Michael, a physician with a three-year-old daughter, is in the process of picking a school for his kid. For Danielle’s age, she’s pretty advanced. She has already learned a lot more than her supposed milestones because of her educational toys and books. Michael has a few schools in mind, but he’s thinking about whether Danielle should go to a less competitive school or a more competitive one.
The difference between these schools will impact Danielle’s life profoundly. Competitive schools will only open slots for around 400 students every year. Some 5,000 students will compete for those 400 slots. Getting into these kinds of schools will pad Danielle’s resume when she’s ready to go to college or university. The dilemma for Michael, however, is if Danielle can manage the workload of the school.
Heavy Workload vs. Socialization
Most parents are concerned about their kids’ ability to socialize once they are in school. That’s why many of them will choose an easy school over a more competitive one because they want their kids to focus on getting along with their peers. The problem here is when your kids did not get used to the heavy workload during their early years in school, they might have a hard time attending more competitive ones in high school and college.
For parents who dream that their kids will be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and accountants in the future, they should target the best academies. They will prepare students for a more competitive school environment in universities, law schools, and medical schools. But to get to these schools, the students have to be used to heavy workload as most post-graduate courses will test the students’ capabilities through tasks and projects.
The idea that competitive students do not socialize is erroneous. This misconception halts many opportunities. In truth, students are more sociable, the more they gain confidence in their knowledge and achievements. One of competitive schools’ goals is to enhance collaboration and teamwork through group projects and team-based educational competitions.
Kids in competitive schools have a better grasp of their abilities. They know what they are capable of, and they are willing to do the hard work to get to where they want to be. They are not coddled. These students know the risk they take when they don’t study or do their tasks. The competition they are exposed to also allows them to build good study habits. Since they want to be better than their classmates, they create higher standards for themselves to reach.
This mindset is not something you learn in school. Students gain this by repeatedly exposing themselves to a competitive environment. They tend to improve themselves during and after competitions. They also create higher benchmarks on which they measure themselves and their achievements. Over time, these students will learn to base their improvements on this benchmark. They will also continue to improve upon these benchmarks the more they challenge themselves.
What does mental toughness mean? Persistence, grit, and resiliency are things that students don’t learn from any ordinary school. Rather, these are borne out from them because of the competition they face every single day. The more their environment challenges them, the more they develop their resiliency to things that would have otherwise bothered non-competitive students.
The Yes, Man is long gone. Companies want employees who can think for themselves. They want employees who are critical thinkers and who can arrive at solutions without needing to be micromanaged. Traditional and regular schools tend to spoon-feed students. They guide students toward what they should do instead of giving them the tools to analyze a situation for themselves. In competitive schools, students must think for themselves. They must develop self-agency. They also take on more responsibilities, which prepare them for the heavier workload when they go to universities.
Gauging Your Child
College admissions will look kindly at a student’s resume if it’s filled with glowing recommendations, academic recognition, awards, and high grades. If the student came from a competitive high school, then that’s all the more reason for these colleges and universities to offer an admission slot. Still, it all boils down to where your kids will thrive.
Your kids need to thrive in the classes that you make them take. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t matter if they went to competitive schools but got lower grades than those who went to regular schools. College admission officers will not take a more lenient position because of the level of competition in those schools. Rather, they will see it as your kid’s inability to take on academic challenges.
When choosing where to send your kids, measure your kids’ ability to survive mentally, academically, and emotionally in these schools. You have to prepare them for the bigger battles ahead. And while competitive schools are the best ones for your kids, they are not for everyone. So, make sure that your kids will thrive in these schools.