That piece suffered somewhat from thesaurus overload initially. But he made interesting points once he closed his Roget's:

At the admissions end, it’s common knowledge that Harvard selects at most 10 percent (some say 5 percent) of its students on the basis of academic merit. At an orientation session for new faculty, we were told that Harvard “wants to train the future leaders of the world, not the future academics of the world,” and that “We want to read about our student in Newsweek 20 years hence” (prompting the woman next to me to mutter, “Like the Unabomer”). The rest are selected “holistically,” based also on participation in athletics, the arts, charity, activism, travel, and, we inferred (Not in front of the children!), race, donations, and legacy status (since anything can be hidden behind the holistic fig leaf).

He added this observation, as well (for those who didn't read the piece, the writer is on the Harvard faculty):

The anti-intellectualism of Ivy League undergraduate education is by no means indigenous to the student culture. It’s reinforced by the administration, which treats academics as just one option in the college activity list. Though students are flooded with hortatory messages from deans and counselors, “Don’t cut class” is not among them, and professors are commonly discouraged from getting in the way of the students’ fun. Deans have asked me not to schedule a midterm on a big party day, and to make it easy for students to sell their textbooks before the ink is dry on their final exams. A failing grade is like a death sentence: just the first step in a mandatory appeal process.

He seemed to go back and forth with his opinions, and I was having trouble determining what he was trying to say in places (maybe he had the same problem).

FWIW, I agree about changing the admissions process to make it transparent, but disagree with his SAT assertion. I will repeat that IMO, we need to reform the secondary school system and use exams like the Irish Leaving Certificate (or other similar national exams) for admissions. Everyone studies the same stuff in a given course, everyone takes the same test on the same day, and admissions are based on test scores.

But this would never work in the US, because it can't be gamed, and we are a nation of people who bleat about such things as the rule of law and meritocracy while feverishly working to game the system to individual advantage.