By Kira B.
Expectations for college-bound high school students are becoming extremely high within the past five years. To get into a top-level college, good grades and participation in a varsity sport no longer set an applicant apart. The best schools look for students with leadership experience, community service hours and involvement in multiple clubs.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, is extremely competitive. The average GPA for accepted applicants is a 4.13. To get in, students have to show that they challenged themselves in high school and excelled at doing so. Great grades, high level classes and an abundance of extracurricular activities are needed to catch the eye of an admissions officer at a school as prestigious as MIT.
School, sports and clubs however do not make up a high school student’s entire life; they must find time for family, friends and relaxation within their schedules. Is this too much to ask?
For many overly-stressed high school students, the answer is yes.
Varsity sports in Duxbury for instance, take up the majority of a student’s free time. A practice usually runs for two hours every day after school along with game/competitions during the week or on the weekend. Hours of homework follow students home after a long day of school and practice, leaving little time for anything else.
Getting involved in what the school has to offer looks great on college applications, but it can also open up countless new opportunities for a student. Being a member of the student council, photography club or even the humanitarian project can set a student apart, and they can learn valuable life skills they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Clubs, sports, academics, are all great for a student’s college application and for themselves so many kids are tempted to do them all.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Most clubs in Duxbury meet right after school, making it nearly impossible for varsity athletes to participate. To avoid this issue, some clubs meet before school, but the solution isn’t perfect.
Duxbury High School sophomore Abby E. said, “I take the bus to school, so I have no way of getting to a before school club meeting. If the meeting is right after school I can’t do that either because of my sport.”
DHS junior Maya Z. explains that with her three varsity sports, she feels limited when it comes to the options for clubs that fit her schedule. She said, “I find it unfair that most clubs meet after school because a lot of athletes are also interested in clubs, not just sports. Some students are looking to do as much as possible, but with sports being so strict it’s harder to do that.”
Finding a way to balance all of the things that are expected from a school like MIT, Brown University, New York University, or Vanderbilt University, to name a few, can be extremely stressful for kids in high school. There are simply not enough hours in the day for most high school students to live up to the daunting expectations they dream to surpass.
With this in mind, one must know that there is always an alternative – such as open access schools. In an interview via email, the admissions department at Cape Cod Community College explained the expectations they hold for their applicants.
For most Duxbury High School students, Cape Cod Community College falls below their expectations – whether they are the ones their parents hold or the expectations they hold for themselves. After speaking to Alex Russo, an Admissions Coordinator at the 4C’s, it was clear that Cape Cod Community is a very inclusive college. Russo explained that the only requirements needed to enroll into the 4C’s are to have graduated from high school and to have taken the MCAS. He said, “Cape Cod Community College’s open access admissions policy eliminates the strict admissions requirements you may find at a four-year institution… We do not evaluate students on high school GPA, high school course load, essays, interviews, ACT/SAT scores, or club/sport participation.”
Life is busy especially for a student working to get into a prestigious college and it is important for students to know there are many viable options for the future.