HIGHER education, not just the next step as soon as you're out of sixth form. It's not something people should ever consider compulsory, but our society has changed in a way that makes people view it that way, and I don't think that's a good thing.

Bluerang1
August 21st, 2011, 04:09 PM
I can't believe my post didn't post, I typed quite an amount, not too much but too much to retype xD

In short, yes there is competition but that's how you get in You need that extra bit to be deemed unique and different to be accepted into University. It's the way it is I don't find it being bad though as why should someone who hasn't participated well in all if not most aspects of school life, education and extra-curricular activities, get in as opposed to someone who has?

Spinor
August 25th, 2011, 03:54 PM
Oh lol. Future Engineer in AP History o__o The article's talking to me.

I actually kinda like the stress. It's the stress of learning and proving you know the stuff. But this only applies to most of my subjects, which I'm actually willing to learn. This would mean AP Chemistry, AP Physics B, AP Calculus, and AP US History for me this year.

Although why I elected AP English Lang/Comp... >__>

Mr. X
August 25th, 2011, 08:33 PM
As for my previous statement, the only thing I didn't like was that I had to drop band in order to take votech. I loved band, and if you are in band then you know that what happens in the changing room stays in the changing room.

Anyway, last year worked out good for me. I learned enough to get my A+ certification which got me a job at a computer repair place.

The real sad thing is that the other person who wanted that job had a 4 year in computer science. So, basicly, his twenty something thousand + collage diploma got passed up for my free votech completion diploma, and my free A+ certification (Votech paid for my test)

But then again, I came to the interview in a suit and he came wearing torn jeans.

xelarator
September 4th, 2011, 03:04 PM
Huh, so high schools is that bad? We'll, I have been a freshman for a week and I think high school is AWESOME. The homework is easy, I have lots of friends in and out of class, and I play football. When I do my homework, it takes 5 minutes to finish all of it. I'm not excactly in honors classes because I knew I would be stressed out.

By not taking Honors classes, life is more interesting. I learn things that I don't know, I'm not stressed, and by the time I reach college, I'll be able to give more.

So it seems being smarter than everyone else doesn't really matter in the future. In that case, I'm staying in regular classes, ace them, and be stress-free. Send your hate mail now.

aruchan
September 5th, 2011, 07:43 PM
Amen. Classes are super-competitive and SATs of 2200+ are the norm in my school, everyone does everything, and clubs-which were originally supposed to be fun endeavors-are now giant battlegrounds where various people vie not just for power, but to put the position on their resumes. It's pretty disgusting how the upper colleges require all this on the high schoolers. 15 APs or get the hell out.

2Cool4Mewtwo
September 6th, 2011, 12:32 PM
While the different subjects appear to be unrelated to each other, they provide different sorts of knowledge. Math allows critical thinking. English allows students to read instructions carefully, etc. All of this is nothing compared to pressure in college, which is what some of my older friends have told me (and even the ones going to community college showed me how much work there is, and it was bit "disturbing"). My take on this is, if you can't brace the pressure of high school, then obviously you have no chance of graduating college.

Oryx
September 6th, 2011, 03:23 PM
While the different subjects appear to be unrelated to each other, they provide different sorts of knowledge. Math allows critical thinking. English allows students to read instructions carefully, etc. All of this is nothing compared to pressure in college, which is what some of my older friends have told me (and even the ones going to community college showed me how much work there is, and it was bit "disturbing"). My take on this is, if you can't brace the pressure of high school, then obviously you have no chance of graduating college.

I think we're misunderstanding each other. I'm not sure if you're from the US or not or even if there's an equivalent outside the US, but most students in high school looking to get into a good college generally take multiple college-level classes (AP, Advanced Placement) before graduating high school. These classes may have nothing to do with their major and will never be required; for example, I took AP US History and AP European History, while my school has no history requirement for me because I'm a Computer Engineering major. But I had to take those classes anyway, because without the hard classes I wouldn't have gotten into my school.

No one's arguing that you shouldn't take English or Math or anything like that in high school, just that it's pressed to an unreasonable point, where a student feels that if they want to be competitive academically and get into a decent college, they need to take the hardest class in everything, taking 7-10 college-level courses before they graduate. Instead of taking Pre-Calculus, they're taking AP Statistics. Instead of taking Basic Programming, they're taking AP Computer Science. Because they need that edge, not because they're interested in the class or it will be required later or anything of the sort.

As far as the workload compared to high school, it has been harder for me but I go to one of the highest-ranked schools in the nation and am taking classes for a difficult major so I can't speak for everyone, obviously. Some of my friends who aren't the brightest and went to state schools literally have nicknames for most of the days of the week so they can think of a good reason to go out and party until they black out, but they still manage to do fine in classes, so it's a matter of where you are and what you're doing.

2Cool4Mewtwo
September 6th, 2011, 06:56 PM
I think we're misunderstanding each other. I'm not sure if you're from the US or not or even if there's an equivalent outside the US, but most students in high school looking to get into a good college generally take multiple college-level classes (AP, Advanced Placement) before graduating high school. These classes may have nothing to do with their major and will never be required; for example, I took AP US History and AP European History, while my school has no history requirement for me because I'm a Computer Engineering major. But I had to take those classes anyway, because without the hard classes I wouldn't have gotten into my school.

No one's arguing that you shouldn't take English or Math or anything like that in high school, just that it's pressed to an unreasonable point, where a student feels that if they want to be competitive academically and get into a decent college, they need to take the hardest class in everything, taking 7-10 college-level courses before they graduate. Instead of taking Pre-Calculus, they're taking AP Statistics. Instead of taking Basic Programming, they're taking AP Computer Science. Because they need that edge, not because they're interested in the class or it will be required later or anything of the sort.

As far as the workload compared to high school, it has been harder for me but I go to one of the highest-ranked schools in the nation and am taking classes for a difficult major so I can't speak for everyone, obviously. Some of my friends who aren't the brightest and went to state schools literally have nicknames for most of the days of the week so they can think of a good reason to go out and party until they black out, but they still manage to do fine in classes, so it's a matter of where you are and what you're doing.

I don't think colleges require you to take certain AP courses if you want to get into that college, but that's beyond my knowledge for now. I've took 2 AP classes in sophomore year, and 4 during junior year, just for the challenge it offers (I'm taking 3 right now as a senior), and honestly it wasn't overly stressful.

If a student feels it is too competitive to get into a certain college that he or she likes, or feels as if he or she is not at that level, then obviously he or she is not ready to get in there. At least that's what I think. I know it's a cynical viewpoint, but the world as a whole is cynical in a way if you look at it, always competitive and relying on survival of the fittest. Better gets more.

As for "interim" between high school and college, I personally think it's unnecessary, because there are already institutions such as community college that offers chance for people to get into next level if they missed the chance to go directly from college.

These are just my opinions, but I won't blame any of you if you think differently.

Kura
September 6th, 2011, 07:55 PM
What the heck? Highschool wasn't high pressure for me at all! College is tough and all.. but the real pressure starts when you're out of school and you need to find real ways to support yourself (like a job) while trying to work towards your own career and personal goals.

Yeah school is tough and all but it's there to shape you up. People who get depressed by it need to seek professional help or other ways to educate themselves so they'll be ready for the real (independent) world.

You NEED higher education to qualify for a LOT of working visas. Especially tier 1 or (skilled workers) visas.. sometimes having a Bachelor's Degree doesn't even make the cut for you.