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College: getting in

 By Savannah Guthrie, NBC News correspondent

NBC Nightly News with Brian WilliamsShould it be easier for boys than girls to get into college? The simple answer, of course, is no. But as we prepared the third installment of our series, "The Truth About Boys and Girls," we learned that nothing is simple when it comes to the college admissions process.

The story starts with some good news: Girls are shining academically. Girls have done so well, in fact, they now represent the majority of the student body on many campuses nationwide.

But all that success has led to some unintended consequences. At certain schools - particularly, liberal arts colleges overloaded with female applicants - the only way admissions offices can keep a gender-balanced student body is to admit a greater percentage of boys and reject more girls. That means better qualified girls are sometimes turned away just to increase male enrollment. An admissions dean from Kenyon College caused a firestorm in the academic world for acknowledging as much in a New York Times op-ed entitled, "To All The Girls I've Rejected."

On the other hand, many schools point out that a diverse student body - whether it's by race, gender, or geography - is a legitimate goal for colleges.

"As far as I'm concerned," one admissions officer told us, "not only is there not anything wrong with that, but we ought to be doing that, because we are all about building a community here."

By the way, during our encounter with high school senior Courtney Duffy, we came across her charming - if unorthodox - college admissions essay. Her chosen topic: why she loves milk. You may be wondering what milk has to do with getting into college. So were we. Click here to see Courtney explain it, and here to read the essay that got her admitted to her first-choice school, Trinity College in Connecticut.

Editor's note: Savannah Guthrie's report airs tonight on the broadcast. For her findings on how to find gender biases in college admissions, click here.