Subscribing to valuing only one type of college applicant is a disservice to all of us. Do we value only one type of person? And what message are we sending the next generation by perpetuating the everyone-must-be-a-leader ideal? Is this akin to the same vacuous thinking that convinces us that everyone-must-be-a-winner at all times? In this recent article, published in the New York Times, Susan Cain continues a conversation that is decidedly worth having.
In 1934, a young woman named Sara Pollard applied to Vassar College. In those days, parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and Sara’s father described her, truthfully, as “more a follower type than a leader.”
The school accepted Sara, explaining that it had enough leaders.
It’s hard to imagine this happening today. No father in his right mind (if the admissions office happened to ask him!) would admit that his child was a natural follower; few colleges would welcome one with open arms. Today we prize leadership skills above all, and nowhere more than in college admissions. -Susan Cain