Dartmouth College just announced today that on the one hand, they are creating new programs to “expand their outreach efforts to target international students,” but at the same time are cutting back on international travel due to budget cutbacks.
Maria Laskaris, the director of admissions states, “I think it’s important that we build a community here that includes a strong cross-section of international students to bring the world to Dartmouth. The perspective international students have in the classroom and in the dorms and the extracurricular activities, I think, enriches the experience for everybody.”
Given Dartmouth’s numerous off campus study programs and international outlook, increasing the number of international students makes sense, but where do you draw the line? Sure, many would argue that international students give a lot of bang for the buck on real diversity and I would agree. But for every international student who comes to Dartmouth, the admissions odds go down for American students and with the current admissions scene, that can be discouraging to aspiring Dartmouth applicants.
For the class of 2011, international students comprise a record 9 percent of the class. Most Ivies cap the number of international students at 7-15%, no more and the odds for international applicants are generally lower than the odds for American students given how many students apply from so many different foreign countries. What percentage of international students is ideal? Hard to say given so many other priorities. Is it fair that international students compose only a tenth of the class while recruited athletes compose nearly 20% of the entering class? How much diversity do recruited athletes bring to campus versus a brilliant student from Norway? Or a minority student from Harlem? None of these are easy questions – what do you think?