Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Protestors at Harvard. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/Boston Globe via Getty Images

The affirmative action trial brought against Harvard by Students for Fair Admissions revealed one of Harvard's deepest secrets — its admissions process.

The intrigue: Before the trial began, they Ivy League school's process had never been disclosed, according to the New York Times reports. But William Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions, was required to explain details about the process when he was called to testify.

The backdrop: Students for Fair Admissions is suing the school on behalf of Asian-American students who say they are less likely to be admitted because they score low on likability traits despite high academic marks and test scores.

An analysis of over 160,000 student records found that Harvard gave Asian-American applicants lower ratings on average than applicants of other races in categories including "positive personality" and being "widely respected."

The details: Actual student files were submitted to evidence revealing grades, test scores, intended majors, personality ratings and ethnicity — subjects considered during the admissions process.

  • Fitzsimmons also revealed that students from rural areas get an advantage over students from urban areas.
  • The university gives "special consideration" to children of big donors, and those who've already "committed to a building" or have "an art collection which could conceivably come our way," according to the Times.

Admissions lingo has been introduced to the court through testimony, per the Times. "'Tips' are bumps given to applicants, the 'dean’s interest list' is a compendium of applicants with clout, and the 'Z-list' is a sort of back door into the college for students who are borderline academically."

The chances of being accepted are slim for everyone. With nearly 43,000 applicants in the Class of 2022, just above 2,000 were accepted.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.