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College Acceptances Raise Controversies

Shrikha Balaji
Photo of rejection letter from University of Southern California

The recent class of 2024 college admission cycle has ended and left a lot of controversy. Many schools have lowered acceptance rates compared to last year and despite the fluctuating numbers over the years, this year especially has left many baffled. These acceptance rates have also caused many future applicants to worry about why the numbers have dropped and how it will affect the admissions process when they apply. 

One factor that students are worried about is test scores. When COVID hit, many schools decided not to take SAT and ACT scores, which was a widely supported decision. While some students were devastated that they had worked so hard to get a score that they liked but they couldn’t use, many other students were relieved that they did not have to go through the struggle of getting a good score. 

It has been four years since it was decided that standardized testing would not be used and schools are starting to repeal this decision. Many schools such as Brown, CalTech, Georgetown, Purdue, MIT, University of Florida and Georgia Tech have decided to make SAT/ACT scores mandatory for the class of 2025.

I think that this decision isn’t wise because it forces students to hyperfixate on getting a good score. In general, standardized testing isn’t a very well rounded method to gauge what level a student is at, academically. It puts pressure on students to study for a test that eventually just depends on the success of all of the students taking it. The SAT and ACT are often curved due to the amount of low scores, which ends up making students pit themselves against their peers. Getting rid of standardized testing allowed for students to show off their personality in other ways, such as extracurriculars. 

Extracurricular activities are very important when it comes to applications because it shows colleges how the student is implementing themselves, whether it be into the community or in their own passions. However, now colleges are getting extremely selective when it comes to what they want to see. These colleges have seen a vast variety of different extracurriculars over the years and they want something new, something innovative. 

Personally, I find that there is an incredible amount of stress placed on these students because at a certain point, there is only so much students can do. A lot of the things that students are passionate about have already been done, so asking them to do more innovative things is incredibly tricky. Many opportunities such as internships are also becoming highly selective, making it even harder for students to attain them. While extracurriculars are a great way for students to showcase their interests, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be passionate and innovative at the same time. 

I think that colleges should focus more on the dedication of their students rather than their innovation. If a student has worked on a project for 3 years, I think that speaks more about their character than if they started an organization on Instagram highlighting an issue for less than a year. The first situation displays the student’s commitment to something and it also shows how hard working they are to stay on that path. The second situation depicts how a student came up with a new idea, but hasn’t shown any commitment towards. Some may even say they made that organization solely to look better on their college applications. Overall, being selective about the type of extracurricular isn’t a definitive way of understanding a student’s outlook compared to what they have done with each extracurricular. 

College application season will be starting in a couple of months and it will most definitely bring stress upon students. Understanding what they have to do for their application is what brings the most stress and after the drop in acceptances, it will place a heavier weight on their shoulders. It is important for colleges to realize this and figure out a method to relieve some of this weight while also maintaining their values. 

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About the Contributor
Shrikha Balaji
Shrikha Balaji, Staff Writer
Hey! My name is Shrikha Balaji, and I am a senior at Freedom High School! I love taking pictures and hanging out with my friends. My favorite subject is psychology. I look forward to taking some awesome pictures of different Freedom events and also writing some cool pieces!