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    #245210 - 04/06/19 01:57 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: spaghetti]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    I agree with a lot of the comments above.

    I went to a small elite liberal arts college and got a first rate education. But that college has changed, and I don't think it's as good as it used to be.

    Also, I converted the total cost of attendance at my college in my senior year, and got $43,800 in today's money. Today, the total cost of attendance at elite colleges is around $75,000. That's an insane price hike.

    Personally, I don't think the elite schools are worth it today. I argued upthread that small class sizes and excellent instruction are very important, but you can get both of those at a community college. For example, I took a modern physics course for majors last year. There were 20-ish students in the class and the instructor was outstanding. It cost something like $140.

    As for upper-level classes, they get smaller at the big universities. Not sure how small.

    There is the question of status. I have a whiff of arrogance concerning people who are concerned with status. But that's just me.

    Bottom line, IMO, the competitiveness of American society is a big factor undermining our universities. One outcome is the crazed focus on ELITE SCHOOLS when the point is really lack of EDUCATIONAL AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE. Elite schools should be places where very bright people go to learn history or science or engineering or whatever, not places where wealthy people pay admissions bribes both legal and illegal because...status. But I am an idealist.

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    #245211 - 04/06/19 03:24 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    madeinuk Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1453
    Loc: NJ
    Quote:
    But I am an idealist.


    So was I but reality battered me into being a Cynic.

    The Ivies appear to have been hypocritically paying lip service to 'equality' while in practice intentionally turning an Ivy League degree into a Veblen good.


    Edited by madeinuk (04/06/19 03:25 PM)
    _________________________
    Become what you are

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    #245212 - 04/06/19 04:03 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: madeinuk]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk
    Quote:
    But I am an idealist.


    So was I but reality battered me into being a Cynic.

    The Ivies appear to have been hypocritically paying lip service to 'equality' while in practice intentionally turning an Ivy League degree into a Veblen good.


    Well... I should have said that I'm an idealist in the way I think things should be, but cynical in what I expect will happen.

    In other words, I agree completely with the above.

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    #245270 - 04/17/19 05:19 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5223
    A book about Ivy League Admissions that may be of interest:
    The Road to Yale: Application, Essays, and Resumes that Wowed Yale Admission Officers (2017)
    By Yale Admitted Students

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    #245281 - 04/18/19 04:19 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1688
    But what is the way that you think things should be, Val? That there should be less minorities because their scores are lower? I accept that if legacies have lower scores they should not get in, but in my experience, it is a matter of students of equal academic merit, the legacy gets in. I have known alumni parents that paid millions in donations and their kid did not get in because the scores were not good enough. There has been a lot of info due to the lawsuit against Harvard. There are legacies, but also children of professors, dean's list -- like a Natalie Portman, famous people they let in. But there are no really low scores, except when I went through college confidential, the lowest scores came from african americans who were first time college in the family. These were kids coming from unpriveleged backgrounds that were showing initiative in some areas in their lives and Harvard was giving them a shot. I think that is a good thing for the student body.

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    #245285 - 04/18/19 06:30 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2639
    Loc: MA
    Here is a long but informative essay on historical trends in college admissions.

    INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: MUCH MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW
    POSTED ON APRIL 15, 2019
    BY SCOTT ALEXANDER

    ...

    6. Conclusions

    1. There is strong evidence for more competition for places at top colleges now than 10, 50, or 100 years ago. There is medium evidence that this is also true for upper-to-medium-tier colleges. It is still easy to get into medium-to-lower-tier colleges.

    2. Until 1900, there was no competition for top colleges, medical schools, or law schools. A secular trend towards increasing admissions (increasing wealth + demand for skills?) plus two shocks from the GI Bill and the Vietnam draft led to a glut of applicants that overwhelmed schools and forced them to begin selecting applicants.

    3. Changes up until ten years ago were because of a growing applicant pool, after which the applicant pool (both domestic and international) stopped growing and started shrinking. Increased competition since ten years ago does not involve applicant pool size.

    4. Changes after ten years ago are less clear, but the most important factor is probably the ease of applying to more colleges. This causes an increase in applications-per-admission which is mostly illusory. However, part of it may be real if it means students are stratifying themselves by ability more effectively. There might also be increased competition just because students got themselves stuck in a high-competition equilibrium (ie an arms race), but in the absence of data this is just speculation.

    5. Medical schools are getting harder to get into, but law schools are getting easier to get into. There is no good data for graduate schools.

    6. All the hand-wringing about getting into good colleges is probably a waste of time, unless you are from a disadvantaged background. For most people, admission to a more selective college does not translate into a more lucrative career or a higher chance of admission to postgraduate education. There may be isolated exceptions at the very top, like for Supreme Court justices.

    I became interested in this topic partly because there’s a widespread feeling, across the political spectrum, that everything is getting worse. I previously investigated one facet of this – that necessities are getting more expensive – and found it to be true. Another facet is the idea that everything is more competitive and harder to get into. My parents’ generation tells stories of slacking off in high school, not worrying about it too much, and knowing they’d get into a good college anyway. Millennials tell stories of an awful dog-eat-dog world where you can have perfect grades and SAT scores and hundreds of hours of extracurriculars and still get rejected from everywhere you dreamed of.

    I don’t really have a strong conclusion here. At least until ten years ago, colleges were harder to get into because more people were able to (or felt pressured to) go to college. The past ten years are more complicated, but might be because of increased stratification by ability. Is that good or bad? I’m not sure. I still don’t feel like I have a great sense of what, if anything, went wrong, whether our parents’ rose-colored picture was accurate, or whether there’s anything short of reversing all progress towards egalitarianism that could take us back. I’m interested to get comments from people who understand this area better than I do.

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    #245292 - 04/19/19 01:39 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1688
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian


    3 but the most important factor is probably the ease of applying to more colleges. This causes an increase in applications-per-admission which is mostly illusory. However, part of it may be real if it means students are stratifying themselves by ability more effectively. There might also be increased competition just because students got themselves stuck in a high-competition equilibrium (ie an arms race), but in the absence of data this is just speculation.

    Millennials tell stories of an awful dog-eat-dog world where you can have perfect grades and SAT scores and hundreds of hours of extracurriculars and still get rejected from everywhere you dreamed of.



    I take those 2 points. There is clearly an arms race. Just the fact that there are dozens (that I just know of) college consultants charging so much to package your kid. Getting great scores, have some good extracurriculars and community service and you are passed as ordinary. That is the most telling. Too many kids that fit the profile. They want kids that will take a broad array of subjects since they have professors teaching a broad array of subjects. It is a logistical dance to cull the kids that will succeed academically, see that they take a broad array of subjects and participate in a broad array of extracurriculars so that the school thrives as a total community. So for 2000 spots there are 5000 applicants with perfect SATs. And corresponding great scores in AP courses. Then it is a matter of defining you by your interests, your socio-ethnic background and whatever personality indicators they assess so they don't have a bunch of kids in the dorm just staring at each other.

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    #245298 - 04/20/19 03:50 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Wren]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2639
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Wren
    Then it is a matter of defining you by your interests, your socio-ethnic background and whatever personality indicators they assess so they don't have a bunch of kids in the dorm just staring at each other.

    In all the other countries that do not practice holistic admissions, is dorm and campus life more boring than in the U.S.? When admissions is based on academics, teens can spend their non-academic time as they wish, which will arguably make them more interesting people.

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    #245299 - 04/21/19 12:44 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    I have two degrees from places that don’t practice holistic admissions, plus two years as an undergrad in one of them (this at a top European university).

    Overall, the students I knew were more interesting, better educated, and more fun than their American counterparts. They worked hard to get the exam results they needed for admission, but they weren’t drones.

    Student life was steeped in historical traditions like Renaissance choral groups giving lunchtime performances and debate societies and conversations both philosophical and foolish.

    The undergraduate programs were better and cost less than here. Even today, when my alma mater is “expensive,” it’s not even half of what you’d pay for a place like Stanford. And the graduate programs: let’s just say that the situation where you’re a serf until your supervisor decides to sign off on your thesis doesn’t exist. I was appalled by the system here when I returned. I still am.

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    #245300 - 04/21/19 02:08 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1688
    I come from Canada. It was all about grades, though they are changing that now. The extracurriculars were not that strong, though it was a big school. Football was big. The clubs are not strong, like at a school like Harvard. It was basically going to school, football on Sat. I played some tennis, some squash, but I don't remember there was a strong outside school life, except for parties. Debate is strong at U of Toronto. Although my undergrad school has the top business school in Canada, it doesn't get close to the donations that Harvard gets for research, new build, endowments. Johns Hopkins got lucky with Bloomberg's almost 2 billion donation. But they don't often get that. When you can build a state of the art engineering school because some alumni donates 500 million, it goes a long way in the type of education you can provide. And they seem to have a lot of people who come out there that later have the ability to donate 9 figures. Jeff Bezos comes from Princeton, Gates, Harvard, Zuckerberg, Harvard. Not only the gifts of over 100 million, but there are so many in the 10s of millions. That buys top professors, equipment, scholarships. That is the big thing when you look at the lists of top universities. Why the Chinese schools are rising. Research dollars. Even some in the middle east, research dollars. Canada is slipping because of it. The UK schools are slipping.

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