When admissions obsession mirrors addiction

At first glance, some might say that comparing an obsession with an Ivy League education to an addiction to a prescription pain killer is a tad alarmist. But a full read of Brennan Barnard’s latest piece, “Education’s Opiates: Prescribing Selective Colleges,” reveals that in many communities, the anxiety around college admissions is becoming a very real physical and mental health hazard. And I particularly appreciated his recommendation that parents pledge to prohibit the following harmful teen behaviors in their house (the links are also from the article):

  • Unchecked perfectionism
  • Diminished sleep and reliance on energy drinks
  • Over-involvement and thoughtless resume building
  • Crushing course loads
  • The absence of purposeless play
  • A culture of admissions anxiety
  • Imposition of our own aspirations on our children’s futures