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If You Want Your Kid To Go To Harvard, They Better Be Nice

While your kid is probably already crushing flash cards to get their mind right for an application to Harvard sometime next decade, Harvard itself might be rethinking what it is your little snowflake needs to do to earn their own pair of crimson-plaid cashmere socks. According to a report just issued by the university, college admissions should be taking into account things that are decidedly less squishy than GPA and SAT scores.

The report, titled “Turning The Tide: Inspiring Concern For Others And The Common Good Through College Admissions” argues that colleges and universities need to place a heavier emphasis on things like “contributions to one’s family” and community, and “authenticity,” and focus less on AP classes and a long list of extracurriculars. It goes so far as to suggest that application forms should have fewer lines for AP classes and more lines devoted to explaining why those classes were meaningful. It’s almost like they think adjectives are more valuable than algorithms.

Credit Robert Raines

The report is an attempt on Harvard’s part to address a consistent complaint among parents and high schools about the amount of pressure kids are under to perform academically, at the expense of both community involvement and equal opportunities for lower income kids. It’s been endorsed by over 80 stakeholders — admissions officers, high school counselors, and deans — and archrival Yale went so far as responding by including a new question on it’s own application about “the public good.”

Of course, it’s far too early to know if admissions officers will start practicing what they preach but, then again, maybe you shouldn’t worry about it — Goldman Sachs isn’t even sure college is a good idea to begin with.

[H/T]: Washington Post