Magazine article University Business

Not Overzealous, Overall: Cliff Sjogren Clarifies His Stance on Overhauling the Admissions Process, and Strikes a Blow for Those Who Are Editorialized, Everywhere

Magazine article University Business

Not Overzealous, Overall: Cliff Sjogren Clarifies His Stance on Overhauling the Admissions Process, and Strikes a Blow for Those Who Are Editorialized, Everywhere

Article excerpt

IN OUR JANUARY 2004 ISSUE, THE EDITOR'S NOTE, "OVERZEALOUS Overhaul?" took a look at "A Radical Plan for a Simplification of the College Admission Process," a proposal penned by University of Michigan ex-director of Admission, Cliff Sjogren, and brought to the general awareness by Washington Post columnist Jay Matthews in his Nov. 25 column. Mr. Sjogren's commentary here is a response to the University Business editorial, authored by Editorial Director Katherine Grayson. To review the text of the editorial, head to www.universitybusiness.com, and click on the January issue editor's note.

I was pleased to read your well-thought-out critique of the Jay Matthews' Washington Post piece about my concerns on present-day admission practices. Also, I agree with almost every- thing you wrote! I should like, however, to clarify my thinking in a few areas. But first, a qualification: I don't know it you followed the link in Matthews' column to my original notes. Those notes (not a "paper") were written as preparation for an interview session for the AACRAO publication, College and University, to be distributed soon. Thus, the piece did not get the editorial scrutiny it should have (little did I know that it would generate so much national attention!)

1--While I would do away with the "essays" as they are now de fined, I would invite the student to write a "statement" to bring to the Admission officer's attention anything he/she feels might seem relevant to the decision. That would be much more meaningful, I believe, than an essay on a politically correct or esoteric topic that for a fee could be edited, or even written by an online professional service. (Explained in my "notes.")

2--Likewise, the counselor would write a "statement" to the admission officer's attention about anything he/she feels might seem relevant to the decision. Usually a sentence or two, or a paragraph, at most, would suffice. I have read hundreds of one- and two-page "recommendations" that were worthless, more so since the enactment of FERPA which gives students access to their records. (Also, let's not let the ability of the counselor to write beautiful prose influence the decision. …

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