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.

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Rand Richards Cooper — Commonweal

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The Spiritual Cost of Scandal


I saw “The Keepers” on Netflix recently. One thing that remained with me was that a reckless act perpetrated on a child by a person the child trusts can scar the child for life. The pain and hurt never really go away.

I am not talking here about the loss of naïve optimism, or the experience of taking clergy down off the pedestal. Such things are part of growing up. If we take our theology seriously, we must acknowledge that sin is real and human beings fail us. The Church has always included both saints and sinners. Indeed no one among us is sinless. What I think has been happening, however, is different from a loss of naïveté or growth in a mature acceptance of human failings.

Something good in our souls is being eroded whenever, in place of fairness, we take refuge in cynicism. This is one of the less-admitted costs of scandal. Even with all the good we have known from, yes, virtuous people in the Church, we cannot forget the ugliness of betrayal displayed in clerical crimes and cover-ups. It has been burned into our memory and left us scarred.

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Rita Ferrone – Commonweal

Obama’s Post-Presidential Life


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What do you do after being the President of the US for 2 terms? A quiet serene life? Obama is 55, which is a relatively young age to retire. Today’s needull discusses his most likely plans post presidency.

Obama can take risks in confronting Trump that more conventional politicians, with their futures ahead of them, might not. He has the capacity to seize the country’s attention on the issues that matter. Here, the accustomed behavior of ex-presidents could work in Obama’s favor. His fellow citizens would see him as speaking out reluctantly and despite his desire to move on to a new phase in his life.

He would have to calibrate his interventions. He doesn’t want to become a daily commentator on all things political. But his popularity as he departs and the record he leaves behind on job creation and growth give him added credibility with a broad swath of Americans.

My hunch is that Obama would prefer to hang back from politics. My expectation is that Trump will not give him that option.

The complete article

E. J. Dionne Jr. –Commonweal

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