The College-Admissions Frenzy


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Against this backdrop, the article explains who does get in to Harvard, and how. In the process it delves into the bureaucratese of the admissions game, the terms of trade Harvard uses—“dockets,” “the lop list,” “tips,” “DE,” the “Z-list”—to construct an undergraduate demographic that fits its vision of diversity, in which perfect SATs are far from the be-all and end-all. Those “dockets” refer to two dozen geographical regions Harvard divides the United States into, giving priority to, say, North Dakota, where applicants are rare, over, say, New York, where they abound. After that, admissions officers rate applications in five categories—academic, extracurricular, athletic, personal, and “overall”—then supply “tip” factors in five more: racial and ethnic minorities; the children of Harvard grads; relatives of a significant donor; children of faculty members; and recruited athletes. At the close of the process, the final list has some students “lopped” off, as the new class is aligned with diversity goals.

The complete article

Rand Richards Cooper — Commonweal

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High-Achieving, Low-Income Students: Where Elite Colleges Are Falling Short


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The lack of support didn’t hold Neuman back — she applied early to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — where she’ll start her senior year this year. But low-income, high-achieving students like Neuman make up just 3 percent of enrollment at elite colleges, the report says. Not having anyone to guide them through the application process is just one of the many reasons there aren’t more of them.

The report looks at the barriers these students face, drawing on surveys of low-income students and interviews with admissions officers at selective schools. When I spoke with the report’s author, Jennifer Glynn, she acknowledged that high schools and counselors play a role, but said colleges can do a lot more, too.

The complete article

Elissa Nadworny — NPR

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