Universal admissions requirements are outdated, harmful

Ethan Davis

Did you, student reader, apply to schools besides the University of Texas-Austin? Do you remember the bane of your existence during your senior year of high school? A name worse than Voldemort, but more important than the key to your own dorm room — the key to your admission, ApplyTexas. The dreaded website that had you write countless essays and prompts for the bare minimum of allowing our University to even consider you.

As a music student, on top of spending time meticulously crafting my responses to prompts and essays, I had to fly to Austin and perform in front of a panel of highly trained experts in the field of singing, with no guarantee that my efforts would pay off.

My efforts weren’t rewarded in many other schools where I auditioned, and despite that, I paid for the chance to present myself, a luxury few can afford.

The price — although a problem on its own — isn’t the issue I want to tackle here. In fact, I was happy to audition. For me, it was the most accurate demonstration of my potential they could get. I wasn’t applying to be a wordsmith, after all. I was applying to be a musician. So why, then, are students universally made to prove that they’re adept in every field, especially writing? If you have a passion for engineering, why should a lack of a quality essay be part of the admissions decision? Why should a McCombs student have to worry about their low science scores on the ACT when the workforce they apply to rarely, if ever, needs them to perform a lab study?

The skills most college admissions require of students don’t equate to their individual passions, strengths and aspirations — instead, they magnify weaknesses for anybody who finds it hard to read a boring text and answer questions about it under a time limit. And that’s not even touching a high school grading system far too outdated for the modern world we live in. It’s now harder than ever to judge a person based on a numerical grade value. As new generations take to employment, the workforce diversifies. Take the Avengers franchise as a relatable example: watching the credits for a movie fifteen years ago compared to one now shows just how much more expansive and varied the jobs in the film industry have become.

And that’s just an example of something you can see yourself. With more content being produced than ever, more research being done than ever and more mouths to feed than ever, we need to stop judging our potential students based on a universal scale, because that scale is not universal anymore.

We need applications that let passion shine through, not just grades.

Davis is a music sophomore from Columbus, Ohio