Jerome Karabel

Jerome Karabel, Professor of Sociology at the University of California Berkeley, is the author of The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and several other books. The recipient of many awards, he has written for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, and Le Monde Diplomatique.

Recent Articles

Privileging the Privileged: Harvard’s Real Problem

Despite the widely held belief that elite colleges look only at grades and test scores, ranking people on that basis, nothing could be further from the truth.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File A tour group walks through the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. T he ongoing lawsuit, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard , has cast a spotlight on admissions at Harvard and elite private colleges more broadly, illuminating in unprecedented detail practices typically carried out behind closed doors. The revelations unearthed by the case about how such institutions decide who will win their coveted offers of admission raise issues that go far beyond the much-discussed matter of affirmative action and point to the need for fundamental change. Despite the widely held belief that elite colleges look only at grades and test scores, ranking people on that basis, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as far back as 1952, Harvard set an effective quota of 10 percent of the freshman class for what it called “top brains”—exceptionally brilliant applicants whose main strength was academic; too many such students, Harvard’s...