The Adversity Police

As readers of this site are no doubt aware, the University of California recently overhauled its admissions criteria. Under its new “comprehensive review,” overcoming adversity is now considered along with grades, test scores, etc. Among the qualifications that will now be considered is the following:

Academic accomplishments in light of an applicant’s experiences and circumstances, such as disabilities, low family income, first generation to attend college, need to work, disadvantaged social or educational environment, difficult personal and family situations or circumstances, refugee status or veteran status.

Now, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education today, the university has created a new “systemwide verification process.” (Link requires subscription)

To discourage applicants from embellishing their admissions applications, the University of California system next year will begin spot-checking the veracity of students’ statements about their personal achievements and experiences.

In the early days of the civil rights movement the goal was to eradicate all vestiges of what was termed “white male discretion” and replace it with objective tests and measures. Now the goal is to replace objective measures with administrative discretion.

Perhaps the Educational Testing Service should consider creating a Scholastic Adversity Test (SCAD?) to create a more uniform measure of adversity and thus remove some of the subjectivity from these evaluations.

UPDATEJoanne Jacobs has the same item. As she puts it, “Everybody thinks everybody else is cheating — or, at least, exaggerating.” The university apparently fears that at least some are.

Say What?