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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
The Curse of the Ivy League Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Kelsey, United States Mar 23, 2006
Child & Youth Rights , Education   Opinions


Initially, there is the strong foundation of an unbelievably high SAT or ACT score and that sparkling 4.0 GPA. Without both of these to begin with, applicants may as well give up right then and there (that is, unless they have demonstrated exceptional athletic potential). What are these standards teaching young students? That being able to successfully complete a near four hour test will get you farther in life? Or perhaps anything shy of perfection is not worth risking an investment in? Putting so much weight into statistics rather than character and integrity sends the message of a materialistic environment, proving that appearances (academically or physically speaking) hold more value in society than what’s really inside.

It’s understood that to maintain a level of quality and prestige within a certain intellectual community standards are required to filter out the unwanted. Obviously, there is a significant difference between a 200 and a 1600 SAT score, just as there’s a difference between a 0.9 and a 4.0 GPA, and it’s unfair to expect educational institutions to degrade themselves to the point in which a majority of the student body is barely literate or has serious work ethic problems. But there shouldn’t be a screaming difference between one B and two, or a 1350 and 1400.

This brings up another point frequently addressed by college representatives: they want well rounded applicants. This makes sense to some degree. It’s always nice to have a star athlete, rocket scientist, and philanthropist rolled up into one young man or woman, but to expect each and every student to take the same challenging course loads is very different. A young, inspiring writer should not be spending the time or energy stressing out about Calculus or Trigonometry. Likewise, a science prodigy should not be struggling through Faulkner instead of focusing on his or her passion. Each and every student should be treated differently according to their interests and talents, not be forced into a mold of the perfect application.

Most important of all is the mentality that these schools produce. Graduating from Harvard may give Johnny a recognized name-brand diploma, but that does not mean other universities cannot offer the same quality of education or post graduation opportunities. Every year, thousands of high school seniors around the country focus their attention narrowly upon that one Ivy League campus, thus ignoring any and all other possibilities that are much more affordable and can offer more down to Earth environments (meaning those not infested with Polos and country clubbers), which can overall socially and intellectually stimulate students to their fullest potential.

This is a very saddening issue, in large due to the overwhelming number of teenagers underneath this hypnosis, and also because this is not truly recognized as an issue. There’s nothing wrong with attending an Ivy League school, but if a hefty portion of America’s youth feel that not attending one of these colleges will directly result in failure, there is a very large problem that needs to be addressed.



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Writing has always been my backbone, especially now as I work my way through my mother's unexpected death. Music is a large influence in my lifestyle, as is classical literature. I'll be graduating from high school in the spring of 2007, so college plans are basically consuming all of my free time right now. At school, I'm an editor for my newspaper and yearbook, as well as involved in National Honors Society, Key Club, and am starting a global awareness club. Outside sources of writing for me include a bi-monthly column for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, and published poetry through the International Library of Poetry and Noble House Publishing.
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