The Turning the Tide initiative has lots of people in higher education and high schools talking about helping students maximize their high school experience – in all kinds of ways, not just with a plethora of AP classes. This is a good thing.Ironically, however, the roughly 90 schools that have signed onto the Tide-initiative include some of the most selective (and perhaps stress-inducing) schools in the nation. As has been the case with college rankings, when the focus is on such a narrow band of schools (in this case, approximately 3 percent of the not-for-profit colleges and universities), it’s easy to lose sight of the reality that there are, and always have been, many wonderful opportunities for students at the majority of U.S. colleges and universities.
So, here’s another idea: Let’s encourage students to consider the “other” 2500+ colleges – large and small, urban and rural, public and private – that are inclusive, rather than selective in their admission policies.
Colleges That Change Lives has long encouraged students to consider their high school years as a valid life experience, not just a stepping stone to college. CTCL schools review applications with an eye towards admission and admit students who have spent their high school years living an authentic experience – taking courses that challenged and intrigued them intellectually, while also balancing a schedule that includes time for family, friends, activities, and even sleep. This focus recognizes that students who do what they genuinely enjoy are happier and that, by learning to balance their strengths and weaknesses, students are more prepared not just for college but for life.
Turning the Tide merely repeats what CTCL has advocated for years: Colleges should recognize the value students bring to campus, rather than requiring a “more is always better” mentality for applications. CTCL (and schools like them) are pleased to have everyone on the same page now.