Former Admissions Officer Tells It Like It Is

We appreciate it when admissions officers and former admissions officers tell it like it is (photo credit: Derrick Smith).

So often, admissions officers at our nation’s elite universities don’t tell it like it is. They claim their schools are need-blind when they literally ask on the applications if students need financial aid. They claim, under test-optional policies, students with great test scores have no advantage over students with no test scores. They claim they don’t measure Demonstrated Interest. And so when an admissions officer or former admissions officer at an elite university tells it like it is, we feel a responsibility to highlight their words and give them a big pat on the back. We do so today for Becky Munsterer Sabky, a former Dartmouth College admissions officer who is out with a new book on the college admissions process.

In a piece entitled “Aiming for college? Being smart is valued. Being decent is impressive.” by Maureen Downey in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a paper that wrongly and despicably initially painted the late Richard Jewell, a hero of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, as the culprit, she writes, “In a telephone interview from her home, Sabky talked about the two chief goals of her book. First, she wants students who apply to schools like Dartmouth, which admit 10% or fewer of their applicants, to understand the process. ‘College admissions is a business,’ she says. And the business model is based on what’s best for the college, not the applicant. That means selecting students on the overall strengths, needs and statistics of their own existing applicant pool, she says. ‘A college is not choosing Joe over you because he is more worthy, a better student or a better kid. There is something in his application that makes sense for the class,’ she says.” Well said, indeed!

And Ms. Munsterer Sabky doesn’t stop there. As Ms. Downey writes, “Too often, Sabky says, applicants spend too much time telling admissions offices what they’ve done, which is easily seen on applications, rather than who they are or their place in their community. Georgia Tech will know you attended Georgia Governor’s Honors Program or Duke TIP. They may not know you are the only person under 40 in your neighborhood who shows up for the annual holiday cookie exchange or that your internship at the aquarium taught you the most common question is where are the bathrooms.” Yes, admissions officers value students with empathy and, no, college applicants don’t demonstrate empathy by counting up the number of community service hours they’ve completed as so many applicants do. Quit counting!

We applaud Ms. Munsterer Sabky for telling it like it is and we look forward to reading an advance copy of her book.

 
 

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