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Standardized Student Stress

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Standardized Student Stress

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Standardized tests are currently plaguing America’s academic society, pushing students across the nation to the brink of a breakdown daily. These unwanted exams — such as the SAT, ACT, and more — have established their scores as crucial aspects of the average college application. More often than not, a student is accepted into a prestigious university not solely based on their extracurriculars, but rather on the fact that they had performed extremely well on a single test they had memorized all the tips and tricks to months before their application process. Students failing to reach the minimum standards set by any college are typically deprived of any chance of being considered, much less accepted. This idea that testing can somehow measure a student’s worth and level of intelligence is absurd. I believe that the college admissions process places too much emphasis on scoring well on standardized tests, which don’t accurately showcase a student’s abilities and takes away the individuality of every applicant.

Engrained in today’s society are a drive for perfection and a fear of failure that both contribute heavily to the idea that a student must receive a perfect score on the SAT to be worth something. Due to an increasingly heavy workload students feel extremely pressured throughout their junior and senior year, and random standardized tests don’t make them feel much more relaxed. Additionally, students could just not be natural test-taking geniuses, which is more common than one might normally believe. Sophomore Sofia Bautista of the Business Academy says that although she studies “extensively” for most of her exams, she ends up not doing well as a result of “[her] nerves” over the seriousness of her scores and the possibility of failure plaguing her mind. She, along with her other classmates, often make loose statements in which they reason that the average European student must be much better off in terms of a stress-free college application than the average American.

Despite what American students might say, European nations aren’t very flexible in terms of individuality either. They, too, have begun to adopt the use of large exams in their college applications processes and even in the requirements necessary to complete a high school diploma. For example, in Japan, although high schools contain no end-of-the-year exam similar to the ones that we currently take in America, the nation still has extremely difficult entrance exams for those interested in advancing their academics to the university level. Although these exams weed out those who aren’t exactly right for the program, they still limit the reasons why the universities will accept certain students over others. Ultimately, the Japanese university will focus on accepting those who did exceptionally well on the exam rather than approaching an applicant’s form from a holistic perspective, which evaluates an individual as a whole rather than a number. With a holistic approach, I feel that universities will really be able to understand who exactly is fit for their schools, rather than solely eliminating candidates that didn’t perform well on the national exam.

I personally believe that colleges should place a stronger focus on the “supplementary” essays and extracurricular activities of a prospective student rather than the vague scores that are provided to them after a student has taken the exams necessary to apply. Although this holistic idea has taken form in the application process, it still isn’t extensive enough. An emphasis on scores only washes out an applicant’s personality and uniqueness, which fails to see a student as who they truly are. Luckily with a newfound focus on essay writing in college applications, admissions officers are able to gain an idea on who exactly the student is while still understanding their level of intelligence and passion for the subject area in which they plan on majoring. Therefore, essays do hold an insight into students rather than just plainly seeing a number on a screen that tells the officer absolutely nothing about a student’s interests or written voice.

Officially, November 1st marked the deadline for high school students to submit their college applications for the University of Florida. As students rush to finalize their applications for the next school year, I worry that stress induced by college admissions might be a huge factor in students becoming more physically and mentally ill. Regardless of whether you’re a senior or not, you should always remember to relax and never let the standardized stress get to you.

Sarah Bautista, Author

Sarah is currently a Junior in the IB Academy. She loves writing, dogs, Taco Bell, YouTube, and arguing. Sarah is so passionate about arguing, in fact,...

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