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95 theses (plus or minus 60)

Maverick Notes


GENTRYAs someone with a love for education and an utmost respect for institutions of higher learning, I intend to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. I ask that those who cannot be present and dispute with me orally shall do so in their absence by email (education@lakeoswegoreview.com).

1. When a counselor at a school says “apply,” they instill the desire to go to college in their students.

2. And although the intentions of every counselor are pure, the results are not always so pure.

3. It must be noted that these imperfect results are not the fault of the counselor, the student or the employees of any college; the blame can only be placed on the culture of college applications.

4. We begin with résumé-building: throughout a student’s secondary education, they add items to their list of extracurricular activities for the sake of expanding the list.

5. And though appending these items one after another is impressive, it also adds unnecessary stress on the student.

6. And though these interminable lists may grant a coveted Acceptance Letter to the student, they must ask themselves, “Was it worth the stress?”

7. This is not to diminish the stunning achievements of those who take on this extra burden of extracurriculars; it is simply to point out that this is not the only path to Acceptance.

8. Placing depth above breadth absolves one of this stress.

9. A pursuance of personally intriguing extracurriculars in a single area is just as strong a résumé as one with a wide array of extracurriculars.

10. The least stressful résumé is one where a common thread connects the items, all of which interest the applicant.

11. It is, of course, up to each individual student to choose their path to Acceptance; however, it must be recognized that there exist many paths, not all of which require a lengthy résumé.

12. Beyond pre-application strengthening, it must be recognized that the decision on where to apply and where to go rests with the student.

13. There exists ubiquitous pressure to exceed all expectations by applying to a Top College.

14. This pressure simply should not exist; one’s path to their college should never be altered by vain wishes of others.

15. Valuing “prestige” over happiness, affordability and soundness of education is simply absurd.

16. Each person is self-determinant when applying to colleges; no outside influences should exist.

17. It is, of course, acceptable to apply to prestigious schools.

18. However, prestige should not be the major factor when deciding on a college. One should attend an affordable “perfect fit,” whatever that means to each individual.

19. While on the topic of affordability, it is worthwhile to point out the expense of applying to colleges, which is beyond absurd.

20. When totaling all of the costs, including application fees, standardized test scores, and financial aid applications, the price can easily exceed one hundred dollars per university.

21. This price bars students from applying to many schools.

22. Though it is possible to obtain waivers for applications and for test scores, this price still bears a huge load.

23. This cost should be reduced to allow for financial ease of application.

24. This does not even touch on the expense of attending a school.

25. Public schools, which are considered affordable alternatives to private schools, can be north of $20,000 per school year in some states.

26. Private schools can be upwards of $60,000 per school year.

27. Hopeful college students take student loans to pay for part of their college, compounding into a large student debt problem post-graduation.

28. Though the tuition of private schools cannot be regulated, the tuition of public schools can, and should, be reduced.

29. The value of different majors is also often unfairly contested.

30. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors are touted as the most profitable of all.

31. This creates a stigma around majors in the humanities, the arts and other fields that do not involve science.

32. The consequences are widespread: humanities departments lose control of their funds, and students are deterred from broadening their education.

33. This inhibits cultural literacy and knowledge of widely circulated works.

34. We should support the study of the liberal arts; education for the sake of education should be valued over the eventual profitability of a major.

35. These are simply flaws that exist in the college application process. It must be emphasized again that the fault can only be placed on the process itself, not individuals or colleges. Though this may not enact any change, I can only hope that readers recognize these flaws.

Riverdale High School senior Brian Gentry is one of two Maverick Notes columnists for The Review.

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