Problems at LHS: College Admissions

Darren Tran

“No way is she getting into [insert a top 20 college here according to U.S. News].”

If you walk through the Lexington High School library or meander amongst the lunch tables, you might hear students faced with the college application process make such remarks. Your gut reaction might be to condemn their remarks, but if you take a moment to reflect, you might begin to believe them. However, I find the sentiment expressed in this statement wrong and unnecessary.

Sure, you can blame LHS’ academic rigor as a contributor to the intense “comparison culture,” but I have to disagree that this is the primary reason. School culture is ultimately driven by the students, and this mad rat race to college distracts students from the actual learning in class. While changing the toxicity of this culture is easier said than done, we can at least make an effort to not discredit people and their post-secondary plans.

Additionally, even though LHS no longer has class rank, there are still perceptions of unofficial class ranks. “Oh, she’s definitely in the top 5%, and him? There’s no way he’s above a 3.7.” To everyone that thinks this way, I pose a question to you: what difference does having this mindset make? If you care that much about the nonexistent class rank, why not just focus on improving yourself? And if you say it is too late to do that, then why do you even care about ranking at all? It is this focus on the uncontrollable that creates unnecessary stress and frustration.

Next, where is the benefit in judging someone else? At the end of the day, many of us will eventually find ourselves at the hands of nebulous admissions offices. 

For a high school that prides itself on producing the next generation of leaders, it is ironic and disappointing that so many of its students lack the ability to treat each other with the respect that everyone deserves. 

Sometimes, it seems inevitable that a “Hunger Games” type of environment encapsulates the school, but it does not have to be this way.

To the students who find themselves projecting their opinions of others out loud: I know you are stressed out, but it does not justify your choice to aggravate the tension around the college application process by remarking on others.

And to the students on the receiving end of college toxicity: try to distance yourself from the negativity and surround yourself with people that help you in this pursuit.