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    #162297 - 07/16/13 11:56 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    The Tiger Cub http://tigersophia.blogspot.in/2013/07/cultural-faux-pas-and-fourth-of-july.html , who is attending Harvard, is spending the summer in India working at a gifted school for rural youth. I read her blog and have noticed any signs of a nervous breakdown (and one would not wish that for anyone). My colleagues and I have good jobs and stable families and are graduates of Ivies or flagship state schools like Berkeley or Michigan. Pretending that most Ivy league grads (or their parents) are miserable or sociopathic sounds like sour grapes to me.


    I honestly didn't realize the problem existed until I spoke with a Cornell professor about their local problem. (What do you mean another one just threw themselves into the gorge near your office??? This happens a lot???)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-fishman/the-gorges-of-cornell-uni_b_498656.html

    And another relatively recent valedictorian overachiever medical student suicide from perfectionism.

    http://www.whiteville.com/news/what-coul...1a4bcf887a.html

    Apparently this problem is well-recognized within the various counseling departments at these institutions. It was, however, news to me.

    And please.

    Amy Chua is a relatively nice well-balanced person who just happens to be particularly obsessed with intellectual social climbing (Yale Law or Bust!) and box-checking. It's her thing. And it's a *good* trait to have as a law professor where status really *is* everything.

    And I'm not talking about schools like Berkeley and Michigan.

    Those are the schools that you *should* be attending because they are *not* saturated with Tiger Children.

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    #162300 - 07/16/13 12:16 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I have to say that this is true. There are schools which children and their parents choose-- which are good, logical reasons, well-considered and based upon the facts available to them...

    and then there are the TigerParents who are most concerned with the appearance of the thing, and not the thing itself. In this instance, a very fine education.

    I pretty much think that anyone who posts here is by definition not in the latter category to start with. We've all been bitton by "but it's the GIFTED PROGRAM" (so what more do you want, exactly? Actual RIGOR??)

    That is not to say that the Ivies are not very fine schools. But there are schools which are probably equally fine (for individual students) which do not carry the same social cachet.

    Admission statistics, emotional patina, and social currency aren't the whole story. Not by a long shot.
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    #162302 - 07/16/13 12:41 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    intparent Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    Quote:
    You show your child that you are the one who is trying to dictate the terms, not the university.


    Sorry... this is like telling your kid to stop the tide, and saying they get a moral victory because they tried (even though they didn't stop it). You are playing with your kids' hopes and emotions with the idea of having them apply to schools you KNOW you can't afford for them to attend, then telling your kids to just thumb their noses and walk away from an acceptance and feel good about it because they rejected it on their own terms. This feels cruel to your kids. There is no negotiating power on your side in this process with the top colleges -- they honestly don't give a fig about whether your particular kid chooses to attend because of the thousands (literally) of other kids waiting to take your kid's place if you don't want to pay. Example: U of Chicago put something like 14,000 (!!!) kids on their waitlist this year. Not really sure why so many... in the end they probably took a few hundred if most (no idea what their stats are for that this year). But they did. You are NOT in a buyer's market with the top colleges unless your kid is Malia Obama or Emma Watson or Chelsea Clinton. Our kids are GREAT -- but they aren't famous. And you and I aren't rich enough to endow a new building for them. Those are the ONLY students who have real leverage. Don't make your kids waste their time and hopes on a school they cannot attend -- an Ivy or tippy top college won't bend for them.

    One thing a lot of parents don't realize is that top schools accept quite a few more students than they expect will say yes to their offer. They offer more acceptance than they have actual space for because they know some kids will turn them down. And they have the waitlist for backup if more kids say no than they expected. Your little snowflake is special to you, but to the top colleges they are one of a crowd of qualified applicants.

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    #162304 - 07/16/13 01:05 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Great analysis... although...

    I can easily see my own DD 'bothering' to apply (assuming we'll pay the fee) to a school she has little intention of attending in order to play a strategic game with the institutions she IS interested in. In her case, she just-- really-- isn't interested in an Ivy. She's thought about it, and just isn't. So in her case, those "reach" schools would NOT be places that she'd seriously want to go if she were admitted, and therefore it would be merely strategic for her. In that case, it wouldn't be cruel. Though I do agree about the time required to do the applying. (ay yi yi)

    Of course, this also only works if your child isn't really interested in attending one of those top 50 or so institutions to start with, and it also means giving up on having him/her with similarly able peers (though even that is not necessarily told by the numbers... a kid that gets perfect scores on the SAT after ten tries, and has a 4.0 due to many grueling hours with a tutor isn't really "just like" my DD).

    I know just enough about how admissions works and just enough about the current arms race to seriously question whether-- anymore, I mean-- the statistics on admitted students are actually reflecting that those are-- as they might well appear-- HG+ kids. Or are they hothoused bright and nearly-MG ones?

    My gut says that it is increasingly the latter. I'm pretty sure that there is no college placement that will put my DD with only "true peers." Nature of the beast. We're hoping to put her with enough peers that she can find a few to connect with. smile

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    #162309 - 07/16/13 01:21 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: intparent]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: intparent
    And you and I aren't rich enough to endow a new building for them. Those are the ONLY students who have real leverage. Don't make your kids waste their time and hopes on a school they cannot attend -- an Ivy or tippy top college won't bend for them.


    Well, it is fun to point out to a Ivy League grad that you got paid to go to college and they had to take out $$$ loans and that, amazingly, you ended up in the exact same place.

    The reaction is pretty priceless.

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    #162310 - 07/16/13 01:35 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I think the fact that our last names are not Clinton, Bush, or Obama, and that we lack sufficient cash to endow a potted plant, much less a building...

    means that maybe she's not so likely to regard those kids as "peers" in some senses of that term.

    Hmm.

    In all seriousness, I do think that this is an important consideration. I'm being flippant, obviously, but we have thought about how comfortable we want DD to be-- and how far out of her comfort zone is wise, in terms of educational benefit. This relates to the major reason why I think elementary is way too soon to be short-listing colleges. I would have very strongly predicted one set of answers to those introspective queries a couple of years ago when DD was 11-12, and have quite different answers NOW. Luckily, we've left our options as open as they can be. She could decide out of the blue that she simply MUST attend a super-elite school, in spite of what she's always indicated. She still has over 6 months before she MUST know where she's applying.

    That revolves largely around peers (how many? who are they? how similar are they to dd SE/IQ-wise? cultural differences?) and the individual 'culture' of a campus. It's hard to capture that with numbers-- which is why it's NOT good to decide on a college based solely on its relative reputation, without ever seeing it in person or knowing alumni.



    Edited by HowlerKarma (07/16/13 01:39 PM)
    Edit Reason: to add clarification
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    #162312 - 07/16/13 01:59 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Cricket2 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    I, too, am a graduate of Berkeley, but I do think that the game has changed somewhat since I applied many years ago. Back then, I got mostly As with a few Bs in high school, worked at the mall at a nut and candy store, babysat, didn't volunteer much at all, didn't attend academic summer programs or do internships, had very good but not perfect SAT scores, only took the SAT once with no prep beforehand, was a NMSF as were a number of my classmates, but no one communicated with me the steps toward becoming a NMF so I never applied, and generally was a good kid. I don't think that with that record I'd get into Berkeley today.

    The kids I see bordering on nervous breakdowns are the ones who are trying to do everything and at a level beyond what they would naturally be driven to do without the worry and pressure that it is necessary to succeed in life. A full 10% of my dd14's class (they are going to be juniors) have GPAs above a 4.0 meaning that they've never gotten a B and they've also taken the only one or two AP classes that have been available thus far at their grade level. Really, it would only be one AP that was available by your sophomore year unless you were accelerated enough in math to have finished pre calc by freshman year. Many of these kiddos also sign up for zero hour classes, meaning that they start school at 6:15 a.m. rather than 7:30; they are enrolled in numerous extracurriculars, members of many clubs, work, volunteer,etc.

    I don't know that it should all be about that degree of sheer quantity.
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    #162315 - 07/16/13 02:20 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Okay, Cricket2, that sounds really awful. No wonder they're bordering on having nervous breakdowns.

    I went to an elite women's college in Massachusetts. My high school experience sounds similar to yours, except I had really no clue about the national merit scholarship competition. Definitely not my thing anyway. My SAT scores were all 90th percentile+, but not perfect, either. Like you, I don't know if I'd get in today. Probably not.

    As far as I'm concerned, this is all completely insane. We're beginning to embrace the idea of opting out in this house, that's for sure. The kids will be welcome to apply anywhere they like, but we'll have heard-to-heart talks with them about the state of affairs and why they should not be upset by rejection letters.


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    #162317 - 07/16/13 02:33 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    intparent Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    HK, I don't see that admissions to a higher ranked college gives you any leverage in the financial aid for a lower ranked or equivalent college. I have heard no stories on College Confidential of success with that strategy... What I have heard is asking for a "review" of your Financial Aid. The colleges will all say they don't "match" FA offers from other colleges. But if you can show them evidence of lower cost of attendance at a higher ranked or comparable college (they want the financial aid letter and/or any scholarship letters to look at), SOME schools will negotiate to match that FA (even though they hate that word). In our case my D's top choice school looked back over our FA information, asked a question about one account (did not require any written proof of the answer), then granted more aid. But just for freshman year, who knows what will come in the future? It may very well evaporate after that point. But you have to show a cheaper cost of attendance at a comparable or higher ranked school to even have a chance with this strategy.

    Val, honestly... your kids will probably not thank you for opting out entirely. To some extent you are in anyway if your kids are going to college. Some of my D's friends had pretty awful senior years due to lack of planning and preparation in their families for the college process.


    Edited by intparent (07/16/13 02:37 PM)

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    #162318 - 07/16/13 02:35 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    My DD's transcripts DO look like what Cricket describes (her GPA is a weighted 4.4, unweighted it's 3.96) and she has hard-core leadership experience in 4 different EC's, has 3 other EC's, and has hundreds of hours of community service to her credit. Her test scores are well over 90th percentile-- and one subscore at 99th. One shot, and no subject tests, no AP scores. She should graduate in the top 3 in her class.

    This sounds like a lot-- and it is, in terms of scheduling everything-- but DD still has plenty of free time. This is because she simply doesn't have to work that hard to do most of it; it DOESN'T take her four hours to do her homework at night-- only 30 minutes.


    We've not really pushed her to do all of those things she's got on her resume, but we definitely see some peers who DO get that kind of pressure. As I've noted before, these are parents who are pushing MG or bright NT kids to look as though they are PG. The genuine article doesn't require so much effort to look like that, YK?

    My child is probably NOT a good bet for a top-10 or even top-20 admission. She's merely 'competitive' there, and she doesn't have anything particularly flashy about her other than her age. She hasn't placed with INTEL, done an international academic Olympiad, or won the National Spelling Bee.

    Yes, I do think this is insane.

    intparent-- I'm merely going by what I've heard in some detail from parents we've known pretty well. The upshot is that the gap between the school which has admitted the student and the one offering additional aid has to be REALLY significant. Significant enough that they want your kid there to improve their department/stats. In other words, most parents of kids here probably wouldn't use this strategy because they wouldn't want their kids headed to a regional public uni or anything.

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