Abstract

Using interview data from 34 admissions officers at 17 elite colleges, this paper compares two perspectives shaping admissions policy. Admissions officers apply a “merit” perspective that relies on indicators of student academic and nonacademic achievement. They also employ a “competition” perspective that evaluates student characteristics according to organizational needs. Findings include (a) elite colleges’ maintenance of an illusion that student achievement determines admissions, and (b) that admissions practices are designed to maintain the colleges’ elite status.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1090-7009
Print ISSN
0162-5748
Pages
pp. 469-488
Launched on MUSE
2009-06-05
Open Access
No
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