Duke Applicants

There’s an article in “The Duke Chronicle” that discusses how certain colleges — DePaul University, Oregon State University, and Eastern Washington University are using “noncognitive measures” to evaluate college applicants. According to the article, “Noncognitive measurements have risen in popularity in recent years as a way to evaluate applicants. These measurements provide an alternative way to assess students, eschewing traditional ‘cognitive’ factors, such as high school GPA and SAT scores, in favor of intangibles such as integrity and communication skills.” Duke’s always witty Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Christoph Guttentag, said that Duke has no plans to use such measures in the future.

Applicants to Duke, Duke Applications, Applications to Duke, Duke University Applicants

Duke applicants complete a number of “noncognitive” measures on their applications from college essays to interviews.

Guttentag goes on to say that Duke actually doesn’t just use cognitive measures to admit students. SAT scores and grades aren’t the only factors in admissions. One’s college essays, college interview, letters of recommendation, etc. are all non-quantifiable measures. So just because Duke isn’t using, say, “The Personal Potential Index,” one of these noncognitive tests developed by ETS, that doesn’t mean they aren’t factoring in noncognitive measures like “communication skills, ethics and integrity, knowledge and creativity, planning and organization, teamwork and resilience.” Much of that, without question, can indeed come across in those essays, in that interview, and in those letters of recommendation!

And that’s why college essays, interviews, letters of recommendation, and the host of other “noncognitive” measures matter a great deal in the highly selective college admissions process! And highly selective colleges like Duke have no plans to change the admissions process going forward. Do you think Duke applicants should have to take “The Personal Potential Index?” Let us know your thoughts on the matter by posting below!

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