Go back to your eighth grade year. You couldn’t even think about the transition to high school, much less visiting the college that just sent you their brochure.
Fast forward to sophomore year. You’re in another beginning-of-the-year assembly when the assistant principal starts talking about beginning your search for the perfect four-year university.
Fast forward once more. Now you’re sitting at your desk trying to meet a college application deadline. You’re a senior.
College is so close you can almost taste it, but did you really need to begin that road in eighth grade? The expectation that students should begin contacting and preparing for college begins earlier and earlier every year. Planning for your future is smart, but not when it chips away at the few years you have left to be a kid.
When a high school senior is searching the web for ways to prepare for college, the last thing they would expect to see is that their search should have started in sixth grade. Unfortunately, that is what many seniors are seeing, and there are many admissions officers that would agree, such as UC San Diego Director of Admissions, Mae Brown. Brown said to “start preparing for college at grade six [age 11],” when talking to Forbes writer Jason Ma in an article published on April 1, 2012.
We at The Forum disagree. As high school students, we know that preparation is key, but we also know how quickly the opportunity to be a kid disappears. No, we’re not professional admissions officers, and few of us are seniors who have been accepted to college; however, the outlook is brighter than we are often led to believe. College is competitive. With the right grades and determination anything can be achieved, and it doesn’t have to start before you hit puberty.
Of course you should think about college before you hit August of your senior year, but that doesn’t mean you should have to start thinking about it before you hit double digits. We think freshman year is a year to start exploring your options and finding information. Legend High School even helps begin that exploration in the freshman transition class. We fear that if we continue on this road the expectation will be for us to exit the womb with an extensive knowledge of calculus, physics, and literature, with a clear-cut, 20-year plan, before we can even support our own heads.
While it may not be everyone’s suggestion, take your time. Enjoy being 11, because before you know it you’ll be 18, sitting at your desk, trying to meet the application deadline.