My dear friends and colleagues,
These are tough days for admissions officers. You really are up against it for so many reasons I won’t discuss here but I know you know so well. If Harvard loses that discrimination lawsuit, which is looking likely, you could see a major dismantling of your admissions processes as your lawyers leap in to protect you and your school from a similar fate. That isn’t the worst thing in the world and will probably be good for you as time goes by. But I can only imagine how nervous it must make you in the meantime. I’m assuming that you are anticipating this outcome anyway and have begun to make the proper remedial efforts.
As a former college admissions officer, I have a compassion for you that most could never appreciate because I understand the myriad of pressures you work within every day. I know what a drag it is to read thousands of applications and then turn down great kids because there are just too many for too few spots. I know how nearly impossible it is to describe to the average person what you actually do and why. But the world is changing all around us and the old ways are being quickly swept away in every field, including college admissions.
And with the advent of AI being sophisticated enough to make nuanced decisions, your jobs may even be at risk within a decade.
So I suggest it’s time for you to do a serious self-reflective reset by asking yourself these questions:
- Do you know what your school’s mission is and could you succinctly describe it to me if I met you in an elevator at NACAC this fall? Are you fulfilling that mission?
- Based on that mission, do you know who you are looking to admit and why? Could you articulate that to me on our next elevator ride?
- Have you read BAT Thresher’s “College Admissions and the Public Interest“? If not, why not? If so, can you please read it again?
- Are you familiar with 2018-2028 demographic trends across all populations? If not, seek out Jon Boeckenstedt, AVP at DePaul University, who is my favorite numbers geek and the ‘Vision’ of current college admissions. He knows what’s happening and what’s coming. And he’s a very wise man.
- After becoming familiar with population shifts, reevaluate your own. Are you over-serving some and under serving others? If so, can you defend that in a court of law, meaning that you are not violating the 14th Amendment by discriminating by race and/or gender? Has your lawyer evaluated that same data?
- What is your school’s obligation to the nation? See #3 above.
- Are you fulfilling that obligation by serving a longterm plan to anchor peace, prosperity and stability in the US for generations to come by creating a large middle-class? If not, why not?
My point here is that you are serving more than your Board of Trustees and alumni. Because you are a key player in education, you are in service to humanity itself.
This is the highest of all callings, my friends. You play a key role in communicating that to your BOTs, faculty and alumni, reminding them of their higher roles. Your students already know this and they will be your biggest allies when you break free of that toxic grip business has on your job and finally bust out as a leader in your field.
At the moment, Boeckenstedt is a Lonely-Only out there…he needs some Wing Wo/Men.
If you serve humanity itself first, and not your BOT etc, you really will become a hero on the right side of history.
You will also be more immune from lawsuits that will cost your school and destroy your reputation. It’s a win-win.
So why wait?
Love from your biggest fan,