breaking news
The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Competition kindles stress with college applications

Senior+year+is+supposed+to+be+a+time+for+students+to+have+more+free+time+and+make+some+final+memories+before+college%3B+however%2C+many+students+end+up+taking+late+nights+to+finish+up+college+work+on+top+of+their+rigorous+schedules.
Tyler Ellison
Senior year is supposed to be a time for students to have more free time and make some final memories before college; however, many students end up taking late nights to finish up college work on top of their rigorous schedules.

The average SAT score for CHS students in 2022 was 1230, which easily surpassed the state average of 1124, according to the Fairfax County SAT Statistics. While 34.6% of students across the nation have taken an Advanced Placement (AP) course, per CollegeBoard, research done by U.S. News states the average AP participation rate for CHS is 63%. Out of all 623 high schools in Virginia, CHS is ranked 13th.

CHS’ academic achievements are truly something to be proud of, and our overall access to different courses and extracurricular helps students have a distinct high school experience. However, because of this status, a competitive environment has been solidified throughout the school, which has changed many students’ outlook on college admissions. Things like the SAT or AP course loads are already difficult for high school students across the nation; however, there are higher expectations at CHS due to our test history and available courses, leading to additional stress for seniors during the college application process.  

There’s a prominent gap between the SAT scores of applicants from across the nation and those at CHS. According to Naviance, the SAT score range for the middle 50% of enrolled students at Virginia Tech was 1100-1320, while CHS’ range for accepted students was 1290-1470. Despite the SAT losing relevance for many colleges, these statistics still show that  students are held to higher standards due to the school’s average being substantially higher than that of the rest of the nation. 

AP classes and course loads are another aspect of the application process that are held to greater standards. CHS currently offers 31 AP courses, covering multiple academic and elective topics. While this variety is amazing for students looking to get a taste for certain college subjects, the overwhelming number of APs has led to numerous students feeling pressured into taking as many of these rigorous courses as possible in order to keep up with their peers and the expectations of colleges, who are able to see what courses students have available to them.  

Story continues below advertisement

Leadership roles are another contributing factor to student competition and stress. Titles are often the fastest way to show commitment to an activity, so there’s tension when multiple students are competing for the same role. 

Anyone who ends up being the runner-up for these kinds of positions will not always have another opportunity to express their talent or passion for a particular activity. Nowhere is this issue more apparent than in larger groups and clubs, such as sports teams or music programs, where students may not receive the full recognition they deserve. 

The result of all of these high standards surrounding students are overcrowded schedules, late nights of studying and catching up on work, and increased mental health issues. The senior class has been hit the hardest, with 31.3% of seniors in Fairfax feeling depressive symptoms last year, per the 2022-2023 Fairfax County Youth Survey

Above all else, the competition at CHS has led to a unique problem with the college application process. Every student in the country may face issues about SAT scores or grades, but because of all the inflated statistics at CHS, students need to work even harder throughout their high school career in order to meet the expectations of many colleges.

CHS’ variety in courses and programs is an overall positive part of the school. However, the focus on high grades and stacked schedules often make it difficult for students to portray their overall experience throughout high school when it comes to their college application. 

The best advice for any senior or junior experiencing college-related stress is to take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture. For one, many colleges take a look at different aspects of a student outside of the traditional grades and extracurricular. A college’s common data set can help students gauge what other aspects colleges consider when making their decisions. For example, a college may find talent to be very important, so students could maximize on this by submitting an art portfolio alongside their application.

More importantly, whether it’s an Ivy League or community college, there is always going to be a group for the student to be a part of. The competition in CHS and workload of high school don’t properly represent what the college experience will be like; students have a lot more choices when it comes to what they want to be a part of. College applications should simply be a space for students to reflect on their achievements throughout high school, and then they’ll find their place wherever they end up.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Purple Tide
$470
$600
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Chantilly High School. Your contribution will allow us to cover our printing and annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Tyler Ellison, Opinions Editor
Tyler is a senior in his second year with The Purple Tide. He's a part of the CHS Marching Band, school and community theater and Food for Neighbors. He also enjoys piano and photography. Finally, Tyler believes that ABBA is the best band in existence and won't be taking any other opinions (he is probably wrong).
Donate to The Purple Tide
$470
$600
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Purple Tide Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *