The College Admission Process has its Flaws

Story by Alexis Gomes, Staff Writer

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Senior year is considered to be the best year of high school. Seniors have survived the grueling underclassmen years, including the infamously stressful junior year. As a reward, they can now buy breakfast during homebase, relax in the Senior Lounge during study hall, or even leave if the period falls last during the day. There is, however, one major drawback to the year: college admissions.

On the outside, it seems like a good thing; you can go anywhere in the world, study anything you want, all while gaining more independence. For many students, the idea of going to college has been drilled into their brains since freshman year. Throughout high school, there have been multiple assemblies and proclamations from teachers that college is one of the best things you can do with your life, and that it’s important to bend over backward to impress top schools.

All of this advice leads many students thinking to themselves, What if my best isn’t enough, though?

The top schools in the country pride themselves on excellent academic integrity, with acceptance rates in the single-digits. Those around the world with 4.0 GPAs, a full AP course load, incredible extracurriculars, hours of volunteer work, and near perfect SAT scores apply with the hopes of becoming one of the few students that get accepted. Many of these schools, though, may admit some unworthy candidates. An estimated ten to thirty percent of students admitted into Ivy League schools are “legacy students,” meaning that they have family members that have graduated from the university for consecutive generations. This isn’t even only an Ivy League problem. Almost every single college has a question on their application that asks “Did any of your family go here?” The relatives of alumni get privileges that are not given to non-legacy students.

Standardized testing also puts certain students at a disadvantage. This is why many universities are putting “test-optional” practices in place.  This “test-optional” practice means that if students are unhappy with their scores, they do not need to report it in order to be considered for admission. More competitive schools, however, still require some form of standardized testing. Many are flexible, allowing the SAT, ACT, SAT subject tests, IB results, or otherwise. There are many students with low test scores that do not reflect their intelligence. The more “holistic” admissions approach has taken some pressure off of test scores, but one cannot deny that they are still important. A student can be absolutely perfect besides below-average test scores and be denied admission. Many who suffer from poor test-taking skills enlist tutors to help them, but less affluent students may not be able to afford such help.

In questioning the college admissions process, we must ask ourselves: is the entire premise of college bad? Of course not — we need college-educated leaders, teachers, lawyers, doctors and scientists. Is the college admissions process flawed, though? Of course. Is the system of college itself flawed? Again, of course. However, college does present opportunities for personal and professional growth, especially for those looking to enter a specific field. Although college should not be considered the immediate next step after high school, it is a key step in many student’s lives. Tuition truly is the price to pay.

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