Twenty-five percent of college admissions officials said they are pressured to admit low-quality students because of their connections, according to a survey released. The poll asked officials at 400 U.S. colleges a question currently torturing scores of American parents and high schoolers: do connections matter more than a carefully curated résumé?
The college gatekeepers acknowledged that they'd been nudged toward accepting "an applicant who didn’t meet [the] school’s admissions requirements because of who that applicant was connected to.” As for who got an edge, sixteen percent of officials said that they look particularly closely at the children or siblings of alumni from their school.
These figures are self reported, and just as with polls that ask people whether they have ever done drugs or cheated on their spouse, it's possible more people have lowered their standards in the interest of nepotism than are willing to admit it in a survey.
"The acceptance of applicants whose qualifications may take a back seat to their connections is an open secret," Seppy Basili, the vice president of college admissions at Kaplan, said in a statement. That secret may become public knowledge, Basili suggested, as a growing number of students are demanding to know why exactly they got into college. After a group of Stanford University students publicized an official method students can use to obtain their admissions files from schools in January, several schools reported an uptick in requests. At the University of Pennsylvania, there has been an "avalanche" of such demands, the Duke University registrar complained that a surge in such demands has put a strain on the office at "a very busy time," and Yale Law School dodged a "flood" of requests by simply deleting all of its records.