The College Marathon

I’m on the last leg of the college marathon with my youngest daughter. Let me tell you this college search business isn’t easy, especially if your child has ADHD like my daughter. Don’t get me wrong. She’s a good student who works her butt off. She takes AP’s and has always pushed herself, but when it comes to standardized tests, well, let’s say, it isn’t her strength. She’s taken so many prep tests, we’ve both lost count. She hates them, but she plugs on, trying to lift her scores. And we plug on from school to school. We are treated to an array of bright and intelligent kids doing amazing things. All of them were stars in high school who have gone on to be stars in college. My daughter is shy, except when she’s on stage. She loves theater; it is her passion and her life.

The U.S. News and World Report Rankings have done a great disservice to kids because schools game the system these days in many different ways. They all want only the top ten percent students with the highest test scores. We’d all like to be those highest achievers, but it isn’t possible. We’d all like to believe our kids are in that top percentage, but they aren’t. That doesn’t mean they don’t have something valuable to contribute, but more and more, schools who used to nurture those kinds of kids are pushing for the top achievers to inflate their rankings. Who’re getting cheated? The kids these colleges supposed to serve, and at a cost that is obscene.

At our last event my daughter leaned over to me after a student presentation and said, “Don’t these schools have any normal kids who found their voices once they enrolled? Isn’t that the point?”

Wise words from a seventeen year old.

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