The Pacific Index

Student questions fairness behind the college admissions process

Erika Vives

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It is no surprise that applying to college is considered a big deal in many households across the nation. Students spend hours of time pouring blood, sweat and tears into a seemingly perfect application before sending it off to be scrutinized through the ever powerful office of admissions. Everything leading up to that moment is believed to come only from the hard work of being a well-rounded and thought out individual. But is it really that black and white?

Every year schools admit thousands of students into various programs nationwide. Some students’are lucky enough to get into their first choice school, while others are left choosing from alternate universities, left wondering why they did not get admitted into their top choice. This leaves a lot of questions as to whether or not the admissions process is fair.

Even with a perfect GPA, high ACT or SAT scores and phenomenal essays, there are other factors taken into account. In fact, people are told constantly through hard work and dedication, success is achievable, which is not always the case. In reality, the college admissions process can certainly be about who the applicant knows and the connections the applicant may have to the university.

Other times, universities are considered to base acceptance on extenuating circumstances or the advantage of having lived abroad. For the students who have not experienced said events, they are sometimes lost within large applicant pools. It feels even if everything is picture perfect on an application, if there is no uniqueness about an applicant, they may be brushed over.

It is hard to say whether the process of being admitted into college is fair, as opposed to the entire process being considered unfair, it may make more sense to call the process and it is entirety subjective. It also largely depends on what school it is and whether or not it is private or public.

In public schools that have a large population of student athletes, it isn’t uncommon for said athletes to be admitted more because of their ability to play sports over their test scores and GPA. However, that is not to say that all athletes at larger division athletes were admitted just because of their athletic capability.

In smaller private schools, they are often more selective in their applicants and are reviewed largely on their academic success throughout high school. The lines between whether or not the college admissions process is “fair” is very unclear. Many people have different opinions of what fair truly means, so its hard for one person to decide whether the entire process favors one person over the next.

Like anything, creating an open dialogue with admissions offices may lead to more answers than just speculating why an admissions process works the way it does.

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Student questions fairness behind the college admissions process