In reponse to "chance me" threads...
Since there have been so many "chance me" threads popping up lately (understandable considering the time of year) I felt like I should add my perspective on the college process, after finally having finished it.
Like many ambitious high school kids, college was on my mind to some degree since freshman year. It may have something to do with the fact that I go to a prep school very focused on college counseling, but I believe I would have been concerned regardless. I saw many of my friends take classes and pursue extracurriculars that they thought would look good, place a check mark in the elusive list of things to do to be admitted to a good school. I went along with them for a little while, before I realized that their reasoning just didn't seem right to me. I felt like I was compromising myself at the expense of a possible college admission.
If I have learned anything over the past four years, it is that the most important part of high school is staying true to yourself and your interests. There is no magic formula for getting into a good college. Therefore, as students we should develop ourselves based on our own passions and beliefs, trying to find the person we want to be. Think about everything you approach in a new way and ask yourself this question: if this (class/activity/opportunity) does not produce an external favorable result such as an award or college acceptance, would I still be happy I did it?
I believe students should find a school that is right for them, not the school society thinks is best. The only way to do this is to present an honest description of yourself in your applications. If a college does not accept this application, then it is clearly not the right place for you as a person. It is not worth it to compromise yourself only to find when you get to school that you really don't fit in or are not happy. Colleges know themselves, so let them get to know you so they can decide knowledgeably whether you "fit".
In closing, I encourage all high schoolers to really think about what it is that drives them, what they love to do, and pursue that. Don't even think about college for now. Just follow your own path and enjoy your experiences. You may not end up where you or society may expect, but you will end up more fulfilled and have a better experience.
Good luck to all!