Opinion roundup: perspectives on the new admissions policy


Katherine Lian

Transportation issues for some students with IEPs stem from requirements that allow for only one drop-off time for each school.

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This fall, Townsend Harris High School unveiled a new admissions policy that includes two writing samples and a video prompt. This is a departure from previous admissions policies that largely involved report card grades, standardized test scores, and attendance records. The Classic will report on the reasons for the new policy in an upcoming article, but with the requirements now public and available on the school’s official website, many students have been discussing it. 

Below are a sample of thoughts from the student body, commenting on the 2023 admissions policy and reflecting on the past admissions process.

Senior Maggie Huang: I believe that the admissions policy is necessary. If I was an incoming student, I would still apply and I think that other students would too if they cared enough to want to be admitted in a challenging academic environment. This process is fair considering the fact an individual could have poor grades from middle school and can redeem themselves through the admissions process as a potential Harrisite.

Junior Olivia Wong: I think that the admissions policy now is better than the admissions policy before. I would prefer to go through the lottery system than submitting in all that work. It reduces the overcrowding in this school, and gives everyone a fair chance into getting into this school based on their work. 

Junior Varune Seecharan: The admissions this time was not good in my opinion because it’s a bit excessive. There would be a lot of work to go through, which brings up the question if they will even go through them all? If I was an incoming student I’d probably still apply to this school, because of the distance. I think that it’s a bit unfair to the students who don’t really have the time to submit all this work, but I do understand why they implemented it. 

Sophomore Anton Rud: I think admissions should be based entirely on merit, your grades, abilities, and what you can add to the school community. It is disappointing that course grades represent only 40% of the admissions criteria, given Townsend Harris’s academic excellence. A short video clip is not proof of any academic or extracurricular achievements, and the only factors that can be used to predict success at THHS are middle school GPA, math and science state test scores, teacher recommendation letters, and humanities writing. The new admissions system is not fairer, it’s just more complicated.

Sophomore Aastha Patel: So if I were an incoming student I would still apply to THHS because Townsend is a really good school and it has a lot of resources. The admission policy still values the grades that students achieved, and it is 40% which is I think pretty good. About the other parts of writing, I think it is extra work but it is worth it since THHS is humanities-based school. They need to see if incoming students are interested in it or not. This process allows students to showcase who they really are.

Freshman Yugesh Kumar: The new admissions policy seems a bit much for incoming students to do. I think that this is better than the lottery that was done, because you get in based on your personality. The hypothetical isn’t really needed, in my opinion, because it doesn’t really tell much. I think the new policy is pretty fair.