Stress of School

What makes Ivy league schools so appealing? Is it merely just the name that attracts people? Being able to say, “I went to Princeton,” or, “Yeah, I got into Brown. No big deal.” For me, it was just the name.

When it came time for college applications, she applied to Harvard and Yale. She got denied from Harvard but accepted into Yale. At first she wasn’t pleased but then she accepted it and she ended up loving how things worked out. This occurrence in Rory’s life sparked something in my head and from then on, I wanted nothing more than to go to Yale. Me, a 7th grade student, already had a life goal of attending one of the best universities in the world.

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You can imagine how excited my parents were to hear that their daughter, with pretty decent grades, had the ambition to attend Yale University. So my dad went out and bought me a Yale sweatshirt, that I still wear today, and that christmas I got Yale t-shirts. I was obsessed. But with what? I knew nothing about the school! What academics they offered, the required GPA, what SAT scores you needed (I didn’t even know what the SAT was in 7th grade.) All I knew was that my favorite fictional t.

v. character attended Yale and that their school colors were blue and white. “It can’t be that hard,” I thought. “It’s just Yale,” I assumed…. I went into high school with this ambition still intact.

Freshmen year blew by and my grades were pretty good. But I did realize, after hearing seniors talk about how difficult the college process was, that my grades were not up to par for any ivy league school. I remember one day in band, I was talking to my friends about college and how Yale was my top choice and then all of a sudden this senior turned around in her seat. “You wanna go to Yale? You’re a freshman, I’m a senior and I don’t even know where i’m going yet…” She said. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even say anything back because I didn’t know how to react to a senior talking to me; I was an awkward freshman. And after that I went home and actually researched the school.

Obviously I knew that the standards were high into getting into Yale, but that’s when I actually learned HOW high they were. First of all they have a 6.8% acceptance rate. And the GPA of accepted students is nothing below a 99 average. I think I had a 92 at the end of freshman year.

Even if I got 99’s for the next three years of high school, that probably still wouldn’t get me into Yale. You could say that I was pretty devastated. Reality had sunk in. I realized then that I probably would not get into Yale, and at that moment it occurred to me that hearing the phrase “Anything is possible” my whole life was a lie. It seemed pretty close to impossible for me going to Yale.

But why? Why is it so damn hard to get into an ivy? The answer does not only apply to Ivy league schools, but other great colleges as well. They all look for the same things in a student. Obviously some schools have higher standards than others…*cough cough Yale…

but in all, they all look for those long, sparkly resumes. Here’s a little breakdown of what these schools look for on a resume….. great GPA excellent SAT and/or ACT scores involved in a great deal of after school clubs having leadership positions in those clubs many hours of volunteer service being in honor societies plays varsity sports has a job great recommendations from teachers a solid essay All of these factors contribute to the final decision on whether you will be accepted or denied from your dream school. The admissions staff at these elite schools tell you to be yourself and to not stress over this, but lets be real; People are hardly themselves when they write their essays because they are trying to make themselves sound smarter and more interesting by using “smarter words” and embellishing their stories. I know that I am only still a junior, and that I have not experienced the application process myself, but I have read multiple articles, seen many news interviews, and heard so many stories about the college application process.

I have absorbed so much knowledge on the topic that I could write my own book on how annoying and stressful the process is, and I haven’t even been through it yet! Due to all of these factors, most students have a lot of pressure on them during their junior year of high school; which is what I am in now, so I can honestly say it is VERY stressful. Having to maintain everything all at once it quite difficult. For instance, not only do I have to worry about my chemistry final this week, my spanish project this week, my practice regents in trig this week, and this english essay for this week, I also have to worry about my SAT this coming Saturday. So everyday after school for the past couple of weeks I have been simultaneously working on a final or project for every subject in school while trying to study for my SAT. If I want to get a great score on that, it requires a lot of time and commitment. It’s just so hard to balance this with my other subjects in school.

But I feel that I have been handling this pressure pretty well (occasional mental breakdowns here and there, but that’s normal for junioryear) and I hope that my hard work pays off in the end. College applications are right around the corner for us juniors. I don’t expect to be accepted into any ivy leagues, let alone apply to any, but I do hope to be accepted into a great school. My desire to attend Yale was my dream. But actually, it was just a fantasy. I only imagined the good things, never the bad.

It never crossed my mind that I could be denied from the school. So once I realized the possibilities, I had a rude awakening. I knew I wouldn’t get into Yale, and it was extremely upsetting. I defined myself as an eager, unrealistic child. And every time I think back to when I was over confidently bragging about Yale being my number one school and the senior making her snide comment, I think of how annoying I must have sounded to that senior. There I was a small, little freshman thinking she had what it takes to get into Yale.

Freshman me assumed that it would be a piece of cake to get into Yale. But over the past two years, I have realized why it really is not a piece of cake. You need to have solid grades throughout the years and an almost perfect SAT score, not to mention a bundle of extra curriculars. I am about 70% done with my high school career and it seems that I have been doing a pretty good job. My grades are in the low 90’s, my SAT scores are average, and I do have quite a bit of extra curriculars. The me today is ok with the fact that she knows she would not get into Yale.

The me today knows that she worked hard and her efforts will pay off, which will lead her into attending a better fit school that she will love. Yale wasn’t Rory’s first choice! Her first choice was Harvard, and she got denied. But she ended up loving how things worked out.