The admissions process at our leading colleges and universities is either very funny or very sad. Probably a mixture of both. Here, in the Chronicle of Higher Education[!], is a look at the incredible arrogance of some the admissions folks.
For instance, one recommendation is for admissions to begin “Assessing Students’ Daily Awareness of and Contributions to Others.” It is a subtle mystery how an admissions office would discern an applicant’s daily awareness of anything, let alone of “others.” . . . .
The reformers’ big idea is to take a process defined by unwonted nosiness and presumption and make it nosier and more presumptuous. . . .
Real reform would make the process simpler and less time-consuming, less mysterious and morally presumptuous. As I mentioned above, a lottery stands out as a good option. Admissions bureaucrats faced with thousands more applicants than they can accept soon reach a level of arbitrariness. At that point, they launch an inquisition of their applicants’ souls. This makes little sense academically but allows them to stage a powerful, utterly undeserved disciplinary claim on the inner lives of teenagers — that is the abiding scandal of college admissions.