Admissions to US colleges are changing
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Admissions to US colleges are changing

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 13 Oct 2019

The ongoing US admissions scandal has caught many an eyeball. The scandal is more accurately a criminal conspiracy involving bribery, faked credentials and money laundering, all for the purpose of getting children of the wealthy admitted to elite colleges. Not only has the scandal been of interest to the news makers, but also to the colleges who have and have not been named in the ensuing charges and suits. 

It is a widely accepted fact that college admission is an imperfect system. It is designed by humans and as such is highly subjective and flawed, while also being complicated by many competing interests. In recent years, the number of applications that admissions counselors evaluate has increased dramatically, forcing colleges to spend less time looking at each application. With the Common Application now accepted by more than 800 schools, applicants are submitting materials to more institutions, stretching admissions officers resources further. 

Earlier, colleges were able to rest on the assumption that kids were being honest; they didn’t need to circle back to check before. Now, in the aftermath of the admission scandal in the US, we can expect a number of changes in the admission process for US colleges. 

  • In the wake of the federal investigation, the college testing industry is now scrambling to fix weaknesses that the scheme has exposed, focusing on the special-needs arrangements that allowed loopholes in the system to be exploited. Rules that allowed exemptions for students with disabilities will be tightened. 
  • Scrutiny over the application material is expected to tighten as colleges scramble to recover from the admissions scandal. They will have to run their own security checks, or outsource to special companies. 
  • There will be more focus on hard evidence as opposed to holistic storylines. While previous years have seen more and more importance being given to elements like essays, answers, and SOP’s (Statement of Purpose) or LOM’s (Letter of Motivation), it is possible that hard parametres will gain more importance because they are more accurate and harder to fudge. 
  • If the application is filed under an athlete or a sports scholarship, a few universities have made it mandatory for the student to continue the sport in college. 
  • Most specifically, international admissions will be affected adversely. Given that a large number of applications come from the A-Pac region, these applications might be subjected to a much tighter scrutiny. As the volume of applications increases exponentially, so too does the requirement to affirm the veracity of these. 

Additionally, a large number of the families named in the indictment were from California so, after the indictment was released, the UC system requested a review of their admissions process in order to look for weak spots and areas for improvement, namely special admits and applicants with connections within the system.

But it seems that even despite the fallout from the scandal, colleges are not being able to keep up with the numbers. The volume of applications is already at a staggering level. According to WSJ, “Inquiries made to 40 colleges and universities, the top tier of The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking, found that while many say they train admissions officers to spot inconsistencies, almost none have a formal audit process in which they select a random sample of applications to independently verify.” Verification of each application, grades, recommendations, extra curricular activities, is a seemingly impossible task and needs a lot of support in the time to come.

Till the time it is perfected, random checks and targeted scrutiny are probably going to be the commonly taken route. Simply put, in the near future, applications from the A-PAC regions might undergo more than their share of "routine security check". There might be more steps for verification in place. Double checking of scores, extra curriculars, recommendation letters and more might become the norm for region specific applications. 


Further reading:

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