College admission pressures mount for LA high schoolers

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Powell Library at UCLA. Photo credit: Prayitno (CC BY 2.0).

The deadline to apply to the University of California was Thanksgiving weekend. Many private college applications are due in early January. A recent Pew survey shows that 61% of teens say they feel pressure to get good grades because many of them aspire to attend a four-year college. 

The number of spots available at “elite” colleges has been stable over the past few decades, but the number of students applying to snag one of those spots has gone up.

So prospective college students feel mounting demand to stand out from their peers by racking up impressive extracurriculars, or taking several Advanced Placement classes at a time. Some even worry that a 4.0 GPA isn’t good enough. Navigating the admissions process and figuring out how to pay for college are also overwhelming. 

We hear from students at Notre Dame Academy in Palms and John Marshall High School in Los Feliz.