Here’s a little nugget from a person who has studied at Harvard and has been part of the admission process. In it, the author talks about how, by striving for the best, the best becomes monotonous and mundane. In the process of surpressing yourself and your passions and needs to get that perfect score on the SAT or ACT or that 4.0+ GPA, you become just the numbers on the transcript that you now live for. This is why we have the college essays. Admissions people want to see you as a person. They want to see the passion and personality. But some people are finding it difficult to put themselves in this essay because instead of developing their inner landscapes, students have been focusing on the sterility of grades and achievements. That doesn’t mean that those things aren’t important but when they start eclipsing you, then they aren’t worth it.
Here’s an excerpt from the article and the link to it afterwards:
“The other problem with this all-out sprint to the Ivy League is that it makes so many students look the same, which as any college admissions officer can tell you, is the death knell for an application. I counsel a couple dozen students every year, and in any given year more than half of my students — affluent, extremely hardworking, probably overstressed students — have nothing to set them apart. They all serve as the president of at least one major campus organization. They’ve all volunteered for work abroad trips after sophomore or junior year. They all have perfect SATs, SAT IIs, APs and GPAs, despite all taking every advanced placement class available at their high school or community college. They all come from top feeder schools like Paly, Los Altos, Gunn, Monta Vista, Mission, Harker, Bellarmine, Lynbrook. They all play at least one sport. They’ve all placed in national science and math olympiads. They are academically perfect; they have literally maxed out on all numerical measures of comparison. And the vast majority still won’t get into their top choice schools.”