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Vox Clamantis in Maine

When an institution begins to rot, the decay sets in pretty much everywhere. To wit, a letter to the editor in the January/February edition of the Alumni Magazine::

DAM Admissions letter1.jpg

Here you have an alumnus, David Shedd ‘84, a man of varied interests and talents, who offers time and treasure (he’s given money every year since graduation) to the College on a regular basis. The measured tone of his letter reflects both real thought and care in drafting. But, as with so many other alumni, Shedd’s loyalty is on the wane.

We’ve reported in the past how alumni interviewers can speak with numerous talented candidates, only to see none admitted — or worse, to see candidates, who they believe are markedly inferior, admitted under the College’s system of quotas. David is not complaining about a relative here; he’s not even plumping for some Olde Maine applicant. But year after year, he is seeing wealthy high school seniors being accepted over high-achieving immigrants who have overcome on-the-ground adversity.

If the administration could cut the waste from the budget, it could take ramp up the College’s admissions effort. How about a first-class, on-line presentation of Dartmouth — in contrast to the present poor effort (here and here)? And how about extra staffers to signal our presence at high schools all over the country, admissions officers who would, in a real innovation, go out and interview thousands of applicants in conjunction with alumni. In this way they could measure first hand the students behind the professionally polished resumés. Nobody conducts this costly exercise today; a rich school like ours, if it watched its pennies, could be the first.

Addendum: My classmate Tim Prager ‘79 has put forward good ideas for revamping the College’s admissions effort.


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