Has the college admissions process been hard for you and your loved ones? Choosing the right college can seem like such a heavy burden on both child and parent. A recent trend has been happening amongst students about to enter college as well as students becoming involved in their early years of college. An increasing number of students are seeking help for mental health issues at a rate outpacing growth in enrollment.
A basic unwritten law of the college admissions process is that colleges want to see your involvement and the more you’re involved the better. Furthermore, a lot of colleges expect for that involvement to be maintained through the college experience as well. This can lead to even more burden on a student because most clubs that you will join in college can be based on a combination of essays, applications, and interviews. Some of these clubs can have even higher scrutiny than the actual college acceptance rate! These clubs, though, hold many students’ keys to friendships and social interactions. They also provide opportunities for students to network, develop professional skills, and bulk up their resumes.
Yet, data collected from over a hundred colleges and universities between the last five years concludes that there is definite “consistent” growth in students reporting depression, anxiety, and social anxiety.
So what is the solution?
Engaging students and communicating to college bound students that quantity is not always best and too much of anything can be a bad thing; simply put, quality over quantity. There needs to be a push for encouraging students about to enter college and even students going through high school that they must value quality over quantity. The student who has joined five clubs, with a near perfect GPA, and who volunteers on the weekends isn’t the only student going to graduate and get a job or get accepted into that dream college they are hoping for. This person who stretches his limits is not going to be the only person to succeed, nor is all that effort necessary to succeed.
Just as likely, the student who is involved in one or two organizations (in a meaningful way), who gives back to their community when they can and focuses on making good grades will be just as likely to be successful as any other person out there trying to grab their piece of the pie.
We must take a step back and focus on the mental health of students in high school and entering college and communicate to them that their best work will always be curtailed by their own health. Being healthy is its own success! Communicate to your child that mental and physical health are just as important as maintaining a GPA. Don’t let your child be part of the statistic of growing mental health issues seen in burned out high school and college students.
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