Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thanks for clearing that up.

Move over, online applications -- Harvard Law School's admissions office has its own blog. (Linked from Volokh.)

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.

1 comment:

liberranter said...

Perhaps the good news here (depending on the esteem in which you hold Havard) is that we're actually witnessing this much-vaunted American institution of higher learning dumb itself down into complete irrelevance.