College application season can be the most stressful period of time for any high school student. The combination of regret for not doing better in school, doubt in your own chances of admission, and the fear of rejection is enough to break even the most stable students. Author Alexandra Robbins, however, realized that the stress of college admission starts well before, as well as lingers well after, the actual application period. Through her observations, she concludes that the current education system is transforming students into GPA-obsessed, narrow-minded beings, and that the stresses of applying to a so-called “prestigious” university have a multitude of negative side effects.
Her first argument concerns how colleges and the entire application system as a whole is systematically turning flesh and blood students into merely sets of numbers. She explains how students nowadays are only concerned about three numbers: their SAT scores, their GPAs, and their class ranks. She goes on to explain that the obsession with these three numbers is causing students to lose sight of what high school is really meant for; getting a sufficient learning experience while preparing oneself for the trials of college life. Instead, high school has become a mad dash for the best chances of being accepted into colleges. This trait is exemplified in AP Frank who, forcefully urged by his mother, took all 17 AP classes Whitman high have to offer, an inconceivable workload that required he skip his lunch period everyday. Going off on a tangent, Robbins also makes a point about the “no child left behind” policy and severely criticizes it for forcing teachers to focus more on test scores rather than actually teaching. Early in the book, Robbins personifies her aversion to turning students into numbers in the form of college admissions counselors. She believes that this group of people is the epitome of why the application systems are so flawed, and first puts forth...
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