About the Author
I have worked in college admissions for 25 years. I have seen many changes over time, but I have become alarmed at the pressures we adults are collectively placing on young people to make us all happy because I see how this drive to be admitted to college is affecting them so negatively. Wanting to become part of the solution, I have begun to speak out publicly about the effects of this pressure on kids. I am now involved in a growing movement to change the way higher education handles admissions so that students are seen, as I like to describe it, as human "beings" rather than human "doings."
Dr Ken Ginsburg:
I have specialized in adolescent medicine for 19 years at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. My patients range from poor urban to upper-income suburban youth. I am very concerned about how young people's behaviors affect their health. It seems that every year I see more young people who are physically ill, anxious, and depressed-some of whom are turning to dangerous quick fixes, such as drugs and alcohol-as a result of constant pressure to prove they are good enough to get into college. But I've become increasingly convinced that children and teens can overcome a great deal of adversity and deal with significant stress if their resilience is given the opportunity to flourish.
Both of us are critically concerned about what's happening to young people and deeply committed to redirecting them from the dangerous direction in which they're headed. We share a mutual goal: to help parents support their children in becoming successful at school and in life. Truly successful young people know how to face challenges, manage stress, enjoy life, and reach their potential while remaining healthy and well balanced. Success doesn't mean being the best at everything or attending the "best" college. Success isn't determined by a fat acceptance letter from their first-choice college. Success in the college admissions process can be achieved by finding the most appropriate college for each individual student-the best match-and by using this opportunity to develop resilience, integrity, and confidence for a lifetime.