Is “Looking Good” Really All That Matters?

The Common App

How many things do students do just to look good on this piece of paper? (Photo credit: mWei2010)

I recently read a post by a young blogger considering the pros and cons of attending a well-known university simply for the sake of the school’s prestigious name.  Did the name of the university matter that much when it came to future employment?  For the sake of discussion, let’s take the question a little bit wider.  Do appearances on paper matter more than who you are as an individual?  Should you do things in high school just for the sake of writing them down on your college applications?  Is “looking good” really all that matters when it comes to universities and future employment?

Keep reading to dig a little deeper!

Why We Need to Explore Teenage Talents

As I keep reading StrengthsFinder 2.0 and work through the assessment, I find myself once again pondering the ideas of Emerging Adulthood and identity explorations in teens.  I went back and reread Jeffrey Jensen Arnett’s chapter on “The Road Through College,” and I think this is where I have my biggest problem with the whole concept of emerging adulthood as a good thing.  Here’s how Arnett describes the American system of higher education.

“College in the United States is for finding out what you want to do.  Typically at four-year colleges, you have two years before you have to make a definite decision and declare a major.  During those two years you can try out a variety of different possibilities by taking classes in areas you think you might want to major in.  And even after you declare a major, you can always change your mind — and many emerging adults do.

“Their college meanderings are part of their identity explorations.  In taking various classes and trying various potential college majors, they are trying to answer the question ‘What kind of job would really fit me best, given my abilities and interests?'” (118).

See, I have a problem with that.   Continue reading