Hardship Score For College Admission Gets Mixed Reaction In California

Embrace the new “adversity score” in college admissions or ignore it?

That’s a question that college officials in California and nationwide are debating now.

A College Board-sponsored index that measures hardships students face at their high schools and in their neighborhoods is being tested as a college admissions tool on a small-scale nationwide and is expected to be available to all colleges in 2020.

Using federal data and other sources, it gathers 31 socio-economic statistics about a student’s home census tract and high school, such as income levels, crime and educational achievements. It then creates a single 1 to 100 score — a so-called adversity index — for the student. The higher the score, the more hardship a student has likely faced. Colleges can use the score in any way to help evaluate candidates for their freshman classes, or reject it.

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