As a recent graduate of the University, I was surprised and disappointed by the Editorial Board’s position in the “Admission Control” editorial (3/6/09). The Board wrote that it would be in the interest of the University to scrap the “Uncommon” elements of the application process in favor of ones that are more like those of other schools. To this I say: why? What is the point of a move that would strip away that which makes this University great? Is it so that we might leapfrog Duke and Columbia in the highly overrated U.S. News and World Report rankings? So that we might avoid the perceived, but nonexistent, ridicule from our former high school acquaintances at our 10-year reunions?
The board claims that abandoning a holistic application process would benefit the University by expanding the size and raising the academic quality of the applicant pool. These claims do not seem to be grounded in reality. It is, after all, not as though the University is hurting for applications. Both the number of applications and the University’s yield rate has increased every year since that in which I first applied, in 2003. Nor is it the case that the University’s applicant pool is less academically distinguished than that of other institutions. The average SAT score and GPA of the entering class are comparable to those of peers like the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford. Even were they not, it is doubtful that judging applicants based only on the oft-maligned SAT and the difference between an A or A– in AP U.S. History would ensure that the University would have a class equipped to handle its diverse and rigorous curriculum. No, it is the holistic application process and the emphasis on intangible qualities that ensure this. The quirky and intellectual reputation of our student body is also what tells prospective employers and graduate schools alike that graduates from the U of C are of the highest caliber. It would be a grave mistake for the University to use the absence of Ted O’Neill as an excuse to strip away the elements that make us who we are.Hilary LeeClass of 2008