The Ivy Coach Daily

April 11, 2018

The Myth of the Well-Rounded Student

Highly selective colleges seek singularly talented students as our readers know all too well.

Highly selective colleges are not seeking well-rounded students. We know, we know. It’s not exactly a breaking news alert. Come on, Ivy Coach. And yet “CNBC” ran an article this year entitled “Former Stanford admissions officer: Colleges aren’t looking for well-rounded students” that makes it seem as though this is revelatory. Highly selective colleges haven’t been seeking well-rounded students during the entire course of the quarter century we at Ivy Coach have been in business. In fact, a 1998 article the Founder of Ivy Coach published for “Peterson’s” focused on how our nation’s most elite colleges seek singularly talented students rather than well-rounded students and it used to be the #1 hit when you searched “college” on AOL back in the day when AOL was the search engine of choice for many households. The piece helped bring our business to a worldwide audience.

Colleges Seeking Singularly Talented Students Is Nothing New

So color us perplexed when “CNBC” (home of not only Jim Kramer but “Shark Tank” reruns too!) releases an article that tells the audience something that may have been breaking news in 1992 but certainly not in 2018. As Abigail Hess writes in the piece, “This preference for specific strengths rather than general excellence is rooted in an interest in building a class of students with varied perspectives and passions. ’They are looking for a well-rounded class even if not each individual student is well-rounded,’ says [Grace] Kim.” Yes, thank you. The whole piece kind of reads like an ad for a college counseling company.

We can picture tomorrow’s headlines already. “The Sky Is Blue.” Or maybe “Richard Nixon Impeached.” Or “Smoking Can Cause Cancer, Studies Suggest.” Come on, “CNBC.” You can do better. You must do better. We’ve got lots of interesting topics that you can focus on in future articles on the highly selective college admissions process. Just read through our college admissions blog and you’ll find a whole lot more insightful information on the process than the fact that colleges aren’t seeking well-rounded students. Your readers are smarter than that! They love to read about the college admissions process but they don’t want to read things they already know. Who does?

So, Abigail Hess, we hereby invite you to contact us for some story ideas. You write for a terrific platform, arguably the world’s leading business channel. We’ve got some ideas for you on the business of college admissions that your readers would surely enjoy, ideas that are fresh and interesting. So as much as you might not like that we’ve critiqued your piece on well-rounded students (who doesn’t get a piece or two critiqued!), it’ll be to the benefit of your future reporting. There’s one super juicy story in particular that we have in mind to start!

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