Ivy League Admissions Are a Sham: Confessions of a Harvard Gatekeeper


I graduated from Harvard in 2006, and have spent eight of the last nine years working as an admissions officer for my alma mater. A low-level volunteer, sure, but an official one all the same. I served as one of thousands of alumni volunteers around the world—a Regional Representative for my local Schools Committee, if you want to get technical. And, as a Regional Rep, my duties fell somewhere between Harvard recruiter and Harvard gatekeeper.

But now I’m done with all that. For a long time, I believed in the admissions process. I thought that I could use my position to help regular smart people with great test scores and impressive extracurriculars break into an elitist system. After eight years, though, I’ve learned that modest goal is more or less unreachable. Ivy League admissions are a complete racket, rigged in favor of the privileged and completely impervious to change. So I’m quitting the business.

And because I’m quitting, that means I can tell you, the reader, all the secrets of being a Harvard admissions representative, and what it really takes to get in.