Vivian Geilim opinion editor
It’s the most wonderful time of the year— at least for most. But for the seniors applying to their dream colleges, it might not be so wonderful. Not so wonderful at all.
The idea of going to college after high school has become a sort of social norm for students. Although college is not mandatory, it seems to be the ultimate pressure for students in high school. Whether it’s striving for that dream GPA, the ideal ACT/SAT score or even writing numerous admissions essays, there is no denying that there are two sides to the polarized see-saw of college: you either go or you don’t.
However, this is not the case. This is not the case at all. And it is unfortunate to see the amount of pressure and stress students are susceptible to in an attempt to figure out their futures. After high school, we have countless options, but for some reason, we don’t see that.
To begin, we must remember that going to college isn’t an automatic ticket to success in life. Got into a school with a five percent acceptance rate? Congratulations–now hopefully you make something out of it. Students put so much weight on getting into an undergrad program that they are blind to realizing that undergrad doesn’t actually matter. Whether it’s the big Ivys or community college, you have to remember that college is only worth what you make of it. Don’t just apply and drop thousands of dollars on a college just because it’s become a prevalent social norm for the average senior. It’s okay to be confused and it’s okay to not know what to do. There are countless other options that can be in your favor rather than the traditional four year college. Don’t feel like college is the right route for you? Here are some suggestions and options for you to discuss with your parents.
A gap year is probably the most underrated idea. Taking a gap year simply means that you are taking a year off after high school graduation to explore and figure out what exactly you want to do with your life. People can also be accepted to college, and defer for one year so that they can experience a gap year. Taking this gap year opens up various doors especially with traveling and philanthropy. Especially if you are confused and worried about the future, a gap year can be insightful and aid you to the right direction.
There’s also the idea of getting a job coming out of high school. Nowadays, people are stubborn to admit that you don’t actually need a college degree to get a good job. It is said that “if you want to be paid well in the United States, conventional wisdom suggests that going to college is a necessity. But Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli, director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, says it is not such a straight-forward decision.” If you’ve found your passion, chase after it. There are countless people that have dropped out of college because the idea of a traditional four year college doesn’t apply to what they wanted to do in life. I’m about to throw out some big names: Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to focus on Microsoft, Oprah Winfrey left Tennessee State to pursue her career in media, Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College after only one semester– oh, and he also backpacked through India.
Although the stretch seems drastic, the opportunities are limitless if you want them to be. Take online classes, volunteer, find yourself in your passion. Take a chance on yourself. College may be the ideal place for some, but for others, they’re applying because that’s what the crowd is doing. The pressure and anxiety that manifests the idea of college admissions is overlooked. Think about what you want to do. Follow through, and if you fail, try again. It’s okay to not get into your dream college. I may come off as a bit cliche, but if you work hard and do something that you love, the possibilities are infinite.