By Mitchell L. Stevens
In genuine lifestyles, Mitchell Stevens is a professor in bustling ny. yet for a yr and a part, he labored within the admissions workplace of a bucolic New England collage that's identified for its excessive educational criteria, appealing campus, and social moral sense. formidable excessive schoolers and savvy suggestions counselors be aware of that admission this is hugely aggressive. yet growing periods, Stevens reveals, is lots extra advanced than most folk imagine.
Admissions officials love scholars yet they paintings for the great of the college. they need to deliver each one classification in "on budget," burnish the records so the most important to institutional status, and look after their colleagues within the athletic division and the improvement place of work. Stevens exhibits that the task can't be refrained from "systematic preferencing," and racial affirmative motion is the least of it. little ones have an aspect if their mom and dad will pay complete school, in the event that they attend excessive faculties with unique zip codes, in the event that they are athletes--especially soccer players--and no matter if they're well known.
With novelistic aptitude, sensitivity to heritage, and a willing eye for telling element, Stevens explains how elite schools and universities have assumed their crucial position within the construction of the nation's such a lot privileged sessions. Creating a Class makes transparent that, for higher or worse, those colleges now outline the criteria of younger accomplishment in American tradition extra generally.
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The junior officers all had several things in common. All of them were in their twenties and thirties. All of them were good conversationalists, capable of easy smiles and clever turns of phrase. None of them anticipated careers in corporate America. None of them were hard to look at. With the exception of two officers who had graduated from large public universities, all had completed their college educations at schools very close in character and prestige to the College. There were no Ivy League degrees among them, but there were no low-status credentials either.
The kids from abroad apparently were encouraged to apply online, for free. “And then you reject ’em all. But you have their applications,” Val explained, veering into inference. I continued by asking her about something I’d heard about from a former admissions officer at an elite southern university, a practice in which the school counted as “applicants” everyone who submitted any material at all, regardless of the completeness of the files. ” Val asked. “Yeah. Common. We don’t do that. In fact I think we’re quite conservative in what we count.
In their place has arisen an information-based evaluative regime that nevertheless systematically favors the wealthy, well educated, and well connected. The mechanisms of preference have changed. Measurable accomplishment is the baseline criterion selective colleges now use to sort applications. But in general, only the relatively wealthy are able to afford the infrastructure necessary to produce that accomplishment in their children. Upper-middle-class Americans have responded to the triumph of educational meritocracy by creating a whole new way of life organized around the production of measurably talented children and the delivery of news about kids to the right places at the right times.
Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites by Mitchell L. Stevens