Bard College, which happens to be one of the most popular private liberal arts colleges of New York, has recently announced that it will conduct an online admission essay examination in which students will be asked to submit four 2500-word research papers.
In order to get admitted in the institute, a student must score B+ or more in admission essay writing, which will be judged by the college’s faculty. Students will not be required to provide SAT scores, teacher recommendations or high school transcripts if they get the desired grades in their essays.
The most interesting thing about this initiative from Bard College is that the questions or statements for the admission essay will not be traditional ones like ‘discuss a life-changing personal experiences’ or ‘explain why you want to get admitted in XYZ college’. Such common essay prompts are available on a number of different online applications.
Another important factor is the word-limit as most admission essay websites offer essays of under a thousand words and Bard College’s requirement of 2500 words means that people will find it extremely difficult to outsource their work.
Taking into account the number of applications available, Bard College’s initiative to make a series of essays is an extremely important move.
Leon Botstein, the President of Bard College, expressed while revealing the new strategy that the method of using multiple choice questions for such an important examination has become outdated. The President feels that admission-by-essay approach will allow the college to assess the quality of students and their reasoning in a much more efficient manner and hopes that it will make it easy for the faculty to choose the best applicants.
Good news for students, who do not wish to go this route, is that admission through essay is an option and the college continues to offer admissions through traditional paths as well. The college, however, claims that it has been allowing admissions without necessarily requiring SAT or ACT scores for many years now.
It needs to be remembered that Tufts University, in its admission test last year, asked ‘what does #YOLO mean to you?’ The university was immensely criticized for asking about a popular Twitter hashtag for ‘you only live once’.
Such changes in the test formats always invite criticism, although these initiatives should be admired, considering the fact that the number of colleges are growing with the passage of time and institutes must come up with creative ideas to filter the applicants. It should also be noted that colleges that participate in the Common Application have the option to ask their own questions and as many as they do.
It remains to be seen if Bard College can avoid such criticism or not.
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