Since the fall Bridgett and I have been having informal data gathering sessions with community members who work with our kids to get a pulse on how our kids are doing and how Youth Connect can help. We heard a consistent message: that our kids are stressed by the pressure to get into elite colleges, and that this pressure is mounting at lower and lower grades. We also clearly heard that this pressure is resulting in real risks to our kids in the form of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
A new report due out today from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, "Turning the Tide" documents the same message we've been hearing here in Sewickley. Here are some highlights:
The study found that "rates of depression, delinquency, substance abuse and anxiety ... appear to be considerably higher in [middle and upper income communities]'"
"Kids are getting the message partly from the admissions process, but also from their parents that if they don't get into a certain kind of school they've failed in life and forever more will be behind..." Frank Bruni speaking on CBS this morning in a discussion about the Harvard study.
The report suggests that colleges put less emphasis on:
- standard test scores
- class rank
- number of AP classes
See links below for more information on this study.
Time will tell if the college admissions process changes as a result of this study. In the mean time Youth Connect will remain mindful of the stress on our kids and we will be looking for ways to minimize that stress. We hope you will too.
New York Times:
The Wall Street Journal