College applicants are getting harder to judge

Santa Clara Magazine recently published a brief interview of Sandra Hayes, who not long ago retired after spending 25 years at Santa Clara University, 15 of which were spent as Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. In her interview she spoke of changes at Santa Clara and in admissions generally, and I found these comments of hers to be especially relevant for high school students:

Recently, I came across an admission report from 1980 and I realized the kinds of things that were being tracked then we really don't track anymore—things like how many applicants were student body presidents or were editors of school newspapers. Whereas now those activities are so common that they don’t necessarily distinguish a student as a standout. You and 80 percent of the other students who are applying are also either president of the student body or have some kind of leadership position at school, whereas at that time, that level of engagement really was exceptional.
 
Even activities—I think fewer students were actively involved in volunteer work then, whereas now it's the exception if you're not. So we really have to look very closely not just at whether you were student body president, but what are your recommenders saying about you? It's that kind of discernment that my colleagues and I spend more time on now than we would have 15 years ago.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The latest from america

While recommitting to help, L.I.R.S. and the U.S. bishops called on the Trump administration to “commit to immigration policies that are humane and uphold each individual’s human dignity.”
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 17, 2018
Caroline McClain, 16, sits on the ruins of her family's Mexico Beach vacation home after Hurricane Michael. Photo by Atena Sherry.
Human-driven climate change is intensifying tropical cyclones across the globe, climatologists say, but the role it played in the tragedy at Mexico Beach is both subtle and surprising.
Mario ArizaOctober 17, 2018
Our faith tells us that Christ chose to suffer on our behalf and that when we choose to do the same, in the service of others, we imitate Jesus in our own lives.
Terrance KleinOctober 17, 2018
Let’s begin to enlist both left and right in service of the vulnerable—using the ideological language they already accept.
Simcha FisherOctober 17, 2018