Admissions Officers at Highly Selective Colleges

Admissions Counselors, Admissions Officers, College Admission Officers

We’re not sure we understand the thesis of an editorial in “Real Clear Politics” on college admissions officers.

There’s an editorial on “Real Clear Politics” authored by Michael Barone entitled “Cheating Is Rife in Colleges — by Admissions Officers.” Mr. Barone believes that the most intellectually dishonest profession around is being an admissions officer at a highly selective college or university. We don’t agree with Mr. Barone but we thought we’d share with our readers his opinion nonetheless. Mr. Barone asserts that college admissions officers at highly selective colleges are dishonest because they discriminate against minorities such as Asians and Asian American applicants. We at Ivy Coach have indeed been saying for years that Asians and Asian Americans face discrimination in the highly selective college admissions process.

But what makes admissions officers dishonest, according to Mr. Barone, is not so much the discrimination but how they go about admitting students in general. As he writes, “But then admissions officers started to cheat. They declared that they were using ‘holistic’ criteria, trying to gauge from students’ applications the ‘bigger picture’ of their life. In practice, this meant racial discrimination in favor of blacks and Hispanics, and against Asians and whites.”

Are there ways in which admissions officers at highly selective colleges can be dishonest? Yes. We’ve seen deans of admissions submit erroneous data to “US News & World Report” to boost their university’s standing in the all-important college rankings. We’ve seen college admissions officers say that their universities are “need-blind” when in fact this is not actually the case. But Mr. Barone’s argument — while true that Asians and Asian Americans face discrimination in the highly selective college admissions process — fails to support his thesis that college admissions officers at top schools are dishonest. How exactly does this relate to his point?


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