Now you can listen to podcasts on topics like "the personal statement" and read the "rants" and "observations" of Toby W. Stock, Assistant Dean of Admissions. I examined the site thoroughly before concluding that it is not, in fact, a joke.
Perhaps the informal medium will allow for more unguarded moments like this one, in which Asst. Dean Toby describes the ideal applicant:
Think "director of the all-campus blood drive" or "founder of a literacy project that has taught 65 inner-city adults how to read" or "organizer of a summer program building a school in sub-Saharan Africa." Usually this kind of work takes a commitment over time. You don't just turn around one day and lead a trek to Africa. But it's never too late to try....
What I'm hearing is that Harvard likes bleeding-heart applicants. I don't see how these activities add to an aspiring J.D.'s suitability for law school in any meaningful way. Having founded a soup kitchen or something similar shows that either a) you are a nice person or b) you are application-savvy and know what looks good on a C.V. Even if we give you the benefit of the doubt, so what? There are lots of nice people in the world.
Had these admissions criteria been in place 30-50 years ago, would John Roberts have gotten a thick envelope in the mail? How about Antonin Scalia? Is being plain ol' Very Smart enough any more?
Crossposted with another blog that you'd do well to check out.