Professor’s solution to ‘problem’ of colleges admitting students based on meritocracy

Professor’s solution to ‘problem’ of colleges admitting students based on meritocracy
Image: Shutterstock

Who knew it was a problem? For eons, it was the lone standard by which universities decided which student applicants to accept. It was used solely in the world of work as a barometer for hiring and firing, and it is still used almost exclusively in professional sports, but that’s because the best athletes — stereotypes be damned — are often people of color, so there’s no need to fret over leveling the playing field.

Anyway, to my knowledge meritocracy was never viewed as a “problem” — until now. According to Campus Reform, Joseph Soares, chairman of the sociology department at Wake Forest University, argues it is time to “blow up meritocracy” and replace it with — drumroll — “an admissions lottery.”

Writing in the Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, Soares maintains that college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT “are predictively weak and biased, stigmatizing minorities as underperformers.” He is either unaware or indifferent to the fact that college admissions offices throughout the country have for some time now been adding “bonus” points to the SAT scores of minorities — 185 points for Hispanics and a whopping 230 points for blacks — while deducting 50 points from the scores of Asians.

Drawing on the “highly praised work” of someone named Natasha Warikoo, Soares proposes that a lottery be held where applicants are randomly drawn from a pool of students whose grades were in the top 10% at their high schools.

Further, he writes that “if ‘elite’ colleges will not adopt a lottery system, at minimum they should drop their SAT/ACT requirements,” since those tests “uphold a reverse discrimination lens that gives us a flawed vision of diversity as a trade-off between excellence and equity.”

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.

Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

You may use HTML in your comments. Feel free to review the full list of allowed HTML here.