Most admissions directors don’t lose any sleep over the number of brochures they send out. The more applications, the lower the admission rate, the better the college looks. But Brenzel’s Jesuit training and philosophical education gnawed at him. Inducing unqualified students to apply seemed ethically suspect. What if, because of him, they failed to apply to a good school that would have them? What if he prevented them from making the right match?

He also knew that, by definition, he was missing the most brilliant, interesting, and multidimensional students who happened to fall just short of the threshold SAT. They were out there, somewhere. But he couldn’t see them, and they didn’t know that he was looking.

August 31, 2011