Personality Contest

by PATRICK MATTIMORE | 2/13/08 6:10am

Personality Contest

To the Editor:

In their Verbum Ultimum("Admitting Character," Opinion, Feb.1) The Dartmouth Dditorial Board explains that "Dartmouth has consistently fielded a class of freshmen to uphold this legacy by relying on the personality-centered aspects of our application, valuing essays and recommendations -- especially the recommendation Dartmouth requires from applicants' peers -- above other, more objective instruments like SAT scores and grade point averages."

If, in fact, The Dartmouth staff can divine what qualifications the Admissions Office prizes most highly in applicants to the College, there's something rotten in Hanover.

Suggesting that the subjective evaluation of candidates unknown to the Admissions Office is superior to objective measures is just plain wrong.

Relying on peer essays that the Admissions Office cannot determine who wrote is folly. For many years, the Ivy League was infamous for using "personality-centered aspects" of applications to systematically exclude "unacceptable" minorities. Let's hope that this practice is long gone from Dartmouth.

Fortunately, given the incredibly high GPAs and SATs of each class of Dartmouth freshmen, it's quite likely that the Admissions Office continues to base decisions most heavily on an applicant's GPA, test scores and exceptional demonstrated abilities, rather than essays and recommendations.