Could it be that once the first domino falls the rest will follow?
Leaders at eighty leading colleges and universities, including the Ivy League, are attempting to revise the application process to look at students and their personal interests! They want to focus less on the canned metrics.
Are college and university leaders across the country beginning to understand how crummy high schools are when they focus primarily on dozens of AP courses and the SAT and ACT? Are they also starting to understand that canned service requirements do not get to the heart of a student’s passions and do little to bring out the best in kids?
It seems they are also taking a look at the stresses of schooling and the mental health of students. They seem to get that more students require mental health counseling as they enter college, which could be a significant factor in whether they stay in college.
Why, they are even considering sleep deprivation in kids!
There seems to be understanding, also, that a lot of students are coming out of high school focused primarily on achievement and not on the things that really matter—like caring for others. They found this out by surveying students starting in middle school.
And most important they seem to finally understand that the system, as is, does little to help those who are poor get into college.
The Today show sums up the changes.
- De-emphasize standard testing, which could include making the SAT and ACT optional.
- Quality over quantity with extracurricular activities and advanced placement classes, with students showing sustained commitment to a community service rather than just listing a bunch of things they have done.
- Factor in family and community responsibilities to level the playing field in admissions by capturing the contributions of low-income and working-class students.
- Include an essay question on college applications for students to write about their contributions to their families and others.
- Broaden criteria to include public service that consistently contributes to the common good as part of the admissions process instead of just “brag sheets” listing two-week community service projects.
- Widen the net by emphasizing a good fit for each student rather than the notion that there are only a few elite colleges that matter.
Like so much in education, perhaps there is some hidden meaning or underlying reasoning that will pop out later, but for now this is pretty encouraging. If everything in school is geared to getting our children to college, the dynamics just changed.
Here are the 7 recommended changes involving college admissions being promoted in the report.
- Contributions to One’s Family
- Assessing Students’ Daily Awareness of and Contributions to Others.
- Prioritizing Quality–Not Quantity–of Activities.
- Awareness of Overloading on AP/IB Courses.
- Discouraging “Overcoaching.”
- Options for Reducing Test Pressure.
- Expanding Students’ Thinking about “Good” Colleges.