A New Admissions System...

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: August 2003 Archive: A New Admissions System...
By Smiley (Smiley) on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 10:28 pm: Edit

While I know that nothing is about to change, just thought I'd post my proposal for a new and improved admissions system...

Every year, the top colleges say that there are way more qualified applicants than there are spots and that it is impossible to select which from this group should be accepted. Therefore, here's my idea for a better way...

How about if colleges assess all the applications, and then select those that are the most qualified based upon academics, extracurriculars, diversity, character, etc. Once they have this group, they should not try to split hairs sto distinguish among them based on 10 SAT points or one club. Instead, place the names of all the highly qualified applicants in a lottery and simply draw the right number of names.

I believe that this would be a lot fairer and would reduce some of the obsessionality and anxiety of high school students...


By Whzup44412 (Whzup44412) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 03:13 pm: Edit

Yeah, lets reduce the entire college admissions process to a lottery sytem in which the fate of prospective students is decided not by achievement but chance. I'm sure all those 1600, 4.0 GPA, Class President, Valedictorian, Super Volunteering, National Sports Finalists would just love to be unfairly placed with students who hadn't achieved as much as they had. How would this system reduce anxiety? I think i'd be more anxious knowing that my chances at attending a school weren't going to be decided upon whether or not i'm one of the best, but whether i'm one of the luck eligible candidates. Thats like saying "Well, anyone can really become president, all the candidates are qualified, let's just pick one out of a hat".

By Dolce (Dolce) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 04:04 pm: Edit

Smiley clearly stated that his hypothetical lottery would be for "highly qualified applicants." He also said that he realized nothing is about to change. The system as it now stands is already based on a lot of luck, because a quick read-through of applications and essays is not possibly able to thoroughly determine who are the absolutely, unquestionably best candidates for limited openings. Even the whole essay thing, (which, according to many on these boards, is the single best way to set yourself apart from the thousands of others) is such a flawed system. The student is told "be yourself, let us see who YOU are," but the student is also told "don't be too conservative," "don't be too liberal," "don't be too religious," "let several people help you edit it and make it perfect," until it really ends up not reflecting the real YOU at all! And who knows how much of the essay was even the genuine work of the student at all? And EC's---just how truthful are most people when they fill out app's? I'm sure there is quite a lot of "embellishing" (exaggerating or even outright lying) going on. Smiley, I know you weren't totally serious about a lottery system, but you're right on regarding the current system being flawed.

By Useatoothbrush (Useatoothbrush) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 06:18 pm: Edit

Just an idea.

Make good use of whatever that thing is the College Board uses to spam you after you take the PSATs (Student Search Service, maybe). However, this doesn't have to be utilized during the PSAT or SAT, but perhaps as a non-scoring thing at the end of junior year. This would be like a mini-app, but it gets sent out to ALL colleges and universities. Components on it would include test scores, your GPA and rank plus classes you intend on taking and the counselor difficulty rating, a short list of your most important ECs and achievements, and brief descriptions (think like 100 words or less each) of what you are looking for in a college, any special circumstances, and what you think you can contribute to a college. I guess that AA stuff like race and gender and a rough socioeconomic/location profile would need to be on there, too. Additionally, there would be a questionnaire, a la the PR counselor-o-matic or collegeboard.com's search, but less restrictive, and you could list schools you are tentatively considering. You could always update this information online and it will be transferred to the schools, so this isn't final.

All this information gets sent out to all four-year colleges and unis in the United States and Canada. Schools that are actually INTERESTED in you and would be likely to accept you (none of this sending out spam crap to anyone marginally qualified just to boost rejection rates) could then send you their application. Only schools that matched rather closely your interests and abilities would be able to mail you--if you want to major in English lit and have a 1100 SAT, Caltech won't be sending you anything, for example. From there, the power is in the applicant to choose which of the schools that sent him an app he is actually considering. He can then fill out a full application to the schools courting him, and then pick from among those that formally accept him.

I like the idea of schools matching themselves to applicants, anyway, than applicants trying to match themselves to schools. If they aren't interested in you as it is, they aren't going to accept you, so why not remove this step? I know this idea is impractical and flawed, but I think it could help to eliminate applicants who don't stand a chance in hell but apply anyway, increase acceptance rates, and help kids get better matched to the perfect school.

By Folk_Hero (Folk_Hero) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 08:58 pm: Edit

I agree with Smiley. They might as well use a lottery, as it is ALREADY A LOTTERY!

Personally, I'm for each college offering its own entrance exam. That would curb people applying to like 50 colleges and skewing chances and statistics, and let each college choose exactly what sort of STUDENT it wants.

I think it's rather absurd that colleges now are in the position of judging your whole life (based on three pieces of paper!), not your ability as a student.

By Whzup44412 (Whzup44412) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 09:08 pm: Edit

The current system is not really flawed. It's a clear and simple fact that top universities are going to receive more applications from qualified students than there are positions. What colleges have to do is choose from the pool of applicants who are qualified and pick the ones who excel above the rest in other areas. Useatoothbrush- nice idea, but i think the manpower it would take to read all those would be unthinkable for college admissions offices. And again, you have to realize that a college is a business, they want as many applicants as possible and they want to advertise there school.

I just got done reading a book for my government class- A Necessary Evil: A history of american distrust for government. The college admissions process is a necessary evil: we all hate it, but there really isn't an alternative. I think everyone here presented some great ideas, but in reality none of them would work. Take for example the college entrance exam- haven't people been complaining about the SAT's for the last 50 years- do we really need another test for college applicants to stress out about? Who would proctor it? would it cost money? how would you study? what if you didn't have time to take admissions tests for all 20 of the schools your applying to?

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