College admissions boards love students with high rates of civic engagement, so why would they turn away candidates that fit the description?
Many are saying they won’t.
Thousands of walkouts will take place Wednesday to demand gun reform in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting. It’s the first of multiple demonstrations planned for March and April.
But while many public school districts are threatening students with suspensions that could hurt college applications, dozens of universities including Harvard, Yale and MIT are encouraging young people to stand up for what they believe in.
“Fundamental to our mission is our belief that students have the right to protest peacefully about issues of concern to them,” the Harvard College Board of Admissions wrote in a statement last month. “Students who are disciplined for engaging responsibly in exercising their rights and freedoms would not have their chances of admission compromised or their admissions revoked.”
In a blog post published in February, MIT Dean of Admissions Stu Schmill explained that lashing out at students who act on their morals would contradict the university’s goal to promote “responsive citizenship.”
Wellesley College also came forward in support of young protesters, noting that Marjory Stoneman Douglas herself graduated from the institution in 1912 and led a career as a successful environmental activist.
The list goes on and on.
As young people gear up to make their voices heard, these universities and colleges are making it clear that a slap on the wrist from school officials should be the least of their worries.
“What high schoolers across the nation are doing right now is brave, it is good, it is larger than an absence from school or a blemish on an academic record or a college admissions decision,” wrote Hannah Mendlowitz, Yale’s Senior Assistant Director of Admissions. “If you can’t march beside them, at least stand behind them. And at the very least, do not stand in their way.”