The Need for Colleges and Universities to Expand the Application Requirements for How We Are Outside School

“Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle.” A personal development leader named Dr. Robert Anthony tries to express that when we are ready to look around, knowledge is everywhere to be found and when we want too look, more knowledge will evolve. As a freshman at Santa Barbara City College I personally know the amount of stress that comes with applying for colleges. I struggled with some of my classes growing up and didn’t do very well on my SAT and ACT tests.

However, I find myself being a great people person and I can confidently say that I was born with the gift of being able to let my mind wander when I do any type of art. In the article, “Turning the Tides” created by The Harvard School of Education, they suggested that students should not be viewed only as the student that they are in the classroom but beyond the classroom as well.

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“A healthy and fair admissions process cannot simply encouage students to devote more time to others: It needs simultaneously to reward those who demonstrate true citizenship, deflate undue academic performance pressure and redefine achievement in ways that create greater equity and access for economically diverse students. (1)” I personally believe that if universities and colleges expanded the application requirements and included criteria for how we are outside of school and how we are creatively, colleges would be able to fully fathom what type of individual they are inspecting and we would get into the college of their dreams.

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At some point during elementary school we were all told by our teachers to “be creative” as we would work on a drawing in art class or a poem assigned in our English class. But what does it really mean to be creative?

According to my dictionary, to be creative you have the quality or power of creating or resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc. If you really think about it, this growing world that we all live on would not be how it is without creative minds! People come up with new ideas for things every day, weather it be creating a new shade of color or trying to figure out methods to curing cancer and deathly diseases. Since being creative has simultaneously been in our everyday lives, we should all be given a chance to express our creative minds when applying for college. In his article “While Rethinking Admissions Process, Consider Creativity” James C. Kaufman, expresses how giving students a chance to express their creative minds could really benefit them.

“There is a growing volume of research that shows greater emphasis on creativity assessments in the college application process could provide a more holistic impression of a students potential. (2)” Being an artist, I know what it is like to express yourself and your thoughts on a piece of paper and I know others that have other ways of showing others their imagination. If I was given a chance to express my creativity on my college applications then I guarantee I would have gotten into more colleges than I did. We deserve a chance to let our true colors and imagination run, as some of the students with low GPAs and test scores may really surprise the head of admissions at the colleges that they applied to. Another addition that should be added to the college application process would be to acknowledge what students do for the community outside of school. In my opinion, what you do for others and the community says a lot about the type of person that you are and colleges should see that as well.

Many of us express what we do for the community in our general college essays but if there was a required section in our college applications for “Collective Action that Takes on Community Challenges” I think that it would help grasp what type of student they are outside of the classroom. In “Turning the Tide,” it talks about how giving back to the community not only helps the community but is also teaching you life skills and practices. “These types of activities can help young people develop key emotional and ethical capacities, including problem solving skills and group awareness, as well as a greater understanding of and investment in common good. (3)” Having some sort of required “giving back to the community” section in the college application process will give those who struggle in some areas in school a chance to be recognized and appreciated for who they are outside of school.

The saying “you never know what happens behind closed doors” is what I think about when I think about how most of us are not acknowledged for the work that we do at home and for our family. Being the oldest of three girls, having divorced parents, having an alcoholic father, and three pets; I know what it is like to feel like you need to help out your family in any way needed. There are many students that have to work after school to help pay for rent, kids that have to take care of their sick family members, go grocery shopping, pick up siblings from school and take care of them etc. Hours of nurturing for your family can take time away from hours that you would have spent studying or doing something benefitcal for yourself and your own future.

“Turning the Tides” expresses how important it should be that these family contributions should be reported on their college applications. “Far too often there is a perception that high-profile, brief forms of service tend to count out admissions, while these far more consistent, demanding, and deeper family contributions are overlooked. Students should have clear opportunities to report these family contributions on their applications. (4)” I couldn’t agree more with this recommendation because for many of us family comes first and you have to do what you have to do sometimes. Having this section would allow colleges and universities to have a better view on our lives at home and can be more sympathetic to the those that need this to be recognized by the admissions offices.

Our minds and lives are all unique. Getting ready to go away to college is overwhelming and can cause a lot of stress on students that think that their grades are all that matter. Making healthy and fair additions to the college application process will not only allow colleges to see who each student really is inside and outside of the classroom, but will give us a better chance to go off to the college of our dreams. Every high school student deserves the chance to express who they really are and where they come from on their college applications because that may help pave the pathway to their future.

Works Cited

  1. Turning the Tide was written by Richard Weissbourd, Senior Lecturer and Co-director of the Making Caring Common project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in collaboration with Lloyd acker, Executive Director of the Education Conservancy, and the Making Caring Common team including Trisha Ross Anderson, Alison Cashin, Luba Falk Feigenberg, and Jennifer Kahn.
  3. 53675

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The Need for Colleges and Universities to Expand the Application Requirements for How We Are Outside School. (2021, Sep 24). Retrieved from

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