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The teenage "pressure cooker"
High school students learning in a computer lab.
August 16th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

The teenage "pressure cooker"

By Jim Roope, CNN

(CNN) - Getting into a good college is so competitive that even the nearly perfect student has trouble.

[0:38] “I got a 2390 out of 2400 on my SAT,” said 18-year-old Kevin Mark.

Yet with that near-perfect SAT score, a 4.0+ GPA throughout high school, an Eagle Scout and volunteer work for his church and community, he was not accepted to MIT, his first choice of college, nor his second choice Cal Tech.

Kevin’s parents say all of that is disappointing but that he’s OK with it. He’ll be going to UCLA this fall.

All this pressure to excel in competition to get into a good college could result in negative affects that go far beyond a bruised ego.

[4:46] “You get students with pretty high anxiety coming through college these days,” said Occidental College Professor Lisa Wade.

It’s not just the pressure from parents or even themselves that is causing this anxiety. The ability to compete globally is at stake. A recent study ranking international education shows the US in ninth place in math and not even in the top 10 in science.

What do you think about the pressure today's students are facing?  Do you have any stories to share?  Please leave your comments below.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    Kevin, and all the other great "top 1%" students out there, will do fine at UCLA or similar great universities and in their future careers. (Assuming they keep their study habits.) Speaking as a former tenured professor, it is the high school students in the 50-75% range heading off to college we need to worry about. Will they become the "life-learners" necessary to compete in the global marketplace or end up in the unskilled labor force?

    August 23, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
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    August 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ren Driver

    It's a competition thing and the school's desire to continue to keep class sizes smaller and more interactive. Add into this the ease of getting student loans most colleges are not hurting for students, allowing some of the higher demanded prestigious colleges to pick the cream of the crop so to speak.

    August 20, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
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    August 19, 2012 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. ladybuddha

    grades and scores are not everything. the fact that we try to narrow down the complexity of a human being into numbers is the bigger problem. we need to encourage well-rounded students who will contribute to society in well-rounded ways.

    August 17, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Leonora Bellis

    Wish something could be done to help these wonderful kids like Kevin who are the future of our country. There must be scholarship dollars hiding somewhere.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fr. Dick

    God help young people today. When they do their best it certainly should be enough.

    August 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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