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In this week's Bloggerheads, Emily Tamkin and Angela Radulescu discuss the topic of admissions.

Emily:

Angela

As for why they release the percent accepted versus anything else ... well, let's be honest. The American higher education system is built around the one choice that will most "impact your future." So the admissions industry runs on fear of rejection, of drawing the short end of the stick, of being left behind in an arms race to be the first who bangs on the gate of opportunity (opportunity to what, by the way?). Selective colleges are just one player, and they do what they serves them best. In this case, releasing numbers isn't about showing that their students are smart. It's about building the following image: "Our students are so special that for every one we accepted, we rejected another 15." Plays right into all of the fear, don't you think? In other countries, the same percentage may instead indicate lack of availability, and it is pretty meaningless unless we understand its context.

Emily:

Angela:

want

Emily:

Angela:

Emily:

I guess I'll wrap up this one—it's been fun! And may I just say: I'm glad that, in the case of this particular one of your nineteen prospective schools, you were included in the percent accepted.

Angela: It has indeed been fun. I'll close by saying that I think you're right: Given the sort of period in history we are living through now, the education system will gradually follow into the footsteps of globalization. Things will change, albeit slowly, and locally. It's worth keeping in mind that 100 years ago, most people even here in the U.S. barely went on to get secondary school diplomas. What used to be a privilege became a norm that's now part of our economic reality. And today, universities like Columbia and Cornell are establishing campuses all around the globe. In the meantime, what we here can do is constantly keep in mind that at the end of the day, the numbers say this: We're lucky to have been given an opportunity to have access to virtually unlimited knowledge. That comes with a lot of responsibility. Over and out from New York, since it's already late in St. Petersburg. And thanks for that last comment: I sure as heck am glad as well.

admissions angela-radulescu bloggerheads emily-tamkin
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