Crossroads School: The Hardest Written Application Question Ever?


Photo: Ed_Needs_A_Bicycle/Flickr
Photo: Ed_Needs_A_Bicycle/Flickr


There’s a lot of buzz among parents who are applying to Crossroads about the following question, new this year on the application:

One of Crossroads’ core commitments is to a vibrant, diverse community. Please describe the ways your family would support and contribute to our diverse environment. 1200 characters remaining. 

This is the most difficult written application question I’ve ever seen. And I’m African American with a mixed-race family. It’s not enough for somebody like me to write that my family’s mere presence at Crossroads would contribute to their diversity. So then what? I know! We’ll start an organization at the school for mixed-race families. Yeah, that’s a good one. One already exists? Well, ours will be bigger and better funded. Oh wait, that sounds arrogant and totally presumptuous.

The cynical part of me says this question is a slick way to tout the school’s diversity (although the school is not as diverse as some might think.) The optimistic part of me says its a way to truly find families who will contribute to their diverse environment. But, is this question really going to push that cause forward?

I can guarantee you the school will get all kinds of responses, from wacky, nonsensical answers to the “We’ll contribute $1 million to your financial aid fund for diverse students.”

A few people I’ve talked to laughed out loud at the thought of trying to answer the question, saying, “We’re white so anything we say would seem ridiculous.”

In the end, there’s no right answer to this question. Its just a difficult one, fraught with politically correct minefields along the way. No matter which way you choose to respond.


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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at

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