MIT is beginning a pilot admission program (Fall 2015) called an inverted admission process. The MIT pilot is for admission to a master’s degree in supply-chain management. And, this pilot may well change admission to both graduate and undergraduate college admissions. Inverted admission is being watched for expansion at MIT and is also being watched by other colleges. It works this way. Applicants for a degree take online courses and exams at the college they are applying to. If they pass satisfactorily, they can be accepted into the full program or as a full-time student.
There are several advantages to basing college admission on how well a student does with their courses at a college before that applicant is accepted at the school.
• The coursework is free, thus reducing the cost of a degree.
• Everyone has a level playing field to prove his or her merit for admission.
• The applicant can test whether or not s/he wants to do further coursework at the college s/he applies to.
• This is a more authentic demonstration of an applicant’s ability than scores and grades.
• This process opens the doors to more foreign students.
• A mini degree might be awarded for online work completed even if there is no acceptance, which means a free credentialing that could be enough for the student.
• Other colleges could use the completed online coursework to supplement any applicant’s application for admission.
This inverted admissions program works well at MIT because MIT already has in place its MOOC courses (massive open online courses). Other schools may have to expand their online offerings if they were to use this door to admission.
Certainly this is an innovative step that broadens admission scope to everyone and perhaps assures a better fit between colleges and students as well as between a student and the job market. Let’s watch how this admission project turns out!