I thought this was an interesting news item in light of the robust discussion about Amherst’s future enrollment plans. The cynical view is that this is a way to enroll a more diverse student body without affecting first-year admissions numbers. The optimistic view (and one I think I’d share if Williams undertook this type of endeavor) is that this program will bring some badly-needed vastly different perspectives and new energy into the campus culture and the classroom, while, at the same time, ensuring that the students have a demonstrated ability to succeed at a higher-than-high-school level. The pessimistic view is that at a small, insular school like Williams or Amherst, the intense campus community that develops from day one will make it difficult for a large group of transfer students, particularly students from very different academic backgrounds, to find their place. But I think anyone motivated enough to go to community college and kick ass for two years, and self-assured enough to enter a small, close-knit community mid-stream, would be an asset to a place like Amherst or Williams. Especially if such a program draws, as I expect it might, students of varied ages from a wider socio-economic background that the typical Amherst/Williams student.

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