For a long time both parents and would-be students have been complaining about the inhumanity and unfairness of college admission process. It is too much, they say. Colleges are too concentrated on results and personal achievement and don’t pay nearly enough attention to kindness, good citizenship and authenticity of each particular student. They expect applicants to spend all their time studying, working, volunteering and taking part in extracurricular activities, without any respect to how students themselves want to spend their time and how they can contribute to their families and communities other than being good specialists in their chosen fields.
Flexibility in Admission Process
And it seems that this point of view has finally managed to get through to the ruling bodies of many prominent universities, including Harvard and Yale. The new trend, it seems, would be ‘flexibility’ – that is, admission committees are encouraged to concentrate not on how successful, efficient and result-oriented a particular student is, but on other things: good citizenship, personal responsibility, civic engagement, contributions to family life, importance of authenticity and a number of other more vaguely defined concepts.
Importance of Students’ Household Chores
In practical terms, it is going to alleviate the overall pressure on the students on the one hand and somewhat rectify the current situation of favoring students from more affluent background when it comes to evaluating their achievements. Students who cannot afford to volunteer to high-profile causes due to the lack of funds or the need to support their families either by working or taking some household chores off the hand of their parents and siblings will get an opportunity to mention these activities and expect them to be taken into account. Yale, for example, is going to introduce an additional essay question concentrating on students’ engagement with and contributions to their families, communities and public good.
Smaller List of Achievements
In the long run, these novelties are expected to have great number of varying positive effects. Firstly, they are going to decrease the stress levels in students preparing for application. This is done by sending a message that a long list of achievements is no longer going to increase the student’s chances of admission. For example, it can be done by limiting the blank spaces so that they can only accommodate no more than four or even two activities. As a result, students will no longer have a reason to fill their time with various different activities to the bursting point and there will be no opportunity for them to stand out of the crowd by means of overworking themselves.
Another idea that occupies an important place in this project is the decrease in importance of standardized testing. A number of colleges have already made steps in this direction by making SATs and ACTs optional, but hopefully it is just a beginning of something bigger.
All in all, one can say with certainty that we are in for some fascinating changes in educational system due to these alterations of admissions process. And it won’t be long for us to see the results.