As a college-bound senior who has worked diligently throughout high school, it was disheartening to read "UC Admissions to Weigh 'Personal Achievement' " (Nov. 19). The timing of this news is frustrating. The policy could have been implemented in a few years, allowing high school freshmen to accommodate themselves to these changes. It appears that, having already played the game of college admissions, the rules have been changed before the points have been tallied.
The new "life challenges" rank that each student will be given shows that this new policy is an obvious attempt to sidestep the race-based affirmative action ban passed in 1995. Although affirmative action has its noble aspects, helping people who may not have had the opportunities to succeed because of income restrictions or other hardships, it is unfair to pass this burden on to another group. Why should I be penalized for being born into a middle-class Asian family? Instead, the problem could be solved through scholarships or government grants, or even through improved public education.
I did not have the grades or the SAT scores to enter the UC system directly. I spent two years at a community college and transferred to UCLA, where I completed my degree. I am not at all ashamed of the way I completed college; in fact, I share my story with others as an example of one of the many ways in which one can earn a college degree. My degree is from UCLA; it is not marked "transfer degree." Taking the emphasis away from academic performance will only serve to detract from the prestige of having a degree from UCLA or UC Berkeley in the long run.
It's very sad to see the dumbing down of what is one of the best public university systems in our country. I see this trend as symptomatic of a culture that stresses that "everyone's a winner" and doesn't want to hurt anybody's feelings.
Who will police the legitimacy of the highly subjective qualifications that will now be looked at? It's pretty scary to think that the surgeon who one day may attempt a complex, lifesaving operation on me got where he is because he could throw a mean football!
I would wholeheartedly support the new UC admissions policy had its only intention been to give a helping hand to qualified, poor, hard-working students regardless of their race and ethnicity. As far as I can tell, this is not the case.
UC President Richard C. Atkinson has been trying every trick he can think of to boost "minority" enrollments at UC campuses for a long time. He first asserted that the SAT tests are unfair, that the test scores don't truly measure a student's readiness for college studies and that the SAT II is more accurate (and thus should be weighed more) than the SAT I. He even went as far as suggesting eliminating SAT tests altogether from UC admission consideration. This new admissions policy is simply another last-ditch attempt to accomplish the illegal goal of setting racial quotas at the expense of truly qualified white and Asian American kids.
This new UC admissions policy should be and must be challenged in court.