An anonymous newsletter on the Stanford University campus uncovered the key to the treasure trove of college admissions: students can request their college admissions files under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). According to FOX News Online, an estimated 1,000 students at Stanford University have already begun the process.
Students are left almost in the dark about the entire admissions process, so their curiosity is certainly piqued about why they were accepted, but it is not necessary for them to see the files.
Many students faced difficult decisions and crushed self-esteems throughout the college admissions process. Even if students were accepted, seeing their files revives the past, when they should be moving forward toward the future. Students are already at the University of Miami; they’ve made their decision. Instead of reopening wounds and grudges, they should focus on how they can enjoy their time at the university and utilize the innumerable tools UM provides to improve their futures.
Furthermore, if admissions officers had been too candid in their comments, viewing them now could cause students distress. You’ve certainly heard the age-old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” However, in doing their jobs, admissions officers may not practice that same gentle discretion. Admissions officers have students’ GPAs, grades and essays, but really don’t know each student individually. While students may hope to better themselves and improve their skills by viewing the files, the files will most likely provide less insight than they hoped.
Lastly, if this process becomes more common, admission officers may begin to exclude information from files out of the fear that students may see them. If students begin to utilize the FERPA to gain access to admission files, it could lead to an amendment to the act in order to protect the admissions process or a change in how admissions officers approach the process.
After all, it isn’t until we find the holes or ways to interpret laws to our advantage that they begin to change. Admissions officers may become uncomfortable speaking candidly or including all the information in the files. This causes inefficiency in the admissions process since these files are used as a place to record notes, and admissions officers can’t possibly remember every detail about the thousands of student applicants.
So, will you be requesting your files?
Alyssa Jacobson is a senior majoring in advertising and political science.