The Democratization of College Admissions

Democratization of College Admission, Ivy League Admissions Democratization, Democracy and College Admissions

There an outstanding editorial on the pages of “The Brown Daily Herald” on the democratization of college admissions.

There was a fantastic editorial recently on the pages of “The Brown Daily Herald,” the newspaper of Brown University. The piece, entitled “The Internet democratizes college admissions” was written by Clare Steinman, a Brown University student in the Class of 2019, and it’s one we fully stand behind. In her editorial, Steinman writes of how the highly selective college admissions process is very “transactional” in nature. As Steinman writes, students basically enter all their data into one part of the Common Application and then they try to express themselves in the rest, to stand out as people. It’s certainly not inaccurate.

Steinman also writes of how the highly selective college admissions process is a largely undemocratic process. She’s right. Not all college counseling offices at high schools around the world are created equal, as she well articulates. Some students get good advice, some not so good advice. We’d add that legacies are also favored in the admissions process as are recruited athletes and the children of major donors. But Steinman’s piece doesn’t read as a woe is the college admissions process. Rather, it’s an uplifting piece because she expresses how in spite of the flaws and the inherent inequality of the admissions process, the Internet is making it more democratic.

As Steinman writes, “The Internet is not to blame for making a bad problem worse; rather, it is opening up a system that has been gated for too long. In much the same way that social media has brought people in opposite corners of the world closer together, the Internet can transport college information from an inaccessible trove to just a click away. This is not just idealism or speculation: Over 30 percent of applicants using the Common App in 2015-2016 were first-generation college students. This is significant. There are many more steps colleges and high schools can take to further the good that the Internet can do to remove barriers and diversify admission pools, from providing more ways to demonstrate interest to collecting useful information on how to navigate the admission process. The Internet can and should be a facilitator, not an obstructor, of the much-needed paradigm shifts in the world of college admission.”

Amen to that. The objective of our blog, which has existed for many years and is the most widely read college admissions blog on the Internet, is to demystify the highly selective college admissions process for parents and students alike. It’s to correct misconceptions out there in the media about the process. It’s to correct misconceptions out there in high school counseling offices. It’s to create a fairer and more balanced system, a better system.

And, yes, we hear you critics out there saying under your breath: “But with what you charge your clients to earn admission to the colleges of their dreams, how are you creating a fairer and more balanced system?” Here’s our response: We’re a business. We charge the fees we command. And yet we offer information each and every day to readers, whether they’re clients or not, on our college admissions blog to create a fairer and more balanced system. To our critics, do you offer information on the highly selective college admissions process to tens of thousands of folks around the world each and every day? Do you help some of America’s veterans earn admission to their dream schools each and every year on a pro bono basis? We can’t make the world perfectly fair and equal but we do what we can.

As the Wellesley alumna, Secretary Hillary Clinton, told America this morning, quoting a famous Methodist saying: “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can.”


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