The Ivy Coach Daily

November 21, 2016

The Admissions Development Case

Jared Kushner is his father-in-law, President-elect Donald Trump’s, closest advisor.

We’ve written about development cases before on many an occasion on the pages of our college admissions blog. But how can we not offer our two cents on the development case who will soon become one of the most powerful people in the world? And that is no stretch of the imagination for the closest advisor to President-elect Donald Trump is his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. And it sure does sound like Jared Kushner was a Harvard University development case.

Valerie Strauss of “The Washington Post” recently wrote a piece on Mr. Kushner, citing passages in a book written by Daniel Golden entitled “The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges – and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates.” The book specifically makes reference to Mr. Kushner: “It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. At the time, Harvard accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of twenty.) I also quoted administrators at Jared’s high school, who described him as a less than stellar student and expressed dismay at Harvard’s decision.”

Jared Kushner, the son of a Harvard donor, is now *perhaps* the highest profile Harvard development case.

“’There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,’ a former official at The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, told me. ’His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not.’”

Charles Kushner, the since convicted New Jersey real estate developer, is not an alumnus of Harvard University. He went to New York University and got his MBA from NYU too. So he wasn’t a Harvard legacy. But it seems he was a donor. Now does $2.5 million certainly buy your way into Harvard? No way. Harvard would take pride in denying admission a student whose father pledged $2.5 million just so his son could get in. It’s about how you donate the money. It’s about the amount. It’s about who you are. It’s not as simple as some people may think. We can’t tell you how many parents ask us, “How much do I need to donate to Harvard to guarantee my child’s admission?” The answer is a resounding, “No amount of money will guarantee your child’s admission!” Were we emphatic enough? Now is there an amount that can help? Is there an approach that can help? Yes. And, yes, we help parents looking to donate to universities do it the right way — but even then there are no guarantees. None whatsoever!

What do you think about a Harvard development case being President-elect Trump’s most powerful advisor? And do you think Mr. Kushner was Z-Listed by Harvard?


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