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The Little Things Count, Too

A loyal alum expresses surprise about the Admissions department:

Our daughter just graduated from high school with a number of awards and recognitions (both academic and non-academic), National Honor Society, National Merit Scholarship Finalist, AP courses, Honors courses, a high GPA, etc. She was flooded with mailings from a number of colleges, including all of the Ivies, except one. Near the end of the normal recruiting period, Dartmouth finally sent her a mailing focusing on minorities (or “diversity” or similar word) at Dartmouth.

Her two Dartmouth alum parents were surprised by the lack of attention.

Hanover is too rural for our daughter, but it was strange to get a number of mailings from the other Ivies and only one from Hanover.

One barometer of the health of an organization is how well it does the little things. As a consumer, this feature is something that I particularly watch for, whether in Apple products, at a restaurant, in the small courtesies (or the lack thereof) at an airline, or in my own businesses. People sense and appreciate attention to detail. Perhaps instinctively, we understand that when an enterprise sweats the fine points, it probably is on top of the larger issues, too.

Phil, here is another area where progress can be made. How strong is the College’s outreach program to attractive high school students. Does the Admissions department contact a sampling of prospective students and analyze the various recruiting campaigns of our competitors as they compare to ours? It seems that we are falling behind in yet another area.

Addendum: A close follower of the College writes in:

I totally agree with you. Dartmouth’s failure actively to recruit this girl is shameful, assuming that she attended a competitive high school and that her SAT’s were also competitive. Since she was contacted late in the day under the “diversity” rubric, well, there are a couple of questions there.

But even if Dartmouth had, for whatever reasons, misgivings about this girl’s credentials for admission, the College should have given her far more consideration, if only to show the parents that the College values their loyalty.

I suspect that Dartmouth will be getting no alumni contributions from the parents in this case or from their Dartmouth friends - and one wonders how many other similar cases there might be.

Addendum: My correspondent replies to the above addendum:

My daughter did attend a competitive high school with which Dartmouth is familiar. She took about four AP tests and earned a maximum score on each. I don’t remember her SAT scores, but they were certainly competitive. She applied to and was accepted “early decision” by a highly selective college. And she is a “minority” given her racial/ethnic/etc. background—so no significant questions there.


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