The college application process is stressful for many students. (Image courtesy of High School Insider)
Fairmont Preparatory Academy

Opinion: My fears about college

Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Colombia, Brown, Cornell, Penn and Dartmouth — believe it or not, I have remembered those words since I was eight. I remembered those colleges before I could even properly speak English.

These colleges are like God’s palaces that only the Chosen Ones can have the honor to step in. I used to think I am the Chosen One — I used to feel special, but not anymore.

As an international student from China who came to America at the age of 12 and overcomes challenges in this new country, this is supposed to be my brand. This is supposed to be my specialty to market myself to those prestigious colleges. However, this is no longer unique.

Each year, there are hundreds of thousands of Chinese international students coming into the U.S. I am not the most hardworking one, I am not the most talented one, and I am not the smartest one.

Basically, I am not the most special one, and therefore I won’t be the most wanted candidate for colleges. So what can I do?

I haven’t faced many hardships and feel like I don’t have enough life experiences to write about.

I don’t have those “interesting” things to make me stand out. How ironic, a perfectly normal life makes me a boring person.

Some people say college applications are measuring students using numbers: SAT, AP, GPA, etc. However, the numbers are too static.

Many people have a 4.0 GPA, many people have a 1600 SAT score. To me, college applications are like Instagram, students post their most glorified moments, and colleges are looking for those hashtags to define each person — #Volunteerwork, #PerfectSAT and #Nationalhonorssociety

Once a student has all of these hashtags, colleges will see he/she as a great candidate. Every great student can be compared to an Instagram star, which got me thinking — are college applications as artificial as those Instagram posts?

Right now, I treat college like marriage. Yes, even I know that’s a pathetic thought. Getting into a good college is like getting married to a good husband. Whatever college I’m getting into will be my identity for lifetime, just like my last name.

I’m only a junior and college is all I can think about. I don’t know if that’s problematic.