Letter to the Editor: Undermatching Admissions

by Alyson Young | 4/26/18 2:00am

If you are reading this, you are probably a Dartmouth student. You most likely view your education at Dartmouth as something you have worked especially hard for, and that you receive because you are a deserving, qualified individual. You were selected out of more than 20,000 Dartmouth applicants, and that is truly remarkable.

Despite the fact that Dartmouth alone receives so many applicants each year, there are still nearly 86,000 young adults who are qualified to attend similarly selective schools who never enroll. These are the students who have fallen victim to “undermatching,” a phenomenon that occurs when high-achieving but low-income students lack awareness of how to matriculate at schools that align with their abilities. A common measurement of this occurrence is through the number of Pell Grant recipients. These federal grants are typically given to individuals with family incomes below $30,000. Approximately 14 percent of Dartmouth’s undergraduate population in 2015-2016 were Pell Grant recipients, according a study done by Georgetown University, while Pell recipients make up 32 percent of all U.S. undergraduates. A 2015 Dartmouth report found that 59 percent of the student body is drawn from households with incomes in the top 6 percent of the U.S., while only 11 percent of the student body comes from the bottom 40 percent. The administration needs to review where Dartmouth is drawing low-income students from and address how can reach out to communities that lack access to college resources.

— Alyson Young

Young is a member of the Class of 2019. 

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