Finding a college not so different from finding love

By Ben Palmer

Standardized Test Sample Question 1
:Lawyer : Laws :: Teenager : __________
a.) social security checks
b.) love
c.) college
d.) both b and c
I think the answer is d!
As a teenager, I have had two things constantly on my mind: love and college. (Maybe not in that order…actually, yes. Probably in that order). And as a teenager, I have been constantly receiving advice on those same two things.
My love advice comes from my wise older sister, or my more experienced friends. My college advice comes from teachers, and parents, and TV, and books, and parents, and handouts, and parents. Did I mention parents?
Judging by who dishes out this advice, one might think it would be as differing as its subject matter! But I have discovered this is not the case. In fact, I have discovered that the advice I receive for finding the “college that’s right for me” is just like the advice I receive for finding the “person that’s right for me.”
Every college I have visited so far has been adamant that I not lie on my transcript, or do a bunch of activities that I think a college wants to see. I wondered, why is that? You tell us what you are interested in seeing, yet you do not want us to do these things, even if they help us get into your school?
One school I visited told me that I needed to have taken “as many AP classes as possible.” The admissions counselor then cracked a joke, saying, “if your school offers 20 APs, we’d like to see that you took maybe around 17!” Nobody laughed. Some people even wrote it down like it was a New Testament. The school wants me to take three or four APs a year, but not to waste my time with classes “you will never care about.” What?
Every person I have talked to about relationships so far has been equally adamant that I not lie about who I am, or do a bunch of things that I think a person wants to see. I again wondered, why is that? You broadcast interests and style to the world, yet do not want me to mimic those interests, even if it helps me get into your life?
I once liked a girl that seemed like the perfect person. She was pretty, smart, athletic, popular, and a fan of scream-o (weren’t expecting that, were you?) Well, I started listening to a little of the genre, hoping
to become more like my crush. A headache and two Tylenols later, I was beginning to move on. I was back to listening to S-Club-7 and being very, very single.
Basically, why should I be myself if a college or person has made it clear that who I am is not good enough for me to be in their graces? Colleges never told me why I should be myself, except that if I simply did what was best for me, I would feel the right school out, and it would feel me too. Funny, sounds just like the advice to “be yourself, and the right person out there will feel that.”
Seeing this similarity, I began to realize just how alike colleges and people are! Colleges have standards of entry, and people have standards of acknowledgement or acceptance.
Colleges require you to pay tuition every year, and people require you to buy candy/gifts/meals. People even have a form of need-based-aid, called pity dates. The list goes on!
So now that I see that my college and romantic searches are not very different, and I have been told that being myself is the best way to find the right person and right partner, it is time to ask the big question. What will being myself accomplish if I am not at/with the best school/person?
Well, here’s how I see it. Or rather, how this generic and un-biased standardized test sees it.

Standardized Test Sample Question 2:
Which of the following sounds like the best future for me? I could…
a.) spend 4 years of high school taking classes I hate, joining clubs I despise, and working toward the standard of entry at whatever school I want. Then I get in, and pay a quarter of a million dollars for 4 years of an education I only want because it’s fiscally reasonable, then get a job and inevitably a life that follows a similar “fiscal first” suit.
b.) take the classes I want (while still challenging myself), join clubs and activities that garner my interests, and search for a school that fits my needs and abilities. Then I get in, and pay the same quarter of a million dollars for 4 years, but I get an education that I will enjoy and value, and move on to a career and life that I can love and be passionate about.
c.) make myself into whatever my dream-person wants me to be, and spend my entire 4 years being someone I am not, just to move into something more serious and eventually marry. From here, not only am I not myself, but I am beginning to resent those people that are.
d.) find someone who appreciates me for who I am. We will take our time and love each other for exactly who we are, until we marry and live happily ever after.
e.) both b and d
Now, which would you pick? Don’t worry, points won’t be deducted for wrong answers. And remember,
this is a timed test.