By Mitchell L. Stevens
In actual existence, Mitchell Stevens is a professor in bustling big apple. yet for a yr and a part, he labored within the admissions workplace of a bucolic New England university that's recognized for its excessive educational criteria, appealing campus, and social sense of right and wrong. bold excessive schoolers and savvy tips counselors be aware of that admission this is hugely aggressive. yet growing periods, Stevens unearths, is lots extra advanced than most folk imagine.
Admissions officials love scholars yet they paintings for the great of the varsity. they need to deliver every one classification in "on budget," burnish the facts so an important to institutional status, and look after their colleagues within the athletic division and the improvement workplace. Stevens exhibits that the task can't be kept away from "systematic preferencing," and racial affirmative motion is the least of it. childrens have an part if their mom and dad pays complete university, in the event that they attend excessive colleges with unique zip codes, in the event that they are athletes--especially soccer players--and whether they're well known.
With novelistic aptitude, sensitivity to heritage, and a willing eye for telling element, Stevens explains how elite faculties and universities have assumed their vital function within the construction of the nation's such a lot privileged periods. Creating a Class makes transparent that, for greater or worse, those colleges now outline the factors of younger accomplishment in American tradition extra generally.
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Extra info for Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites
Measures of each cohort’s academic accomplishments, such as their average SAT scores or the percentage of admitted students graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, are prominent indexes of the College’s academic prestige. S. S. states are represented? ) marks the extent of the College’s cosmopolitanism. Most prominently, the College’s overall academic stature is gauged by the proportion of each year’s applicant pool that is offered admission. This number—“selectivity”—is a metric of institutional prestige as commonplace as it is ironic.
If schools were to confer portable status advantages for an increasingly mobile and heterogeneous society, they would need to develop systems of institutional recognition that transcended local boundaries. 7 Social theorists and historians have long understood that numbers have great utility for facilitating cooperation and control in complex societies. Parties who otherwise know little about each other can coordinate their behavior as long as they share some numerical version of reality. Numerical currency systems make economic exchanges possible between people who know nothing about each other except the price at which they are willing to buy or sell.
And he did. On a small but often contentious campus, Liam was widely held in high esteem. He A SCHOOL IN A GARDEN 29 was a gifted communicator. He knew how to convey good news humbly and bad news strategically—so that people found themselves admiring his candor even when they did not like what he was saying. Liam was genuinely charitable, too. When I made my first inquiry about the possibility of doing this research, he did not respond with suspicion. Instead he invited me to a meeting with his senior officers and asked us all to think about how my presence might be an asset to the work of the office.
Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites by Mitchell L. Stevens