Step aside colleges, Let me take it from here, I got this

The newest fad in high school has abandoned the fascinatingly awkward interaction between boys and girls around prom time. It’s strayed from the convenience of holiday dances, and what we’ll do with our weekends. And, while these things still exist briefly in the hallway, those discussions are quickly overcome with the latest and greatest news of college acceptances. With social media hard at work, college news can’t be escaped. One can’t log on to Facebook without seeing “So-and-so got into {insert name of college here}!”, or onto Instagram to see an image of a college acceptance letter peppered with congratulations and enticing offers of scholarships and grant money. I, too, am guilty of this blossoming fad. But why are things so intense for our generation? Why do we find college so magnetic? We take entrance exams as juniors and seniors, and practice entrance exams as freshmen and sophomores. As a result, schools can access our emails and information so long as they pay their dues to the College Board.

Since I’ve been a sophomore, I’ve received maybe a thousand emails littering my Gmail inbox. All offer subject lines saying, “Amanda! Have you looked at our school yet?” “Are you looking to apply yet?” “It’s not too early to look for schools!” Each school made their case as to why THEIRS was the best, because naturally they’re all accredited as the best, laying claim to the brightest students in the nation. After I came to understand the gimmick, I can tell you not a single one of those emails was opened again. And over time, the subjects have changed their tune. “Amanda, do I have the right email?” “Amanda, are you ignoring me?” “Where have you been, Amanda?” Had the emails not come from NO-REPLY addresses, I would’ve responded something to the affect of: “Quit it! You’re smothering me, colleges!” Let’s not even get into the snail mail being sent to my mailbox.

How these college emails sound to me. With the creepy glare and smile that says “Why are you running so fast?” For those unfamiliar, this is the recently popularized “meme” of “The Crazy, Obsessive Girlfriend.”

The pressures rise, and the colleges don’t “quit it”, until their deadline approaches and passes, when the subject lines change from “It’s not too late to apply, Amanda” to “We’re sorry we missed you, Amanda.”

In the midst of the college craziness, my godmother took me into Boston for an interview of sorts at Boston University. We sat in the cafeteria of the campus drinking Starbucks coffee, working on our caffeine addictions, whilst asking why it is colleges felt the need to pursue teens in the style of the crazy-ex-girlfriend. And so, we devised a new system of selection, making it easy for students to distinguish which colleges actually care, and which are merely in hot pursuit of our money.

And here’s how it goes:

I sit myself at the head of a long table, as if the chair of a business meeting. Representatives from each school that fits my extremely-selective criteria line the sides of the table. From there, I’ll ask each representative exactly about their academics, travel abroad opportunities, and what exactly THEY do for their students. Essentially, “How will you change my life?” When so much of college is advertised online or en-masse at some generic campus tour as some well-dressed admissions counselor rattles off facts and statistics, putting a face to my future would be a nice change of pace. But then, the questions become progressively harder. “Why exactly do you want ME?” Because, if a school is truly intent on catching my attention, saying “Your achievements have caught our eye…” in the subject line just won’t cut it. College: How about (if you wanna get really kinky) you do YOUR homework. I’d like an explanation, using specific details from my résumé relating programs to my interests, delving into why that school is good enough for ME.

From there, the process will be flipped around. My selection will be entirely my own, compiling the answers by the reps and financial aid into one final, and glorious decision.

Now, this may seem conceited, as I ramble on about my ideal college selection experience. And you’ll have to excuse my writing style which reads this scenario as some elusive fantasy…whoops. On the other hand, shouldn’t our learning be personalized right from the start? Not only will we be taking on mounds of debt for an exceptional degree from exceptional universities, but we’ll be dedicating anywhere between four to six years of our prime to call ourselves alumns of one establishment. Hm. Is it too much to ask for even a personalized letter, to ensure we won’t fall into “die grauen Mass” when we go away to school?

For an alternative outlook on four years of undergraduate studies, watch this. You may regret it, but then again you may not. The choice is yours…

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4 responses to “Step aside colleges, Let me take it from here, I got this

  1. Pingback: Gender Roles, June 2013 | Mum's the Word

  2. Well said, as usual. Although radical, your suggestion contains more than a few grains of truth, not the least of which is that fact that many students should indeed be asking what the school can do for them as opposed to making it a one-way acceptance process. “I got accepted” should contain the antithesis, “School, I accepted you, also.”

    So where’d you get in? Wait, did I miss the point…?

    PS 594 followers! You should charge a subscription fee!

  3. how true how true how true. Social media has its pluses and its minuses. I believe it has helped to turn higher education into a marketing frenzy and “big” business. Select wisely Amanda. Keep asking the questions.

  4. well put!

    I say the teen at the head of the long table asks one question of each college rep, the incorrect response being met with Dr Evil’s lever of death: What makes you worthy? Or alternatively Why are manhole covers round?

    congrats!!!

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