Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of articles focusing on college admissions. It makes sense – it’s spring and college seniors have been anxiously awaiting acceptance letters for months. But the articles I’m talking about delve a little deeper into the admissions process.
A recent New York Times article said that students on Duke University’s ever-expanding waiting list will be chosen not by test scores or academic achievements but by their ability to fill what the admissions department sees as “deficiencies” – majors with dwindling numbers or states that are underrepresented in that particular incoming class.
A 2003 ABC series on Georgetown University’s “diversity drives” said that the school had begun selecting students based on the “total package.” While academic records were still considered, increased weight was given to factors like leadership, race, special talents, or any other unique factors students might bring to the campus.
While the term “diversity” immediately brings to mind controversial affirmative action policies that place increased importance on race, schools hasten to clarify that diversity in the college experience is extremely important. The following quote jumped out at me:
Charles Deacon, dean of admissions at Georgetown, is unapologetic in his defense of diversity as a part of the educational experience.
‘Probably the one time in your life when everyone’s equal is when you’re living together in college,’ Deacon said. ‘You come from homogeneous communities, usually, and return to homogeneous communities. But you can take a lot away from that undergraduate experience where everyone, essentially, is the same and you learn from each other.’
I posted a similar blog earlier this semester after I learned about Tufts University’s creative application process. While I loved the idea of YouTube videos serving as application materials, I also wondered about the seeming decreased importance placed on academic records. This topic brings to mind a similar question: What do you think about college and university quota systems that reserve space for students based on traits like experience, diversity, creativity or special skills, rather than academic records?