Harvard adopts new admission standard, SHU ahead of the trend

Recently, Harvard University released an online report that could potentially alter the admissions processes of universities nationwide.

Harvard will now take into account the contributions that students make to their communities and not just their SAT scores, GPA, or their long list of extracurricular activities when accepting students to the university.

While this may be revolutionary for some universities, it is nothing new to Seton Hall, which already has adopted this approach toward accepting potential students.

Alyssa McCloud, vice president of Enrollment Management at Seton Hall, said that the Harvard report is “in line with Seton Hall’s current practices.”

“When looking at students, we look holistically. We look for students who are involved both in and out of the classroom, take part in community service, and for those with strong recommendations,” McCloud said.

However, Seton Hall students prove that they are also strong academically. The average SAT score of the 2015 incoming freshman class was 1144, and the average GPA was 3.5, according to McCloud.

“It is important to ensure that students are academically able to handle the coursework here at Seton Hall,” McCloud said.

One aspect of the application process that is crucial to the admittance of a new student is the essay component. Students are required to write an essay on any topic of their choosing when they submit their application.

Most students take the essay opportunity to write about an experience that has defined who they are, or they can explain a previous slip-up of their grades. If a student performed above average for almost every semester of high school, but they had one or two classes where they struggled, they could use the essay to explain why their grades dropped.

“Whether it is because of an illness, a death in the family, or another event, the essay allows applicants to explain grades that deviate from their average,” McCloud said. “The essay gives us insight into the person as an individual.”

Students have opposing views about Seton Hall’s admissions philosophy. When asked, “If an applicant got a second job in order to support their low income family but has low grades, should they be on the same playing field as an applicant who studies hard for their near-perfect grades?,” student responses varied.

Prince (Michael) Davis, freshman philosophy major, said that the two students should be viewed as equals.

“There is more to being a student than habitually going to class…there has to be students who contribute to the goal of our university, while also giving back to the Seton Hall community,” Davis said.

Amy Vandegriff, a freshman on the Occupational Therapy track, disagreed.

“Everyone should be judged on the same standard. There’s a reason for standardized tests and GPAs and while test scores aren’t everything, they should be held with a higher regard,” Vandegriff said. “We are applying for an education.”

Diplomacy freshman Mackenzie Rill is undecided in her answer.

“It’s hard to say. Morally, these students who do work outside of the classroom and extracurriculars should be highly valued within the Seton Hall community, but grades tend to speak for themselves. Grades are important, too,” Rill said.

Those students who are on the verge of the admissions requirements, or fall slightly below Seton Hall’s expected GPA and SAT scores, are put on the waitlist. After being put on this list, they are automatically scheduled an interview with admissions.

This interview is a way for the University to get to know the student better than what they appear to be on paper. Unless otherwise requested, this is a time for admissions to conduct interviews for incoming freshmen.

The scholarships available to incoming freshmen are primarily based on merit or extracurricular activities that they will continue during their time at Seton Hall. Scholarships are available to other students who are going through some trouble, but these are only available to students already attending Seton Hall. This scholarship is based off of student Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.

Megan O’Malley can be reached at megan.omalley@student.shu.edu

Author: Staff Writer

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