“Not everyone should go to college,” writes Matt Reed. But “everyone should have the option — really have the option — so we don’t miss talent based on prejudice masquerading as toughness.”
Given real options, people will find the paths that are right for them. Some will choose paths far away from college, and that’s their right. But some will show up shaggy and unkempt, and shock the hell out of us. That’s why we’re here. It’s a valuable and worthy mission, and one that would be easy to violate in the name of a superficial rigor. The real rigor comes in creating, sustaining, and improving an audaciously egalitarian institution in a political culture in which the winds blow cold. It’s cold outside. Open the door and let people in.
Predictors of academic success often fail at the individual level, Reed concludes. “We don’t know who is worthy and who isn’t, so we’re better off treating everyone as potentially worthy.”