There’s a lot to digest in the recent report Making Caring Common which has a slew of suggestions for bringing some much needed sanity to the college admissions process. The short version: stop putting so much emphasis on AP classes and SAT scores and, instead, encourage kids to do meaningful, sustained good work in their communities and families. In other words, stop stressing over the ACT and focus on acts instead.
No question much of this is in response to a flood of stories of late of rising levels of anxiety and stress in kids thrown into a fierce competition for academic recognition that businesses like the College Board and magazines like US News have been more than happy to promote. (Let’s never forget that the whole AP narrative has been pushed by those with a vested financial interest in the test. Always a good reason for a test.) And it’s about time. One of my favorite college presidents Leon Botstein at Bard has been railing about this for years.
Anyway, read the report, and make sure you send it to everyone you know who is on the “high achievement” bandwagon. And when you do, make sure you share this quote as well:
Even the most advanced students may benefit from avoiding course “overload” and devoting more time for scholarly work that allows unstructured reflection and encourages the development of intellectual curiosity.
Wow. What a concept.