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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: 4727
    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: 1682
    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: 268
    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: 1682
    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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    #249420 - 12/08/21 04:36 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2634
    Loc: MA
    This essay questions the obsession with Ivies.

    The Liarís Club: Looking Back on Princeton
    by Scott Newman
    Quillette
    09 Dec 2021

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    #249421 - 12/09/21 06:08 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1682
    I read the piece. And, as former Wall St employee, I understand some of it but also take exception. One, I loved my career. And it was really fun, although there was a lot of work. It is much fun travelling around the world first class in your 20s, flying on private jets, going to Wall St parties of 2000 people with some famous singer performing. And being involved in structuring and creating new ways to invest. No, I did nothing to change the world. On the other hand, I created a child who is interested in deep ocean ecosystems. She wants her particular Ivy because they have research going on with Woods Hole. She hopes to go to MIT for a PhD because they also have a specific program with Woods Hole. She has a reason for why she wants to go there.
    Two, I get that many want finance yet they don't know what that really means. At DD's school, about 3 are applying to Harvard, 6 to Yale, 6 to MIT, 4 to Stanford and about 20 to UPenn for Wharton undergrad. I was shocked. Also, if I was one of the 20, I would have reconsidered and gone for U of Chicago. Better finance school and better chance. One is going for Johns Hopkins and another to Carnegie, out of the fray. That seems logical. Also, I understand this person was anxious throughout his college time, I do not know how typical he is. My kid plans to sail the first two years, be part of that community. And focus on deep ocean marine research. She wants the tough courses or she won't get into MIT for grad. She needs to build the relationships. I think parents are not talking enough with their kids to be more strategic. I told my kid, you will have to write grant proposals to get money all the time. If you develop a relationship with Woods Hole early and throughout, gives you a leg up on a well funded institution. This is part of the career planning process.
    It is not like going into medicine or law. Who cares where you go for undergrad, you just need to get into the right professional school. And yes, getting into clubs is desirable, but he should have been more about himself, not standing and criticizing. I think the article is more about him not the school. Why the whole Harvard lawsuit. They want kids that fit into that environment, not stress about it.

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    #249428 - 12/13/21 06:03 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2634
    Loc: MA
    A good tweet from Kenny Xu:

    Quote:
    In elite universities, the "eliteness" is no longer derived from a genuine jump in intelligence but social codes that elude "non-elites" - such as allyship, disdain for meritocracy, and vicarious repentance for other people's sins.

    We are in the age of the undeserved elite.

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    #249429 - 12/13/21 07:49 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1682
    When have the elite ever been deserving? When Astor killed the native Americans bringing him furs so he wouldn't have to pay them? I know someone who graduated decades ago, 15 generations Harvard. When they cared about so many generations. Totally destitute, bottom range of IQ of H grads. Buckley was a known racist. Elitist of the worse kind. But very smart.

    I think that now, with more first gen college getting admittance, the whole "who are you" assessment, you get a better class. Not just I score perfect on my SAT and all my APs so I am deserving.

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    #249430 - 12/13/21 06:39 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 91
    "Elite" in the elite universities was never about a jump in intelligence.

    It was always about a jump in social status. About wealth, social connections, history with the school, etc.

    The idea that the Ivies were ever purely about the intellectually elite is a narrative that's fairly recent. They were finishing schools for the socially elite that have gradually opened their doors to more and more of the general public.

    But because they're also gateways to financial security, the intellectually elite have always wanted access to the world they provide, the social connections, that just being smart cannot guarantee.

    I've always said that if the Ivies ever became simply about admitting the smartest kids, it wouldn't be long before they lost a significant part of their appeal. Because the smartest kids often aren't the best connected, the wealthiest, etc. The networks by which these institutions are defined would suffer.

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    #249432 - 12/14/21 06:34 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: philly103]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4727
    Originally Posted By: philly103
    ... the smartest kids often aren't the best connected, the wealthiest, etc.
    Agreed. smile

    Well said.

    Related post:
    What Should Everyone Know About Gifted Education? (2013) - The posts in this thread expose common myths about giftedness, and replace these misconceptions with simple truth. The linked post discusses that GIFTEDNESS and OPPORTUNITY are two distinct items.

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