NYT Article Review: “To Get to Harvard, Go to Haiti”

Here’s a good piece about the emphasis on commnuinity and social involvement as a criteria to getting into elite colleges and universities may affect the genuines of that engagment. In particular, the article dicusses the urge for wealthier families to send their student to a third world country to partake in some quick missionary activity or to engage in an entreprenurial pursuit, which is funded my wealthy families, for the sake of getting into an ivt league school.

Two aspects of this piece stood out to me as important to the admissions process as a whole and our understanding of how diversity, income and self-awareness play a role into inspiring and admitting a well-rounded class of students.

Harvard, and schools like them, are engaged in research and rasing awareness on the impact of some of their suggested admissions criteria on some students. An essential element to the growth of any entity is the awareness of such criteria and asking how can we make this better. I think it’s easier for some people to simply brush the criteria of community involvement as a bullet-proof criteria that everyone can be apart in, without questioning what that criteria is supposed to do for and mean to the student.

The second element that stood out to me has to do with how te article starts off and whose voice is heard in the introduction. The intro comes from the perspective of a student who doesn’t have as much money as some of his classmates but who still chooses to give back at the local level because he cares. More inspiring is the fact that he cares enough to know that his community could be made better if only his wealthier classmates also gave back to their disadvantaged, not-a-plane-ride-away-neighbors. It was powerful to have the view point of someone whose local community activies could have been “outshined” by some of his wealthier counterparts. The very act of starting off with this student ackowledges that his efforts are just as important to admissions officers as his some of his classmates international excusions.

Read more here. 

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