TED Conversations

Krisi Tran

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Are university admissions not diverse enough? (not for race, but for other factors)

All throughout the country there is a certain set of criteria that all incoming freshman must demonstrate to be considered, particularly grades, class percentage, volunteer work, sports, and leadership positions.

Grades are important, but a valedictorian of one school might be class rank 100 in another. Grades reflect also the quality of the teacher just as much as the student.
In many school organizations volunteer work is mandatory, which should be considered an oxymoron. In addition, many students know that it's for college so it shows little about the "good-will" community aspect it's trying to measure.
Last, leadership positions are uncontrollable, especially when other students elect them.

All in all, many students know about these factors and focus on them with the sole purpose of college admissions, even taking easier classes to boost GPA.

The Question:
Do you think incoming college students should continue to be judged on these factors or are there other ones that would be better?
In addition, should they only be judged on the things they have done their high school years, vs their entire lives? What alternative methods would be better?


Closing Statement from Krisi Tran

Some of the main points of this conversation include that universities are looking for these particular traits and that's why students are measured by them and that if the education system was less standardized or influenced by the government, there would be significantly more freedom for colleges to conduct their admissions in more unique ways.

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  • Dec 1 2013: IMHO the entire education system needs to be accessible through the internet. It is starting to happen and I applaud them for their progress. Kahn Academy and many others are following the same path, not to mention Stanford, Harvard and several other major universities going down the similar pathes to universal education from anywhere there is an internet connection to anyone who wants to learn.
    • Dec 1 2013: For the lectures, I would agree. I would suggest that the midnight bull sessions, discussions over coffee/beer, study groups, even living in a dorm and just general life discussions taught me more than any lecture I took. Think you need to have this time with people, also.
      • Dec 2 2013: People will dull your mind. "modified quote from Beautiful Mind"
        "Don't let schooling interfere with your education"- Mark Twain
        "The chief source of problems is solutions"- Eric Sevareid
        That's what they teach in schools "solutions", what they should show students is how to solve problems.
        "The only source of knowledge is experience"- Einstein
        You cannot gain experience from solutions but you can create more problems.

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