By MICHELLE MOODY
Each student admitted to the University of Mary Washington since the mid-90’s has had to ponder the importance of the honor code while applying to the school – until the class of 2018.
The prompt required students to explain their own understanding and experiences with honor.
This year, freshman did not write about honor because it was not required in the 2013-2014 applications.
The responses received by admissions in the past few years were not quite up to par with what the administration wanted to see from students.
“Students just did not seem to get it,” Melissa Yakabouski, director of admissions, said. “The responses we would get would be quite mundane. Students would talk about when they were little kids and steal candy from the store and their parents would tell them to put it back and how they understand how that was wrong, and that was not what we were looking for.”
Incoming students were encouraged to write briefly about honor and what it meant to them. It was one of the two required writing supplements that student had to write.
“I wrote about how I visited a friend at UMW and he lost his cell phone and somebody returned it back to him,” junior chemistry major July Laszakovits said. “And then when someone else lost their phone he returned it back to them and he told me that was what Mary Washington was all about.”
Students that toured on campus and in the community obtained a better sense of the code while being here and could write about it easier than other students who had never experienced UMW’s environment, Yakabouski said.
“Every once in a while we would have a student give a great answer, and we would be excited that they understood the question, but nine out of 10 times that student had been on campus,” Yakabouski said.
Some students agreed that the honor essay did not hold much purpose in the admissions process
“Students know the difference between right and wrong, and we already know that through our parents. The school doesn’t need to tell us how to be respectful,” sophomore business administration major Paul McClure, said.
Other students however thought that the honor essay was meaningful. Laszakovits found it “surprising” that it was removed.
“It kind of a big distinction for UMW from other schools,” Laszakovits said.
Instead of the prompt, the application this year will give a brief history of the honor code and how it is part of the UMW community for incoming students to better understand the school’s character.