Admit guilt in college admissions

In Opinion

It’s a big week for Cal State Fullerton. The next several days mark the end of the semester—finals, followed by graduation.

For many, this represents the end of their school worries for a while. For others, it is the beginning of brand new worries as they look toward an uncertain future outside of education. Among the stress and festivities (stress-tivities?), it is easy to forget that a new generation is joining the academic landscape.

Or are at least attempting to.

Something we seem to forget once in college is the idea that getting admitted is difficult. In another time, I found myself waitlisted for CSUF. Already having spent three years in a junior college—time well spent, but an era that was rapidly reaching diminishing academic returns—I had to face the very real possibility of spending another sizable chunk of time outside of a university.

Of course, I eventually got in quite easily. However, others have a much more difficult time. There’s indication that most major university admission rates are down. California’s economic and educational worries suggest there’s little relief from such issues on the horizon.

Naturally, desperate times can call for desperate measures, but to appear desperate is probably the last thing someone should do.

Earlier this month, the New York Times did a feature on students who send exorbitant amounts of gifts and supplementary materials to schools they desire admission into. Videos are made, cookies are baked and myriad letters concerning students’ love of the respective school they’re applying for are sent out.

And while many schools seemed to admit at least taking some kind of interest in applicants who went the extra mile and a half, there were just as many (likely more) cases of schools either being completely disinterested or put off by this one-sided show of affection.

But rather than spend time heaping onto these poor, slightly misguided students, instead I will make a singular plea.

Let’s take it back to basics.

Education, in much of its aspects, has become too “gameified”; it’s become something far more trivial than its original intentions. Much of that does have to do with the concept of supply and demand—the idea of exclusionary value placed on most schools—but acceptance into a university should be more of an acknowledgement of hard work.

It shouldn’t be like a nagging partner who doesn’t want you to do the laundry, really wanting you to want to do the laundry.

The idea of “Cs get degrees” is kind of missing the point, isn’t it? When the mentality of high school graduates becomes less about “grades not being enough” anymore, and becomes “grades aren’t as important as playing the game,” then maybe it’s time we readjust the perception of higher education.

I’m not saying this is universally practiced, but there are people who seem to be placing a greater emphasis on a perceived song and dance. The courtship comparison is apt. Frankly, I would not be surprised if we’re getting progressively less prepared for real-world employment because we seem more concerned with how to obtain the job rather than how to do it properly.

Thus, with the final issue of the Daily Titan this semester, I urge you: if you happen to be returning next semester or if you’re the odd incoming student that has happened to get your hand on this story, take your education seriously.

Because when it’s over, you’re not going to be left with the name of the school you went to. What you’re going to be left with is the lessons you learned getting there and the ones you learned while attending.

Don’t make one of those lessons how to put together a thoughtful fruit basket.

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