Consider The Source

Updated: Oct 31, 2016

Should Academic Achievement Be a Primary Consideration for College Admission? 

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Of course, valedictorians attend Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia, Stanford and Harvard and Yale. And they probably should be there – they’ve earned it. But academic achievement isn’t enough to evaluate a person’s worthiness of anything,– especially admission into an institution of higher education. More should be considered when judging a soon-graduating high school student. There is more to a person than excellent, perfect grades. Academic achievement is just the tip of the iceberg when assessing a person’s credibility, their life experience and success potential, their value. Well-roundedness should be the primary consideration when a student is being assessed for admission into a particular college. Character, Drive, Work Ethic, and Foresight, and Leadership are the three components that comprise this quality – all combined with academic achievement as well, which is a given.

For one, a major component of a well-rounded person is Character: Who they are, what they’ve been through, how they respond to problems and bad situations. In late February 2016, news surfaced that Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger often takes job candidates to breakfast, secretly making sure the waiter gets his order wrong. He said it revealed deep down the kind of person the candidate is – how they responded to adversity and when things do not go their way. In essence, their Character. If it works for the CEO of a billion-dollar company, then it should be advantageous for a college’s admission counselor. Character rests under the umbrella of what it means to be a well-rounded person, which should be the primary consideration for admission into college.

Also, there is Drive, Work Ethic and Foresight. When a person really wants something, anything, something that may take a long time to achieve, they will go to any depth to obtain it. It’s a rare quality for any individual to have, especially at a young age like 17 or 18. Any nerd can sit at home and study the books until the books rot and shrivel up with age. They do simply what they are supposed to do; great if they wish to be professional achievers. They do it in vain. A well-rounded person hits the books hard AND studies and reads to improve themselves and their knowledge of the world, a certain industry, finance, self-improvement. They spend their waking moments not simply completing assignments, but pursuing a dream – bettering themselves each and every day until they reach their dream. Characteristics like this should be what get people into college – of course, also, when it is combined with excellent grades and character to back it up – because it illustrates one more component of a well-rounded, excellent person.

Lastly, leadership is a fundamental characteristic of a well-rounded person, as well. No follower ever became President of the United States of America, the CEO of an international, multi-billion dollar business, the Dean of an Ivy League school. Followers become drug addicts, convicts, and derelicts. Leaders are good people who have the rare ability to help others and lead them to something better, their goal, objective, and safety. Leaders reach people, gain their trust, and help them by being assertive, compassionate, helpful, honest and above all, selfless. One’s Leadership skills and motivations should be included when they are considered a well-rounded enough person for college admission.

In conclusion, college admission is not an easy process. It takes a lot to get into the right schools. Maybe that’s how it should be. But of course, there is more to a person in addition to their academic achievement. There is Character, Drive, Work Ethic and Foresight – and one more very important feature of a well-rounded person: Leadership. Sadly, this is not always the case – as too many valedictorians, bookworms essentially, those who graduate the top of their class, are being chosen as the top choice of the best universities in the world. Sadly, the most successful people in the world did not even graduate or attend college. Just look at two college dropouts: billionaire Bill Gates and the late tech guru Steve Jobs; they surely weren’t valedictorian material in college, not in high school either. Of course, it could be argued that other characteristics constitute a well-rounded person. Nonetheless, college admission should be based solely on a person being as well rounded as possible.

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