For all the national press that this “Turning the Tide” report has generated over the last couple of days, we can’t help but feel there was a whole lot of hoopla for very little reason at all. To sum up the report in one single, fancy word, the report was a “duh!” A total and complete duh. Of course highly selective colleges, like the Ivy League colleges, should seek out students who genuinely wish to make this world a better one. Of course highly selective colleges should seek to recruit underprivileged students to their campuses. Of course highly selective colleges should seek out students who have a depth of involvement in one particular area, not a host of areas (this is not the 1980’s!). Duh, duh, duh.
The much hyped “Turning the Tide” report was such a game-changer that it generated one email on the NACAC listserv. That means it was about as overhyped as Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns. And boy is he a stinker.
But even more telling to us that this report didn’t make waves — much less turn the tide — in highly selective college admissions is that it generated such minimal chatter on the NACAC listserv. The Founder of Ivy Coach, Bev Taylor, is a member of NACAC and subscribes to its email list in which folks write about all things college admissions. When something big happens in admissions, you can bet that high school counselors, admissions officers, private college counselors — they all write emails about it. But for the “Turning the Tide” report, there was one email we happened to see. That’s it.
And in that one email that was generated from the tide that failed to turn report, there was a rightful word of caution. The writer lamented that the “Turning the Tide” report seemed to discourage AP courses and testing, leading some to question if they should drop their AP courses and not sit for AP exams. Allow us to answer that question for our loyal readers — do not drop your AP courses. Sit for your AP exams. Dropping such courses and not sitting for such exams would be at your own peril. The tide didn’t turn. AP courses and AP tests still matter a whole lot in highly selective college admissions. It’s one thing to title a report about turning the tide. It’s quite another entirely to turn it. Duh.