Northwestern University President Directly Involved in Selecting Students

Northwestern University President Directly Involved in Selecting Students
Susan Dutca-Lovell

It has been reported that Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro is directly involved in the college admissions decision process - personally reviewing hundreds of applications a year, including those of donor's children, alumni, faculty and staffs' children, or people he knows, according to Inside Higher Education.

The reason Schapiro is so deeply invested in the admissions process is stated as being because he "works actively in the admissions process in order to shape a student body that reflects the quality and breadth that the university seeks." Although he is an economist by training and has written widely on access to higher education, critics still maintain that the "last thing you want is for presidents or chancellors making admissions decisions."

"[For] every kid who gets in, 11 get rejected. So I have to think with every kid who gets in, 'Why is this kid getting in when 11 kids are getting turned down?," claims Schapiro, who wants to take responsibility in knowing and explaining exactly why students get rejected. According to Schapiro, he is not interested in what parents can contribute to NU's budget but rather, "what a kid can contribute to the community."

Schapiro's active involvement in the college admissions process is not identical to other cases such as those at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, since the issue of intervention at those schools involved backing politically connected applications, and not a "general role" of reviewing applications. In fact, Schapiro has stated that he actually reads hundreds of student applications and is not simply cherry-picking applicants of the children of donors, etc.

In your opinion, do you think that college and university presidents should be involved in the college admissions process? Why or why not?

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