The Class of 2021 Could Change College Admissions Forever

这篇文章由Erin Tan撰写,是我们第七届年度学生编辑大赛高中组的前9名获奖者之一,我们收到了6,076份参赛作品。


“The Class of 2021 Could Change College Admissions Forever”
By Erin Tan, age 16, Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies, Edison, N.J.

Junior year of high school is notorious for being the most stressful, acne-inducing year of a teenager’s life. With college applications fast approaching, students scramble to bump up their course rigor and boost their grade point averages. On top of that, they have to find time to prepare, and pay, for the SAT, ACT, subject tests and Advanced Placement exams.

By mid-March, I was starting to feel the heat: It seemed like I had two tests every day and four projects a week. If this kept up for three more months I would implode from stress. Then a global pandemic shut schools down indefinitely.

The high school class of 2021 just lucked out hard. In the busiest part of our hardest year of high school, we get to have school from home and abridged open note A.P. exams. Because of all these changes, our college admissions are going to be much more complex. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Ahead of the fall of 2021 college application period, many universities across the nation have announced modifications to their application requirements, specifically for standardized testing. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, will not consider SAT subject tests. Dozens of other colleges and universities have dropped the SAT and ACT altogether, with some schools even amending their admissions requirements beyond fall of 2021. If this precedent catches on, the landscape of college admissions, as well as the overall high school experience, will change drastically.

Colleges claim to value a student’s character in the admissions process. “It’s not enough just to be smart at top schools,” says Angela Dunnham, former assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth College. “Students must also show that they’ll be good classmates and community builders.” If this were truly the case, then an applicant’s essay and extracurriculars would hold equal or more weight than a test score or G.P.A. After all, there’s nothing about a multiple choice test that showcases a student’s creativity or versatility.

Placing less emphasis on standardized testing will remove an added stressor that students face during high school. Students have accustomed themselves to the reality that if they are poor test takers, they will automatically disqualify themselves from admission at most top-tier colleges. Additionally, the high costs of taking and preparing for these tests have made standardized testing a catalyst for socioeconomic privilege.

By valuing more personal aspects of an application, colleges will be able to assemble a diverse roster of students that don’t fit one cookie-cutter model. High school students will worry less and become the sociable, humanitarian people that any college would be proud to admit. The fall 2021 college freshman class will prove what admissions guidelines truly produce the most well-rounded group of students, and colleges better pay attention.

Works Cited

Butterly, Joel. “7 Admissions Officers Share the Things They Never Tell Applicants.” Business Insider, 7 Feb. 2018.

Cole, Jonathan R. “Why Elite-College Admissions Need an Overhaul.” The Atlantic, 14 Feb. 2016.

Hoover, Eric. “What Colleges Want in an Applicant (Everything).” The New York Times, 1 Nov. 2017.