Section: Opinion

New app undermines equality

The new Coalition for Accessibility and Affordability’s (CAA) college application, an alternative to the Common Application, might patently offend your sense of sympathy for high school students in the grips of the college process.

The organization aims to expand the window of the process to the prospective student’s entire high-school career. The organization’s addition to the conventional college application is the “locker,” an online repository for works both curricular and otherwise, which a student can begin in ninth grade and add to over the course of his or her high school career.

The coalition claims this approach provides a more holistic image of a student’s potential as an applicant, though schools can still include particular requirements in their applications. In addition, the tool is supposed to be easily accessible so college counselors and even admissions officers at colleges can comment on an applicant’s profile.

The coalition’s reasoning behind the locker is, at best, an emphatic denial of common sense, seasoned with wishful thinking. To advance the ability to consult in-house college counselors and other experts about the suitability of one’s admissions profile as a “feature” meant to close the resource gap is both misguided and preposterous. One of the defining issues in confronting the access gap is the lack of organization of students and their families at lower income levels, even among gifted applicants. It exposes the egregious reality that the CAA’s plan not just maintains the status quo; it actively exacerbates the influence of money and the challenges associated with applying to college with a lack of resources.

One can’t presuppose access to resources when building a tool to address lack of access to resources. Indeed, the plan aggravates the leverage of money and resources merely by extending the horizon over which careful attention can push an application artificially above the rest.

Furthermore, the application demonstrates shortcomings regarding affordability. Supposedly, all member schools have met “qualifications” ensuring their commitment to affordability. However, though private universities in the coalition must meet all demonstrated need, that stipulation only corresponds to the need of admitted students, not prospective students. Many of the private institutions in the coalition are explicitly need-aware in the admissions process, so need is more or less subjectively defined by each college. In light of this reality, the CAA’s conceits become evident.

As students of a school that values diversity and equality, we laud our own admissions office for abstaining from the CAA’s tornado of egotism and obliviousness. It’s our duty as students to ensure that Kenyon only signs on once the CAA has somehow demonstrated results indicating a move toward a more equitable admissions process.

Christopher Comas ’19 is undeclared from Washington, D.C. Contact him at comasc@kenyon.edu.

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