Making a decision in terms of college admissions has never been easy for the admissions committee – it is a complex process with many variables to consider. Universities and colleges pay attention to many aspects of future student applications in order to determine who will be admitted. The top decision factors include grades in high school, total GPA and grades in college prep courses, admission test scores, and strength of curriculum. However, changing the college environment calls for more consideration of the factors providing insight regarding personal qualities and interest of students, such as demonstrated interest, essays or writing samples, extracurricular activities, teacher or counselor recommendations, and class rank. The importance of academic achievements in determining whether prospective students should be admitted or not can hardly be overestimated, but it is not enough to say that each student’s potential was properly assessed. In order to make sure that a diverse body of students with a wide range of academic and extracurricular interests will enrich the campus experience, colleges also need to take into account the individual qualities and circumstances of each applicant.
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Currently, the academic success of the applicant has much more weight in college admissions. According to statistics, grades in high school and college prep courses were rated as considerably important by 77% of colleges, along with the strength of curriculum and SAT scores ( 54% and 52%, respectively) (Cl& 2015). The second set of factors describing applicant personality was only ranked as moderately important. (Clinedinst and Koranteng 16). There is no doubt that each university wants to recruit the best and brightest students but is it only possible to attribute these adjectives to students with high GPAs and good grades? The university’s priorities are shifting, making another major priority greater equity, access, and recognition of diverse students as well as rewarding the achievements of active citizens. More colleges encourage admissions committees to put more emphasis on student’s concern for others, long lists of extracurricular activities, and dedication to family, according to a new Harvard report that recommends a shift away from traditional measures like test scores and advanced classes (Rosen).
Moreover, the way students’ achievements are evaluated should be modified to take into account the scope of realized achievement, their underlying ability, such as effort and motivation, and analyze the achievement differences in terms of both ability and socio-economic circumstance. Pre-college achievements, especially in the field of academics, are directly related to socioeconomic circumstances since kids with less financial opportunities have, therefore, fewer opportunities for good college preparation. That is why the need to consider motivation and effort is to be addressed. In fact, what qualities make a student academically successful and desirable for admission? One would say persistence and aspiration. However, economically disadvantaged students with lower grades and test scores possess the same qualities while having fewer starting opportunities. It would be extremely unfair to deprive them of further education opportunities and ignore their motivation and hard work.
To conclude, the college admissions process should be well-rounded and include consideration of the number of aspects not limited to the academic performance of a student. Even though academic success is still a top priority in many institutions, the tendency shows that the personality of a student is gaining more importance in the admissions decision. To promote diversity, inclusiveness, equal access to educational opportunities, and proper recognition of achievements, it is also vital to mind such factors as motivation and socioeconomic circumstances. A concept of a successful student includes many aspects and should not be limited to academics.
Clinedinst, Melissa, and Anna-Maria Koranteng. State of College Admissions. National Association for College Admission Counseling, 2017, Web.
Rosen, Andy. “Harvard Report Calls for College Credential Shift.” The Boston Globe (Boston, MA). 2016, Web.