Pressure on Students to be Well-Rounded

Pressure on Students to be Well-Rounded

Rayner Reinhardt, Staff Writer

In recent years, the idea has been that many universities want a “well-rounded” student. They look at college application through a “holistic approach,” which includes not only grades and GPA, but clubs, sports, and out-of-school activities.  

While this may be true, colleges, especially elite ones, have started looking for students who show strong passion in a certain area. For example, a student who shows interest in the medical field may take many science-centered classes, join related clubs, and pursue an internship at a local hospital.  

Although this idea is growing, students are still feeling the pressure to be well-rounded because of the common misconception that colleges are only interested in those that do the most.  

“I’ve tried to get involved in clubs and sports that I don’t even particularly like. But I want my applications to look well-rounded, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to do different things,” said junior Ava Metzbower.  

Even freshmen feel this pressure to get super-involved with school. 

“This year I tried to take a variety of challenging courses, and I’ve also gotten involved in sports and the Speech and Debate club,” said freshman Nate Frenkel.  

CHS government teacher Thomas Ferrell acknowledges that students have immense amounts of pressure, especially those looking in to elite or D1 colleges: “If a student wants to go to a D1 school, they have to get used to a lot of the pressure that comes with it. It’s important to stay focused and balanced at the same time.”  

CHS guidance also recognizes this, and recommends that students challenge themselves as best as they can, but to be cautious about overbooking your schedule. Making choices that work best for you is important.

Recently, Galin Education has reported that “These days, colleges are looking to assemble a well-rounded class made up of ‘specialists’ or ‘angular students’—students who have fewer but deeper interests—as well as students who are involved in an array of activities.” 

Freshman Fletcher Thomas understands this and is already planning his high school and college schedules.  

“I want to go to med school, so I think taking courses that relate to my field is important. I want to take a lot of math and science and continue my internship at Johns Hopkins hospital,” Thomas said.  

In his book How to be a High School Superstar, Cal Newport, a Dartmouth and MIT graduate, stresses the importance of having a commitment to what you love to do, and what you’re passionate about. Colleges recognize this.  

Often times, students don’t know what they plan to do in college or in the future, so this process is not ideal for everyone.  

“I don’t have an idea for what I really want to be in the future, but I enjoy art classes a lot, so I take studio and IMP . . . I have interest in art, so hopefully colleges will notice that,” Metzbower said.  

Still, the pressure to be well rounded exists in the CHS atmosphere. Some students strive to do as many things as they can, whether they have interest or not.  

“There’s a lot of things I don’t hold particular interest in, but I will probably end up doing them anyway,” Frenkel said.