About Admissions 101

Logic and good sense abandoned the college admissions process long ago. All that those of us involved in it have left is each other. For the best-known, most-selective schools, decisions are no longer rational. For the lesser-known schools, their best points are often unknown to those who most need to know them.

So let’s have a college admissions bee and stitch together our individual patches of insight and data into a beautiful quilt that can keep all of us comfy. We welcome the high school seniors who don’t know where to turn, the college admissions officers who see where we go wrong, the parents of eighth-graders who want to be ready, the high school counselors who have found great colleges nobody knows, and anyone else with any interest in cutting through the deadening and deceptive search letters and college-funded guides and special interest lists and gossip and misinformation and all the other nonsense that keeps everyone in the dark.

If our topics put you to sleep, let us know. If Jay Mathews says something insane, shock him back into reality. The idea is to make college, and the process of getting into college, what it ought to be: a road to a good life for everyone. But it will take a lot of fresh thinking and heated arguments to get there. — Jay Mathews

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