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    #248329 - 03/17/21 09:47 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4675
    Another interesting article, Bostonian. The removal of standardized tests as admissions criteria, has resulted in a 33%-42% increase in applications... evidently approximating the number of students who may now have hope of receiving an offer, but had no hope of receiving an offer if they had to provide a standardized test score with their application.

    As with most things in life, there is a mix of PROs and CONs, good and bad. In this circumstance, I believe the desired benefit should be: extending need-blind offers to students prepared for a rigorous curriculum, and who can recognize opportunities others may overlook (aka leadership - for example, forging their own path both on-campus and post-graduation) while screening out students gaming the system, and/or presenting falsified credentials, and/or lacking internal locus of control and sense of personal responsibility (who may not rise to the occasion, but rather expect courses to be made easier).

    A few POSITIVES of eliminating standardized test scores from admissions:
    - standardized tests can be gamed (as seen in the "Varsity Blues" college admissions scandal of 2019),
    - standardized tests can be re-taken by those who can afford the approximately $70 fee each time they sit for the exam,
    - admissions criteria are said to have a new emphasis on "intellectual curiosity" (although this may be difficult to define).

    Some NEGATIVES of eliminating standardized test scores from admissions:
    - standardized test scores are thought to be OBJECTIVE, and can be used to corroborate assigned grades. This can be especially helpful with teachers being evaluated and schools being rated/ranked based on assigning grades which show "equal outcomes" and no achievement gaps, performance gaps, or excellence gaps,
    - admissions criteria may now have an over-reliance on grades (which may not reflect actual learning, timeliness in completing & turning in assignments, or student productivity, due to grading practices designed to achieve "equal outcomes"),
    - admissions criteria are said to now give greater weight to teacher recommendations (which may be SUBJECTIVE, and open to influence),
    - admissions criteria are said to now judge candidates in the context of their environments (which MAY result in admitting students unprepared for coursework, for example if they had "...straight As in a middling high school...").

    Weighing the POSITIVES and NEGATIVES:
    Evaluating the benefits and downsides of the new policy of college admissions sans standardized test scores may be a case of wait-and-see, and time-will-tell...? It will be interesting to see whether the feeder schools to top colleges change a bit over the next few years.

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    #248330 - 03/17/21 12:28 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: indigo]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1670
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    The removal of standardized tests as admissions criteria, has resulted in a 33%-42% increase in applications...

    the desired benefit should be: extending need-blind offers to students prepared for a rigorous curriculum, and who can recognize opportunities others may overlook while screening out students gaming the system, and/or presenting falsified credentials,


    I think that the huge influx of applications, as was was seen with Harvard ED, is the pressure of admissions officiers to go through them and make good evaluations, -- like if there are falsified credentials. It is so hard to check things now -- if they started a business etc.

    Just in the statistics that around 750 got in from over 10,000 applications, less than 1000 were rejected and 8K+ were deferred shows how hard it is to determine who is exceptional and who is not. 8K+ that seem OK to be Harvard students. They just weren't sure. And I believe all those apps are need blind.

    Without those standardized test scores, it seems that differentiating just got harder. And it seems, on college confidential, that those with scores (and good scores) got in.

    DD had to find stuff for volunteer hours and to replace a leadership plan where she was blocked. It turned out that the alternative turned out to be ten times better than what she had originally planned. And there was no way of knowing that it would turn out so good in the beginning. Sometimes you get lucky in that regard to extracurriculars. And with covid, sometimes it was almost impossible to find anything.

    I am listening to these podcasts by some woman from Toronto, class of 2019 Harvard. You pay $15 and she covers a topic. Some stuff is really good, some stuff ridiculous. Like for volunteering: you can go volunteer in a hospital. No you can't, there is covid. They won't let you in as a teen. Just an example, where her track is different than for kids now.

    And letters of recommendation. Here teachers are seeing her a handful times in a 15 week period. That was fall when it was hybrid. But since they closed down again for 6 weeks after Christmas, these teachers will see her maybe just a few times. There is no relationship. And none of the teachers she has now, she had before except comp sci. If some kids are all online, do they have any relationship with teachers to get stellar recommendations?

    I think about packaging. I look at these consultants and I don't want to pay 15-20K for stuff I don't think she needs. But I look at her summary and see a box of great stuff, but it isn't packaged like a Williams Sonoma window. I wonder if it is worth it to pay for the packaging. How to highlight the stuff she is doing. There is talk about the essay as being the packaging star, the ad jingle of your app. Is that enough with an ever surging number of applications that look like yours, where 50% of the essays are compelling since everyone knows that now. What will the articles be about in two years to strategically place your college app? Anyone have a good psychic to tell us now?

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    #248338 - 03/17/21 07:04 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    mithawk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 267
    Wren,

    I don't have a crystal ball for how admissions will end up for everyone this year and next. What I will say is that based upon the admissions so far at our public high school, it looks pretty much like other years at this point: Three students at MIT, one or two at Stanford early, one early at Yale I know of. And since we are done with admissions, there are probably others we haven't heard about. And Ivy Day and Stanford are still coming up.

    Another way to look at it is that lack of testing has certainly muddied the waters, but it hasn't changed the number of strong kids that actually exist.

    How does it look so far at your daughter's school?


    Edited by mithawk (03/17/21 07:05 PM)

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    #248343 - 03/18/21 03:02 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1670
    This year I am not in the loop and my friend said parents are quiet. Just heard of one boy got into Harvard ED. He was a typical STEM, physics Olympiad EC.

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