Opinion Asks

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 9/23/15 6:30pm

Most College policies generate some mixed opinions among the student body, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with such a unanimous opposition such as this. It’s also disastrous for our international appeal — Dartmouth’s name brand isn’t huge outside of the United States in the same way a big research university like Harvard University, Columbia University or even Duke University’s brand is.

A need-blind admissions policy for international students is a crucial way for us to compete against these schools in attracting applicants from, well, most of the world, since most of the world can’t afford the sticker price of a Dartmouth education. The College’s excuse that “most other schools don’t do this, so it’s okay” looks rather paltry.

Will Alston ’16

The two principal arguments for doing away with need-blind admission for international students are both somewhat backward. Claiming that the decision to revert to a need-aware policy will bring greater stability to the admissions process — by allowing the admissions office to be “more strategic throughout the entire cycle,” as claimed by interim dean of admissions and financial aid Paul Sunde — makes little sense. Similarly, describing this move as part of a larger effort to encourage more international students to apply to Dartmouth is bizarre.

The College has been need-blind toward international students for eight years and maintained such a policy for American students for more than a quarter-century. As a result, there are more than enough data to accurately predict the financial aid budget. In fact, this is exactly how Dartmouth has been able to continue to offer a need-blind policy for as long as it has — by being able to anticipate these numbers based on previous admission statistics.

In other words, need-blind admission for domestic and international has proved “stable” enough over the past 25 years and eight years, respectively — and the process for predicting the budget has arguably become more accurate during every year of this period — so why should this suddenly prove to be a problem now?

More importantly, it seems cutting need-blind admissions would have the exact opposite effect of the stated goal of bolstering the number of international applicants. Why the College would claim otherwise, I don’t know. Beyond this, to cite the fact that only five other schools are need-blind toward international students to support this latest shift is odd. Shouldn’t this make it that much more important for Dartmouth to remain need-blind? Sending the message that the College no longer considers international students to be a high priority would certainly defeat any goals that it has of expanding its global appeal.

Paul Harary ’18

I am one of the many international students who would never have applied to Dartmouth had it not been for its need-blind policy. College spokesperson Diana Lawrence’s flimsy justification that the change constitutes an attempt to “increase and stabilize” the international population on campus is an affront to a community that already faces enormous hurdles in applying to U.S. colleges and, once they arrive, in adjusting to life in a foreign culture. With the new policy potentially barring international students of lower socioeconomic status from gaining admission to this college — and certainly making them think twice about applying — ceteris paribus, Dartmouth ceases to be in the privileged company of the few colleges courageous enough to extend equal opportunities of education to non-U.S. citizens.

Min Kyung Jeon ’16