PC College Admissions

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Despite the best efforts of university bureaucrats and professors, college students get more conservative in every incoming class. Perhaps as a means of stemming this tide, administrators are trying to exercise more control at the admissions gate.

“Adam Hoffman, a student at Parkway North High School in St. Louis, was admitted to all eight of the schools to which he applied,” Ann Marie Chaker writes in The New York Times. “Among them were Stanford and Brown.”

“On Mr. Hoffman’s application: A flawless score of 800 on the critical reading portion of his SAT (and a near-perfect 780 on the math section) and a first-place award in the Greater St. Louis Science Fair, on top of awards from myriad math competitions.”

“But his application showed more than just a math expert. It also made clear his deep interest in animal rights. He wrote an essay about the intolerance he faced as a vegetarian at a New Mexico ranch with his Boy Scout troop. He co-founded a ‘vegetarian club’ at his school and has volunteered with the St. Louis Animal Rights Team.”

“The extra something—a passion or commitment communicated in a clear voice—is what many admissions counselors at top schools say they are looking for.” “I think we’re all looking for kids who are committed to something, extracurricularly, intellectually, and hopefully both,” Jim Miller, the new admissions dean at Brown, told Chaker.

Recently, I was interviewed by a young lady at Brown who worked for the university newspaper. When I asked her if she could name any identifiably conservative and/or Republican professors at Brown, after a long silence, she laughed and said, “I’m sure there must be some.”

“The liberals are much more identifiable,” she admitted. This student, in turn, was not a conservative. Unfortunately for sensitive administrators who may be seeking to maintain that political identification, college applicants are figuring out how to game this system.

“Some more than others are artificially packaged, and you can see that. If they are well-coached…it’s hard to find the nature of that individual and what their passions are,” Lee Stetson, Penn’s dean of admissions, told Chaker.

One way to avoid such Ivy League intrigues is to go to an identifiably religious college or university. David French of the Alliance Defense Fund has noted that the Christian university that he attended as an undergrad—David Lipscomb—was a much more tolerant institution than Harvard Law, where he graduated with honors.

“Evangelical Christian colleges are attracting record numbers of applicants this year in a trend that bodes well for an educational niche that was struggling to survive just a generation ago,” G. Jeffrey MacDonald of the Religious News Service reports. “Applications have jumped between 8 percent and 10 percent at the 238 colleges that belong to the North American Association of Christian Admissions Professionals, according to executive director Chant Thompson.”

“More applications mean more students on campuses next fall, he said, and that’s good news since 25 percent of those schools are barely breaking even financially.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.