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June 3, 2010

Last week, I read the novel Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz, and now I have a new-found appreciation for college admissions officers.

Although the book is fiction, the author was actually a part-time reader for Princeton’s Office of Admission during the 2006 and 2007 admissions seasons, so she has experience of the process.

While reading the book, I got to thinking about college admissions. I remember when I was a high school senior and was rather disappointed to not get admitted into my dream school. I had quite a padded resume and was left wondering why wasn’t I good enough?

But the true reality is that these schools, especially highly prestigious and selective ones like Princeton, have to make the toughest decisions. The admissions officers have to turn away nine brilliant, well-rounded kids for every one they admit. The students that get in are the ones that they believe have the greatest chance to change the world. It’s not to say that the other nine won’t.

Pretty much all the applicants have high SAT scores, glowing recommendation letters from teachers, and loads of volunteer, extracurricular, and sports activities and leadership. The admissions office has the unenviable task of sorting through all of these hopeful applicants to form the university’s upcoming class. Attempting to find the most fair way to go about this is a very difficult job and I do believe that the admissions officers try their very best.

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