My daughter is thinking about the essays on the Common Application the long standardized form that most colleges now require as part of their admissions process. These essays, combined with grades and test scores, are supposed to help the colleges decide who is a good fit. But how do they know who “fit”? I guess they assume that, once you graduate you’ve proven that you’re one of them, and now for the rest of your life, no matter what you do, you still have that degree from that institution. But does that make any sense?
I know a guy who graduated from MIT in 1978 with a degree in electrical engineering. Would you hire him as an engineer today just based on that piece of paper? Of course not; you’d need to know a lot more about what he’s done since then. How about somebody who majored in English literature — would you assume they (still) understand good writing, ten or twenty years after they have the degree? Or history: what if somebody majored in it ten years ago but hasn’t read a single book since then? Do you think they should still be allowed to say “I have a degree in history from <such-and-such-school>?"
What if colleges required you to renew your diploma every so often — say, five years. What if you had to submit another essay, to prove that you’re still worthy of that degree?
I bet a LOT of people would simply drop their degree. Once you have your job, or are married, or otherwise stable in life, you don’t need that degree anymore. Most people don’t donate to their alma maters, presumably because by now they feel it’s irrelevant.
But then, why did you go to that school? For that matter, what was the point of the whole exercise — including that admissions essay?
How about you? Would you bother to renew your college degree?