Correspondence with College Admissions - on Social Skills


Michael Cronin, University of Pennsylvania admissions office "Regarding your letter of February 20, 1999 to William J. Stetson, Jr., Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, University of Pennsylvania (copy enclosed), we are very interested in the subject of measuring one's Social Quotient, and would respectfully request that more information be sent to us."

Click for comments of other college admissions officials on the SQ system


February 20, 1999

Director of Admissions

University of Pennsylvania

Dear Mr. Stetson

This fall, 732 high school students in eight counties of the San Francisco Bay Area were surveyed for social competence. Your office may have received survey scores from some of the seniors or from their teachers. The enclosed news article describes the procedure involved.

As a graduate of Princeton and Stanford, I know that selective colleges seek applicants who are most likely to become leaders in their chosen field. Recent findings indicate that academic excellence may be less important in predicting leaders than other factors. For example, Daniel Goleman in Working With Emotional Intelligence demonstrates how: "For star performance in all jobs, in every field, emotional competence is twice as important as purely cognitive abilities." Goleman's work is corroborated by well researched data in Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve, in a graph of incomes vs years of education. In both books, academic factors account for the same, low 33% of future success. Goleman goes on to show that in top leadership positions, cognitive factors account for only 10% of an individual's success.

Until now, colleges have had to rely on personal recommendations and extra-curricular activities to assess the non-academic talents of an applicant. But such information is quite difficult to compare or use in ranking applicants (unlike SAT's). Now a new measure called a Social Quotient (SQ) enables non-academic comparisons to be made easily. SQ scores show a pattern like IQ scores, but measure a very different set of skills. They incorporate most of the non-academic factors that lead to 67-90% of success. College officials familiar with SQ scores use them like SAT's - as a check against impressions gotten from other parts of a candidate's application. An enclosed sheet describes how SQ scores compare to recommendations in clarifying an admissions decision.

Please let me know if this subject interests you. Comments from leading educators are helpful in making the survey increasingly useful.

Thank you for your time,


Albert V.(Van) Sloan


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