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Rotten Flesh; A Solid Heart

Sometimes one is tempted to lose hope for the College. The administration is so sick, such a great deal of money is wasted, and so little progress is made. But as I have said before, behind the scenes much good work goes on. Students do get a fine education from devoted, if under-appreciated, faculty members, as a current student’s Mom reports:

Dear Mr. Asch,

Thank you for your evident love of the College. I am the parent of a Dartmouth student and wanted to give you one parent’s perspective. I have had multiple other children attending other elite liberal arts college (and yes, our finances are now crazily depleted, and it hurts every day). I wanted to let you know that by far the experience of my Dartmouth student has been the best in terms of personal and academic growth.

Uniformly, my Dartmouth student’s professors have been caring and involved with my student inside and OUTSIDE the classroom even though my daughter is not a genius (nor a legacy or a development applicant). I could go on about this value-added experience (and I know there are valid issues surrounding dormitory life and the Greek system etc.), but I will keep this short, and conclude by saying, who cares about a drop in applications. In fact, I hope it was done on purpose. Why try to recruit more applications when you are rejecting almost 90 out of 100 applicants anyway — just to cause more angst and pain to 18-year-olds?.

The College on the Hill can fill its class with quality young men and women many times over, even with a 14% drop in applications (Dartmouth is rejecting so many fine applicants as it is — for example, I could introduce to you to a rejected applicant who is now at Stanford). I believe one has a more thorough understanding of the underbelly of admissions after watching several children go through the brutal admissions process as a non-legacy, non-development applicant (as my children did — it all ended up well, but the process was exasperating at best).

It is this experience that results in my lack of concern about the drop in applicants. The smaller applicant pool likely contains students who have a greater desire to attend Dartmouth, and that is for the best.

Once again, thank you for caring about the College.

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