Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I almost cried with joy when I read this article a little while ago. Actually, that is hyperbole (something I am prone to). But I am very happy about this development in the college admissions game. Now both Princeton and Harvard have stopped early admissions, a practice which had grossly favors affluent students from private schools and wealthy public school districts: Scarsdale, New Trier on Chicago's North Shore, etc. I teach at a school in which the student body is generally quite wealthy, although we do have generous financial aid. I have watched in growing disgust as the inequities in college admissions have grown outrageously over the past decade. Many people of my generation--my friends who went to "elite" colleges-- discuss how none of us would be admitted if we were students today. Wealthy students pay for hours of tutoring for their SAT, their Advanced Placement tests, and hire expensive college admissions "consultants" to help them write their essays and facilitate the application process (this on top of the already-connected college counselors at most top private schools, who have easier access to admissions officers based on ongoing personal/professional relationships). For those who can't afford such help, they have no choice but to apply under regular admissions guidelines, making it much harder for them to get into selective schools. I have wondered where it would all lead, this madness, as if the college one attends is a referendum on one's entire life, making impressionable students and their status-obsessed parents feel that they have all failed if they don't get accepted at Williams or Amherst or Vassar or Yale. Thankfully, administrators have finally taken the high road and decided to end this poisoned system. I applaud them and hope that all "selective" schools follow suit. And if my college, Vassar, does not go along and abolish early admissions, they will never get another cent from me.

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