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Arizona State University students celebrate in this spring 2006 graduation photo.
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Report: College application process needs to level the playing field

As high school athletes indicate where they’re going for National Signing Day, the admissions process for all colleges could soon slowly be changing.

Turning the Tide, a report from Harvard University, recommends changing the application process to level the playing field.

John David Bowman, Arizona’s 2015 Teacher of The Year, said the focus should be on trying to get more students into universities.

“Really, the aim is to look at equity and try to get more students from lower and middle income backgrounds into college,” he said.

The report has 80 universities and colleges signing on as an endorsement to the proposed recommendations.

“A lot of students will pad their resumes, they’ve volunteered at so many places, they’ve taken 15 (Advanced Placement) classes,” he said. “I think one of the things that the universities want to look at is finding a middle ground where we can get it more inclusive.”

For parents, Bowman said there are a few quick and simple tips to help get students ready for the application process.

“You’re still going to need test prep,” he said. “So getting students at a freshman, sophomore level, PSAT, the workshops, the resources — I think that’s a key piece.”

While the emphasis on Advanced Placement classes is intended to be diminished with this report, Bowman said data shows the more advanced classes a student takes, the better their success rate is at the college level.

“Take one or two (Advanced Placement classes), that’s a good experience for them, but you don’t need to overload them where you’re not setting them up for success,” he said.

Bowman said he suggests finding genuine, meaningful service within the student’s community.

“You don’t need 98 different things that you did so your resume looks good,” he said. “Find something that you’re passionate about.”

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