The value of leadership in the American college

Madison Rexroat

As college admissions get more and more competitive, the value of leadership and leadership experience becomes more essential than ever. Colleges – particularly elite colleges – no longer want just good students, but students that will have an impact on campus and in the world.

The words “leader” and “leadership” are all over college admissions sites and applications, making a class president a much more desirable candidate than your average Straight-A student. This emphasis on leadership – at least the traditional American definition – can be biased toward a certain type of personality. But a functioning company or society can’t be composed solely of that specific kind of leader.

American colleges focus on recruiting and fostering executives and managers, ignoring potential followers, team players and lone wolves that have valuable roles in the workforce. Culture is also a factor as some cultures downplay or even discourage that type of leadership and instead value team-orientation. 

Perhaps as admissions offices try to diversify their student body in other qualities, they should also seek diversity in interpersonal traits.

To read the full article in The Atlantic, click here.