Academic Pressure Too Much To Handle Essay Scholarships

For seniors, the excitement (and fear) of leaving for college is almost tangible. Scholarship deadlines are quickly approaching, leaving many seniors scrambling to put applications, essays, and letters of recommendation together. When approached about the subject of scholarship pressures, many seniors responded with a haunted look and exasperated laughter. “Scholarships make me wanna cry,” said Marna Wal, speaking bluntly.

“Oh my god” said Kaeli Domino, “[The stress] is like, off the walls.”

Megan Damitz responded truthfully, saying, “It’s unfathomable how I’m going to come up with all of this money. I’m kind of in denial actually. I’m not really thinking about it; which is, you know, not good.”

“There is a lot of pressure to do a lot of [scholarships]. Sometimes it feels like it’s just not worth the pressure.” said Bria Wunderlich.

There are so many aspects of paying for college, and so many decisions that need to be made. The amount of stress being put on 18 year olds can get to be a lot for one person to handle. It can make it seem like you’re in an epic battle of stress, with a good education hanging in the balance.

Scholarships are a competitive and time consuming process. There are usually large pools of applicants, with similar skill sets. Often times, there is only one winner, making it hard to motivate oneself to apply for them again and again. “When you look at [scholarships], you don’t think you have a chance of getting them, so that also causes me not to want to do them. The competition just makes it more stressful”, said Domino.

Katie Eckard understands the stress, but counters with some good advice. “I mean there’s no hurt in trying. Like it’s better than just saying “oh I’m too lazy, I’m not going to get it anyways.” Well, you’re absolutely not going to get any money if you don’t try.”   Scholarships can eat a lot of one’s time, which is a commodity many high schoolers have little of. Haaken Bungum reminds students of a lesson taught by many teachers; “If you work two hours on an application and receive a $500 scholarship, you just made $250 an hour.”

The dreaded scholarship essay is an important opportunity to sell yourself to your college. Each essay requires thoughtful answers, a clever title, funny yet meaningful anecdotes, and insight to who you are as a person. There is a lot of pressure on applicants to write an outstanding essay. Add that to the end of the year stress and many seniors are breaking down in sweats. Domino, a senior who will be attending Loyola University in Chicago this next year, commented on this very pressure, “The essays are really annoying because I’m already writing five essays in classes. Then I have to right another paper for scholarships, and it’s just like, can I not? It is really tough, actually.” Guidance Counselor Ms. Margo McKay recommends reusing as many essays as possible. That way you can cut down on time spent, and still apply to as many scholarships as possible. In your essays, she also advises kids to be thoughtful, and to list any plans you have. “Knowing what you would do with the [scholarship] money helps,” said Damitz, and McKay agrees.

This does make it difficult for the large percentage of young adults who identify with the infamous undecided title. “I know what I want to do and study, and I’m super passionate about that” said Wal. “But other people are undecided and that sucks for them because there are like entire sections where they’re like “now if you were to get this money, how would you further your education, and what would you study?”” Wal will be attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities to major in Global Studies with an emphasis on Human Rights.  It’s no question that the essay is important, so take some time on it. Take it to a teacher and have them review it. They can help you make your ideas clear and concise.

With the coming of spring, scholarship deadlines come as well. Many of these deadlines can be found in the career office or on the school website. Many seniors are about to see the culmination of all of their hard work, and the current junior class is on deck.             “Juniors should start applying in the summer” advised Josi Segner. She continues saying, “Apply for every single one because you never know if you’ll get it or not.” Another piece of advice from Segner was to “Apply for the obscure [scholarships] because a lot of people don’t apply for them.”

Bungum advises checking the school website often (which lists many local scholarships), and other students agree, reminding applicants to stay on top of deadlines. Making a spreadsheet or list of all of the scholarships you want to apply for can be a real savior come April. Wunderlich recommends keeping a list of all activities, leadership roles, and community service events you have ever participated in. That way you can save a step, since virtually all applications require it. Juniors should also have a letter of recommendation or two handy. Make sure to give the writer of the letter enough time to write a quality essay.

Eckard shared her scholarship mistake in starting the hunt too early. “I started in December and [the website] still had applications up from last year, and some of them had changed and the due dates were different. I had spent all of my time filling out like four or five scholarships, and then the due dates were wrong and some of the questions had changed and some were completely different altogether.”

The OHS scholarship banquet will be on Monday, May 28, in the Auditorium at 6:30. The Athletic Scholarship pep fest will be Monday, May 21. All are welcome to attend and show support for the hard work seniors have put in!

And remember, a little stress is healthy. Too much, however, can be extremely hazardous to your health. A good website to help you with school stress is career offices and OHS faculty are here to help guide you with your after high school decisions, along with your current mental health. Do not be afraid to ask for help!

Too Much Academic Pressure on Kids

As a parent, there are few pleasures greater than your child succeeding at school. However, if you are putting too much pressure on your children to do well academically, it can backfire severely and end up affecting them negatively in a number of different ways.

Worry, Worry, Worry

By having a parent lay pressure on them to succeed, a child can feel less inspired and more threatened. They’ll be so paralyzed by fear of not doing well, that they won’t actually learn and succeed like they otherwise would. Plus, if they have feelings of anxiety, they are less likely to know what the culprit is. It is possible that they will place further blame for their bad feelings on themselves for not being smart enough, therefore causing more stress and anxiety. If your child expresses any worrisome signs of stress pertaining to schoolwork, you need to speak with them about how they’re feeling and help them to feel better through reassurance.

“I’m Not Good Enough”

If you are adamant about your child matching the expectations you have set for them in school, then they are likely to have a difficult time coping, even if they miss the mark by just a little bit. They will believe that success is based on perfection and if they can’t accomplish that, they might as well just give up. If your child feels inadequate due to not achieving a certain grade, let them know that you’re there for them and that a grade doesn’t determine whether or not they’re a good person.

Bad Behavior

Too much pressure to do well in school can cause kids to do unethical things. For instance, a child who has been told that they must get all A’s on their report card could feel pressured to cheat on an exam or assignment in order to fulfill that obligation. They might also turn to drugs and/or alcohol to deal with the stress. Keep a close eye on your child if they are showing any signs of seeming especially stressed out by school and talk to them if you have any questions or concerns.

Be There For Your Kids

If you want to help your children do well in school, you need to encourage, rather than pressure them. By offering encouragement through means such as assisting with schoolwork and discussing different ideas and concepts, you can help spark inspiration in your child. If you believe you might be putting too much pressure on your child to succeed academically, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, just take a moment to speak to your children openly about how they don’t need to stress themselves out about school. You want them to succeed, which is why you put pressure on them in the first place. However, if you put too much pressure on them, then they won’t have the success you were looking for.

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