admissions

The Attack on Legacies

In every Marx Bros. movie, there occurs a moment when Harpo works himself up to a frenzy, hyperventilating, jumping up and down and crossing his eyes. These interludes never fail to beguile the viewer, even though they have nothing to do with the plot. I was reminded of these Harpovian shenanigans when I came across […]

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Don’t Trash the Future Famers

Russell K. Nieli’s recent article, “How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others,” drew a lot of attention, including a mention in Ross Douthat’s New York Times column. Referring to the book, No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, a 2009 study of elite college admissions, Nieli wrote that the authors, Thomas J. Espenshade […]

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“Back-When-I-Was-in-School” Remembrance.

I started UCLA in 1977, having won admission with only a 3.1 GPA (but with decent SAT scores). When I got there my brother and I moved into Sproul Hall dormitory just above the track stadium. I came to campus thinking, “Yeah! Party time.” There was certainly a fair number of loud ones every Friday […]

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How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others

When college presidents and academic administrators pay their usual obeisance to “diversity” you know they are talking first and foremost about race. More specifically, they are talking about blacks. A diverse college campus is understood as one that has a student body that–at a minimum–is 5 to 7 percent black (i.e., equivalent to roughly half […]

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Minow’s Whale of a Mistake

The controversy at Harvard Law School over last month’s email about racial intelligence seems to have died down. The basic facts of the case are these: a Harvard law student who is an editor of the Harvard Law Review sent an email to two friends as a follow-up to an earlier conversation. In it she […]

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More “Diversity” STEM-Selling

A few weeks ago I discussed The Misguided Push for STEM Diversity, noting that every month or so (or so it seems) a new report appears pointing with alarm to the “underrepresentation” of women or blacks or Hispanics or Aleuts (or usually all of the above) in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, math […]

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Obama Wants More Preferences

The Obama administration has weighed in on behalf of the University of Texas’s use of racial and ethnic preferences in its undergraduate admissions, filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, as reported here. This is unfortunate if not surprising, but the scope of the brief is noteworthy in […]

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Are You an ”Exclusive Scholar”? Just Sign Here

The New York Times reports today on a new marketing gimmick for colleges seeking to boost applications during this recession-plagued time when every tuition-paying body in a classroom counts: the fast-track application form that allows some high school seniors seeking admission to bypass the usual fees of $50 or so, the tedious filling out of […]

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In High School? We Have A Med School Spot Reserved For You

Roger Clegg writes on a shocking new University of Massachusetts set-aside program over at Phi Beta Cons: The Boston Globe reports that the University of Massachusetts is setting up a med-school set-aside program: “Under an initiative set to be finalized today, the state’s only public medical school [i.e., at UMass] will partner with UMass campuses […]

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Another Bad Idea: ”Diversifying” Science Faculties

Should universities weigh race and ethnicity in deciding whom to hire for their science departments? The American Association for the Advancement of Science thinks so, according to a recent National Journal article. “Science and engineering should look like the rest of the population,” says AAAS’s Daryl Chubin, and if hiring decisions don’t yield the right […]

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The Problem with the “Boy Problem”

At InsideHigherEd.com, Richard Whitmire has an interesting discussion entitled “Soon-to-Be Open Secret” on the delicacies of the “boy problem” on college campuses. The problem itself is simple. An achievement gap between male and female high school students has opened, and it’s pushing college enrollments nationally toward 60-40 proportions (in many schools and systems, women already […]

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The Wrong Way To Pick A School

“Did A College You Visited Liken Itself To Hogwarts?” – New York Times.

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Questions For The College Board

The New York Times’ college admissions blog The Choice hosted four days of questions for the President of the College Board. The questioners aren’t pulling any punches: I always try to give the benefit of the doubt, but is the College Board really nonprofit? Why does testing cost so much? Where does the money go? […]

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Deciphering Grutter V. Bollinger

By Edward Blum As the saying goes, “fuzzy law begets controversy”, and nothing has proven this maxim better than the Supreme Court’s 2003 landmark ruling on “diversity” in higher education. Lacking clarity, the ruling has left individual institutions to interpret how to achieve diversity on their campuses, stoking never-ending conflict over race and admissions. However, […]

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Gaming The College Rankings

Test prep pioneer Stanley H. Kaplan, who died this week at the ripe old age of 90, was a living embodiment of the roller coaster changes that have roared through the college admissions scene over the last three decades. He also set the stage for students, and later colleges and universities, to game the system. […]

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The Illinois Admissions Scandal

Illinois, the state where Senate seats are sometimes sold, has now scandalized higher education with the revelation that hundreds of applicants to the University of Illinois were placed on a special “clout” list, many receiving favorable treatment. According to a series of investigative reports by The Chicago Tribune, state legislators, university trustees, and former Gov. […]

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“Study, Study, Study” – A Bad Career Move

About five years ago, shortly before my term ended as a Regent of the University of California (UC), I was having a casual conversation with a very high-ranking UC administrator about a proposal that he was developing to increase “diversity” at UC in a manner that would comply with the dictates of California’s Constitution and […]

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Why Not Eliminate Tuition?

In a recent article that received a fair bit of buzz, The New York Times spun a story of the supposed new reality in the recession-plagued U.S.—Students from more well-off families being given admissions preference at increasingly cash-strapped universities. But the Times article misses the larger point. Lawrence University, Colby College and Brandeis (some of […]

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“Need Blind” Admissions In Trouble

Here’s a sign of colleges’ desperate need for tuition cash to make up for shrunken endowments and less generous donors in today’s economic downturn: many institutions are slinking away from their vaunted “need-blind” admissions policies that admits applicants deemed qualified regardless of their ability to pay and makes up any shortfalls with scholarships and other […]

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Fuzzy Math in California Admissions

The nine-campus University of California system is reducing the number of freshman admissions because of the financial crisis. But “underrepresented groups”—non-Asian-American minorities—shouldn’t worry at all. Apparently all the cuts will come from white and Asian-American applicants. Down in the ninth paragraph of a 13-paragraph Associated Press story in the San Jose Mercury News, we learn […]

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6 New Rules Of College Admissions

The Daily Beast offers several interesting features on “Getting In.” Read “How Obama’s College Plan Hurts My Generation” on rising college costs, “The Year to Bribe Your Way In” on this year’s increased efficacy of donation as an admissions (ahem) tool, and other stories on cheap colleges and application strategies.

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Want To Go Do College, Kid?

“Writing College Admissions Essays” – sound advice in the Wall Street Journal

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What Admissions Officers Really Think About You

The Daily Beast offers some choice sentiments in “Dirty Secrets of College Admissions.” Some samples: 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 […]

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When College Rankings Are A Marketing Ploy

As author of a major college guide, I try to approach college admissions issues from the point of view of what’s best for college-bound high school students and their parents. I speak with lots of such students and their parents every year, and the one topic that is guaranteed to come up is: What should […]

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Downgrading SATs Makes Sense

Many conservatives are groaning over a major new report from a commission of higher education luminaries calling on colleges to de-emphasize the SAT for college admissions. The catcalls from the right erupted after the National Association of College Admission Counseling suggested that colleges should rethink their reliance on the SAT for admissions. Wrongheaded, de-evolutionary, politically […]

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Fuzzy Admissions At UCLA

If you like “whodunit” books and “perfect crime” plots, I heartily recommend the Tim Groseclose experience of trying to obtain the data to evaluate the “holistic” admissions process of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Groseclose is the political science professor who blew the whistle on what he considers to be UCLA’s violation […]

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UCLA Professor: UCLA Is Cheating On Admissions

Tim Groseclose, a Political Science Professor at UCLA, has resigned from its Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools, stating that “a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that UCLA is cheating on admissions” – of course, in order to circumvent the state ban on the use of race as a factor in admissions. […]

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The ABA’s Diversity Agenda

The ABA is very big on diversity. To satisfy its standards, nearly all law schools must seriously relax their admissions standards for minority students. But how many of so-called beneficiaries of affirmative action are graduating and passing the bar? And how many are winding up with nothing to show for their trouble but students loans? […]

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Is There An Asian Ceiling?

Several years ago a Korean-American student in one of my politics classes at Princeton described the reaction of his Asian classmates in the California private school he attended when the college acceptance and rejection letters arrived in the mail the spring of their senior year. A female Black student, he explained, had applied to more […]

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How Mismatches Devastate Minority Students

By Gail Heriot (Ms. Heriot is a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. This piece is adapted from Ms. Heriot’s Commissioner Statement for the Civil Rights Report on Affirmative Action at American Law Schools released last fall.) I have no doubt that those who originally conceived of race-based admissions policies – nearly forty […]

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