College-Bound High School Students Need to Be More Chill

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Be More Chill photo
Photo credit: Be More Chill Instagram

Teen Hit Musical Be More Chill Offers Some Great Lessons for High School Students – Especially Those Applying to College

What do the college admissions process and a teen musical have in common? They want high students to Be More Chill! The popular musical hit Broadway this February, and we caught up with Katlyn Carlson, one of the show’s stars and a friend of Dr. Kat and IvyWise, to talk about the show and its themes that can resonate with college-bound high school students.

Being the Star of Your Own Story
Be More Chill, based on the popular young adult book, is about a kid who is, by all accounts, your stereotypical “nerd.” In an effort to grab the attention of his crush he implants a “SQUIP” in his brain to help him act cooler. This of course, results in a lot of consequences for the protagonist. In the end we learn that it’s better to be yourself than to try to be something you’re not. Overall, the musical really touches on the microcosms of the human and teen experience, according to Katlyn, and can really resonate with high school students going through the college admissions process.

“It’s a different perspective on a high school experience that a lot of people haven’t seen before. This is really the story of a guy who has never been the leading man – he considers himself more of a sidekick and suddenly he’s the star of his story,” Katlyn said.

Being the star of your own story can be hard, especially when applying to college. Learning how to present yourself on paper can be daunting, and often leads to students trying to be something they’re not for their own “college crushes.” Students can learn a lot about the importance of being yourself from the show – and translate that to their own high school and college admissions experience.

For example, students need to be true to their passions and explore their interests. Don’t join a club or activity just because you think it will “look good” on your college applications. The same applies to college application essays. Don’t write about what you think admissions officers want to hear. Instead, reveal something true about yourself that can’t be found anywhere else in your application. And write in your own voice! Colleges want to hear from you – not some strange voice that uses a different vocabulary and writing style. Admissions officers can tell when students are not being genuine and it can hurt your college admission chances.

Learning From Rejection
Many students spend a lot of time changing who they are in order to “fit in” or to avoid rejection – whether it’s from a crush or a top-choice college. It’s important for teens to realize that rejection, whether socially or in admissions, is not the end of the world. This is a theme that Katlyn understands all too well as not only an actor but also as someone who has gone through the college admissions process.

“I remember [the college admissions process] very well. Just waiting by the mailbox. It’s very easy to feel accepted or rejected as a person based on something like a letter,” Katlyn said. “When you are an actor you’re auditioning all the time so you’re mostly going to be rejected. You have to learn to tell yourself, ‘you know what no big deal it wasn’t the right fit.’”

While rejection is a fear many students harbor, at the end of the day Be More Chill is about learning to love who you are and to be more kind to yourself and others.

“I want teens to take away that there are always going to be negative voices either inside your head or coming at you from somewhere else and you need to learn to block them out and love yourself,” Katlyn said.

Tickets to Be More Chill are on sale now! Learn more about the show and purchase tickets here.

Want to “be more chill” about your college prep? Download our free College Planning Checklist so you can get organized and alleviate a lot of the stress associated with the college admissions process. You can learn more about IvyWise’s college counseling services here.

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