Cruel way to boost college rankings

In an attempt to improve their rankings, there’s a new college strategy that goes beyond anything else I’ve seen in a long time (“Enticing Letters From Harvard That Aren’t Quite What They Seem,” The New York Times, Nov. 30).  It’s called recruit-to-deny.

Here’s how it works. Colleges buy the names, ethnicities, and test scores of students within a stipulated range from the College Board and the ACT.  They then flood the students with solicitations to apply, knowing full well that most will never be admitted.  What this does is make the colleges look even more selective than before, which boosts their rankings.

This deliberate attempt to help themselves does a terrible disservice to underqualified applicants who naively believe they have a chance of being admitted because they received invitations to apply.  It creates even greater cynicism about the entire college admission process.  Yet it continues unabated.

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2 Replies to “Cruel way to boost college rankings”

  1. I could see that even a student played like this might be spurred on to apply to other places she might not think she could get in, and gets in. Who knows the ripple effect of such a policy? It is shamefully cynical, though.

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