Exceptional Selection

The use of Exclusive or Equitable Selection models to choose applicants for schools or jobs is coming to end. Today, elite institutions, like Y Combinator and The Navy Seals, use Exceptional Selection to choose the best applicants. This new model, selects each individual based on their real world skills, rather than using tests, grades, or group membership in the selection process.

Imagine you want to start a new College from scratch. How do you choose the 1,000 students you’ll invite to enroll?

Imagine you want to hire someone to work at your cereal company as a Marketing Analyst. How do you choose someone to hire?

Historically, schools and employers have developed a set of objective criteria in order to try and rank each applicant on a scale. This simplifies the selection process, because if everyone is ranked, then you can choose the so-called best applicants from the top of the ranking. This is the “Exclusive Selection” model, and is the way most schools and employers select applicants. However, it’s very difficult to know that the so-called “best” applicants are in fact the “best” for your school or company. Even worse, many of the institutions that have used supposedly objective Exclusive Selection models, have also been corrupted by nepotism and bias.

The response has been to focus on a concept called “equity”, whereby nepotism and bias are assumed to be widespread. However, this model, like the Exclusive Selection model, has its own set of problems. Why? Because, in addition to cases of overt nepotism and bias, which do exist, there are also differences in group representation that exist for many other reasons having nothing to do with these factors. Whether or not we like it, not every group that is under or over represented is being discriminated against in the selection process based on nepotism or bias. These differences could also be explained by differences in professional interests or differences in cultural attitudes towards different educational paths. Worse, if little nepotism or bias exists, then Equitable Selection can also lead to unfairness, but this time against applicants that were in a group previously favored by the Exclusive Selection process for completely justified reasons.

How then do we select students or workers, based on their individual tenacity, capability, and skills, rather than falling back on the old models of exclusive or equitable selection?

The answer is Exceptional Selection.

Exceptional selection is different in the following ways:

  1. The selection process is based on completion of specific tasks in the real-world in real-time, not historical performance or other proxies for the real-thing.
  2. Exceptional Selection strives to accept as many exceptional candidates as possible.

Two modern examples of Exceptional Selection processes in both education and business are the Navy Seals and Y Combinator.

As we move forward in the Age of Individuality, and more and more educators begin to empower their students to achieve their personal learning goals, each of us will have the ability to further enhance our uniqueness and reach our full potential. Ultimately, every individual has the potential to be Exceptional in a domain of their choosing, and in turn, to be selected for applying their Exceptional skills in the real world.