Two years ago, in an effort to attract more veterans to Columbia, Curtis Rodgers, a dean of admissions, began recruiting at military bases. Almost immediately he noticed differences between the Marines and the typical 18-year-old Ivy League applicant, the New York Times reports. Marines are less aggressive. When Mr. Rodgers asked Sgt. Tiffani Watts at the end of a recent interview if she had any questions, the Marine answered, “I do, sir, but I don’t want to make you late for your next interview, sir.”

Marines are open about academic weaknesses. “To be forthright, sir, I did very poorly in high school,” Cpl. Leland Dawson began his interview. “It was a bit shaky, sir.”

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