Thursday, October 27, 2005

On merit-based admissions in the Ivy League

I ran across an interesting review of a new book that challenges the myth that Ivy League admissions are propelled solely on the basis of academic merit. A couple of points: (1) We should not be all that surprised that factors beyond academic qualifications go into consideration at our nation's most prestigious schools. After all, our current president--for better or worse--was the benefactor of legacy admissions. (2) I wonder whether these findings will reorient the discussion around affirmative action and the aggressive recruiting and admission of minorities at institutions of higher learning. If we can dispense with the myth that academic qualifications are the sole measure colleges use to assess their applicants, can we then admit that the purposeful creation of a diverse student body can be a pertinent--and even commendable--goal of admissions committees?