In 1967, the country was in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Most current undergraduates had not yet even been born. But that year, the University adopted the admissions policy that it would use to this day. The study, dubbed the McGill Report, sets general standards for incoming classes and still plays a vital role in determining the make-up of the student bosy. The report also defined what would today be considered truisms of the admissions process -- goals such as achieving ethnic and geographical diversity in a given class. Administrators said that the report has benefited the University by increasing the diversity and quality of the student body and added that even after 23 years, the report's guiding philosophy is still valid. · Insurance Professor Emeritus Dan McGill, who led the committee which produced the report from 1964 to 67, said the group was formed because of concern that there was no guiding policy for admissions. "There was a suspicion that the University was not putting enough emphasis on academic quality of applicants," McGill said this month. "We wanted to figure out how to balance intellectual strength with other attributes." McGill said the report was one of the first institutionalized admissions policies in the nation. By the late 1960s, Harvard University also had produced a similar report, and in the intervening 20 years have become much more common, McGill said. The report's introduction says that by 1967, the University's selectivity had increased markedly due to a growth in the 1940s and '50s in the number of college-bound students and of qualified applicants. It also attributes the increased selectivity to the University's improving reputation. To make the increasingly difficult admissions decisions, the report emphasizes, administrators should consider academic promise above all else and should not admit students if they are not expected to succeed at the University. "The Committee registers its firm conviction that, in combination with integrity, the quality that should be should above all others in a student body is intellectual power," the report says. SAT scores, achievement test scores, and class rank are listed as the factors which predict academic promise. The other influential factors include being related to alumni or current staff and faculty members, a diverse background -- either ethnic or economic -- and participation in intercollegiate athletics. The report suggests that admissions look for indications of failure -- which Dean of Admissions Willis Stetson said are now "predictions of difficulty" -- including quantitative information like test scores and grades and references for information about emotional and mental well-being. The report lists target percentages for certain groups of students -- for example it recommends that one-quarter of each incoming class be chosen soley on the basis of academic strength. It also suggests that up to five percent of each incoming class be admitted because of athletic excellence, and that up to three percent of students be admitted because they come from economically and culturally deprived backgrounds. Stetson said the numbers are no longer strictly followed. "The philosophy of the McGill Report continues to be as alive today as it was then, but the specificity is less so now," Stetson said this month. Stetson said that since 1967, two reports regarding admissions have been written. Committees on admission have in recent years discussed drafting another report, but have not taken action. "The one [of the three reports] that is the most germaine is the McGill report," Stetson said. "It is as influential in our admissions program as it was when it was first written in the 60s. It has stood the test of time very well." And supporters said that statistics indicate that the report has resulted in a more diverse student body in terms of geographic, ethnic and socio-economic background. "It edified the issues of minority presence and geographic diversity," Stetson said. "The only thing that has changed is that the percentage of these [minorities and students from diverse geographic backgrounds] has only increased." Physics Professor Howard Brody, who was a member of a subcommittee on admissions which contributed to the recently released five-year plan, said the McGill report is still the framework for the admissions office. Brody said that even today, the 23-year-old report is not outdated. "The constitution of the United States is a little bit older and it seems to work just fine," Brody said. Brody said the report has resulted in "a little more geographic diversity and other sorts of diversity" -- like ethic and economic background. Brody, who was not on the committee which wrote the McGill Report but was at the University in the late 1960s, said he has seen the changes the report has made and praised it overall. "It has essentially stood the test of time," Brody said. "There have been some minor modifications -- they were sort of built in."Comments powered by Disqus
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