The Daily Beast offers some choice sentiments in “Dirty Secrets of College Admissions.”
Current admissions officer, Ivy League university
“Any admissions director who uses the line about needing an oboe player is lying. There’s no admissions person in the country with a clue what the student orchestra needs. More likely, Mommy and Daddy gave a $1 million donation. That oboe thing is just a PR ploy.”
Former admissions officer, elite, small liberal arts college in Massachusetts
“Our school did away with on-campus interviews a few years ago, but if you were the child of a donor or an alum, you could get an unofficial interview. A face-to-face sit-down with the admissions office most people don’t get.
Athletes’ applications at most schools go through a special committee. They’re read before all the other candidates’ files. That way the coach can push for the people he really wants and make sure they get a spot.
We were always looking for candidates from underrepresented groups. So if you are just a typical white girl from New Jersey and your application didn’t pass muster, it was relegated to the reject pile without a second thought. With a minority kid with the same stats, you just can’t do that. They always warrant a second or even third look.”
Current admissions officer, state university in the Northeast
“All in all, we’re less selective than some of the elite schools or the Ivy League. But there are still some factors out of an applicant’s hands. One night, I got food poisoning at a restaurant in Buffalo. The next day, I rejected all the Buffalo applications. I couldn’t stomach reading them.”