Desperation has set in among colleges during this pandemic.
Many have gone test optional whether they wanted to or not. Most are facing a huge drop-off in visitors since the spring. And all are anticipating smaller applicant pools as a result. But that doesn't give colleges the right to overstep their bounds and ask students personal questions during interviews that are off-limits.
For students who get asked these inappropriate and antithetical questions by admissions officers, college interviewers, or alumni interviewers, here is what to do:
- If asked about SAT, ACT, AP, or other scores in a pre-interview form or during the interview, the student can say: "I will be applying test optional." If the student changes their mind or is able to take a late test, that college will be thrilled to get those scores and the student can do that if they so choose.
- If the student is asked what other colleges they are applying to, they can politely state, "I haven't finalized my college list yet." And as you know, I am originally from New Jersey and tell it like it is. If you want my Jersey-response, I'll have to tell you what I really think should be said off-the-record!
- And if pressed further about whether the student is applying Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision prior to the application process, the student can respond by saying, "I am still deciding."
Related reading: Dear Colleges, Here's What the Class of 2021 is Up Against
In Yiddish, prust is a term for individuals who are vulgar or socially unrefined. These individuals use their power and wield it over vulnerable targets. Colleges need to remember that they are dealing with impressionable young people who are so nervous and want to be completely honest that they feel forced to answer questions that an adult knows are unethical to ask. Colleges shouldn't be asking questions that put students in a position in which they feel like they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.