The WaPo's Marc Fisher answers a question that occurred to me: If Seung-Hui Cho was so obviously disturbed even as a young child, how did he ever get into Virginia Tech? Blame it on a depersonalized admissions process.
According to Fisher, Tech seeks students with at least a B+ average and an SAT score of at least 1130. Fisher writes:
Virginia Tech makes its admission decisions purely and entirely on the basis of those numbers. Its application includes no requirement for interviews or teacher recommendations. (The University of Virginia, in contrast, requires both a written recommendation from a high school teacher or counselor and student-written essays.) The form that guidance counselors must submit to Virginia Tech asks for name, rank and number of advanced courses that the high school offers, but there is no question and not even a space for counselors to comment on a student's character, achievements, deficits or any other aspect of the application. If Cho had decent scores and grades, he was in.
As Fisher goes on to write, there are "only a tiny number of Seung Chos [if even that] in any applicant pool," but it does seem like the Virginia Tech massacre provides another good argument in favor of de-depersonalizing the college admissions process.