The Ivy Coach Daily

October 3, 2022

Columbia’s Dean of Admissions

Columbia nosedived in this year’s US News & World Report college ranking (photo credit: Andrew Chen).

As loyal readers of Ivy Coach’s college admissions blog know so very well, we’ve got a crystal ball. Heck, our crystal ball has even been cited on the pages of America’s oldest college newspaper, The Dartmouth. And, today, our crystal ball has a reading…one we’re certainly not excited to share but it’s a reading nonetheless. At Ivy Coach, we tell it like it is — whether it makes us happy or not. So what’s today’s reading? We hereby project that longtime Columbia University Dean of Admissions Jessica Marinaccio — who succeeded Eric Furda as Columbia’s admissions czar before he took the reigns of the University of Pennsylvania’s admissions office — will no longer be charged with leading Columbia’s undergraduate admissions office by this time next year.

While Marinaccio has had a highly successful by any measure, nearly two decade-long run atop Columbia’s undergraduate admissions and financial aid office, Columbia’s slide — all within the span of a year — from #2 to #18 in the annual US News & World Report publication as a result of misreporting data to the publication we suspect will cost her her job. Now, don’t get us wrong. We don’t think she will get the axe from Columbia altogether. Rather, we think she’ll be reassigned within the university’s administration if she does not instead choose to resign from her post atop the undergraduate admissions office.

While just about every college across the land likes to profess that they don’t care about the rankings, the jobs of admissions czars at our nation’s elite universities very much depend on these rankings. And in the case of Dean Marinaccio, it’s not just about a fall from grace in the rankings. It’s also about all the bad publicity surrounding the school’s misreporting of data, which was only brought to light by a Columbia mathematics professor. What would have happened if this math professor never did the investigative detective work that he did? How many other years would Columbia have misreported data?

Oh and to those readers who don’t understand the college admissions process all too well and believe that it will hurt our students to suggest that a dean of admissions at an Ivy League school will likely lose her job as a result of misreporting data to US News, that makes less than no sense. First, we don’t interface with current admissions officers nor do we need to do so. In fact, any private college counselor who suggests they interface with admissions officers should be avoided at all cost — yikes!

We work exclusively behind the scenes at Ivy Coach and while we hire former admissions officers from Ivy League institutions to join our team, it does not behoove any applicant for an admissions office to know they hired outside help. While the vast majority of applicants applying to our nation’s elite colleges hire private college counselors, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing so (it’s just like hiring a piano teacher or a math tutor), why flaunt privilege to admissions officer when the whole game is inspiring admissions officers to like you as an applicant? Besides, not only do we not interface with current college admissions officers but admissions officers have absolutely no idea when we assisted a student with their case for admission. Heck, if they did, we wouldn’t be very good at what we do and we certainly wouldn’t have the track record we enjoy.

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