The rejection last year of more than 29,000 applicants for admission to Princeton invites resentment and the wish for political reprisal that manifests as the congressional plan to tax the Princeton endowment (On the Campus, Dec. 6). Although letters about rejection of qualified applicants date back to a time when the admission rate was much more favorable to applicants, the situation has become worse, so that admission to Princeton could be compared to admission to the Forbidden City under the Ming Dynasty, and that did not end well.
From the perspective of offering education to the qualified, the University has substantially regressed in its abilities, while the need for education of the population has increased. Princeton has the ability and the obligation to address this issue. Several options present themselves:
- Tailor a separate admission process, apart from the Common Application, for those individuals who specifically want a Princeton education.
- Open an online university, offering those who meet admission standards the opportunity to enroll in a four-year online college, possibly with summer onsite classes.
- Set up a second campus in the United States, sharing its faculty among both campuses.
- Arrange to have Princeton faculty teach courses at several community colleges, preferably in economically distressed areas.
- Create a trustees committee to discuss and develop policies to address this issue.
The current admission rate reflects a problem that will eventually harm Princeton and impede its stated goal of being “in the service of humanity.”