- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 10 February 2016
- Written by RICHARD FELICETTI | ASSIOCIATE NEWS EDITOR
Harvard University plans on revolutionizing the college admissions process. For decades, colleges have stressed the importanc
e of stellar grades, astronomical SAT scores, and abundant extracurricular activities. However, for many students across the country, the opportunities for a stacked resume simply are not present.
Recently, the Harvard Graduate School of Education presented its case for an admissions “revolution.” Rather than placing heavy emphasis on great test scores and extracurricular activities, the Harvard report suggested that the admissions process should reward students who aid their families and strive to be good individuals.
Statistics on a resume do not tell the whole story of a student; often, those with picture-perfect grades and activities lack the interpersonal abilities to contribute to society. Therefore, the new process will take into consideration personal attributes and rely less on solely the numbers.
The report implies that prospective students will be able to write essays describing their experiences helping their families. Not every student has the access to community service and extracurricular activities; therefore, this new process would allow students to display their redeemable qualities in the form of a narrative. Whether it is baby-sitting or mowing the lawn, these activities would be valued just as highly as an afterschool club or internship.
“I believe that there is a certain degree of appropriateness to this decision,” said Jake Marciniak, sophomore business student. Many times there are students who are strictly book smart and are extremely proficient in taking a test. However, much of what an individual will be doing in a job and in the real world after college will be a strong combination of intelligence and interpersonal skill.”
Marciniak stressed the importance of personal characteristics in determining exactly who is a proper fit to be admitted to a university. Although grades are most definitely important, the other attributes should be weighed just as heavily.
“The ‘person’ you are speaks volume
Although in its infancy, the report has been received fairly positively, and the ultimate goal is for all of the nation’s colleges to adopt this policy.s to the performance you are capable of. I am not saying you take the most outgoing and charismatic student and neglect his potentially poor grades and achievements,” said Marciniak. “However, I feel that it is good, for any student to have a strong balance of knowledge and ‘education’ as well as the ability to combine their talents and personality with those of the people around them.”
Daniel Kenny, a Harvard University sophomore government student, noted that making students from various socioeconomic backgrounds feel comfortable is an important aspect of the college experience.
“I believe the college admissions system is undergoing a necessary nationwide change. As a first generation college student on Harvard’s ‘lite’ campus, I often feel out of place. I blame this in part on the college’s admissions process. Right now, I don’t think the college does a good job reaching out to students from public high schools, especially in low-income communities. Elite universities like Harvard continue to seek students from elite private schools, such as Phillips Academy and Phillips Exeter Academy,” said Kenny.
“They perpetuate a cycle of elite-educated children from wealthy families attending elite universities. I think Harvard’s more general goal of preferring students who advance the ‘common good’ is small- but good- way to combat a history of elitist admissions. More schools should consider their applicants’ socioeconomic backgrounds when evaluating their academics and extracurriculars. Harvard’s is a noble aim, and I hope they take their initiative a step further by eliminating preferences for ‘legacy’ students whose parents and other family members graduated from Harvard.”
If more schools take into consideration an applicant’s socioeconomic background, then perhaps all students will have a fair chance at being admitted into a university as opposed to those that have family members in the institution’s legacy.
“Sometimes we focus too much on the so-called elite universities. Colleges across America could take more steps to help make poor and otherwise underprivileged students feel more welcome on campus in order to help those students succeed,” said Kenny.
“For example, instituting mentor programs is one way to help first-generation students adapt to campus life while making a friend in a strange place. Additionally, I think free community college would allow students who are unsure about college the freedom to try it out. Unfortunately, such a system seems like a pipe dream in the current political environment.”
Moreover, Erin Smith, an MU Admission Counselor, noted that although beneficial, there must be a loophole in which grades maintain their hefty prominence.
“It is a great idea to rely more so on the person themselves than simply their statistics,” said Smith. “However, I am sure that grades that are not stellar will result in less of a scholarship, so the background from which the person comes from will still have a role. There must be a good combination of both personal attributes and grades for the applicant to have the best shot at admission.”
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