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Making the grade: Inside the college admissions process

The Lehigh University admissions committee gathers in a small room in the basement of the Fairchild MartindaleLibrary to discuss and then vote on the applications to fill the class of 2017. Here, Bruce Bunnick, director of admissions, center, counts votes. (Ed Hille/Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Lehigh University admissions committee gathers in a small room in the basement of the Fairchild MartindaleLibrary to discuss and then vote on the applications to fill the class of 2017. Here, Bruce Bunnick, director of admissions, center, counts votes. (Ed Hille/Philadelphia Inquirer)
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PHILADELPHIA — The case before the admissions panel holed up in a small room at Lehigh University was complex.

The applicant had scored 1300 on the verbal and math portions of the SAT, on the low end for the highly selective, private research university in Bethlehem, Pa. He had taken only one of the 14 advanced placement courses offered at his high school in New England — not as rigorous of a schedule as ...

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