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    #162632 - 07/21/13 12:26 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

    The odds of finding a fellow HG+ student at a school with an average SAT score of 500/500/500 is lower than it is at an institution of the same size and focus whose SAT average is 750/750/750, basically. The students at the former school are going to be mostly average to MG, and the students at the latter are going to be mostly bright-to-MG+. It's a statistics game.


    Yeah, but, the odds of meeting a LOT of maniacally prepped unhappy people is also much higher. So are the odds that a lot of people are there for reasons related to status and not actually wanting to, you know, learn stuff.

    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    The other thing that an elite institution does for PG people is provide lifelong opportunity. Choices, in other words. The ability to WALK AWAY from toxic situations by virtue of seldom having just the one choice.


    Hmm. I went to an elite American college, and I honestly don't see how this idea applies. Getting a degree from a fancy college is great in many ways, but it doesn't provide a ticket out of toxic situations. It also doesn't provide lifelong opportunities as a given. TBH, I think that this idea has been pushed in spite of being untrue. Those lifelong opportunities come either from having connections or from being very good at what you do, including having really good interpersonal skills (the latter attribute being as important as the former (or more important) in many situations).

    Maybe you were saying something else here?

    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    I'm well aware that HG+ kids can and do wind up at public universities whose stats would not suggest that they are there... and that one can find 'pockets' of those students, often in math and physics, at any post-secondary institution. But finding ENOUGH of them can be a problem, particularly for a polymath.


    I am just so sorry to sound like such a bummer here, but this is reality. When you think very, very, differently than almost everyone else, your are simply not going to meet a lot of like souls on your journey.

    Personally, I think that one big draw of this site (NOT the only one) is that many of us can interact with others who are, well, really smart.

    Have you considered a top-tier college for women? They tend to be undergraduate-only, small, and not so loopy about the competition to get in (because of the niche thing). Yet the education is very good. Smith and Mount Holyoke are in a valley with 3 other colleges (the Five College valley), and students can take courses at all the colleges for free. So if you want to take a really exotic physics or whatever course, you can go to UMASS. Etc.

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    #162636 - 07/21/13 12:50 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Zen Scanner Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    Having been an undergraduate at both types of schools, I can tell you the differences I saw were far more relevant in the lower classes than in any other aspect of the school. At the higher end school, the material was like twice the content in a given classroom and the expected outside work were much greater. The dialog in the classroom had many people engaged, debating, etc. At the state university, had to rush to take 3 and 4 hundred level classes to not be bored. Socially, you could have engaging conversation at the top tier school with most anyone right outside the classroom, and big senior projects and internship opps were the norm. But at the state school I met people in organizations with common interests and my good friend there was PG and her parents professors at the school. Other HG+ folks at the state school, were overall quirkier and more likely to have had other routes into school like military first. Within the psychology department all my friends were grad students.

    Oh yeah, I also found the professors much more engaging and available at the state school. They liked their few challenging students.

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    #162643 - 07/21/13 01:56 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Val]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Val
    [Hmm. I went to an elite American college, and I honestly don't see how this idea applies. Getting a degree from a fancy college is great in many ways, but it doesn't provide a ticket out of toxic situations. It also doesn't provide lifelong opportunities as a given. TBH, I think that this idea has been pushed in spite of being untrue. Those lifelong opportunities come either from having connections or from being very good at what you do, including having really good interpersonal skills (the latter attribute being as important as the former (or more important) in many situations).


    What Val is saying here is basically true.

    The "lifelong value" lasts about 3 or 4 years out of the school.

    Your actual skills, particularly interpersonal skills, matter at that point.

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    #162644 - 07/21/13 02:10 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Actually, Val, I think that what I was saying is that my DH and I have both witnessed "OHhhhhhh, this candidate went to Prestigious Institution" and "Ohhhhh, this candidate knows so-and-so from Prestigious Institution" and garnering preferences for interviews and shortlists by virtue of those things-- without having demonstrated anything else, basically.

    Neither of us has anything like that because of our relative lack of elite pedigree-- and we both know that it has cost us professionally because we lack the natural network that attending an elite institution helps a person to build. WHEN we can get a food in the door, of course, our competence and professional experience speaks for itself. But our diplomas merely say "Yawwwwn."

    I, too, met quirky and VERY bright (EG, at least) people in STEM at a virtually no-name state college during the 1980's. My test scores were clearly way above the mean for the institution, and probably for my department, even. Even so, of the handful people who graduated with me, well over half went on to earn terminal degrees and a fair percentage went to fairly high-powered graduate programs.

    Quote:

    I also found the professors much more engaging and available at the state school. They liked their few challenging students.


    This is also reflective of my own experience at my undergraduate college, and later-- as a faculty member. Not so much of my DH's at a large UC school, though he certainly drew attention by the time he was a junior in the department.

    I don't think we're hunting for a brand name, so much, just hunting for a place (if such a thing still authentically exists) where the Tiger Cubs either learn to go with the flow (if they can) or go elsewhere, and the genuinely intellectually curious students are rewarded by being fed authentic challenge. Hopefully it isn't too late and the pincer grip of college-for-all on the one hand, and an escalating TigerParenting arms race on the other... hasn't ruined it all at this point in time. It's a narrowing target between the two, to be sure.

    Part of the problem in being a PG polymath and college applicant at this point in time is that you DO look almost indistinguishable from a TigerKid on paper. Oh well-- we just have to hope that a few places will look at the fact that she's 14, and realize that there's only ONE possible explanation for the gestalt that they're seeing, and it isn't Tiger Parenting.

    Yes, Mills, Smith, and Holyoke are all on our short list at this point in time.

    At some point in late August, DD is going to have to go through each school's online footprint with a fine-toothed comb and start eliminating anything that doesn't feel like a good-- GOOD match. Then she needs to figure out what she's missing in terms of testing, and we'll need to schedule that for early fall.


    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #162647 - 07/21/13 03:14 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I've always had that sense, too, Mana.

    I seem to have a kid who is kind of superhuman, though. She would have been incredibly intimidating to me as a peer, that's for sure. I don't think I ever knew anyone this bright when I was a student-- and I was one of the smart kids. She just lacks full-time global drive and killer instincts in a competitive sense.

    I'm getting that same sense of disquiet (but more intense) that I got just before she entered high school-- she looks to be building expectations for college which are similar in flavor. "This will be different-- finally, I'll learn at a faster pace! More interesting things! Challenging things that exercise my brain! Other people who are as smart as I am! Finally!!"

    I'm frustrated by the situation for the same reasons that MadeinUK noted earlier-- shouldn't there be a few places that are still capable of meeting those expectations?? Places which are about substance; neither false rigor, head-patting and awards-for-all, nor pretentious baloney and naked avarice??


    DD is so hungry for real intellectual engagement. It just makes me sad to consider that it may never happen for her. However, I do appreciate the insights, even if they aren't what I'd like to hear.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #162658 - 07/22/13 01:59 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: ]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Originally Posted By: eema
    As someone who lives outside the US, I am just fascinated by this thread.

    Where we live there are no SAT's, and we have world class institutions that can be accessed without spectacular grades or a lengthy resume. Fees are lower too.

    Good luck to all of you who have to navigate this!


    I'm not from this country (USA), but we live here now. When I went to university it was free. (Now it's increased to being merely cheap). Entrance was based on sufficient academic qualifications, and no other criteria.

    But I've recently been reading online, and I'm aghast at what goes on here, which is why I started this thread. I just don't get it. I've never actually met anyone in real life who has ever mentioned anyone ever doing anything non-academic in order to increase their chances of college admission. So I've been completely oblivious to this whole phenomenon of people engaging in (huge amounts of) non-academic Extra-Curriculars in a calculated attempt to get into desired colleges. It never would have occurred to me that such a thing was even possible.

    Originally Posted By: intparent
    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


    I actually got this book and started reading it, but I couldn't get past a few chapters of this stuff. It's so bizarre.

    We're not going to get involved in this non-academic busy-work arms-race. My kids can focus on academics to the extent they want to, and can do whatever else they want for fun and fulfilment.

    But the preparation for university should be academic.

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    #162660 - 07/22/13 02:49 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: 22B

    We're not going to get involved in this non-academic busy-work arms-race. My kids can focus on academics to the extent they want to, and can do whatever else they want for fun and fulfilment.

    But the preparation for university should be academic.


    22B, I'm not even close to an "arms-race" parent - re extracurriculars *or* academics. My oldest children are in middle school, and the way that the look forward to college impacts us is limited primarily to thinking about where their areas of interest are leading them and to financial planning. I do, however, do what I can to provide opportunities for my children to have meaningful extracurricular activities - because, jmo, academics can't be their everything - having a physical activity they can enjoy throughout their life is important, having hobbies that bring them joy is important, and having opportunities to be a part of a group of whatever (hobbyist, sport, etc) is also something that I see as important in life. My kids may be smarter than many other kids, but it's not just brains and academics that make for success in life, either in college or beyond - and that's the reason that most kids I know - in my little corner of the US - participate in activities outside of school.

    When I went to college (back in the dark ages now lol!), the applications all included questions about extracurriculars etc. The school I ultimately went to (a well-respected highly competitive-admissions , extremely rigorous STEM university), was very up front in acknowledging their belief that the incoming students who had the most potential for success at their school were *not* the students who were strictly straight-A high IQ students, but were rather the students who had other things in their life than "only science" and "only straight As" etc, and jmo, but that vision definitely played out among the students I knew well in college. FWIW, I suspect that most of the kids I was in college with were at the very least MG.

    Once we were at the end of the universtiy experience, and interviewing for our real-world jobs, there once again was the question of extracurriculars - and I know it was considered - I looked at it myself later on in my career when interviewing candidates for jobs coming out of university.

    I wouldn't purposely choose my kids' outside-of-school activities to ty to pad a college resume, but I do believe they are important in their lives - and that's how most of the parents I know have approached parenting... including my non-tiger-mom friend who is sending her dd off to MIT this year smile

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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    #162661 - 07/22/13 05:05 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1449
    Loc: NJ
    22B,

    I share your pain, I think.

    I am just as puzzled with the 'hows/whys' of this sorry state that the US colleges have allowed themselves to lapse into. I think that this is the end state of the 'college as a business/college for all' model, though.

    I continually oscillate between the extremes of thinking; 'Well this is the World we live in so deal with it!' and being in an almost catatonic state of utter revulsion that things have become so corrupted.
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #162662 - 07/22/13 05:19 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: polarbear]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1449
    Loc: NJ
    PB,

    I think that I fully appreciate that a completely personalityless sideshow freak-geek wouldn't be the optimal student for a university (but I think if they can push the boundaries of knowledge that a university is still the optimal place for them).

    Universities want people that are bright, articulate and driven and also applicants that have a strong sense of who they are. So ECs, at a time that is now in the past, probably were an appropriate measure of balance; evidence that the applicant was not a hothoused 'monomath'.

    But the college admissions process appears to have morphed into an arms race that has become so extreme that EC's have become just another grindstone for Tiger parents to push their offsprings' collective noses to. This reality then completely undermines their entire raison d'être as a factor that indicates 'balance'.


    Edited by madeinuk (07/22/13 05:22 AM)
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #162663 - 07/22/13 05:22 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2595
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    So I've been completely oblivious to this whole phenomenon of people engaging in (huge amounts of) non-academic Extra-Curriculars in a calculated attempt to get into desired colleges. It never would have occurred to me that such a thing was even possible.


    Because you aren't a university fundraiser smile. Universities are trying to choose not just the smartest students but the ones who are most likely to be successful and bring fame and/or millions of dollars to their schools. But if Harvard is about as public spirited as Goldman Sachs, I think it ought to pay taxes on the investment income from its $32 billion endowment (as of 2011 http://www.usnews.com/education/best-col...cial-endowments ), just as Goldman pays corporate income taxes on its trading profits.

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/07/who-donates-most-to-colleges.html
    Who donates the most to colleges?
    by Steve Sailer
    July 1, 2013

    One of the interesting subjects that is kept under wraps is this: top colleges have had their admissions and alumni offices get together to carefully model what kind of high school applicants are likely to donate the most money to their alma maters in the long run. But, that information is treated like the President's nuclear football, so I can only guess based on anecdotal information about huge donors.

    As far as I can tell from reading articles about 9-digit donors is that a one word description for many of the really big donors is jock: white, male, straight, athletic, competitive, fraternity-joining, and pretty conservative.

    To be a big donor it also helps to have legacy ties to the college: either your parents or your children should go to the college.

    For example, I first got interested in this subject reading about the first $100 million donor to USC. He was the shotputter on the USC track team, son of two USC grads, then started a steel fabrication company in Fresno.

    ...


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