The Unjust Application: Joining Student Committees at US

Stephan Leonard, Staff Writer

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Many of University School’s more prestigious clubs, such as the Lo Presti Board, the Student Investment Committee, and the Aurelian society require an application process that is useless to a certain degree. The applications, in general, all ask the same four questions: Why would you like to be a part of the [insert name here] Committee? Please list school and community activities and leadership positions with which you have been involved. What personal qualities do you have that could benefit the Committee? Please describe a situation where you have had to persuade people on a particular issue and what you did. Alongside these questions, students are required to have two letters of recommendation, one within the school and one from outside of the school. The main problem with these applications is that they do not evaluate each student well enough to meet the requirements of that specific board or committee.

Each student at this school has different levels of interest, and the four questions they ask on these applications do not do enough to evaluate interests. For example, the type of student that would best fit in the Student Investment Committee would be a research-driven student. For those who do not know, the Student Investment Committee is a committee where the students have the ability to invest real money into the stock market. Each year, students on the committee are required to investigate which companies can provide the most successful stock over the course of three or four years based on substantial evidence. On the contrary, a student best fit for the Lo Presti board, a committee with the goal of helping the Greater Cleveland area through volunteer work and fundraisers, might have a passion for helping out the community. But with these drastically different characteristics that can be applied to each club, how can the questions that each committee asks effectively evaluate a student even though they are the same basic questions?

A lot of the time, because of this poor assessment, students are not given the opportunity to fully express their character and the reason why they believe that they would be the best choice for the committee. Simply put, the application process does not provide enough insight for the reader to make the final decision. The two letters of recommendation are a step forward toward creating a decent consideration, however, it is only a start to reforming the application. Alongside of these recommendations, each committee should have a unique set of questions that particularly pertain to the relevance of that committee. For example, the Student Investment Committee should ask questions about the stock market, a student’s experience with it, a student’s ability to complete research, and finally, a student’s opinion on the top three stocks to buy at the moment. Through the approach, the decision maker can make better conclusions about who is actually capable and qualified for this specific line of work. This approach will also clear out any students who are solely applying to the committee to make their college application look better. With regards to the Lo Presti Board, some questions can be related to the background of the student’s community service. This method will again, distinguish those students who have a genuine passion for helping out the community.

In short, the application processes of many boards and committees from University School do not effectively separate the most qualified students from the other applicants and should be immediately reformed in order to do so.