New York Times writer makes a 'provocative analogy' between elite colleges and high-end nightclubs

Teens college party dancing concertChristian Bertrand / Shutterstock.comA NYT magazine article compares club promoting to college recruiting.

The challenges present in enticing the right mix of patrons into a night club are analogous to the challenges of properly recruiting students at elite colleges, The New York Times wrote on Wednesday.

That may sound unbelievable, but writing in The New York Times Magazine, Adam Davidson explained what he called the “provocative analogy” with the help of Paul Norman, who owns a company that promotes high-end dance clubs in London.

“The biggest spenders are wealthy men from Russia and the Middle East,” Davidson explained of Norman’s clubs.

“But they won’t spend a lot of money in a club filled with people just like themselves. Women who have the right look — posh in Chelsea, a bit more flash in Mayfair — are admitted free and are offered free drinks, but only if they arrive early in the evening and happily mingle and dance,” Davidson wrote.

Davidson likens this to the mentality of recruiting at elite colleges, like Princeton or Harvard.

If prestigious schools forced everyone to pay the full tuition price, then they would not be able to attract the same diversity of applicants. Professors may decide that they don’t want to teach in such a homogeneous setting, in turn repelling even the individuals who can afford full tuition.

Davidson uses this example to make the point that while it appears counterintuitive, the best way to increase exposure and access to elite school for a breadth of different applicants is to raise the cost of tuition and offer discounts to select students.

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