The Era of the New Super Student

June 05, 2007

Personally, I think it is reasonable to assume that most Americans can shamefully (or proudly, in some cases) admit that they have watched a teen flick. Whether the movie is Clueless, High School Musical, Mean Girls or Napoleon Dynamite, they all have that same cafeteria scene. The stock characters isolate themselves in their cliques at the lunch tables while appeasing their hunger. We see the jocks eating meat, the nerds nibbling on bologna sandwiches, the drama kids eating carrot sticks, the future presidents of the world drinking lattes, the preps eating sushi, and the philanthropists eating soy cheese. While Hollywood has defined the typical student (along with their feeding habits), colleges expect something else, something more.

As I pull together my résumé and transcripts for college, it dawns on me that colleges no longer seek the nerd who is the calculus and SAT guru. They want to see a student who is the genetic hybrid of all the cliques in the Hollywood movies. They want the jock, the nerd, the artist, the thespian, the leader, the fashion cognoscente and the philanthropist all rolled up into a new-and-improved model of the high school student: the ultimate super student.

I feel ecstatic that colleges have decided to set high standards for a greater quality of education, but I don’t appreciate the effects of such standards on students such as myself. Whenever I hear my classmates speak of their involvement in a sport, community service project or any club activity, I always hear the words, “It’s just for my résumé.”

I’ve also felt this necessity to impress colleges with a rigorous school schedule. I planned on scrapping history and doubling on the sciences with AP® physics and AP® biology because I heard that colleges are impressed with a heavy science workload. However, I love history, and any debater knows how historical precedents can aid an argument. Eventually, I came to my senses and changed my schedule to include AP® modern European history in lieu of AP® physics because my schedule did not reflect my interests or my true academic passions. Currently, as I study Machiavelli and the beautiful art of the Renaissance, I think that I am receiving the best education possible.

Yet, when I saw the college admissions statistics trend towards the perfection of the super student, I felt uneasy. As a result, I stopped checking my Facebook account and immediately began writing essay drafts. While I flipped through all my papers, I accidentally gave myself a paper cut on my finger. As I went to my bathroom to clean the blood from the wound, I realized a crucial fact: I am only human.

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