In an article last year entitled ‘One in Four Colleges Say They’re Pressured to Rig Admissions’, polling data indicated that a significant number of American college admissions officials haven’t always been able to decide independently.
According to Bloomberg, the poll asked officials at 400 American colleges the following question:
Do connections matter more than a carefully curated résumé?
The response is quite scary for those of us who believe that it’s not who you know but what you do. Those polled responded that they had “been nudged toward ‘accept[ing] an applicant who didn’t meet [their] school’s admissions requirements because of who that applicant was connected to.'”
Perhaps more worrying though is that the nature of the polling may have underplayed the problem itself:
These figures are self-reported. Just as with polls that ask people if they have ever done drugs or cheated on their spouse, it’s possible that more people have lowered their standards in the interest of nepotism than are willing to admit it in a survey.
One of the central ideas of doopoll is that people will respond more honestly when there is no fear of judgement from their peers or employers or those above them in a hierarchy.
In this instance, you have to wonder: if there was a bigger emphasis on anonymity in this study, would we have a better idea of who was favouring family over merit?