Dear College | Teen Ink

Dear College MAG

September 13, 2017
By Anonymous

Dear College,

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.


The author's comments:

If only colleges knew.

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This article has 25 comments.

Robert214 GOLD said...
on Jan. 18 2020 at 9:26 pm
Robert214 GOLD, Guangzhou, Other
11 articles 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
Make the best of what is within our power, and take the rest as it occurs. -Epictetus

The application process is indeed not completely fair. But if you show your story to the admission officers, they are going to consider it...

on Dec. 19 2019 at 3:54 pm
veroniquejohnson, Sacramento, California
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
I like how she put everything she did but still didn't receive any credit she wrote about it and it's so reliable for a college article.

Catniss SILVER said...
on Oct. 20 2018 at 12:45 pm
Catniss SILVER, Jakarta, Other
7 articles 0 photos 18 comments
Very often I feel the way that you do constantly beating myself up for not having perfect grades or not being immensely talented. I always compare myself to others, and there are many times in which I will consider myself to be useless or a failure. It was immensely comforting to read this letter knowing that there is someone who thinks in a similar way that I do. You seem like such a beautiful and wise person, and just know that there are people like me who will always admire you even when some colleges may not.

on Oct. 11 2018 at 4:18 pm
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

This is brilliant! You couldn't have written it any better. Your letter brings out the flaws of the college application process; something that puts a lot of pressure on us. Thank you for writing such a wonderful letter:):):)

on Oct. 8 2018 at 3:58 pm
lovelyheartache BRONZE, Hinsdale, Illinois
4 articles 2 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I think the worst part is though, that despite everything, they still sell themselves and appeal to students through saying things such as "we want to get to know you" and "we see who you are" yet to even get a foot in the door you must be close to perfect.

MA BRONZE said...
on Sep. 23 2018 at 10:28 pm
MA BRONZE, Midvale, Utah
4 articles 1 photo 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
If life shuts one door, open another, or you could open the closed door. That's how doors work.

This is so good! It's so relatable.

on Aug. 27 2018 at 3:58 pm
SassyMuffin BRONZE, Stockholm, Other
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am honestly not sure what I'm supposed to write here. I'm a gal from Sweden that likes muffins. I guess that's it? Oh, and welcome to my page :)

wow, amazing. very well written.

emilylowell said...
on Aug. 25 2018 at 11:38 pm
emilylowell, Falmouth, Maine
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
this makes me so sad, yet so happy at the same time!! the education system is very sadly like this, yet often not talked about like it should be. people mainly only focus on the public education system, but the college applications process is something that should be talked about just as much. it needs to be talked about the stress these teenagers are put through. teenagers should not be making decisions about what they want to do with the rest of their lives. people who aren't even adults yet are making life-changing decisions about what they are going to do with themselves. they are not ready. we aren't ready. this is really an eye-opening piece and thank you for sharing.

rosebush842 said...
on Aug. 22 2018 at 2:39 pm
rosebush842, Maplewood, Missouri
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Wow!! I really relate to this story!! It is amazingly written and incredibly inspiring!! Keep it up!!

FariiiiTaff said...
on Jul. 23 2018 at 10:55 pm
FariiiiTaff, Rosedale, New York
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I can identify whole heartedly with this, there’s a much more going on in life than just perfect grades and extra curricular activities, when you can’t rven figure out how to function “normally” enough to get through the day

Jdvinsil said...
on Jun. 14 2018 at 9:46 am
Jdvinsil, California, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Liked iy

RikkiTeen said...
on Jun. 13 2018 at 4:58 pm
RikkiTeen, Silverdale, Washington
0 articles 1 photo 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. So its important to keep moving forward!

I love this, keep it up. And for the grade thing

on May. 27 2018 at 5:22 pm
nothing_gold GOLD, Potomac, Maryland
12 articles 9 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything's science fiction until someone makes it science fact." -Warcross, Marie Lu

Beautifully written, and incredibly relarable! Thank you for writing this, and good luck with school and grades ;)

on May. 27 2018 at 5:20 pm
nothing_gold GOLD, Potomac, Maryland
12 articles 9 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything's science fiction until someone makes it science fact." -Warcross, Marie Lu

Haha it reminded me of that too. But let's not make assumptions xD

on Apr. 28 2018 at 9:42 pm
Celia Buell SILVER, Skokie, Illinois
7 articles 3 photos 24 comments
Everything about this is me, thank you so much for publishing

on Mar. 23 2018 at 11:14 am
AsenathRose GOLD, Chesapeake Beach, Maryland
14 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me,"--Shakespeare

dear Evan Hansen reference? Sincerely, me. anybody?

swe4567 said...
on Mar. 21 2018 at 1:30 pm
swe4567, Bn, Nevada
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is amazing. I relate so much to this.

on Feb. 27 2018 at 10:42 pm
ruthvera SILVER, Dublin, California
5 articles 7 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Sometimes the right path, isn't the easiest one"

wow, just wow. speechless.

Catniss SILVER said...
on Feb. 4 2018 at 8:17 am
Catniss SILVER, Jakarta, Other
7 articles 0 photos 18 comments
Thank you for writing this. It will open up the minds of so many people. I am constantly stressed about my grades, but you remind me that I can be worth so much more than that. I wish you success in the future!!

I loved this piece too