Ethics in Admissions


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IACAC Summer Institute 2012
Tony Bankston

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Ethics in Admissions

  1. 1. Understanding Ethical Standards in College Admissions Tony Bankston Dean of Admissions Illinois Wesleyan University
  2. 2. Opening a Dialogue Why do we do things the way we do? What considerations do we make when establishing different policies and practices? Is it most important for a practice to benefit the institution or the student? Who do we think of first? Is there a middle ground? Have we truly established the ethics that help guide the decisions we make?
  3. 3. Competition and Survival Someone in your office bears the direct responsibility and pressure of “bringing in the class.” Nearly 4,000 institutions of higher learning are competing for a finite number of college bound students, and that number is shrinking. Many colleges are facing tremendous financial challenges and are heavily dependent on tuition revenue, which is directly tied to the job you do.
  4. 4. Nuts and Bolts of Ethics In College Admission NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) NACAC Students Rights and Responsibilities IACAC Statement of Practices and Courtesies NACAC Admissions Practices Committee IACAC’s Admissions Practices Committee
  5. 5. Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP) SPGP serves as the college admission counseling profession’s ethical code of conduct to which all members are expected to subscribe. Mandatory Practices Interpretations of Mandatory Practices Best Practices Core Values: Professionalism, Collaboration, Trust, Education, Fairness and Equity, and Social Responsibility
  6. 6. IACAC Admission Practices Committee Admissions Counselors, Deans of Admission, High School Counselors (8 members strong). Represent public/private schools, 2-year/4-year Committed to the well-being of the students we serve, the colleagues we support and the admissions profession as a whole. Rely on the diversity of perspectives and opinions to strengthen the work of our committee
  7. 7. Admissions Practices Committee (Cont.) Resource for you and any admissions professional, parent, student in Illinois. The work that we do is educational and not judicial. Confidential Collaborative
  8. 8. Violations of the SPGP A majority are compliant When violations do occur, they are rarely deliberate or intentional. Most often unbeknownst to the member, institution, family, etc. Educational opportunities Formal process for reporting violations
  9. 9. Reporting Process Admissions Practices Inquiry Form Inquiry versus Allegation Contact the AP Chairs in your State and Regional Association. Inquiry is brought to and discussed by the AP Committee to determine compliance If an allegation is determined, AP committee follows formal procedures for notification Inquiry is kept strictly confidential. The person filing the inquiry is kept in the communication loop with the AP Committee, but at no point is that person’s name revealed to whom the allegation is made.
  10. 10. The Application Game Maybe more is better, but at what cost? Your job is to generate interest and applications, but how are you getting them, and is it good for the students?  Recruiting to Deny – Are you really helping a student or your institution by encouraging an unqualified student to apply for admission?
  11. 11. The Application Game What exactly is an application?  Completing applications over the phone  Two-part applications  Counting transcripts and/or official test scores as applications  Counting on-line application accounts as applications, even if nothing is ever submitted All applications should be actionable. If a student would be surprised to get an admission decision from you, they are most likely not a legitimate applicant.
  12. 12. The Application Game How early is too early? To: Prospective Student From: Earlybird University Date: March 18, 2007 Subject: Application for the Class of 2012 Did you know that you can apply to Earlybird University using the Internet? The application for undergraduate admission for the class entering in the fall of 2008 is now available on our Web site at From the Office of Undergraduate Admissions home page, click on the link for “Applications and Guides,” then select “Applications” from the menu. Earlybird University accepts the Common Application and requires a brief Pre- Application Data Sheet/Supplement. You may complete and submit the Pre-Application Data Sheet online and beginning later this spring you may download the Common Application forms. If you prefer, you may submit the Universal College Application in place of the Common Application. We are looking forward to receiving your application so we can learn more about you.
  13. 13. SPGP on Applying Timeline SPGP II B 13: “Post Secondary members agree that they will not notify first-year candidates for fall admission prior to the receipt of a transcript that reflects completion of the final semester of the junior year of high school or the equivalent. Institutions that require only an application prior to extending an offer of admission, including many community colleges, may accept students at the time of application.”
  14. 14. The Deposit Game What is the purpose of a pressured or refundable deposit?  Are we expecting students to make a serious commitment? Do we want them to give serious thought to the decision, or simply hold a spot?  Does encouraging “soft” contracts make enrollment management easier or more difficult?  Are we truly committed to May 1st as a decision deadline, or is it just something we have to “deal” with?
  15. 15. The Deposit Game How else do we put pressure on students and their parents?  Early Housing Deposits  Early Registration Programs  Early Orientation Programs How do we expect them to respond to this pressure? Does it make our jobs easier or more difficult?
  16. 16. SPGP on May 1 SPGP II. B. 3: “Post secondary members agree that they will permit first year candidates for fall admission to choose among offers of admissions, financial aid and scholarship until May 1 and will state this deadline explicitly in their offers of admission.” SPGP II. B. 5: “Post secondary members agree that they will work with their institution’s senior administrative officers to ensure that financial aid and scholarship offers and housing options are not used to manipulate commitments prior to May 1
  17. 17. The Financial Aid Game Are we providing a clear picture when it comes to financial assistance?  Should we be more concerned with making our institution appear less expensive or providing an “apples to apples” comparison when it comes to real costs?
  18. 18. The Financial Aid Game The University of Illusions Proposal Cost Tuition and Fees $16,228 Room and Meals $7,370 Books and Supplies $1,000 Transportation $1,530 Miscellaneous $2,250 Total $28,378 Your Financial Aid Semester 1 Semester 2 Total Federal Stafford Subsidized Loan $1,750 $1,750 $3,500 Federal PLUS Parent Loan – EFT $11,439 $11,439 $22,878 Arizona Excellence T1 Grant $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 Total $14,189 $14,189 $28,378
  19. 19. The Waiting Game Snooty College announced earlier this year that they plan to wait list some 1,400 students, hoping to maybe admit 25 from that group. IWU Wait List FormulaDesired # of deposits from the wait list 25At 70% yield, # to admit from the wait list 35Desired # of wait listed students to consider 80At a 20% response rate, # to place on wait list 400
  20. 20. When Does Leadership Begin? You begin developing your leadership skills starting on the first day of your career. The example you set early in your career will affect your opportunities for future leadership as well as how you are perceived as a leader. “Lead by example.”
  21. 21. Early Opportunities for Leadership Student Ambassadors Student Workers IACAC Don’t just do the minimum. Ask the “deeper” questions. Don’t just settle for being knowledgeable; be an expert in your field.
  22. 22. Effective Senior Leadership Good communication, both up and down the ladder Get organized, stay organized Don’t get emotional; the ship is as steady as the captain Watch, listen and learn BEFORE you take action Be flexible; be creative (Different Strokes, “blessed be the peacemaker”)
  23. 23. Ethics in Leadership The earlier you develop your ethical core, the easier you will find decision-making as your career progresses. As a leader, you set the tone. Is everyone rowing in the same direction ethically? You WILL feel pressure to go against your ethics. How will you respond? If you feel good about what you do, going to work each day becomes something you really enjoy doing.
  24. 24. Where Do We Go from Here? The decisions we make not only affect students and parents, but they also affect our colleagues. Once a group of institutions decides to engage in practices that may not be in the best interest of the process, it puts greater pressure on other colleges to respond. That pressure can then cause others to adopt, create, and utilize questionable tactics. If we can not provide a strong and uniform example of ethical practices, and show strong support of those who choose to do things the right way, then we can not expect others to act ethically in return.