Escaping the Numbers

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

I am a quantitative entity. Throughout my entire life, I have been defined by a set of numbers. From the number on my birth certificate to the grade I got on a math test this week, they have always represented me…well, a watered-down, inhuman version of me. Growing up being labeled “gifted and talented” made my numerical “importance” evident to me at a young age. From first grade I knew my IQ (145), my percentile on standardized tests (usually 99th), and a multitude of other statistics. From fourth through tenth grade, I had a different gifted teacher every year. While their varied approaches to enriching our schooling gave me interesting insight, having no stability in my special education programs in some of my most fundamental years was detrimental in coming to know myself as a student and understanding my limitations—or that I had any. I had to be the best at everything. I had to impress everyone.

My county’s school system claims to emphasize the value of individuals’ talents, but this is far from true in practice. The students at my school are in constant competition with ourselves, our classmates, and other bubble-fillers throughout the nation. I would like to imagine that my numbers do not matter, and that every single...

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