All this work for a perfect college application

It’s always a competition. Who is in the most clubs? Who plays the most sports? Whose grades are the best? 

Not only is a high school full of students constantly comparing themselves to each other, but everyone is just going through the same motions, preparing themselves for life after high school. 

I will admit that some activities I participated in were for the sole purpose of helping me build my resume. I was more caught up in the long-term effects that they would have on my future, with college always in mind. But I know that many other students have been in the same position as me and are just trying to replicate that perfect college application. 

I acknowledge that some people really do join clubs because they are simply interested in or feel passionate about the clubs’ work, although it has become apparent that students tend to participate for the wrong reasons; rather than doing them out of curiosity or to gain experience for future careers, they do them to check a box and appear more well-rounded. 

But who cares that these people join the clubs for the wrong reasons? It shouldn’t matter if they contribute and fulfill the requirements to be members, right? 

The big deal is that we are portraying ourselves differently than you really are. The person you are on paper is not the same as the person you are in real life. Following your passion and doing things you enjoy is far more interesting to college admissions than the person you believe they want you to be. 

As a student, I think that generally, we are striving for perfection and attempting to please others with what they think we should be doing. Playing sports, joining clubs, volunteering, and obtaining good grades are what the “ideal student” is typically perceived as. 

But really, there is no “ideal student.” 

Everyone is unique and has differing interests, but sometimes those true passions are masked by the urge to fit in and follow the crowd or to get into that dream school. 

Students are miserable trying to be someone they aren’t; is it even worth it? 

I wish I had prioritized my interests and kept my sanity over the last four years instead of trying to act like someone I am not. High school offers students so much freedom, and I regret not putting myself first over constantly worrying if I am doing enough. 

College applications are incredibly strenuous, but my advice to those who are in the process of them is to stop trying to fit the mold and create your own.