CAMBRIDGE — A report published in Scientific American has shown that there has been a spike in stress levels in students all around the world. One of the major contributors to this stress? University acceptances.
“I don’t understand it,” one of the lead researchers commented, waving a brochure from Harvard. “The entry requirements are lower than ever. Harvard only requires a 1599 SAT score and 44 points on some program called the IB. This is ridiculous!”
Despite the researcher’s comments, universities have now been prompted to become more transparent about their selection process.
“We have very specific criteria for selecting students,” an admissions officer, who wished to remain anonymous, remarked. “We only require all applicants to be music prodigies, be top athletes, preferably playing at varsity level (but we’re not picky), engage in a multitude of community and service as well as maintaining perfect grades and scoring in the 99th percentile in all standardised tests.”
The aim of most universities is to select the cream of the crop and to cultivate a generation of stressed and depressed clones. Parents and teachers have voiced support for this goal and are encouraging children to partake in such activities. A group of teachers also founded the company Buenos Clones, specifically designed to teach children as young as three years about the SATs, ACTs, UKCAT, amongst a multitude of other tests.
Five-year-old Nathaniel Patel has been attending classes at a branch of Buenos Clones in his home city of Bangkok. “I’m so glad my parents made me come to this class,” Patel said as he coloured in bubbles of his practice SAT test. “I’ve only managed to get a 1400 on my SAT so far. And my dream university requires a 1600.”
Although his SAT score doesn’t quite cut it, Patel has made a small name for himself. He is the founder of an international NGO which supports and helps refugees, and has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. In addition to this, Patel is a concert pianist, due to perform for the third time at Carnegie Hall this summer. He has, however, failed to partake in any form of athletic activity.
“We are quite disappointed in Nathaniel,” Patel’s parents admitted. “He doesn’t have enough accolades to get into the top universities and is useless at all kinds of sports.”
When asked to comment on his parents’ opinion, Patel merely shrugged. “I’m rubbish at sports but I have other things I need to focus on. Like, there is so much content I need to memorise,” he said. “I wish I had started studying in my mother’s uterus.”
When an admissions officer was told about young Patel’s case, he was in agreement. “Yes, the mother’s uterus is the ideal place to start studying and preparing for university requirements.” Then he added, “There are other ways to get into universities,” rubbing his thumb over his index and middle finger.
Many parents baulk when presented with this alternative option. Several admission officers are not too keen on it either. “We do have rich folks who indulge us with gifts of all sorts. But it must be understood that some people don’t have to buy their way in; they get in on pure talent,” an officer donning a Gryffindor scarf retorted.
The researchers concluded that this increase in stress was utterly misguided and most likely due to errors in calculations. Further follow-up studies are being specifically designed to disprove this bizarre finding.