Turning the Tide by W.B.

In the article “Turning the Tide” the authors argue that college admissions should focus less on test scores and AP/IB classes that a student takes, and more on the service they do in their community and their day to day conduct. First of all, this is almost impossible to measure. There is no realistic way to measure a potential student’s daily awareness of and contribution to others, short of following them around and observing their actions. Also, it is not the job of college admission counselors to find the most ethical students. They should instead be searching for the students that will perform best academically at their institution.

There is a large movement among students, parents, teachers, and counselors alike to make the college admission decision less about grades and test scores and more about other aspect of the students’ lives. This shift seems like a good thing at first. It will allow students that struggle with standardized tests and have had circumstances that hurt their grades, to look more appealing to colleges. But we need measures like grades and test scores. There is no way to measure a student’s overall kindness or daily ethicalness. Admissions teams can not survey everyone in students’ lives and find the most moral individuals. There is far too much room for error and way too much bias. Another possible way to measure this newly desired quality, would be to follow students around and watch their behavior. This is even more unrealistic. Having students writing an essay about their moral standings is another possible approach, but what person will tell you that they are not morally sound? There is no authentic way to measure a student’s daily awareness and contribution to others, and because of this we need to stick to the facts we can measure, grades and test scores.

Not only is it extremely difficult to measure, it is not the job of colleges to admit the most ethical students. College is an academic institution with the main purpose of education students. Colleges need to look for students that are appropriate for their school academically. In order for students to excel in college, they need to have a satisfactory high school education, and they need to have the ability to succeed in classes. These two factors are measured primarily by grades and test scores, and need to be continued. If a student with sub par grades and lacking test scores, but great volunteer work, is admitted to an extremely rigorous university, they will have a very hard time keeping up with the college workload and the rest of the student body that is more intelligent than them.

I do agree that there needs to be emphasis on areas of the students lives other than grades and test scores. A student’s ability to perform well in school, while participating in sports, clubs, and jobs, is also crucial to their ability to be successful in college. Colleges should look at students’ activities and time spent on other activities and judge their ability to manage their time. But this is not the most important factor. Also, volunteer work is great, and should be looked at highly on applications. Volunteering shows a student’s ability to think outside of himself and to balance their time in multiple activities. But once again this cannot be the main focus in admitting students to a college.

There are other valuable indicators of a student’s ability to excel in a college setting, but none are as easily attainable or as relevant as grades and test scores. For this reason colleges need to continue to look at these numbers and use them as tools for admitting students to their institutions.


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