We love it when deans of admission at highly selective colleges actually tell it like it is. We find it refreshing because — frankly — most deans of admission don’t tell it like it is. They’re politically correct. They tell you what you want to hear. They’re just not all that candid. A dean of admission is unlikely to say that the children of major, longtime donors to a university can have a leg up in admissions. But is it the case? You bet. A dean of admission is unlikely to tell you that a school — irrespective of its need-blind admissions policy — actually does factor in a student’s ability to pay when weighing his or her case for admission.
Regular readers of our college admissions blog know that there are certain deans of admission who are more candid about the highly selective college admissions process — and the admissions process to their universities — than most. The University of Pennsylvania’s Eric Furda is one of the clear frontrunners in this category. Dean Furda has a long and storied track record of telling it like it is, and we at Ivy Coach have noticed. Oh yes we have.
But today we wish to share with our readers a story from another candid former dean of admissions at Amherst College. We were once in attendance at a panel when a parent asked, “My daughter got a 1500 SAT on one sitting. Will she get into Amherst?” Of course, good SAT scores alone aren’t enough to warrant admission to a highly selective university like Amherst College, but the former dean of admission responded in a different way — in a very candid way. He asked, “And why isn’t she taking it again?” The former dean was right. A student who takes the SAT once and gets a 1500 should absolutely take it again. Is a 1500 a nice score? Yes. It is outstanding for the top schools? No. So why wouldn’t the student take it again? Why wouldn’t she give herself another opportunity to get a better score?