Is Academic Achievement Important for College Admission?

Abstract

The paper explores the reasons why academic achievement should not be seen as the primary concern when determining whether a person should be admitted to college. It is argued that educational facilities serve as agents of socialization, a number of extracurricular activities should be included as well as the long-term consequences of admission. The views of the proponents are mentioned briefly: college was a clearly defined goal as an educational facility, there may be institutions that are more relevant, and academic achievement is a universal standard that can be applied to everyone. In the last section, these claims are refuted with the following points: colleges is an educational as well as a social institution, comprehensive education will inevitably help a person develop different abilities, not only academic, and focus on academic achievement leads to a false perception of objectivity.

Table of contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

Academic achievement should not be a primary consideration…………………………………… 4

Agent of socialization……………………………………………………………………………………. 4

Extracurricular activities……………………………………………………………………………….. 4

Long-term consequences………………………………………………………………………………. 5

Academic achievement should be a primary consideration………………………………………… 5

Clearly defined role……………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

More relevant institutions……………………………………………………………………………….. 6

Universal standard…………………………………………………………………………………………. 6

Refutation of the opposing points……………………………………………………………………………. 7

A social institution…………………………………………………………………………………………. 7

Comprehensive education………………………………………………………………………………. 7

The illusion of objectivity………………………………………………………………………………. 8

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

References…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10

Introduction

If one takes a close look at the contemporary world, one will be able to see that people value education a lot. That is why it has become an imperative that people study hard in school and then go to college. This resulted in the situation when college admission became so important that people started questioning if there were some other aspects that should be taken into account while considering the application. This paper will argue that academic achievement should not be regarded as a primary consideration for college admission because educational facilities serve as agents of socialization, a number of extracurricular activities should be included when evaluating an applicant and the long-term consequences of admission should be properly considered. The paper will also review the points that are brought up by the opponents of this position, successfully refuting them.

Academic achievement should not be a primary consideration

Agent of socialization

Those who oppose the idea that academic achievement should be seen as a primary consideration make the following points. First of all, they insist that educational facilities, including colleges and schools, serve as agents of socialization (Bangs & Davis, 2015). In other words, there is a bigger goal that they are expected to fulfill and it is not connected to education in any way. Therefore, it would be logical to take this into consideration while making decisions about the future of the applicants. It is quite possible that some of them need to go to college more than others because they will have a positive impact on their socialization and will prevent them from actions that have negative consequences.

Extracurricular activities

It has been mentioned that college education can be particularly broad. That is why it is not fair to limit one’s evaluation of academic achievement. For example, an applicant may not have been particularly successful in studies, but one is a great athlete. With this in mind, it may be useful to admit one into college since by doing do one will be able to explore collegiate sports which are an important element of life in college (Goodman & Leiman, 2007). Another point that should be mentioned is that an applicant may have been engaged in other activities that would not show on academic transcript. They may have taken one’s time up to the point when one’s academic performance started suffering slightly. So, it is always possible that an applicant may have had other priorities than studies.

Long-term consequences

Finally, it may be useful to consider the long-term consequences of admission to college. For example, Zwick (2013) insists that this decision of the educational facility is likely to have a significant impact on the future of a person. In other words, going to college may help a person start a new chapter, preparing one for great accomplishments whereas rejection of one’s application will have a detrimental impact on one’s life. One should keep in mind that this is true for virtually every applicant. That is why it is essential to take into consideration as much information as possible in order to make a decision that will literally be life-changing for a person. Therefore, limiting one’s evaluation with academic achievement is not efficient and may lead to terrible consequences.

Academic achievement should be a primary consideration

Clearly defined role

The importance of educational facilities as agents of socialization is beyond any doubts. Nevertheless, it is essential to keep in mind two things: first of all, it is neither most important agent of socialization nor the only one; secondly, this should be seen as the additional goal that educational facilities serve, not the primary one which they were designed for. All this leads to the understanding that if colleges are seen as some sort of a more sophisticated playground where adults learn how to interact with other adults, this will be disrespectful to the nature of the educational facility. While not every student is going to college to devote one’s life to science, it is clear that they are expected to study had there. So, colleges are educational facilities first of all.

More relevant institutions

It has been pointed out that academic achievement may not be the highest priority for a person. While this is perfectly normal, it may be useful to note that under these conditions going to college may not seem to be the best option for a person since there are institutions that are more relevant. For example, if one is interested in sports, one may join a sports club and make a professional athlete career. In addition to that, if a person is struggling to support one’s family, it should not be seen as a justification for admission: one would benefit from finding a job and taking evening classes. In other words, college was designed to be the primary concern of the people who go there; so, it would not be logical to believe that it would be suitable for people whose attention is drawn to other issues.

Universal standard

It is true that admission to a college may have a long-lasting influence on a person. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that there is a limited number of students that an educational facility can hold. Obviously, if it had been endless, then every single person would have been admitted. However, the focus on academic achievement enables educational facilities to develop a universal standard that will be used to evaluate the chances of the applicants. Since it is not a secret, everyone will have an equal opportunity as long as one studies hard. In other words, putting emphasis on other aspects should be considered to be as distorting the objectivity of selection.

Refutation of the opposing points  

A social institution   

All the points that were mentioned above are quite convincing. However, there are several aspects that seem to be missing. First of all, it is true that colleges are educational facilities foremost. Nevertheless, one should note forget about the fact that they are social institutions as well. In other words, colleges are not a special area where people study: they are important social actors. So, one should not limit their role. Another point that should be mentioned with this regard is that colleges are closely connected to other significant social institutions (Watts, 2009). This allows them to be integrated into the fabric of social environment. So, going to college to study is a perspective that features an oversimplified perspective on this facility.

Comprehensive education  

The next point that should be mentioned is that education is college is often described as comprehensive. This means that passing knowledge regarding a certain discipline is not the primary tasks of the teacher-student interaction. Furthermore, the latter are expected to gain valuable experience in other areas of life which means that academic achievement can hardly be seen as the focus on being in college (Scherer & Anson, 2014). Another point that should be mentioned with this regard is that there are many areas in which a person can excel at when studying. For example, one may pay more attention to collegiate sports if compared to studies and still be an important member of the college community. This leads to the understanding that if academic achievement is seen as the only concern, then a significant number of other areas will be affected negatively.

The illusion of objectivity   

Finally, one should consider the third point that is overlooked by the proponents of focus on academic achievement – the true nature of objectively. It is obvious that the administration of a college would like to be as objective as possible when evaluating the application. However, this objectivity will always be relative because it is next to impossible to compare to different people. Given the fact that in one or another this activity will be biased, it may be useful to make sure that it does not prevent people from going to college especially if they benefit from it the most. Therefore, it is crucial to establish new standards.

Conclusion

Having examined all the points that were mentioned in the paragraphs above, one is able to come to the following conclusion: academic achievement should not be seen as a primary consideration when deciding whether a person should be admitted to a college or not. There are several reasons to that. First of all, colleges should be perceived as agents of socialization; that is why they are able to play a significant role in lives of the people which should not be limited by academic performance. Secondly, there is a number of extracurricular activities that should be taken into account while considering whether a person is fit for a college or not. Finally, one should consider the fact that admission can have a life-changing impact; therefore, the administration should choose carefully who should be admitted because by doing so they will be able to help a person achieve more in life.

Self-evaluation

In the course of writing this paper, I did my best to deliver a professional text. I made a list of points that I would like to present and eliminated those which were the weakest. Then I grouped the points in a logical way in order to develop a wide perspective on the issue. One of the major advantages of the paper lies in the fact that it presents perspectives of the opposing sides: this way the reader will not that I am not biased towards the topic. Furthermore, the opposing points are refuted as a calm and objective manner which means that the audience will see that I defend a particular position for a number of reasons and can deal with criticism. I believe I deserve an A for this paper.

References

Bangs, R., & Davis, L. E. (2015). Race and Social Problems Restructuring Inequality. New York, NY: Springer New York.

Goodman, S. R., & Leiman, A. (2007). College admissions together: it takes a family. Sterling, VA: Capital Books.

Scherer, J. L., & Anson, M. L. (2014). Community colleges and the access effect: why open admissions suppress achievement. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Sternberg, R. J. (2010). College admissions for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Sykes, G., Schneider, B. L., & Plank, D. N. (2012). Handbook of education policy research. London: Routledge.

Watts, C. (2009). Applying to college. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub.

Zwick, R. (2013). Rethinking the SAT The Future of Standardized Testing in University Admissions. London: Taylor and Francis.

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