What costs the pursuit of personal statement experiences?

Are young people’s teenage years being lost because of the pressure to experience a range of ‘personal-statement-worthy’ activities for their CVs? Paolo Canonica is worried

This is probably going to be the worst personal statement you read this year. I am not going to write about how brilliant and special I am, because I believe the kind of competitive self-aggrandisement this system encourages is killing childhood and adolescence.

It used to be the case that in your teenage years you could spend many an unhappy hour in your bedroom moping over nihilistic arguments and listening to bad rock music to make you feel better about the banal normality of your family life.

Now, however, if you have not used your late teens to climb a mountain, found several societies at school, secure an internship at an international firm, build a working model of an Icelandic volcano, and on the side, find the time to help disadvantaged children in the local area, you have no chance of getting to a “good” university.

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