- A new report from the Harvard Graduate School of Education recommends moving away from traditional undergraduate admissions metrics like test scores and AP classes, instead giving credit to students “who demonstrate true citizenship, deflate undue academic performance pressure, and redefine achievement.”
- The Boston Globe reports one of the proposals recommended by researchers is to incorporate family contributions into the admissions decision, giving weight to a student’s caregiver role or work to support his or her family.
- Harvard, MIT, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, and Brandeis were among signatories to the report, indicating they support such holistic considerations in undergraduate admissions.
There has been a push to change admissions metrics for several years. As campuses try to diversify their student bodies, considering test scores and academic credentials alone is often not enough to capture promising learners who had to overcome challenges their wealthy and white peers did not.
Giving students credit for work experience they did to support their families offers applicants who did not have time to travel or participate in a long list of extracurricular activities a chance to compete. Acknowledging that high-poverty, all-black or all-Latino inner city schools may not have offered the best preparation gives bright students a way to get to schools that will finally challenge them and help them reach their full potential.
The Supreme Court may take a new stand on affirmative action, forcing schools to consider creative ways to build a diverse class. If this happens, proposals like those out of Harvard may prove especially useful.