This study examines admission decisions at a highly selective private university. A statistical analysis of 300 admission decisions is used to compare admissions officers' beliefs about how the admissions process works with their actual pattern of decisions. As a group, the officers underestimate the effect of applicant race, gender, alumni status, and athletic ability on their academic and personality ratings and final admission decisions. Individual officers place different weights on the decision-making criteria, with the model explaining less variation in the ratings of officers with more years of experience. The comparison of beliefs with practice has implications for evaluating the distributive and procedural fairness of the college admissions process.
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Conley, P. Local justice in the allocation of college admissions: A statistical study of beliefs versus practice. Soc Just Res 9, 239–258 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02197250
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