I read a story in The Wall Street Journall this week, which should make “B” and “C” students hopeful.
Universities have traditionally based their college admission decisions primarily on a student’s grades and test scores. But some school, including Tufts University, Boston College and DePaul University, are now eager to evaluate applicants on noncognitive traits that have nothing to do with academic performance.
The article suggested that some universities are trying to measure teenagers on such personality traits as leadership skills, resiliency and creativity.
I think this is an encouraging development because a heavy reliance on grades and test scores ignores a far greater indicator of a person’s future success in life: social intelligence.
The newspaper article reminded me of a story that my sister told me when she was an executive at a medical device company in the San Francisco Bay area. One summer she was assigned an intern, who was starting at the University of California, Berkeley, that fall. The kid was absolutely brilliant on paper, but when my sister talked to him, he couldn’t even manage to make eye contact. The teenager was so lacking in social skills that my sister foisted him off on someone else.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.