Washington Law Review


This comment suggests that professional schools constitutionally need not and, as a matter of policy, should not be deterred from considering at least some noncognitive criteria in admissions decisions. An exhaustive constitutional analysis of the standard of inquiry appropriate for each noncognitive criterion is not attempted. Instead, the comment shows in Part I that, regardless of the standard of scrutiny applied, any constitutional adjudication will involve some inquiry into the relationship between the school's articulated admissions goals and the admissions criteria used to implement them. The focus of the comment, then, is to analyze those goals that are typically advanced as legitimate by professional schools and to examine how consideration of various noncognitive criteria might help fulfill such goals. The comment in Part II examines the possible goals of a responsible selection process. Part III-A discusses the use of some objective noncognitive admissions criteria—age, gender, and residency— and their relationship to the goals set forth in Part 11. Part III-B focuses on the policy reasons for considering subjective noncognitive admissions criteria. Finally, the comment concludes that consideration of some noncognitive criteria, although exposing admissions programs to court challenges, is an important way of assuring that professional schools fulfill their obligations to their respective professions and to society.

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