The tide is turning: High school is coming back — from by Ann Cronin; with thanks to Mr. Rob Bobeldyk, Assistant Director Teaching & Learning, Calvin Information Technology, for this resource


The report points out that the college application process itself sends the message to young people that their individual success, rather than concern for others and the common good, is paramount. The report calls for specific changes that will improve the emotional and psychological health of adolescents, increase opportunities for a broader range of students, and contribute to shaping a national culture different from the one we now have. The new application will redefine the roles of AP courses, extracurricular activities, standardized tests, and community service in admission decisions.

Turning the Tide doesn’t use the term “party” but endorses that concept. The new application process will state clearly that “a large number of AP or IB courses per year are often not as valuable as sustained achievement in a limited number of areas”. The report recommends that the college application process identify students who are passionate about an area of study, students who find intellectual engagement in that area, not the ones who “game the system” with a long list of AP courses.

According to Turning the Tide, students similarly try to “game the system” with a long list of extra-curricular activities. Admissions officers are dismissive of the “brag lists” of a large number of activities in which they suspect students may have minimal commitment and surface involvement.

Thank you, Harvard. Thank you, Yale. Thank you, University of North Carolina. Thank you, M.I.T.. Thank you, Holy Cross. Thank you, Connecticut College. Thank you, Trinity. Thanks to all the other 44 colleges and universities who have endorsed these changes in the college application process.