Which is more predictive of college success, past academic work, or a personal essay, where students labor to make themselves seem well-rounded, fascinating and irresistible to schools?Having worked as a writing tutor at the University of Maryland, College Park, the flagship university of the Maryland system, I can tell you there were a very large number of otherwise bright students who had no idea what an five paragraph essay looked like, much less had the ability to research an question and present a cogent thought or argument on the subject.
Dropping personal essays could have an interesting trickle-down effect as far down as elementary schools. The “curriculum” in my elementary school (the tedious and content-free Teacher’s College Writer’s Workshop), forces children as young as third grade to grind out endless personal essays, “small moment” stories and memoirs (!) designed to plumb the depths of their eight-year old souls. But it seldom, if ever, called for kids to write anything approaching a simple five-paragraph expository essay, let alone a research paper. That might change if doing so became a requirement for college admissions.
This is brilliant, I only wish I had thought of it.