The Trade Secrets of Harvard’s Admissions Office

Harvard Trade Secrets, Harvard Admissions, Admission to Harvard

Are the trade secrets of Harvard’s admissions process being revealed in federal court? Photo credit: Chensiyuan.

We’ve heard from some folks that they’ve been glued to the coverage of the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University case in recent days, poring over every detail revealed in federal court about Harvard’s admissions practices. And we’ve been asked if we’ve been poring over this coverage too, riveted by every revelation. The answer is a definitive no. And why? Because these are not revelations to us. These are not Harvard’s trade secrets being revealed for the world to learn. We — and many others — have been writing about Harvard’s (and every other highly selective college’s) admissions practices for decades. So, needless to say, there has been not one gasp from us as we read the coverage of the case. Not one.

Harvard’s Admissions Practices Aren’t Revelatory

Anemona Hartocollis reports for “The New York Times” in a piece we offered background on to ‘The Newspaper of Record’  entitled “Harvard’s Admissions Process, Once Secret, Is Unveiled in Affirmative Action Trial,” “Although many selective colleges are known to engage in the same admissions tactics, Harvard’s lawyers lamented in pretrial papers that being forced to produce application materials would be like divulging trade secrets, and would allow students and college counselors to game the process, which is in full swing right now. The judge even likened Harvard’s formula to the recipe for Coke.”

But that’s wrong. Harvard’s admissions practices haven’t been a secret for years; they’re certainly not ‘trade secrets.’ And as to the pretrial papers that suggested revealing Harvard’s admissions practices would ‘allow college counselors to game the process,’ well, we’ve been helping our students ‘game the process’ for decades if ‘gaming the process’ means helping Asian American students overcome implicit bias in the process and earn admission to Harvard. Bye, Felicia.

 
 

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