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    #162144 - 07/14/13 03:51 PM Ivy League Admissions.
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    I'm trying to understand how and why "elite" colleges (not necessarily just Ivies) select students to admit using not just academics, but also "Extra-Curriculars" (ECs).

    I came across this book "The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton" by Jerome Karabel
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Chosen-Admission-Exclusion-Princeton/dp/061877355X
    I won't read this 738 page book, but the reviews give a good idea of the history.

    Can anyone suggest anything more succinct to read about this baffling topic?

    Does anyone have any insight?

    I imagine a discussion on this topic could get quite wide ranging but I'd specifically like to hear actionable information and actual experiences.

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    #162145 - 07/14/13 03:59 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Mk13 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/20/12
    Posts: 761
    I remember a discussion or two about this subject not too long ago. Might come up for you if you run the search.

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    #162146 - 07/14/13 04:22 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    user1234 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/13/13
    Posts: 18
    In a nutshell, I recall reading somewhere that this was done to keep the number of Jews down in the universities (rampant anti semitism at the time). Apparently there were too many Jews for the admissions committees comfort at the time (the 40s maybe?). The idea was that Jews would easily be admitted using academic measures. But if other measures were introduced, admissions committees could use the extracurriculars as a way of excluding people. Am I the only one who has heard this?

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    #162147 - 07/14/13 04:23 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    I'll add a couple of questions. Do you do anything about this (i.e. try to build an "EC resume") or do you just ignore the whole thing and see where your kid gets accepted? (And be happy not to go to a place that rejects your kid for the wrong reasons.)

    Also, can anyone explicitly name which universities put weight on ECs at the expense of academics?

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    #162148 - 07/14/13 04:30 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2592
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    I'm trying to understand how and why "elite" colleges (not necessarily just Ivies) select students to admit using not just academics, but also "Extra-Curriculars" (ECs).

    Visit College Confidential, where this is discussed non-stop smile.
    A book I liked was

    The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College (2003)
    by Jacques Steinberg

    which profiled the admissions process at Wesleyan.

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    #162151 - 07/14/13 05:11 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    I'll add a couple of questions. Do you do anything about this (i.e. try to build an "EC resume") or do you just ignore the whole thing and see where your kid gets accepted? (And be happy not to go to a place that rejects your kid for the wrong reasons.)

    Also, can anyone explicitly name which universities put weight on ECs at the expense of academics?


    I believe that it is pretty much always AND, not "instead of."

    It's just that with grade inflation being what it is, and with AP coursework not being what it used to...


    well, there isn't so much to indicate which kids are the authentic article and are likely to succeed at a genuinely rigorous/prestigious institution.

    Okay-- that's the official line, anyway.

    Cynical me says that extracurriculars requiring ANY of:

    [SPAM], numerous vaccinations, special riding clothes, equipment which can only be purchased at auction and for a lot of money,

    and most critically-- heaps of cash--

    probably also signify to admissions committees that they are looking at the vitae of future alumni who will donate even larger heaps of cash eventually.

    I second College Confidential-- just be aware that everyone there has very definitely been drinking the Kool-Aid, and quite a few of them have been drinking doubles or triples, neat.

    wink

    But it will give you a sense of the sheer extent of the frenzy, anyway.



    Edited by HowlerKarma (07/14/13 05:16 PM)
    Edit Reason: apparently that document that indicates to US customs and DHS that you're a citizen and allowed BACk into the US.... is [SPAM] fitlered. Heehee.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #162155 - 07/14/13 05:47 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    intparent Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    Yes, College Confidential is the place to go. Be warned, it is like crack for parents of college bound students, though!

    One book that I really like that can help you think about ECs vs academics is:

    How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) by Cal Newport

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    #162156 - 07/14/13 06:31 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    NotSoGifted Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/14/12
    Posts: 445
    I think it comes down to the stats of the kids who apply to the elite schools. Most applicants have stellar GPAs and SAT scores; the admissions folks need to look at other aspects of the application. Somewhere I recall reading that about 85 percent of Yale's applicants are "qualified", but since they admit less than 10 percent, other factors come into play.

    For example, here are some stats on Brown applicants/admitted students:
    http://www.brown.edu/admission/undergraduate/about/admission-facts

    You have 2,457 applicants with an 800 SAT Math score. Brown admitted 2,759 students, so if they went strictly by scores, then you probably shouldn't even bother applying if you were less than perfect on the math section.

    A kid with a 770 or 780 in math (one question wrong) isn't a weaker applicant than the 800 kid. Once you get to a score of about 2250 on the SAT, there isn't much difference from a perfect 2400 (just a few questions wrong on each portion can bring you down 150 points).

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    #162161 - 07/14/13 06:44 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    gabalyn Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/25/12
    Posts: 351
    I guess I drunk some Kool-Aid myself, because I'm Brown grad. When I got in – a long time ago –, when it was certainly much easier than it is now, Brown's
    line was that they wanted people who were passionate. Their story was that they were looking for young people who really cared about something, and were willing to take a risk to pursue it. I will say this. I recently went to my (gulp) 25th reunion. Most of the people that I reconnected with there had done some really interesting things with their lives. There were lots of doctors, a handful of lawyers, and many professors. There were nonprofit CEOs, and political activists. Movie directors, and social workers. There were very few people who had made a killing in financial services or business. It does seem that, at least as it pertains to my graduating class, there was something to the propaganda.

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    #162162 - 07/14/13 07:34 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    I'll add a couple of questions. Do you do anything about this (i.e. try to build an "EC resume") or do you just ignore the whole thing and see where your kid gets accepted? (And be happy not to go to a place that rejects your kid for the wrong reasons.)

    Also, can anyone explicitly name which universities put weight on ECs at the expense of academics?



    Oh, and since we're in the thick of this right now, (the college shopping extravaganza, I mean) given that DD is a rising HS senior, I should have answered the first part of the post.

    A. I refuse to participate in this toxic arms race. I have more principles than that, and I do not wish to signal to my child that a limitless variety of means are justified by some end which is largely of mythical importance anyway. This is what I would call-- The Moral/Ethical High Ground. These children are being actively coached to OPT OUT of the elite college machine. NO WAY would their parents send them to an Ivy, even if they wanted to go. shocked


    B) Children must be prodded, coaxed, and bribed into the right choices. When that doesn't work, do whatever is necessary to demonstrate participation and move on to another activity that looks... er... elite. Sure, he doesn't love Chess, but he needs to learn that we all do things that we're good at. Save love for your grandma.
    All the other parents are helping their kids get {competitive opportunity/award/etc}, so it's not like he's got much of a chance if I don't do his science fair project. I'm sure not going to feel guilty about helping MY kid get ahead of everyone else's kids... if they want their kids to get ahead, they need to be doing it, too. whistle

    C) I'm going to click my heels together three times and hope that this goes away. FAR away. On the other hand, every time I open one eye even a teensy slit, I find that college tuition has jumped another 5%. Maybe I should help. All the other parents seem to be doing it. Gosh, what if allowing her all those hours in girl scouts/dogging/reading/playing in the mud/babysitting was WRONG?? Oh no... sure, she liked it. But maybe we should have pushed her harder in fencing, cryptography and water polo. She liked those things too. We should probably have been more ruthless and forced her to spend her summers working at a volunteer job rather than visiting my mom and her cousins in the country. Aughhhh... I hope she knows that we just wanted her to be happy and enjoy her childhood. What if she wants to go to Snooty University and we BLEW it?? eek

    D) I know that he'll get into a great school... because I've made sure of it. But what then?? What if he hates it?? He certainly seems to have resented the process of getting his resume into that condition. He'd never practice at all if we didn't tie him to the sofa. I hope he can handle the pressure year after next. He doesn't seem very happy, though. Hopefully Elite College will be better for him. We've done it all for him, after all. I'm sure he knows we only wanted the best for him. eek

    Us?

    We fall most near C-- like most parents these days, save the ones we avoid (the B and D types). I completely understand the motives of the A parents, though. Boy, do I ever.
    _________________________
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