End Legacy Admissions

There was a time when the number of “legacy admits” at colleges was low enough overall that the practice was tolerated. But with elite schools now under immense pressure to diversify their student bodies, enrolling underachieving applicants largely because they are family of alumni is criticized by some as an unfair practice that perpetuates inequity in admissions. … Continue reading “End Legacy Admissions”


Judge Rules for UNC in Admissions Case

In 2014, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed suit against the University of North Carolina. Its complaint argued that the university had engaged in intentional discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity to the detriment of SFFA members. The suit followed in a line of cases challenging the admissions policies of universities, where students … Continue reading “Judge Rules for UNC in Admissions Case”


How Short-term Thinking on Race Has Caused Long-term Problems in Higher Education

Editor’s note: This essay is based on a talk given by Gail Heriot on October 29, 2021, for the Martin Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re here tonight, it’s because you are concerned that our colleges and universities aren’t doing so well. Maybe you’re even very concerned. Well … I hate … Continue reading “How Short-term Thinking on Race Has Caused Long-term Problems in Higher Education”


Universities and Meritocracy

We take it for granted that people are free to use their abilities as they choose, and as a result, society as a whole benefits from their work and innovations. Progress depends on this. Today our lives are vastly better than those of our distant ancestors because individuals were free to try new ideas. For … Continue reading “Universities and Meritocracy”


Did You Know? Some UNC Student-Athletes Don’t Meet Minimum Admission Requirements

Some student-athletes at UNC schools get admitted despite not meeting the minimum admission requirements. The university system counts these students as “exceptions.”  The system’s universal minimum admission requirements—which are the same for athletes and non-athletes—have undergone some recent changes. In March 2020, the board of governors voted to temporarily change the minimum requirements (as a … Continue reading “Did You Know? Some UNC Student-Athletes Don’t Meet Minimum Admission Requirements”


The Rot of the Prestigious Colleges

Parents will go to all sorts of lengths to give their children a leg up. In Guilty Admissions: The Bribes, Favors, and Phonies Behind the College Cheating Scandal, journalist Nicole LaPorte digs into how and why parents decided to work with the “college counselor” Rick Singer. LaPorte describes Singer’s strategies to place students in highly … Continue reading “The Rot of the Prestigious Colleges”


College Admissions Essays Are Getting Shorter—and More Political

The college admissions essay can be a stressful part of the application process for students. Like standardized test scores, however, their influence is waning. Many colleges have stopped requiring them. Even when they do, essays tend to be short—more like personal statements than a longer and more serious piece of writing. On the bright side, … Continue reading “College Admissions Essays Are Getting Shorter—and More Political”


The Last Refuge of Pure Meritocracy

Racial consideration for college admissions hearkens back to Grutter v. Bollinger, the landmark decision by the Supreme Court in 2003. It held that affirmative action programs can pass muster as long as they are “narrowly tailored” in order to achieve the “compelling interest” of promoting diversity on college campuses. Colleges across the country have since … Continue reading “The Last Refuge of Pure Meritocracy”


Did You Know? Eight States Ban Racial Preferences in College Admissions

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts released its ruling in Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University. That means affirmative action—its application and limitations—is back in the news. In her ruling, federal Judge Allison Burroughs wrote, “Ensuring diversity at Harvard relies, in part, on race-conscious admissions. Race conscious admissions … Continue reading “Did You Know? Eight States Ban Racial Preferences in College Admissions”


The Evidence for Standardized Tests Already Exists

Making college admissions “test-optional” has been steadily gaining steam among elite and liberal arts American colleges. In late September, Colby College and Rosemont College joined the hundreds of other institutions that do not require their applicants to submit standardized test scores to be admitted to the school. Other schools that have “test-optional” policies include Bowdoin … Continue reading “The Evidence for Standardized Tests Already Exists”