What Would a Nice Harvard Look Like?

By Nadia X. Haile

A new report released by Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, on January 20th calls for advocating kindness instead of overachieving, making college admissions process a “more humane process”. So what does that mean for Harvard?

Decreased emphasis on standardized testing

Good news—instead of having 2400’s and 36’s, you only need 2350’s and 35’s now. Oh, and don’t forget the 10 perfect AP test scores, too. Thankfully, the two SAT subject tests are no longer required: not taking any subject tests will not have an effect on your admission decisions at all. Or so they say.

Encouraging students to be “kind”

What kind is defined as remains open to interpretation. Instead of working on start-ups that no one really cares about, consider using your free time planting trees or picking up trash on the weekend. Not cutting the line while at Chipotle counts too. Just make sure you keep track of all that “kindness” because really, why be kind when you can’t put it on your college applications?

Engage in more family responsibilities

Have you ever cooked or washed the dishes or mowed the lawn? Well, you should start doing that now if you want to show the admissions committee that you’re aware of your privilege. Don’t worry, you can still keep your SAT tutor and your car and your allowance. Wouldn’t want these extra chores to distract you from your studies, right?

Quality over quantity

Want to complain about how you don’t get enough slots in the ‘extracurricular activities’ section of the common app? Well, worry no more—you now can pick two or three extracurriculars you actually care about and focus on those. Or, if you really want to appeal to colleges, just make sure that you’re really passionate about and involved in all of your 52 extracurricular activities. Who said quality and quantity was so bad?

Find your “best fit”

That means Ivy League schools aren’t everything. Some may even say that there are a few worthy schools that aren’t Ivy Leagues out there-—Stanford, MIT, and UChicago, to name a few.

If the Admissions Office abides by these guidelines and encourages students to do the same, there might still be hope for meaningful college admissions. We at Flyby can’t wait to see what a “Nice Harvard” would look like—no section kids? No more professional resume builders? No risk of sabotage from the overcompetitive premed who is crying about his/her abysmal 3.9 GPA? Prospective Harvard students better get studying (and serving the community, and doing chores, and picking better extracurriculars, and being nice) now before it’s too late.

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