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    #201573 - 09/21/14 10:07 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1449
    Loc: NJ
    Quote:

    a) student with top grades and test scores, with a set of three or four possible majors...


    You just described A-levels, I think people take about 8 of them now as they were dumbed down in the middle eighties. When I took them I followed a broad cross section of interests; Maths (Pure&Applied), Physics, Geography and History of Art.
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    #201574 - 09/21/14 11:16 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    See, that is what bothers me about the US system, to some extent-- that there is this schizophrenic mentality that "well-roundedness" is good, but at the same time, students are expected to have a singular passion well-developed at 17 years of age. So being pointy is in some ways disproportionately rewarded by a system that CLAIMS to value polymaths, but punishes them for being polymaths.
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    #201576 - 09/21/14 12:00 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    MegMeg Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/14/10
    Posts: 615
    "Soundness, roundness, and a gimmick." Except that's the advice for PhD candidates going on the job market.

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    #201578 - 09/21/14 01:10 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    mithawk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 243
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
    See, that is what bothers me about the US system, to some extent-- that there is this schizophrenic mentality that "well-roundedness" is good, but at the same time, students are expected to have a singular passion well-developed at 17 years of age. So being pointy is in some ways disproportionately rewarded by a system that CLAIMS to value polymaths, but punishes them for being polymaths.

    When was the last time when a well-rounded individual was considered desirable for college? My nephew was accepted to a HYPSM about 8 years ago, and even then people were saying that colleges were looking for "pointy people", that when put together made a well-rounded class.

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    #201597 - 09/21/14 05:20 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Regardless of what colleges supposedly should do, and what they do do, there is still the inescapable fact that SAT/ACT test have too low a ceiling, and the colleges are missing a huge amount of information about the academic ability of their applicants, and there is no excuse for them not actively pushing for harder tests.

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    #201598 - 09/21/14 05:46 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1449
    Loc: NJ
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    Regardless of what colleges supposedly should do, and what they do do, there is still the inescapable fact that SAT/ACT test have too low a ceiling, and the colleges are missing a huge amount of information about the academic ability of their applicants, and there is no excuse for them not actively pushing for harder tests.


    This!
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    #201600 - 09/21/14 06:49 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    mithawk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 243
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    Regardless of what colleges supposedly should do, and what they do do, there is still the inescapable fact that SAT/ACT test have too low a ceiling, and the colleges are missing a huge amount of information about the academic ability of their applicants, and there is no excuse for them not actively pushing for harder tests.

    They have a very good reason for refusing harder tests--it restricts their freedom. The first goal for colleges are self preservation and growth, hence the preference for legacies and athletics, both of which fuel alumni donations. But once self-preservation and growth has been achieved, college believe themselves to be forces for social engineering, helping right what they see as wrong in society.

    If the test ceilings are high and clearly student A is superior to student B, then it is hard for the college to refuse student A. But it may turn out that the A group students are highly skewed in some ways, such as socioeconomically, racially, geographically, family structure (two parents vs one), etc. Colleges think, rightly or wrongly, that part of their job is to help those who did not grow up in the right circumstances and therefore were unable to achieve the way group A did. Having low ceilings gives them discretion to make these decisions.



    Edited by mithawk (09/21/14 07:21 PM)
    Edit Reason: "did grow up" => "did not grow up"

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    #201601 - 09/21/14 07:13 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: mithawk]
    22B Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/10/13
    Posts: 1228
    Originally Posted By: mithawk
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    Regardless of what colleges supposedly should do, and what they do do, there is still the inescapable fact that SAT/ACT test have too low a ceiling, and the colleges are missing a huge amount of information about the academic ability of their applicants, and there is no excuse for them not actively pushing for harder tests.

    They have a very good reason for refusing harder tests--it restricts their freedom. The first goal for colleges are self preservation and growth, hence the preference for legacies and athletics, both of which fuel alumni donations. But once self-preservation and growth has been achieved, college believe themselves to be forces for social engineering, helping right what they see as wrong in society.

    If the test ceilings are high and clearly student A is superior to student B, then it is hard for the college to refuse student A. But it may turn out that the A group students are highly skewed in some ways, such as socioeconomically, racially, geographically, family structure (two parents vs one), etc. Colleges think, rightly or wrongly, that part of their job is to help those who did grow up in the right circumstances and therefore were unable to achieve the way group A did. Having low ceilings gives them discretion to make these decisions.

    Well I certainly suspect that some colleges like the low ceilings for the smokescreen that they provide. But I don't know for sure if it is planned, or if they are just being opportunistic, or if they are not aware of it, or don't believe it.

    But then there is also the question of what they do with this smokescreen. I am very skeptical that it is used for social justice, and if anything, the opposite may be true, that they use it to intentionally favor some groups and disfavor others, at the expense of social mobility. An obvious way to do this is, while supposedly being "needs blind", to look for signals of ability to pay, which a lot of extracurricular activities are.

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    #201603 - 09/21/14 07:28 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I agree-- I think that it provides a smokescreen and can be used in any way that they like, while they can still defend the position (to EITHER audience)-- with statements like "need-blind!" or "the RIGHT kinds of students," depending on who they are pitching it to.

    I don't believe for one minute that ad-coms and the administrators that they answer to don't know that the SAT/ACT isn't a good measure of true aptitude for high-level thinking and potential academic success at a high level. I think that they simply don't care, and that if anything, they prefer the situation as it is.

    It retains a certain sense of mystique when nobody is exactly sure WHAT it actually takes to get in, and when ad-coms can change it on the fly as desired. KWIM?
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    #201606 - 09/21/14 08:03 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    mithawk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/25/11
    Posts: 243
    Originally Posted By: 22B
    I am very skeptical that it is used for social justice, and if anything, the opposite may be true, that they use it to intentionally favor some groups and disfavor others, at the expense of social mobility. An obvious way to do this is, while supposedly being "needs blind", to look for signals of ability to pay, which a lot of extracurricular activities are.

    I still favor the social engineering angle.

    There was a recent NY Times article on colleges that, among other things, showed the endowment per student (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/09/upshot/top-colleges-that-enroll-rich-middle-class-and-poor.html). Assuming this chart is accurate, there are 7 colleges (including 3 Ivies) that have endowments of around $1M per student. Given that college endowments have averaged real returns of about 7%, these 7 colleges could charge zero tuition if they chose to. But I believe college is a Veblen good, so there is no reason for them to offer a low price.

    Among the Ivies, Dartmouth follows with ~$650K/student, while Brown, Columbia, UPenn, and Cornell are "slumming it" with endowments between $250K - $350K per student. At $250K per student, Cornell could generate about $18K per student in financial aid without depleting its endowment, and that ignores all other sources of financial aid the student is eligible for. So for practical purposes, I do believe that the Ivies are truly "need blind". There are also 23 other non-Ivy colleges with endowments higher than the bottom 4 Ivy colleges, and these too can be considered completely "need-blind".

    This is a simple example. I understand that colleges choose to spend their endowment returns on many other things besides financial aid, but I think the "need-blind" status holds.


    Edited by mithawk (09/21/14 08:17 PM)

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