Every media format that has a branch dealing with education is abuzz with landmark changes in the college admissions process. Telling reports are plentiful demonstrating how top U. S. colleges practically ignore economically disadvantaged students and struggle with creating a diverse student population. So what’s all this talk about change, and why now?
No one has to tell any parent with college-bound teens that tuition and fees for college are very expensive. Add to that hurdle the treadmill that students must endure to be academically “successful” by college admission standards and the utter secrecy in which decisions are made when evaluating applications; the process can literally cause nervous breakdowns. Small wonder so many people have such high hopes that the colleges have finally taken notice and decided to make a few changes.
An encouraging tidbit is where a key report calling for change originated; non-other than the ivory tower itself, Harvard. The report does not call for elite institutions to lower the bar for admission to their schools. What it encourages them to do is look at more than stacks of AP classes and super high exam scores. Delve deeper into why someone feels the need to be president of multiple organizations and why they spend hours volunteering. If more attention was paid to the student that has to watch over younger siblings and work a part-time job to contribute to the family income, these bright, hardworking, intelligent leaders would not be overlooked so often. These are the things that, “Turning the Tide” from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common project suggest happen.
We can only wait and see if this report has the positive impact hoped for by so many in education. Maybe the decision makers will consider the source and take the suggestions to heart. If that happens, the outcome could literally be astounding.