I have helped hundreds of high school seniors over the years work through their college essays. I have often thought the whole process puts undue pressure on them to have already discovered who they are and to be able to articulate their journeys. My experience is that most seniors in high school are still trying to figure out who they are. They are still on their journeys. They have only an inkling of who they are and what they want. They are hardly finished products. If they were, why would they go to college and continue their journeys towards self-discovery? I am not a college admissions officer, but I wonder if colleges could come up with more authentic and reasonable questions/topics that would truly get at who a student is at that point in her life. I have no easy answers, but I just wish students were not put in the position where they feel guilty or as though they were failures because they haven’t yet discovered who they are or what matters the most to them.
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