Let us assume that the prospective student has read the catalogue and, naively accepting all of its statements as true, has decided, "This is the college for me." Let us also assume, though it is usually my practice to be quite unassuming, that the prospective student has filled out all the blanks and paid the necessary deposit. What then?
A curious thing about college admissions is that while students are trying to get in, colleges are trying to get students. The reason for this is that the colleges the students are trying to get into and the students the colleges are trying to get often don't match.
"I'd give everything I have," says Bert Smathers, "to get into Harvard."
But what does young Smathers have? An average of not quite C during his last two years at Central High, a CEEB verbal score of 367, no athletic ability, and a personality that won him his only award in high school, that of being voted Creep of the Year. Moreover, having no financial resources, he will need a scholarship sufficient to cover at least such essentials as room, board, and tuition.
"I think I'll go to a state university in the Middle West," says H. Saltonstall Lowell. "I detest the snobbishness and provincialism of places like Harvard."
Young Lowell graduated first in his class at Choate, racked up a CEEB verbal score of 800 and a math score of 790, captained the undefeated tennis team, set track records for the 100 and 220, and was president of the student body. Since his father, a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, is a major stockholder in General Pneumatics, he would not require financial assistance.
As a Dean of Admissions said, when told of the above cases, "That's the way the cooky crumbles." He appeared fatalistic, even nonchalant, but he was unable to control the tear that rolled down his cheek.
To find and persuade students like H. Saltonstall Lowell, most colleges have a Field Representative, constantly prowling the countryside. Seen on a train or airplane, he could not be distinguished from an insur-