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Harvard Demystifies the College Admissions Process

The New York Times, in its section on the college admissions process (The Choice; Demystifying the College Admission Process) has asked readers to send questions to William Fitzsimmons, the longtime Dean of Admission at Harvard College. The first question he addresses is about the selection process at Harvard.  How does Harvard decide whom to admit?  Dean Fitzsimmons describes in generous detail the process the school uses to choose its class. 

While Harvard has many more applications and a larger staff than many colleges, I think that the practices he describes are very similar to other schools. I have been guided through many mock committees with admissions staff at other private colleges – colleges that vary in selectivity, philosophy and personality.  But, the process is the same.

It would be naïve to think that there was not a “first cut” at selective colleges based on objective criteria alone. But after that, the guidelines and practices are designed to bring out the personal qualities and character of applicants that will contribute to a thriving, diverse educational community. As Dean Fitzsimmons admits, though, it is more an art than a science. 

By the way, this web section has a number of interesting articles.
Posted by Kristen Bailey on Thursday September, 10, 2009 at 03:50PM


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