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What College Admissions Offices Really Want

In the fall of 2014, Angel Pérez was hired to oversee enrollment at Trinity College, a small liberal-arts school that occupies a picturesque 100-acre hillside campus overlooking Hartford. Trinity is in many ways a typical private northeastern college. It was founded by a group of Episcopalians in the early 19th century, and its student body has been dominated ever since by white, wealthy graduates of New England prep schools. Its architecture is Gothic, its squash teams are nationally ranked and despite its small size (about 2,200 undergraduates), it manages to support five separate student a cappella groups. Two of Trinity’s most famous graduates are George Will and Tucker Carlson, meaning that the college has pretty much cornered the market on conservative TV personalities known for wearing bow ties.