Packs of Anonymous Admissions Officers Dish Offensive Information

IvyGate’s Guide to Admissions: Part I

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Lately, the cavalcade of admissions soothsayers seems to stretch from high school guidance counselor’s offices all the way to the bank—not to mention a stopover at the open palms of admissions coaches. Neither here nor there, the secret to getting in exists. Just ask anyone who can be identified as a “Former admissions officer, Ivy League college.” A recent flurry of clues on how to get in and how not to get in gave so much credit to said anonymous sources that we decided to do a little multi-part series on Ivy admissions.

As an introduction we’ve picked out some of the more salient comments from the Daily Beast‘s recent treatment of the elite admissions game. Appropriately enough, the prophets holding the keys to the Ivory Tower tend to be the half-jaded, wholly-enlightened ones who write those books with clever titles that pun on the letter “A.” (Oddly enough, a lot of the authors seems to have worked in Dartmouth’s admissions office.) These guys have some interesting—and some offending—things to say. But in the long run we’ll be bringing out some dirty truths from the students who do get in.

The low-down from a current Ivy League officer (probably from Dartmouth based on the aforementioned trend in admissions book publishing)—via Daily Beast:

An admissions officer is really asking himself, ‘Would I like to hang out with this guy or gal for the next four years?’ So if you come off as just another Asian math genius with no personality, then it’s going to be tough for you. An admissions officer is not going to push very hard for you.”

Ok, that’s racist. Asian math geniuses are actually as fun as white, brown, or black math geniuses after a couple of drinks. To be real, a lot of smart people are a lot more fun if you’re smart enough to keep up with them. Read more upsetting truths about why you did (or didn’t) get in after the jump.

Evidently the best way to avoid tacit discrimination is to become your admissions officer. According Joie Jager-Hyman, a real former Dartmouth admissions officer, the real way to get in is to figure out and then mimic your application reader:

People tend to like people like themselves. I could almost predict the application files my colleagues would support: this admissions officer likes the athletes; this one prefers the quiet, creative loner type; one person cared a lot about SATs; or another would be more likely to excuse things like teenage arrests than other colleagues.”

Yes! So recruit help of Facebook and some fake calls to 86 Brattle Street (or 38 Hillhouse Ave or 1 Nassau Hall or whatever) and update those application essays Class of ’13 hopefuls! Actually, it’s just a few days too late for you. All next year’s freshman class can do is sit back and wait for the fates. In the meantime, pass these lessons onto younger, luckier siblings who can choose their SAT scores.

One admissions officer from a “state university in the Northeast” (read: U Penn or is it UPENN?) tells the truth:

[T]here are still some factors out of an applicant’s hands. One night, I got food poisoning at a restaurant in Buffalo. The next day, I rejected all the Buffalo applications. I couldn’t stomach reading them.”

So who out there is a food poisoning reject? And who’s the reason everyone hates the Ivy League, according to a former Ivy League admissions officer?

Of course there are files every year that the dean simply says aren’t debatable. It’s pretty easy to Google those kids and see Daddy is a U.S. Senator or gave the university $7 million. But it really takes paying for a building or endowing a chair to have that kind of privilege. Only about 70 percent of the other VIP kids get in, because it can be equally embarrassing if some big celebrity’s son fails out or gets arrested on campus. There have to be some standards.”

To be honest, we’re not sure those standards actually work. Over the next couple of weeks, IvyGate will unveil a handful of horrors and maybe—seriously just maybe—any glimmer of integrity left in this whole twisted process.

Hit up tips@ivygateblog.com if you’ve got a dirty secret about admissions. Total anonymity and no judgments, we promise—we’re looking for tales from those who beat the system and a few who died trying. Even if you didn’t personally do it, you definitely know someone who did.

31 Responses to “Packs of Anonymous Admissions Officers Dish Offensive Information”

  1. Columbia 08 Says:

    Your reading comprehension appears to be lagging. “State university in the Northeast” is obviously not a reference to Penn. Couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a joke, but if so, poorly executed.

  2. Columbia 08 Says:

    Your reading comprehension appears to be lagging. “State university in the Northeast” is obviously not a reference to Penn. Couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a joke, but if so, poorly executed.

  3. Reason Says:

    “Ok, that’s racist.” Well yes, of course the admissions process is racist, thanks to affirmative action. According to a paper published by Princeton (//opr.princeton.edu/faculty/tje/espenshadessqptii.pdf), black applicants get a bonus of 230 SAT points (out of 1600), Hispanics get 160, while Asians are penalized by 50 SAT points. Happy applying, and let’s hope you’re a non-Asian minority!

  4. Reason Says:

    “Ok, that’s racist.” Well yes, of course the admissions process is racist, thanks to affirmative action. According to a paper published by Princeton (//opr.princeton.edu/faculty/tje/espenshadessqptii.pdf), black applicants get a bonus of 230 SAT points (out of 1600), Hispanics get 160, while Asians are penalized by 50 SAT points. Happy applying, and let’s hope you’re a non-Asian minority!

  5. B'09 Says:

    ‘let’s hope you’re a non-Asian minority!’

    The fact that as an Asian, I’m pretty much screwed over by some others kinda struck me a few nights ago as I was doing law school applications.

  6. B'09 Says:

    ‘let’s hope you’re a non-Asian minority!’

    The fact that as an Asian, I’m pretty much screwed over by some others kinda struck me a few nights ago as I was doing law school applications.

  7. Transfer Says:

    Hmmmm….this is good stuff. Keep it coming. Do you think this applies to transfers too? (I’m applying as a transfer for the fall).

  8. Transfer Says:

    Hmmmm….this is good stuff. Keep it coming. Do you think this applies to transfers too? (I’m applying as a transfer for the fall).

  9. D'09 Says:

    Damn… I hadn’t realized how many Dartmouth people have written admissions books/ gone into consulting. I guess that’s where the real money is…

  10. D'09 Says:

    Damn… I hadn’t realized how many Dartmouth people have written admissions books/ gone into consulting. I guess that’s where the real money is…

  11. gilbert Says:

    Reason– “black applicants get a bonus of 230 SAT points (out of 1600), Hispanics get 160”

    Blacks and Hispanics tend to come from poor, urban districts which consistently under perform on state exams and are known for crime and a lack of proper role models. affirmative action is an attempt to “renormalize” the scores knowing that these *underrepresented* minorities (being a minority isn’t a set back if you’re not underrepresented) have had to face these setbacks. If your demographic is the sort that hires admission counselors, lives in affluent suburbs, and tend to have high earning education obsessed parents, you really don’t need this leg-up.

    while we’re all busy pointing fingers at admissions, we should be pointing out how many schools have recently “subsidized” underrepresented minorities with more international students and high performing minorities. We should be criticizing them most for the drop in blacks and Hispanics gaining admissions and the lack of programs designed to catch them up with their classmates.

    I work in a tutoring clinic at Cornell that helps students in all intro physics courses, from remedial to honors. A large number of our repeat visitors are students who are taking physics and calculus for the very first time. They here about things like newton’s law and v = dx/dt and are excited and frustrated by the fast pace. They work extra hard, and by the end of the term they’re outscoring their classmates despite initial setbacks. Meanwhile, the occasional engineering or honors student will traipse in, talking of how they’ve seen all this material before, but just can’t bring themselves to study. If anything admissions officers should do more to spot these duds who come with high credentials, only to squander them when the parents are no longer micromanaging.

  12. gilbert Says:

    Reason– “black applicants get a bonus of 230 SAT points (out of 1600), Hispanics get 160”

    Blacks and Hispanics tend to come from poor, urban districts which consistently under perform on state exams and are known for crime and a lack of proper role models. affirmative action is an attempt to “renormalize” the scores knowing that these *underrepresented* minorities (being a minority isn’t a set back if you’re not underrepresented) have had to face these setbacks. If your demographic is the sort that hires admission counselors, lives in affluent suburbs, and tend to have high earning education obsessed parents, you really don’t need this leg-up.

    while we’re all busy pointing fingers at admissions, we should be pointing out how many schools have recently “subsidized” underrepresented minorities with more international students and high performing minorities. We should be criticizing them most for the drop in blacks and Hispanics gaining admissions and the lack of programs designed to catch them up with their classmates.

    I work in a tutoring clinic at Cornell that helps students in all intro physics courses, from remedial to honors. A large number of our repeat visitors are students who are taking physics and calculus for the very first time. They here about things like newton’s law and v = dx/dt and are excited and frustrated by the fast pace. They work extra hard, and by the end of the term they’re outscoring their classmates despite initial setbacks. Meanwhile, the occasional engineering or honors student will traipse in, talking of how they’ve seen all this material before, but just can’t bring themselves to study. If anything admissions officers should do more to spot these duds who come with high credentials, only to squander them when the parents are no longer micromanaging.

  13. JQ Says:

    What about blacks that hire admission counselors, live in affluent suburbs, and have high earning and highly educated parents? Yes, they do exist. I am one, and I actually oppose affirmative action. I got into Harvard (great test scores and grades and extracurriculars); I could have done so on my own merit although it would have been much shakier. Conversely, what about Asians in ghetto neighborhoods? They exist too (especially groups like Hmongs, etc.)

  14. Dumplings with Soysauce Says:

    MY FAMIRY COME FROM DE FAR CHINA, THEY WERE SOO POOR. MY FAMIRY MUST HUNT FOR DE WILD BOAR FOR DE FOOD. DEN, THEY COME TO AMERICA WIS 5 CENTS.

  15. seriously? Says:

    If we are going to have a race discussion, placing the “these minorities come from disadvantaged backgrounds” band-aid in reality helps some but hurts some as well. If it was based on some kind of a background check, I would understand. But one must consider thatthere are people of other ethnicities (read: white, asian) that do not come from the “prep school” and “SAT course” world either and need to work their asses off as well to succeed at a level to try to apply to an ivy or similar. However, these people receive NO aid in admissions (rather, are punished). How can that be seen as just?

    and there are the students that can easily abuse this system to get themselves into schools and jobs while not having the same qualifications as others merely on the bases of race. simply stupid.

  16. seriously? Says:

    If we are going to have a race discussion, placing the “these minorities come from disadvantaged backgrounds” band-aid in reality helps some but hurts some as well. If it was based on some kind of a background check, I would understand. But one must consider thatthere are people of other ethnicities (read: white, asian) that do not come from the “prep school” and “SAT course” world either and need to work their asses off as well to succeed at a level to try to apply to an ivy or similar. However, these people receive NO aid in admissions (rather, are punished). How can that be seen as just?

    and there are the students that can easily abuse this system to get themselves into schools and jobs while not having the same qualifications as others merely on the bases of race. simply stupid.

  17. @Seriously? Says:

    Some schools, like Dartmouth, give a large (almost as much as a legacy) boost to those students who are 1st generation college students. I’m guessing that most students who have never had a parent/grandparent go to college would have to be largely self-motivated to want to go to college (let alone an Ivy).

  18. @Seriously? Says:

    Some schools, like Dartmouth, give a large (almost as much as a legacy) boost to those students who are 1st generation college students. I’m guessing that most students who have never had a parent/grandparent go to college would have to be largely self-motivated to want to go to college (let alone an Ivy).

  19. Brown '08 Says:

    Umm… Penn is not a state school.

    I hope you were joking.

    If not, you really shouldn’t be writing here.

  20. Brown '08 Says:

    Umm… Penn is not a state school.

    I hope you were joking.

    If not, you really shouldn’t be writing here.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    What’s the building in the picture?

  22. Bullneck Says:

    Littauer

  23. Anonymous Says:

    What’s the building in the picture?

  24. Sid Says:

    Here’s a better distinction than racist/not racist: accepting or rejecting a student in line with publicly available standards which take economic or ethnic background into account is ok, or if not that, at least it can be discussed: rejecting students because ‘Asians are boring’ (or ‘white people smell funny’ or ‘Gypsies are dishonest’) is good old Ivy equality-sure-but-we-don’t-want-em-in-our-eating-clubs secret handshake hypocrisy.

  25. Sid Says:

    Here’s a better distinction than racist/not racist: accepting or rejecting a student in line with publicly available standards which take economic or ethnic background into account is ok, or if not that, at least it can be discussed: rejecting students because ‘Asians are boring’ (or ‘white people smell funny’ or ‘Gypsies are dishonest’) is good old Ivy equality-sure-but-we-don’t-want-em-in-our-eating-clubs secret handshake hypocrisy.

  26. Ben Says:

    It is the Economics department at Harvard. The Government Department used to be there before it moved to CGIS.

  27. Ben Says:

    It is the Economics department at Harvard. The Government Department used to be there before it moved to CGIS.

  28. Jamie Says:

    What’s with all these Penn students defending Penn under pseudonyms? No shit, the author knows Penn’s not a state school. It’s IvyGate. Don’t take it so seriously. Don’t take yourselves so seriously either. Pathetic.

  29. Jamie Says:

    What’s with all these Penn students defending Penn under pseudonyms? No shit, the author knows Penn’s not a state school. It’s IvyGate. Don’t take it so seriously. Don’t take yourselves so seriously either. Pathetic.

  30. Penn '09 Says:

    Why pseudonymous defense? I’ll do it outright. Damn you, Adam Clark Estes! Damn you to hell!

  31. Penn '09 Says:

    Why pseudonymous defense? I’ll do it outright. Damn you, Adam Clark Estes! Damn you to hell!

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