Other than learning a valuable ethics lesson, the college admissions cheating scandal isn’t good for the individuals facing jail time. It’s arguably not good for the two actresses getting considerably more TV coverage than they are used to, or the reputations of the elite schools we admire, or the deserving students who might have matriculated into the stolen slots.

What is good is the exposure to a deeper problem with a broken system, the college admissions process and our increasingly small thinking about learning and education. It starts with the question: what are the most important factors in selecting one student over another? Is it grades (and how consistent are those across America’s high schools), standardized tests (they have certainly been shown to be problematic), or extracurricular activities? How does an essay, or socioeconomic status, or ethnicity play into it? In addition, if a learning institution needs to fill out its sports team’s roster there is already an advantaged admission process available.

A recent statistic suggests that over two-thirds of all college applications arrive at a small number of elite schools. Given the absolute volume and the paper-based process (USC received over 64,000 last fall), this places enormous pressure on admissions readers to adequately evaluate each application, consider their personal biases, and look beyond the data to each student’s potential. And this human potential is the entire point. We all know a story of the “book-smart” person who has made a limited mark. We all know the stories of those who struggled in school and have changed the world through their imagination and persistence.

The name of the school on your diploma is far less important than the way we and our children approach our education and learning. Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Where is that considered in the admission process?

The likelihood of thoughtful and systemic scrutiny is why the scandal is a good thing. The belief that each of us is remarkable and distinct is also what led me to write the newly released book, “Lead with Imagination.” I urge you to invest in every young person you care about by supplying them a copy of this book, with a personal note of encouragement from you on the inside cover that they are extraordinary, limited only by their imagination.  Please don’t let this recent crisis go to waste.

Dare to Lead with Imagination! Get your copy today at a discount through Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Lead-Imagination-Brian-Paradis or available at Imagination Works Media www.imaginationworksmedia.com

 

 

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