By Mitchell L. Stevens
In genuine lifestyles, Mitchell Stevens is a professor in bustling big apple. yet for a 12 months and a part, he labored within the admissions place of work of a bucolic New England collage that's identified for its excessive educational criteria, appealing campus, and social moral sense. formidable excessive schoolers and savvy information counselors be aware of that admission this is hugely aggressive. yet developing periods, Stevens unearths, is lots extra advanced than most folks imagine.
Admissions officials love scholars yet they paintings for the great of the college. they need to convey every one classification in "on budget," burnish the information so an important to institutional status, and look after their colleagues within the athletic division and the advance workplace. Stevens indicates that the task can't be refrained from "systematic preferencing," and racial affirmative motion is the least of it. childrens have an side if their mom and dad pays complete university, in the event that they attend excessive faculties with unique zip codes, in the event that they are athletes--especially soccer players--and no matter if they're well known.
With novelistic aptitude, sensitivity to background, and a willing eye for telling element, Stevens explains how elite faculties and universities have assumed their significant function within the construction of the nation's such a lot privileged periods. Creating a Class makes transparent that, for higher or worse, those faculties now outline the criteria of younger accomplishment in American tradition extra generally.
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Extra info for Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites
Number of students. Liam knew this one off the top of his head. Number of part-time students. We agreed that the answer was “none,” even though I knew that in fact there were part-time students at the College, among them a number of College employees who participated in a special program for adult learners. Liam and Susan knew this program well. It was administered in tandem with their office. Percentage of minority students. Liam said, “Campus-wide it’s 10 percent, but for the entering class it’s 14 percent.
I have blurred identities in this way for two reasons. First, the College exists in an exquisitely competitive organizational world in which institutional identity and status are gauged largely by numbers, and in which admissions offices routinely vie with their peers for the affections of the very same applicants. It has not been my intention to write an exposé on the practices of one particular college, A SCHOOL IN A GARDEN 25 and I am eager to protect the well-earned integrity of the school I studied.
12 In this context of national growth and integration, higher education leaders gradually came to use admissions statistics as indicators of institutional prestige over the course of the twentieth century. Simultaneously, the practice of courting students from every state in the union as a mark of institutional cosmopolitanism also diffused to every college and university vying for a national stature. The College’s archives contain annual reports of admissions activity for most of the years between 1941 and 1995.
Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites by Mitchell L. Stevens