Eckert: College admissions process shouldn’t be taxing

In last week’s column I discussed a new project headed by Harvard Graduate School of Education titled Turning the Tide. Through this project, the supporters are attempting to relieve some of the stress of the college admissions process. So many students go through sleepless nights and stress filled days all throughout high school just to get into the college they want, or even worse, the college their parents want.

It will be difficult to remove the stress parents put on their kids to overachieve and get into certain colleges, but there are things to be done about the application process. Colleges across the country are currently looking for students that take all AP courses and play three sports and join handfuls of clubs and service groups.

In today’s competitive college atmosphere it can be extremely stressful for students to apply to college. Most students going into their senior year are looking to relax and focus on enjoying their last year of high school. Instead, many are faced with the most stressful year of their high school careers.

Personally, I spent more time in the fall of my senior year working on college applications than working on school work. I spent countless hours working on essays and resumes and filling out The Common Application. I was forced to neglect my school work and other obligations because there was a deadline that I had to meet. Only a handful of my high school’s graduates attend four-year schools every year, so I received very little support from counselors and peers.

This application process led to a lot of sleepless nights. The stress didn’t end when I hit the “submit” button on The Common App either. It just became a waiting game. The first thing I did every night when I came home from practice or meetings or whatever after school activity I had, was checking the mail immediately. I remember one day when I knew I’d be receiving some mail, I went to the office and faked an illness so that I could go home and check the mail.

The stress that came with these applications was something I never could’ve imagined. I assume I’m not the only student that went through this. I was sure that I would get into at least a few of the schools I applied to, but I was uncertain of a few schools that I really wanted to get into. I also didn’t have any pressure from my parents. I can’t even begin to understand what it must be like to have parents that would’ve pressured me to get into and attend a certain school.

The second and third parts of Turning the Tide go along with this well. The second part outlines the importance of community service. The importance of community engagement is very important for the founders of Turning the Tide. They want to see more students get engaged in community programs across race and cultural boundaries. This will help students to become more accepting and open to different cultures. College is full of new experiences and students from other backgrounds.

The third and final part of Turning the Tide is based around redefining achievement. The different achievements of students from all backgrounds should carry the same weight. Some students might not have access to AP credits or honors courses because their school doesn’t offer those credits. Achievement should be based on the maximum effort the student put forth with what they have available.

The college application process is one of the most difficult and stressful times in most students’ lives up to that point. Going to college is a great achievement and should be something students can look forward to as they approach graduation.

Turning the Tide is all about making this process easier and more enjoyable for students, the way it should be.

Brian Eckert is a first-year finance and economics double major.