Report recommends shifting focus of college applications

State needs strategic planning effort on future of higher education

A new report released Wednesday suggested the current college application process could be linked to the mental well-being of students involved.

The Harvard School of Education report said the competitive nature of the process is based too much on test scores and grades, adding it could be linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse in students.

Counselors at Middleton High School can attest to that stressful environment.

“It’s nuts,” counselor Marcy Smith said.

The report recommends shifting the focus from grades and scores to student character and involvement.

“I would love to see that change,” Smith said. “[But] I don’t know how feasible that is. Schools get thousands and thousands of applications and they have to have ways to whittle down things, and I think the easiest thing for them to do is [check] the test scores and GPAs.”