I would very much like to attend your school, despite my non-existent 4.0 GPA and below-average SAT scores. Sorry, but I am not a straight-A student nor a nationally recognized award winner nor a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. In fact, I have very little value to you. I receive B’s most of the time, the occasional A, and once a C+. I ran on my school’s track team for three years and never made it to varsity. I ran on the cross-country team for one year, was in two community plays, and sang my heart out in choir for three years, and never received any special recognition of any kind. I was never a team captain or a club president. I was never the star player or the top student. I was always in the middle. Perhaps that is not such a bad thing, but when you are trying to make yourself stand out to colleges, prove to them why you deserve to attend their school, it’s rather hard when all you have to show are mediocre achievements.
I could explain to you why my grades are so lackluster and my test scores so flawed. I could tell you about how I developed severe anxiety in the ninth grade, breaking down before classes, silently crying alone in the girl’s bathroom. I could tell you about the depression I developed after my best friend told me she was anorexic and how badly she wanted to kill herself. I could tell you all this and much more, but you just wouldn’t listen.
Colleges don’t care about my life story. What you care about are the things that benefit you. Colleges want to be known for students with 4.0 GPAs and perfect SAT scores, not students whose biggest accomplishment is overcoming their suicidal thoughts and depression. However, that student who overcame her suicidal thoughts is much more victorious than the kid with 4.0 GPA. That girl who battled her depression needed more strength than it takes to battle the SATs.
That girl is a warrior, a fighter, a passionate, strong individual. But her strengths may be dismissed in favor of test scores and GPAs. If only colleges cared enough to learn her story. If only you knew that she was too busy fighting off depression to conquer her SATs. If only you knew that she was too busy working through her anxieties to work through her math homework. If only you knew how passionate and strong she was.
So don’t make the same mistake twice. Don’t turn a deaf ear in my direction, because I am not just test scores and grades.
I am so much more than that.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.