Is it enough to be yourself? (Face-Off)

April 30, 2015


Clara Cozort

If a student is true to themselves, will they be rejected by colleges? Check out our face-off and decide for yourself.

With the May 1 college deadline soon approaching, many CHS students are feeling pressured to get accepted into their dream college. Could they have done more during their high school career? Should they have studied more?  Senior Suzy Lee Weiss shared her frustrations in an article published by the Wall Street Journal. In her op-ed, “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me,” she blames the admissions officers for being too picky in regards to diversity and interests.

The reaction to Weiss’s satirical article have varied. Our two writers, Lauren Pantleo and Sarah Payne, have taken both sides of the debate. Read their editorials below, and share your thoughts in the comment section.


Agree (Lauren Pantleo):

Suzy Lee Weiss started off her argument by saying that us students were lied to throughout high school. Colleges tell you to be yourself. That is true however, Weiss tells us that there’s more to it than simply being yourself. She believes that, “[Being yourself] is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms.” The stress to be the best is huge on high school students, and it is very hard for the average teenager to meet all of these requirements.

Like many of you, Weiss was wondering what more she could have done to get into her dream college.  “I also probably should have started a fake charity. Providing veterinary services for homeless people’s pets. Collecting donations for the underprivileged chimpanzees of the Congo. Raising awareness for Chapped-Lips-in-the-Winter Syndrome. Fun-runs, dance-a-thons, bake sales—as long as you’re using someone else’s misfortunes to try to propel yourself into the Ivy League, you’re golden,” argued Weiss.

Everything Weiss mentioned is true. I understand that colleges, especially Ivy Leagues, want the best students to represent their college but it is more than that.

Perhaps teenagers do community service and mission trips for the colleges, not for those suffering. It is sad, but true. Helping your community should be more than just something to put on your college resume. You shouldn’t use others misfortunes to boost your chances into getting accepted into your dream college.

Weiss also brings attention to the types of people getting into colleges. “Had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. ‘Diversity!’… If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything.” She shows just how willing people are to change, just so they can follow their dreams. Honestly, I find it a little sad.

Why should you have to change everything about you just so you can eventually end up where you think you belong?


Disagree (Sarah Payne):

Suzy Lee Weiss opens her satirical college rant talking about the lies colleges tell students. Weiss says, “Colleges tell you, ‘Just be yourself.’ That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself!”

Obviously, not every student can have nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, and killer SAT scores. That’s unrealistic, and colleges recognize that. Sam Lyons wrote against Weiss in his article “Why Suzy Lee Weiss is Completely Wrong.” He was able to talk to his mom’s coworker, a former admissions officer at a world class college.

While Weiss makes it seem like you need to be involved in every activity in order to have a shot at making it into college, whether or not you actually enjoy or care about the activity, the former admissions officer from Lyons’ article, however, states otherwise.

The coworker tells Lyons that colleges can see through the padded resumes and are exponentially more interested in students that do things that they love, rather than doing things because they’ll look good on the application. She adds that, while colleges love to see students doing meaningful work (worldwide or otherwise), they understand that not every student has the money, time, or opportunities to do so. The last thing she said was that colleges know that they’re admitting students into their school, not lists of activities.

Weiss continues, saying, “But my parents also left me with a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate. I’ve never sat down at a piano, never plucked a violin. Karate lasted about a week and the swim team didn’t last past the first lap.”

I’m sorry, Suzy, but last time I checked, you have the jurisdiction to choose your own hobbies. I doubt your parents were banning you from trying new things, so that’s on you. Not your parents.

If you can’t last a week in karate and you gave up after swimming one lap, I wouldn’t accept you into my college, either. According to you, you don’t have the willpower to keep going when things get a little rough. What college–especially an Ivy League–wants a student like that?

You’re complaining about not getting into colleges, yet from the nonchalant, satirical tone of your writing, you don’t sound like you were trying especially hard to find something you loved.

Acceptance to your top colleges won’t be handed to you–neither will anything else in life, as a matter of fact. Instead of owning up to your ‘diversity of a saltine cracker’ or giving advice to younger students about finding things you love (since apparently you didn’t find anything), you blamed your parents and society for something you very well could have achieved.

Regardless of your stance on Weiss’s article, getting rejected from your dream college isn’t the end. You will end up in the college you were meant to be in.

What do YOU think?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.


View Comments (5)
Donate to Periscope
Our Goal

Want to help the Herd? Please consider supporting the Periscope program. Your donation will support the student journalists of CHS and allow us to purchase equipment, send students to workshops/camps, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

About the Contributors
Photo of Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne, Perspectives writer

Sarah Payne is in 10th grade. She works in Periscope as a Perspectives Writer. She reads, writes, and watches movies. Her favorite book is the Hobbit,...

Photo of Lauren Pantleo
Lauren Pantleo, Perspectives writer

Lauren Pantleo is in 10th grade. Her staff position on Periscope is Perspective Writer. She does track and was a competitive swimmer. Lauren enjoys music...

Periscope • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Donate to Periscope
Our Goal

Comments (5)

All comments will be approved by the website moderator. Comments containing inappropriate language will not be approved.
All Periscope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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

  • A

    Alexa MengenhauserOct 23, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I think the people who fake interests in charity work, religions, and different classes are the ones who will be unhappy in the end. Regardless of weather or not it gives them an advantage on getting into ivy league schools, the person they said they were on the application is the person they are going to be forced to be for the next four years. Whatever you say on your application will be verified when you get on campus and colleges will realize you aren’t who you say you are. If you are honest on your application, colleges will be honest as to weather or not you would be a right fit for the environment of their school. If you say you are a workaholic charity lover when in reality your a lazy procrastination, you won’t enjoy your next four years of trying to compete with the honest hard workers who got in because of their real interests.

  • M

    Maryanne CantwellOct 19, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    I love the satirical tone that Weis uses to convey her point. Honestly, it is probably what every college applicant is thinking come junior year. However, there is infinite truth in the fact that she simply wasn’t good enough. These schools are difficult to get into on purpose; they don’t want the average Joe. Schools who want diversity will attract those with passion and Weiss may have not even fit in to a school surrounded by self-motivated students. However, if one would criticize a high school senior on the tone of her Washington Post article, I hope that they could at least do so with half as much sophistication than the former.

  • K

    Kyle WiseMay 20, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Nobody should act as anyone else, however I can see the issues with acceptance here. The fact that there are quotas being filled is pretty sad. One check of a box that says “white” instead of any other ethnicity should not determine acceptance but it does. The color shouldn’t matter, the background should. It also shouldn’t matter if a child has two moms or no moms, only the quality of care that they grew up with. It is a shame that some people have advantages to get into college based on their parents, before they make any decisions of their own. While Suzy Lee Weiss may be taking her opinion too far considering her lack of activities, the issues are still present. Overall, everyone should be involved in extra-curricular activities and should be able to be themselves (and is it really too hard to do a little community service?) But there should be no more quotas, no more exceptions, character, not color, is what really matters.

  • K

    Kimberly NickleMay 18, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    I think that when applying for colleges it is important to be yourself and tell the truth about your life, even if it does seem average or boring. While colleges are becoming more and more specific and diverse in order to meet certain quotas, that doesn’t mean that anyone should fell the need to lie about their lives to make themselves sound more interesting. There are so many colleges and so many students that it would be impossible to turn away every student that seems average.

  • E

    Erin NewcomerMay 12, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I feel like colleges do want you to be yourself. Admission counselors that review the applications all love there school and know who fits in there. If it’s a highly involved school and a person doesn’t venture outside their homes than they wouldn’t fit in there. Sometimes a rejection is a blessing in disguise because you wouldn’t have been happy there and it takes that rejection to see it. As a senior I know my SAT scores were horrible, but I did my best to explain myself and why I wanted to attend that school so bad. It must have worked because I got into my top choice and the more I visit, the more I know I’m among those just like me. It’s important to be yourself and to show others what makes you different, why you deserve this.