In today’s world of applying to colleges, a much more progressive approach to accepting applicants has been occurring as colleges look for much more than just good grades. The criteria as outlined in this article in the Mercury News is a relatively nebulous one.
Essentially the article highlights that colleges are taking an increasingly progressive and “holistic” approach to college admissions and that a school like Stanford was rejection as much as 69% of its applicants who had perfect SAT scores.
I am a strong advocate of the idea of SAT scores and grades NOT being the only determination of college admission, but the question remains: “what does it mean to take a more “holistic” approach to college acceptances?” Not only is this not a technical term, but it is also a completely subjective term.
What holistic means to one college might not be what it means for another college. Ten to fifteen years ago a student could look at his or her transcript and say with a fair amount of confidence whether they qualify for a particular college or not. This does not seem to be the case anymore. This seemingly opens the door for a significant amount of discrimination. No longer can a student point to any one thing as the reason for a college rejection.
A group of Asian students is already suing Harvard University for alleged discrimination against Asian prospects. A former Harvard admissions officer basically confirmed the existing bias behind a “holistic” admissions process by saying the university reserves tiers of acceptance in order to accommodate this holistic approach. Therefore they accept only a certain number of students who have perfect scores, scores in the 700’s, scores in the 600’s, and so on.
I do believe that as this policy becomes more widespread, more people will be asking more questions about it. Ultimately I think that is a healthy thing, as parents and students spend countless hours building a resume in order to be accepted to a top tier university. They deserve to have some rules and clarity. that govern how they prepare for that university.