The Future of College Admissions & Student Portfolios
Everyday of school may seem repetitive, but each day is only a step in a student’s educational journey. The story behind every student is not always told, or even shared. Every essay, athletic game, music performance, art show, and accomplishment makes up the core of every student’s educational career. When a student applies to college, he or she can only submit a glimpse of their achievements in terms of the application. Colleges believe they choose the students that best match the school, but this assumption is based on very little information. If a student could produce a portfolio filled with all of their own accomplishments, strengths, and ideals then colleges would have to reconsider its standards. A portfolio connected through the Internet, the school, and a world of professionals would change the way students embark not only their educational journey, but also the journey for the rest of their lives.
Imagine if a student wanted to get into AP English his junior year. If that student received a B or even a C+ his freshman year then his chances are greatly diminished. What if it were possible to work on an essay past its due date, maybe even a year later? If a student could improve his essays by the end of sophomore year, teachers could evaluate his or her portfolio and best judge if AP or Honors is the right choice. This could be applied to projects, lab reports, and many different assignments. Students would also be able to work collaboratively with teachers who could provide assistance on assignments. The portfolio would allow the editing, sharing, and syncing of documents so that a bad grade or bad paper could be improved little by little over time.
Teachers could use this structure to build their curriculums based on individual students. If a teacher posted three projects that must be completed by a certain deadline then each student could complete their assignments and upload it according to their own schedules. The freedom to work according to an individual’s own rate would allow the students to plan when to complete certain assignments and when to get ahead. A requirement could be set for each academic class, which must be met by the end of the year. When students complete their years in high school then they could progress knowing that the requirements that they have met will showcase what they truly have done.
The virtual portfolio would be a place where students store their lives, not only by themselves, but also through the efforts of peers, teachers, and those who wish to recognize student accomplishments. When a team wins a varsity game then everyone wants to know the score. People tend to not share or remember how well individual players performed. If a coach could post scores immediately after a game and share photos or even individual success then a student could display the gradual increase or highlights of his performance. When a student performs in a concert, displays his or her art, attends a science competition, or is running an activity or club then those moments need to be archived. People could link snippets of performed songs, pictures of events, videos of a debate competition or even a successful club meeting in which students are individually tagged. These tags would be immediately organized into the student’s portfolio and show what is being done in and outside of school. If professionals viewed a student portfolio, they could offer a chance to professionally record a track or invite students to conferences in fields that they excel in. A virtual portfolio would not be enhanced by only the owner, but also by collaborative efforts of the community that wants to see the excellence in everyone.
As college slowly creeps out from behind the corner, students worry if they have done enough to impress their college choices. Many colleges and universities look for the activities that students participate in, while all look at how well students do in their education. If a portfolio was able to organize everything into an easy download to share, then students can be assured that they have left no stone unturned. A complete representation of a student would be at the click of a mouse for the admission councilors.
If Facebook can represent the social life of an individual and networks such as LinkedIn showcase industrial expertise then what can accurately depict the educational journey that every single student embarks on? This virtual portfolio would revolutionize the way we look at education, excellence, and ourselves.