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Incredibly Diverse III

The last paragraph of the College’s news release about the class of 2020 is so filled with fascinating facts that we need four days to go through it. Today is Day 3.

The students come from 42 states, represent 52 foreign countries, and two of them are military veterans.

1) Given the way that the College likes to brag about the number of states represented, it may be an advantage in admissions to come from a state (Wyoming? Mississippi?) with few applicants.

2) Recall last year’s four part series on country of origin. Read the whole thing! Highlights:

a) Since there are only about 39 international students, it is tough for them to represent 52 countries, even with dual citizenship. Or am I missing something? Perhaps the 52 number includes US dual citizens? Or perhaps a student from Zimbabwe who went to high school in Sweden counts for two? Clarifications welcome.

b) Although the biggest problem with international admission is the quota — and kudos to Jim Kolesar for explaining that the bump the last couple of years was random and that the quota was still in place — the second biggest problem is College’s desire to maximize the number of countries represented rather than find the best international students, regardless of nationality. If we used Academic Rating more seriously, we would have more students from East Asia, especially China and the Chinese Diaspora.

3) Recall our four part series on veteran admissions two years ago. My views have not changed. First, if a veteran (US or otherwise) has Academic Rating 1 or 2, he should be admitted. If he is 3 or lower, he should not be. Second, very few veterans are AR 1/2. This means that William should have few if any veterans. And that is OK. There are other ways — like veterans on the faculty — to provide the veterans’ viewpoint. Third, it is not clear to me that Williams is doing academically ill-prepared veterans any favors by admitting them. Mismatch theory applies as much to veterans as it does to African-Americans. Fourth, it is not obvious that veterans — unlike other applicants who benefit from various flavors of affirmative action — will have much if any impact on the quality of their classmates’ experiences at Williams since many/most veterans will be older, with families, living outside the dorms and eating outside of the dining halls.

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#1 Comment By on veterans On September 15, 2016 @ 9:51 am


Not prepared? Why wouldn’t a person who has taken military courses in advanced medicine and used that in real life not have an advantage in anatomy? Pre med?

“Special Operations Combat Medic Course
Prerequisites for the Special Operations Combat Medic Course

COURSE: The goal of the Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM) course is to train and qualify selected enlisted members to manage trauma patients, manage patients prior to medical evacuation, and provide basic medical care to team members. The course provide training in Basic Life Support/Automatic External Defibrillation (AED); pharmaceutical calculations; anatomy; physiology; pathophysiology; medical terminology; basic physical exam techniques; medical documentation; pharmacology; basic airway management; medical patient assessment; advanced airway management; patient management skills; pre-hospital trauma emergencies and care; tactical combat casualty care skills; operating room procedures; minor surgical skills; NREMT-Basic examination; obstetrics/gynecology and pediatric emergencies; cardiac pharmacology; Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS); EMT Paramedic clinical rotation and field internship consists of a 2-week hospital rotation in the emergency department, labor and delivery, surgical intensive care, pediatric emergency department, operating room, and a 2-week ambulance rotation with an assignment to an Advanced Life Support EMS unit responsible for responding to a variety of 911 emergency calls; USSOCOM EMT-Paramedic exam; care of the trauma patient in a field environment; preventive medicine; Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) casualty care, and nursing care; 30 hours of clinical rotations in clinics located on Fort Bragg, NC, conducting sick call under the supervision of a physician or physician’s assistant.
COURSE LENGTH: 26 weeks” http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmotc/nsomi/Pages/SpecialOperationsCombatMedicCourse.aspx

Why wouldn’t a person who has taken military courses in nuclear physics and worked on nuclear propulsion for years not have an advantage in physics?


The short answer is that they do have an advantage. There are many jobs in our military that enlisted people hold that require a high degree of aptitude and provide extensive academic training. Also pressure to succeed.

No one is making the argument that an ill prepared veteran should be admitted. You seem to be making an argument that military education and experience is not applicable to liberal studies and science? That top tier enlisted people from special groups with good test scores and outstanding military records do not come from an experience that gives them an edge?

The fact is that it is applicable. Also, someone who has been in the war has a perspective and real knowledge that gives an interesting diversity. Job specialties and training give an advantage in knowledge for specific subjects.

That does not mean you admit someone with such an experience who does not have the smarts fro Williams. I think you underestimate the capabilities of this generation of enlisted people.

The veteran admitted has participated in “college life.” There is more to that than dorm living. If anything, the fact that such a person is not looking to party and live with other younger students is a sign of maturity. Maturity matters. Discipline matters. Perspectives matter. Experience matters.

Consider the input on the log mural that was given. It is an important perspective. I am not sure that eating at dinning halls constitutes real input?


The real impact comes from having smart and experienced veterans in class and labs. Having a mature individual talk to others about the hazards of excess. Leading from a perspective of maturity. Showing discipline, and supporting the administration with honest input from a unique perspective.

#2 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On September 15, 2016 @ 10:38 am

I wonder if the two “military veterans” are veterans of the U.S. armed forces, or from another country? I would guess they are American, but that language used in the news release leaves open the possibility that they are not.

#3 Comment By on veterans On September 15, 2016 @ 10:48 am


I am fairly confident that only one is. The Navy SEAL that was admitted last year. The first since 9/11- perhaps since the 1980?

#4 Comment By on veterans On September 15, 2016 @ 10:55 am

Wick Sloan ’76 writes an extensive column about this subject every year.


He also wrote this letter for the Williams Record.