A Vermont College Deputizes High School Counselors as Admissions Officers

Ann McClure's picture

Every high school student knows the system: college admissions officers have near-magical powers to admit or deny applicants.

But what if the admissions decision was made by someone who knows the applicant?

That’s happening as part of a pilot project at Southern Vermont College, a tiny liberal arts institution in Bennington, Vt., that prides itself on helping students at risk.

Southern Vermont, which has 550 students, is relying on several high schools and community groups in New York City and Schenectady, N.Y., to select about 16 entering students a year for scholarships that cover the bulk of costs. While the admissions office has the final say, the high school counselors are responsible for evaluating applicants through interviews, essays, grades and test scores.

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