Eckert: College admissions decisions should weigh service higher

Student Mind


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The Common Application is currently the most widely accepted application by universities.

The college application process can be one of the most stress-inducing periods in a student’s life. Trying to pack four years of accomplishments and honors into one single application isn’t an easy feat. Some people are trying to change this process, even here at Case Western Reserve University.

Recently here at CWRU, there have been discussions about changing the application process from need-blind to need aware. What this could mean is that each student’s financial need will be taken into account during their application review process. Certain admissions decisions would be made depending on how much financial need they express. Essentially, the university would be able to pick one student over another equally qualified student, based solely on which student is more or less financially qualified for the university.

Turning the Tide is a project being developed by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education under a larger initiative named the Making Caring Common Project. Both of these projects have the goal of making education and college applications less difficult and less stressful for prospective students. The goal of Turning the Tide is to make the college admissions process easier, less stressful and overall more beneficial to the students.

Turning the Tide is a three-part initiative with the purpose of making college and the admissions process something that students can go through without feeling pressured. Too many students today go to college because of their parents—they choose their major because of their parents and this is wrong. Furthermore, during high school, students take AP and IB classes just for college. Turning the Tide is trying to change all of these things for the betterment of the admissions process for students.

The first part of this three-phase project is to promote more community activities on applications. The project would like to promote the greater good, placing more weight on community service activities than on other things.

This first goal is important and is helpful to many students. Volunteering is a great way for students that would normally spend their days taking five AP classes and nights in three different clubs get away from the classroom and do something wonderful for their community. Something great happens when some of the most well-qualified students in a community are able to go out into a community and give something back.

Students should be able to do a variety of activities in high school without being penalized in college. Some schools don’t offer AP courses or have the funding for clubs and sports that colleges look for. This is an unfair advantage for students that live in wealthier areas and go to nicer schools.

Community service should be given just as much, if not more, merit on a college application. It is something that everyone can do, regardless of their situation. There are countless ways for any student to get involved regardless of the circumstances they’ve been forced to live with in their school.

This project will forever change the college application process if it is able to succeed.

Brian Eckert is a first-year finance and economics double major.