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Selling Hope and CollegeMerit, Markets, and Recruitment in an Unranked School$
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Alex Posecznick

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501707582

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501707582.001.0001

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It’s All about the Numbers

It’s All about the Numbers

(p.79) Chapter 3 It’s All about the Numbers
Selling Hope and College

Alex Posecznick

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the daily activity of the admissions team at Ravenwood College with emphasis on the bureaucratic process through which inquiries become applicants and then students. Particularly notable is the semiotic place of numbers and how they are understood and deployed at Ravenwood. Massive bureaucracies are in place that require applicants to package themselves as a series of documents and institutionally acknowledged bits of information. This infrastructure is fundamentally (and intentionally) dehumanizing, as it turns applicants into numbers that are theoretically commensurable with one another. Moving through the infrastructure is clearly consequential, however, as it allows students access to greater resources, opportunities, and social capital concerning higher education. The chapter points out that despite the dehumanizing exigencies of the infrastructure, it remains one that is built and navigated by human actors.

Keywords:   Ravenwood College, bureaucracies, student applicants, dehumanization, social capital, higher education

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