As campus administrators worry about how to prevent violence like last spring's Virginia Tech shootings, students applying to college increasingly face queries about their past behavior: Were they ever severely disciplined in high school? Have they been convicted of a crime?
Although such questions were added to a widely used college application form months before the massacre at Virginia Tech, admissions officers say that the murders made them more vigilant about students' personal troubles. They say that they won't reject otherwise strong applicants because of one schoolyard fight or a beer arrest, but they may be wary of troubling patterns.
Critics contend that the form allows colleges to invade private matters better left to the law and high school counselors. And the extra attention is raising anxiety among high school seniors.
Absent a good argument that I haven't heard yet, I'm inclined to agree with the critics.