The Royal “We” in College Admission: report

In a recently published article for Forbes, author Brennan Barnard explores the use of the so-called “royal we” in the college admission process.

Demonstrated in statements like, “We are taking the SAT this weekend,” and “Did you hear we were accepted to our first choice?” the “royal we,” Barnard writes, “elicits the most consistent eye-rolling among college admission professionals.”

Educators encourage students to embrace their agency: to make their own decisions about their future.

The “royal we,” which assigns the collective pronoun to a student’s individual experience, seems to be in direct conflict with taking ownership over one’s learning.

But while college can be an important milestone for students, Barnard states, the admission process remains a collaborative effort.

There are appropriate usages of “royal we,” Barnard writes.

“We” could be used in the name of unity and mutual support through a difficult and stressful process.

Some we-statements Barnard endorses include:

“We can discuss financing college…”

“We can tour a range of colleges…”

“We can resist the temptation to make comparisons to siblings, relatives, or friends.

For more recommended we-statements, read Barnard’s original article.

So, what do you think? Is there a place for “we” in applying to colleges?

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