I see it all the time: Imposter Syndrome in a thoughtful and talented seventeen year-old who has barely begun to understand what life will bring; who has racked up but a small fraction of achievements that are sure to follow; who thinks, for no reason at all and for all the reasons he or she has internalized during the unrelenting admissions madness, that he or she is not enough.
I have heard this from a student who can wax philosophical for hours about the meaning of life according to Aristotle and Plato, but whose SAT scores were “under par” for his target schools (mostly Ivies). I have heard it from someone who volunteers to teach English to students in Indonesia via Skype every Friday night, but who earned a C in 11th grade calculus (his least favorite class). The young woman who took care of her siblings while her mother had breast cancer — who did not have time to join DECA because she was changing her mother’s bandages after a double mastectomy? I heard it from her too. What about the pursuit of a higher education makes these students feel inadequate? Part of the problem is how applicants are taught to value and rank colleges. The more troubling component has to do with how colleges have learned to value young minds and motivations.
Read the rest at the Huffington Post.