Food for Thought Friday: The Making Caring Common Project

by Kristie Burk

This weekend when you’re stuck indoors because of the snow, take a minute to look at the recently released report called “Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions.”  It is a joint-effort by the Making Caring Common Project to change the college admissions process dramatically.

Participants in the project from the Harvard Graduate School of Education included college admissions officers, university administrators, school guidance counselors and principals, as well as other key stakeholders.

“The college admissions process should clearly  send the message…[that] students’ family contributions, such as caring for younger siblings, taking on major household duties or working outside the home to provide needed income, are highly valued in the admissions process. Far too often there is a perception that high-profile, brief forms of service tend to count in admissions, while these far more consistent, demanding, and deeper family contributions are overlooked.” – Making Caring Common Project

Most colleges and universities recognize that their college admissions requirements affect students’ lives, particularly in high school. Members of the Making Caring Common Project wanted to

  • motivate students to contribute to their community and to assess their contributions more meaningfully
  • promote ethical as well as intellectual growth
  • reduce “undue academic performance pressure”
  • reward “true” citizenship

I looked through the report and was encouraged by many of the recommendations.  For example, the report asks colleges and universities to recommend “no more than 2 or 3 substantive extra-curricular activities” and to weigh “students’ day-to-day conduct …more heavily in admissions than the nature of students’ stints of service.”

Have a look at the report and let us know what you think!


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