Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

How to Get Your Kids Into the Ivy League


I’ll give you a hint: The Octomom may have been onto something.

Back in December, the New York Times ran a front-page story on the Crouch quadruplets — a set of Connecticut siblings who, remarkably, had been admitted to Yale simultaneously. It was the first time in memory that a set of quadruplets had been admitted en masse to an Ivy League school.

The story raised some eyebrows because, while the Crouch quadruplets are obviously accomplished students, the fact remains: Yale accepts fewer than 8 percent of its applicants. The admissions office must turn away thousands of qualified students — including numerous valedictorians and even students with perfect SAT scores — simply because there is no space to accommodate them. Statistically speaking, the probability of four siblings (even highly qualified ones) all overcoming such slim odds in the same admissions cycle are minute.

When the Times asked whether Yale has any policy on admitting members of the same family as a group, Yale College’s dean of admissions, Jeff Brenzel, said, “We don’t feel an obligation to render the same decision on siblings in the same year.”

Strictly speaking, it may be true that he feels no “obligation.” But there does seem to be a preference at work.

In fact, Brenzel told the Yale Daily News in November that, while there is no special policy for multiple-birth siblings, Yale prefers not to give different admissions decisions if their qualifications appear “relatively close in strength.” This creates a kind of coattail effect, giving multiple-birth siblings special consideration over similarly qualified applicants. In an applicant pool overcrowded with qualified candidates, Brenzel’s stated preference would seem to give multiple-birth siblings a distinct advantage.

In light of this revelation, fertility doctors can expect their offices to be inundated with Ivy League-hungry parents, all seeking the IVF therapy so famous for producing multiple births and (we now realize) preferential college applicants.
(By the way, the Times reported today that the Crouch siblings have unanimously decided to accept Yale’s offer.)


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