When you hear that someone is attending Harvard you expect for them to be smart, but sometimes they are not.
In the Harvard Crimson, Harvard’s school newspaper, they released an article claiming that the Harvard admissions process is racist.
Harvard University’s new application essay requirements, includes a 200-word limit. The article claims that this puts racial minorities at a disadvantage.
The Harvard Crimson student editorial board said the new short-essay questions “seemingly cater to those from highly privileged backgrounds.”
“Our foremost concern: How can students reasonably condense discussions about formative life experiences and their identities into 200 words or less?” the student editors wrote.
The revamping of Harvard’s admission process comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that its race-based admission practices were unconstitutional.
According to the Crimson, some of the changes were to the essay requirements. The Ivy League school used to allow student applicants to choose from a series of questions and write one long, open-ended essay and two shorter optional essays.
Now, the application requires students to write five short essays within a 200-word limit. This is in response to “new mandatory prompts,” the student editors wrote.
These requirements hurt “marginalized” students, forcing them to answer questions that may “not be relevant to their background,” they continued.
“Learning to package yourself within a shorter amount of space is a product of advanced education; longer essays more equitably allow applicants to discuss their experiences in full, particularly if they are from non-traditional backgrounds and require more space to elaborate on nuanced qualifications,” the editorial board wrote.
The interesting part of the Harvard Crimson’s claim is that people have said the opposite. Some scholars have said that the Harvard admissions staff may use the essays to skirt the Supreme Court ruling.
They pointed to a June 29 memo from Harvard President Lawrence Bacow that quotes a line in the ruling saying colleges and universities may consider “an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration or otherwise.”
The whole thing is a mess, and do we really trust the opinion of students around the age of 20?
To hear Tony Katz’s thoughts on the Harvard Crimson’s article, click the link below.
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