Advice for Students: Study Hard or Be Rich

Feb 21 2003 Kelly Norton
Many Colleges Bend Rules To Admit Rich Applicants
This article circulated our office today and incited some pretty strong reaction from a couple of folks. Daniel Golden from the Wall Street Journal continues the trend of Duke bashing that has swept the nation ever since Rachael Toor's Admissions Confidential was published by using them here as the case study in the practice of using admissions as a tool to increase endowment. Evidence of this practice certainly harms any claims that there is no need for affirmative action in college admissions unless those claims are based purely on a survival-of-the-fittest mentality, which I would venture is not the majority view point. I guess it is possible to justify such practices by saying that increased endowment helps increase the reputation of the school which, in turn, helps the other more diverse 95% to be more successful. Whether you buy that or not, it's hard to condone a practice that is support by idiotic quotes like the one By Cissy Bunn whose daughter was admitted to Duke as a “development admit” even when her academic record would not have otherwise gotten her admitted.
Cissy Bunn acknowledges her daughter didn't fit the academic profile of a Duke student. “She's bright, she had good grades, but she doesn't meet the superstar status,” Mrs. Bunn says. “Did my normal child take the place of somebody who could really make a difference in the world? Sure, yes, to an extent. But there are so many things you can lose sleep over. I'm happy for me and my child.”