Hard Core Goes Soft

Culture and technology.
March 7 1999 3:30 AM

Hard Core Goes Soft

Must the University of Chicago loosen up?

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As for Chicago not being as selective as its Ivy League rivals are, the administration should quit worrying about it. Part of what's appealing about Chicago is that it's more open and democratic than other comparable elite institutions. Unconventionally gifted kids, who didn't get top grades in high school or who don't have perfect SAT scores, stand a better chance than they do elsewhere of getting in--and of being presented with the highest level of intellectual challenge. People at Chicago like to say that it's harder to get into Harvard but harder to get out of Chicago. This makes it one of the few possible end runs around the meritocratic-credentialing complex, whereby standardized test scores determine future opportunities. Chicago has resisted institutional peer pressure for 50 years. It would be a shame to see it finally give in and become more like everywhere else.

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