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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Essay! We need an essay!

    The entrance application to SBU needs an essay. I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again.’ We cannot continue to have a simple, optional online writing assessment for students who have already been admitted.’ Rather, like other top universities, we should use an essay to select our students.

    Writing is a skill students are expected to have developed in grade school.’ Higher standards should not be expected from just the selected programs such as the Honors College and Women in Science and Engineering.

    The University has, over the past several years, under the leadership of President Kenny, increased its overall academic standards. Increases in average GPA, SAT, and ACT marks for students do show the rising caliber of the student body.’ Mandating an essay would be the next logical step.

    Schools such as NYU, where the median SAT score of incoming freshmen have become comparable to the SAT scores of incoming SB freshman, around 1200 on the old scale, have always had an edge in recruitment against public universities such as SB because of the perception that a university is better if its application process is more stringent.’ Not having an essay, just further promotes the perception that SB, a public school, is inferior to NYU, a private school.

    Why SB doesn’t have an essay on its application is puzzling considering that other SUNY universities have a supplemental application for a large fraction of their student bodies that includes an essay and other short answers.’ This list of SUNY universities includes, SUNY Buffalo, Cortland, Geneseo, Fredonia, Old Westbury, Oneonta, Plattsburgh and Purchase.’ While all these universities are probably not at the caliber of SB in terms of overall academics, research facilities, and educational opportunities, administration at these SUNY universities do understand that students have to put in some personal effort into the college admissions process.

    Anyone can ask the Educational Testing Service to send to a set of universities.’ Getting a teacher’s recommendation also doesn’t require individual effort.’ Writing one’s name, address, and social security number, on the main SUNY application surely doesn’t require much effort at all.

    As a result, students applying for college feel it is easy to get admitted to SB.’ Students apply to’ SB because it takes less time.’ Furthermore, students who want to get into a competitive college don’t feel like wasting their time and money on an application that has no actual academic value. Competitive students who do submit the main SUNY application only use SB as a ‘safety school.’

    In a recent student media press conference with President Kenny, she mentioned the difficulty in recruiting students from Nassau County Schools.’ Kenny said, ‘Sometimes the hardest people to convince are the ones living in your own backyard.’

    That may be the case, but if one sees that high schools in Nassau County are amongst the highest ranked public schools in the nation, one starts to think: the schools with the best students are those that shy away from SB.

    I could go on and on.’ But, in the end, it’s up to the administration to give undergraduate admission to SB some academic value.’ ‘ Make it mandatory for high school seniors to submit an essay, and see our university make countless strides in terms of student recruitment, undergraduate academic performance, and the University’s overall image in communities locally and across the country.

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