a year ago
Admissions Advice

Am I doing enough to get into college?

I'm a freshman in high school and have straight As (one a- due to mental health issues). I read around 2 books a week (often classic lit and non-fiction stuff concerning early modern England and the Plantagenets) and write loads of essays and creative things by myself that I want to get published/enter into literary magazines/competitions. I ride horses and am going to start volunteering at a special needs barn near me. I am in a youth theater company that only does Shakespeare, Shakespeare adaptations, or other early modern drama, which I adore as Shakespeare was my first love in literature (and perhaps my strongest). I'm in my school's lit mag. My school doesn't offer honors/aps but I want to take the exams independently next year. I take singing and acting lessons. And that sounded so horribly braggy... but it feels like no matter how much I do I never feel like I'm going to get into a good college or succeed in an academic career. I once read the entire Shakespearean canon in 4 months and it was hellish... I thought it would make me feel better but it never did. I just feel like a complete faliure... what more can I do?

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2 answers

a year ago

Hi @Rosemary1776!

I know my reply is REALLY long, but I feel it's necessary for you.

I think you need to do yourself a favor by NOT doing stuff merely for getting into college. If you're living with that mindset, no matter how much you do, you'll always feel that it's not enough. The toxic admissions culture is unfortunately making students get into an unhealthy competition for securing a spot in top colleges. Unless you're the smartest and most talented kid on the planet, there will always be someone better than you in one aspect or the other. Do not compare yourself to overachievers and think you're a failure. As you've already experienced, achievements will only give you temporary satisfaction. Not sure what you mean by a good college, but if you've been brainwashed into believing that the only path to a successful life includes straight A's in high school with a laundry list of extracurriculars; studying at an Ivy League or Ivy-equivalent college, and pursuing a career in STEM or a field that demands high qualifications, DO NOT believe all that.

Pursue extracurriculars ONLY if you're interested in them, NOT because someone told you to do so. It is better to spend more quality time in relatively few activities rather than trying to distribute time between too many activities.

Maintaining a good GPA in rigorous coursework is important, but that shouldn't overpressure you. Getting one B isn't the end of the world. You said you have an A- due to mental health issues. Your mental health will just get worse if you're biting off more than you can chew.

You've just started high school. You have some wonderful years ahead of you. Being goal-oriented isn't a bad thing, but don't be so engrossed with college preparation that you eventually regret ignoring other crucial parts of your life (family, friends, and your own well-being). Wishing you good luck on the journey that awaits you...

Hope this helps!

a year ago

Short answer: Yes, you're doing enough.

Long answer: With you having all A's (One A- shouldn't be that big especially if you are a freshman) I feel as if you are on the right path and you will continue on that good path. Keep up the good work and continue to pursue as many extracurricular activities as you can. Just make sure the extracurricular activities are the ones you actually enjoy. Make sure to take breaks though! Your mental health is also important and you should always make sure that is your first priority!!! You are doing an amazing job so far and I wish you nothing but luck in the future! Sorry if none of this made any sense, English isn't my first language.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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