The college application process is often a stressful one for students and families. This is especially true as college admissions become more competitive, and students feel pressured to pack their resumes with community service experience, extracurricular activities, and AP classes on top of a 4.0 GPA.
But some colleges are reevaluating the traditional application process, writes Laurie Wolk for U.S. News & World Report.
Making Caring Common, a project by Harvard University‘s Graduate School of Education, has launched a “Turning the Tide” campaign to encourage colleges to evaluate students on the quality—not the quantity—of real-life experiences on students’ applications.
Under the campaign, colleges urge students to write in depth about a few intellectual interests and sustained community service projects on their applications rather than enumerate every experience, achievement, or AP class. Even more, the campaign encourages students to relate these meaningful experiences to their morality, character, and concern for others. In short, this new application process hopes to give colleges more authentic representations of prospective students.
Wolk reports that 65 higher ed institutions have already endorsed the campaign, including all of the Ivy League colleges. This might not come as a surprise in light of the recent debates about the limitations of standardized testing, as well as the growing interest in student mental health and well-being.
Some colleges are already implementing similar components into their application processes. For example, at Goucher College, applicants can submit a two-minute video in lieu of traditional materials, such as transcripts and test scores. The video is an opportunity for students to showcase their drive and creativity—especially if they feel traditional methods of evaluation fail to capture what they would bring to the campus community (Wolk, U.S. News & World Report, 7/31).