The problem with admissions: High school entrance exams mirror college applications

November 03, 2013

A recent NYTimes article profiled the debate over whether high school entrance exams should be the sole gateway to tuition-free college prep schools such as NYC’s Stuyvesant. It also discussed the racial undertones associated with the extensive test prep many students are resorting to to perform well on these exams.

 

Kassidi Cheng, 12, is in test-prep classes that cost her mother $2,000 this year alone. Some say that the admissions test for the city’s eight elite high schools is unfair to those students who cannot afford prep courses.

Beyond issues of race, those who favor a broader admissions policy say the reliance on one test for admission, one that has spawned an industry of tutoring programs, has distorted what it means to be a top student.

One parent argued that students should be able to demonstrate their abilities in a more well-rounded way, “A test like this is not a full indicator of a child’s potential.”

Judgments about the merits of these exams aside, the U.S. college admission process is arguably “fairer” than those in most other countries that rely solely on exam results. Although U.S. colleges value your individuality over your test-taking abilities, college admissions are ultimately an extension of the same issue: those who can afford to package and polish their applications have a better chance of admission.

In that sense, I really do believe that the more informed students are about what makes for a strong college application or a well-rounded candidate—and the more affordable and accessible this information is—will help to equalize the process.

 



Browse Successful Application Files

hannah626
Duke ‘18


Accepted to UGA

I am a current junior at Duke studying biology, marine science, and markets and management studies
BrownDomer
Notre Dame ‘20


Accepted to BU, Emory, Swarthmore, Notre Dame

Hello! I'm an international student from Ethiopia and I'll be majoring in Biology. I'd love to share all the tips and tricks I've learned from my rather unique college application experience with you!
lamborghinibea…
USC ‘19


Accepted to UC Davis, UCLA, UCSD, USC, Emory, UMich, UNC, Pepperdine

Although very hardworking, I love to socialize with friends and make time to just relax. Also, I've always been interested in cars and working in the business aspect of the automotive industry.
jpm13
Rochester ‘20


Accepted to Rochester, Rutgers, Fordham, College of NJ, Drexel

Hey! I'm a freshman at University of Rochester Class of 2020 interested in double majoring in Biology and Spanish, eventually applying to med school. I'm passionate about studying science, doing research and learning new languages.

New Posts

Harvard University Class of 2022 Early Admission Results Are In!
Harvard University Class of 2022 Early Admission Results Are In!
December 13, 2017

On Tuesday, Harvard University released its early admissions decisions for the Class of 2022 and accepted 14.5% of early applicants. This year 6,630 students applied for admission under the Early Action program, and 964 applicants were accepted into Harvard’...

Early Admission Class of 2022 Notification Dates
Early Admission Class of 2022 Notification Dates
December 07, 2017

What date do early decision results start to roll in?College applicants vying for a spot in the Class of 2022 will hear back from their first applications throughout this upcoming week. We’ll update this...

Load More Posts