Student-friendly AdmissionsGAMBIER, Ohio (July 22, 2005) The Chronicle of Higher Education profiled Jennifer Delahunty Britz, Kenyon's dean of admissions and financial aid, in a July 15 feature identifying ten "up-and-coming thinkers who have already made a mark on debates about American higher education and who are poised to influence national policies."
Britz, the only admissions professional among the group, received the spotlight for promoting "student-friendly admissions practices." "In an age of crushing competition among elite colleges," the article says, Britz and her staff strive to "do what they think is best for prospective applicants, even if that means advising them to consider another college."
The article deems Britz an innovator for promoting greater transparency in communications with prospective students and parents as well as urging her colleagues at other colleges to open "'the black box of admissions.'" She willingly shares Kenyon's admissions rates for early-decision and regular applicants and similar statistics with students, and she informs them of ways to improve their chances of being admitted to Kenyon, such as demonstrating their level of interest in the College.
According to the profile, Britz believes that "conventional measures of institutional worth, like prestige and selectivity, [are] empty prizes" and that college rankings "could not show whether or not a particular campus was a good fit for, say, jazz musicians, Rhodes scholars, or Indiana Joneses." Her convictions underlie her efforts to describe the campus's culture clearly to applicants. She gave a speech last year at a national conference of admissions professionals in which she urged her colleagues to resist commercial pressures on college admissions through fairer use of wait-lists, seeing beyond standardized test scores in evaluating an applicant's promise, and ceasing (as she has) to complete the annual "peer-assessment survey" issued by U.S. News & World Report.
"We are marketers and we are educators," Britz is quoted as saying. "We need to make sure we get the balance correct." Even in matters such as the design of Kenyon's application booklet, which recently shed eight pages, Britz seeks "to save harried applicants time-and perhaps an ounce of sanity."