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    #220550 - 08/07/15 06:49 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2595
    Loc: MA
    Here is how someone who says he interviews for Harvard says the process works:

    http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=171074&start=50#p2580725

    Quote:
    [T]he AO (admissions office) offers to schedule interviews for every candidate that applies, wherever there are in the world. Cities like NYC have a surplus of alumni and often have two year waiting periods just to be allowed to interview. In the Bay Area, we are generally a bit short of interviewers and will focus on candidates ranked 3 or higher by the AO. The goal of the interview is NOT to get facts (e.g. SAT scores, list of accomplishments, rankings). Those details will all come out in the application itself. Instead, we try to get a sense of the candidate as a person and most importantly how they might fit in with their potential peers in college. The AO asks interviewers to report on "What is it like to sit and talk to the student? What are the student’s motivations or aspirations? Does the conversation flow freely? What kind of roommate will this student be?" The last one is my favorite and usually what I like to focus on.

    In the end, the interviewer will write up a report with their impressions of the candidate along with specific examples and quotations from them. Strong candidates will get longer write ups. Non-competitive candidates will get shorter ones but any reservations we have should be explained. We rank students in several areas from 1+ (the highest) to 5-. All students start with 3 and move up/down from there. For example, in extracurriculars, a students who participates actively (5-10+ hours/week plus competitions) in Math Olympiad (a popular club here) will get a 3. If they have won some sort of state or regional recognition, they will get a score in the 2 range (+/-). If they make it to the national or international level, they may get a 1 (extremely rare). Most accepted students will be in the 2/2+ range. During the final round of admissions, the whole admit committee at Harvard will put the interview report on a projector while a regional "advocate" reads through the highlights of a candidate's application before a decision is made. Since I don't work on the admissions side, I can't say for certain how much weight the interview has but a good report will certainly nudge up candidates who are already competitive on paper.


    As we know, getting in is very difficult:

    Quote:
    As far as college interviewing goes, DW and I have being volunteering with the local Silicon Valley Harvard club for the past 6 years. In that time, we have interviewed over 30 candidates. Of those, 3 were wait-listed and only 1 was accepted (admit rate for 2015 was 5.3%). Many, many more were, by any standard, truly exceptional students (near-prefect scores on their exams, 4.0+ GPAs, 8-13 AP courses, diverse extracurriculars) but competition is quite fierce in the public school districts here. Many of the students have highly educated parents who work in tech and have similarly high expectations for their kids. We love meeting the students at the various recruiting events but it's the parents who give us the most trouble!

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    #220592 - 08/10/15 05:45 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4299
    Thought some may enjoy these youtube videos on the theme of this thread, Ivy League Admissions:

    1) Neurotic Parents Guide to College Admissions, approximately 48 seconds
    2) Applying to College, the Musical Movie, approximately 20 minutes

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    #233441 - 09/02/16 06:54 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2595
    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).

    MIT has admitted an Indian unschooler because of her computer programming prowess:

    Meet the 17-year-old ‘dropout’ headed to MIT
    By Christine Burroni
    New York Post
    August 31, 2016
    Quote:
    This 17-year-old didn’t need to take an SAT to get into college — or even a high school diploma.

    Malvika Raj Joshi of Mumbai, who long ago abandoned formal schooling, landed a scholarship to Massachusetts Institute of Technology after her outstanding performance at an annual computer programming competition, according to First Post.

    Joshi medaled her way to MIT after receiving two silver and one bronze in the International Olympiad of Informatics, which caught the eye of the Boston university — despite not being enrolled in a high school.

    The decision to leave the traditional education system was made by her mother, Supriya, who believed her daughter’s so-called merit was more significant than her grades.

    “Malvika was doing well in school, but somehow I felt that my children need to be happy. Happiness is more important than conventional knowledge,” Supriya said.

    American students can get noticed by excelling in the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO).

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    #243095 - 06/15/18 04:27 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2595
    Loc: MA
    Almost everyone applying to selective schools such as the University of Chicago has SAT or ACT scores. Why wouldn't an admissions committee want to see them? The SAT and ACT offer fee waivers based on income, so how do "tests place an unfair cost and burden on low-income and minority students"?

    University of Chicago to stop requiring ACT and SAT scores for prospective undergraduates
    by Dawn Rhodes
    Chicago Tribune
    June 14, 2018

    Quote:
    For years, a debate has simmered at the nation’s universities and colleges over how much weight should be given to standardized tests as officials consider students for admission — and whether they should be required at all.

    A growing number, including DePaul University, have opted to stop requiring the SAT and ACT in their admissions process, saying the tests place an unfair cost and burden on low-income and minority students, and ultimately hinder efforts to broaden diversity on campus. But the trend has escaped the nation’s most selective universities.

    Until now. The University of Chicago announced Thursday that it would no longer require applicants for the undergraduate college to submit standardized test scores.

    While it will still allow applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores, university officials said they would let prospective undergraduates send transcripts on their own and submit video introductions and nontraditional materials to supplement their applications.

    “We were sending a message to students, with our own requirements, that one test basically identifies you,” said Jim Nondorf, vice president and dean of admissions at U. of C. “Despite the fact that we would say testing is only one piece of the application, that’s the first thing a college asks you. We wanted to really take a look at all our requirements and make sure they were fair to every group, that everybody, anybody could aspire to a place like UChicago.”

    University of Chicago Drops SAT, ACT Requirement for Admissions:
    Prestigious university joins movement to de-emphasize test scores, saying it ‘levels the playing field’
    By Tawnell D. Hobbs
    Wall Street Journal
    June 14, 2018

    Quote:
    The University of Chicago has dropped an admission requirement for students to submit either SAT or ACT test scores, becoming the most prestigious university to do so and joining hundreds of others in the test-optional movement.

    The university’s initiative, announced Thursday, “levels the playing field” for first-generation and low-income students, said James G. Nondorf, dean of admissions and vice president of enrollment and student advancement.

    “Some students are good testers, some students are not,” Mr. Nondorf said. “We want to remove any policy or program that we have that advantages one group of students over the other.”

    Advocates of the test-optional movement praised the decision, calling it a “major milestone.”

    “I think it’ll have an effect across the spectrum. It breaks the ice for this real top-tier of nationally selective colleges,” said Robert Schaeffer, public education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest.

    Organizations that administer the ACT and SAT noted that most applicants to four-year colleges go to institutions that rely on the exams to help determine admission.

    “Comparing students based on widely different sources of information with no common metric increases the subjectivity of admissions decisions,” ACT spokesman Ed Colby said in a statement.

    SAT spokesman Zach Goldberg said that with research on grade inflation showing high-school GPAs are higher than ever, it’s important to have another measure like the SAT.

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    #243096 - 06/15/18 04:37 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2595
    Loc: MA
    Harvard Undergraduates Could Be Much Smarter
    By JASON RICHWINE
    National Review
    June 14, 2018

    Quote:
    Roger Clegg points to Harvard University’s defense of racial preferences in admissions, offered in response to a lawsuit that alleges discrimination against Asian-American applicants. One part of Harvard’s statement seems especially disingenuous to me. After singing the praises of “whole person” admissions, the statement hints — without explicitly declaring — that the school has no alternative. Even if Harvard wanted to select students solely on the basis of academic ability, it would (supposedly) be impossible because the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places in the freshman class. From the Harvard statement:

    Quote:
    A large percentage of applicants are academically qualified to be admitted to Harvard. For example, each year, far more applicants have perfect SAT verbal scores or perfect SAT math scores than are admitted. While academic ability is important and necessary, and transcends test scores and GPAs, for applicants who are academically qualified, other factors bear significantly on admissions decisions.

    In a recent admissions cycle (in which fewer than 2,000 applicants out of approximately 40,000 were admitted):

    COMMENTS
    Over 8,000 domestic applicants had perfect GPAs
    Over 3,400 applicants had perfect SAT math scores
    Over 2,700 applicants had perfect SAT verbal scores


    The strong implication here is that “whole person” admissions are unavoidable, as it is simply too difficult to differentiate thousands of applicants on academic accomplishment alone. But that implication is false. Look again at those numbers. Yes, the number of applicants with a perfect math or verbal SAT score exceeds the number of slots, but how many applicants had perfect math and verbal scores? Likely far fewer. For that matter, how many applicants had perfect math and verbal scores and had perfect GPAs? Then there are the SAT Subject Tests. How many applicants aced the regular SAT and aced the biology test and aced the physics test and aced the world-history test? And don’t forget Academic Decathlon, science fairs, the Chemistry Olympiad, and so on.

    It’s certainly possible to sort among the academic best and brightest, but most elite universities simply choose not to do so. In a terrific essay for The New Republic back in 2014, Steven Pinker noted that only about 5 to 10 percent of Harvard freshmen earn their spot on the basis of academic ability alone. The rest are there for “holistic” reasons — in Harvard’s words, “extra-curricular interests, race, socioeconomic background, and life experiences.” I’m sure we could add legacies and donor relations to that list as well. As a result of all this holism, Harvard’s undergraduates are a less impressive group of students than they could be.

    The essay by Pinker is The Trouble With Harvard:The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it.

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    #243097 - 06/15/18 06:45 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4299
    While Harvard could select its undergrads differently, would choosing by test scores alone be selecting "smarter" students?

    As more students apply who've achieved a perfect score on one of the high-stakes tests, selecting students based on perfect test scores in all areas might not gather a "smarter" student body but one which is more:
    - test-focused (a test is a "snapshot", a proxy for one's knowledge base, but not the ultimate or only measure... anyone can have an "off" day)
    - high-achieving, one-dimensional (for example, Amy Chua's tiger-parented, Harvard-bound kids were described as having little social life due to focus on academics, piano, etc)
    - high-pressured, inflexible (no plan about what to do next, no "plan B" if not accepted to Harvard)

    If I understand correctly, this article is suggesting raising test score standards for admission... and is therefore different than NYC considering lowering standards for admissions to its specialized high schools... at least in approach. However the end result may be the same: limiting access to a population based on race/ethnicity.

    That said, any selection or de-selection based on race or ethnicity is, in my opinion, unethical and immoral. Sports teams choose the best athletes, without regard to race/ethnicity. We see this in varsity, college teams, professional sports, Olympics. Educational institutions may be wise to do the same.

    Therefore if choosing applicants for admission based on perfect test scores alone creates a more objective criteria, and reduces subjectivity, then I would tend to support it... not because it necessarily brings in "smarter" students... but because using objective criteria generally tends to be fair, transparent, known proactively, etc.

    Because policy/practice changes drive changes in behavior, this brings a question to mind: What happens in the future as more students apply who've achieved a perfect score on all of the high-stakes tests?

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    #243098 - 06/15/18 07:33 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Thomas Percy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/18/12
    Posts: 206
    Harvard and most Ivy League schools are not interested in maximizing academic potentials of the their students. They want to maximize influence and future donations. I think they are quite satisfied with their results in that way.

    Also standardized testings like SAT have become easier. Less of a correlation with IQ, for example. Grade inflation is rampant. The education system is designed to make good students less likely to stand out.

    The schools who care about their students' smart behave very differently. Just look at Caltech and to some extent MIT. I am very disappointed by U of Chicago's direction. I didn't expect them to be the leader in the test optional movement.

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    #243099 - 06/15/18 08:35 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2595
    Loc: MA
    Harvard Rated Asian-American Applicants Lower on Personality Traits, Lawsuit Says
    Anemona Hartocollis
    New York Times
    June 15, 2018
    Quote:
    Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than any other race on personal traits like “positive personality,” likability, courage, kindness and being “widely respected,” according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday in federal court in Boston by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university.

    Asian-Americans scored higher than applicants of any other racial or ethnic group on admissions measures like test scores, grades and extracurricular activities, according to the analysis commissioned by a group that opposes all race-based admissions criteria. But the students’ personal ratings significantly dragged down their chances of being admitted, the analysis found.

    ...

    Harvard’s 2013 internal review found that if Harvard considered only academic achievement, the Asian-American share of the class would rise to 43 percent from the actual 19 percent. After accounting for Harvard’s preference for recruited athletes and legacy applicants, the proportion of whites went up, while the share of Asian-Americans fell to 31 percent. Accounting for extracurricular and personal ratings, the share of whites rose again, and Asian-Americans fell to 26 percent.

    What brought the Asian-American number down to roughly 18 percent, or about the actual share, was accounting for a category called “demographic,” the study found. This pushed up African-American and Hispanic numbers, while reducing whites and Asian-Americans.

    “Further details (especially around the personal rating) may provide further insight,” the internal report said.

    But, the plaintiffs said in their motion Friday, there was no further insight, because, “Harvard killed the study and quietly buried the reports.”

    Some court files are at the web site of the plaintiffs, Students for Fair Admissions.
    _________________________
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

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    #243100 - 06/15/18 09:40 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4299
    The website of Students for Fair Admissions mentions Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

    This brings to mind two recent cases:

    Originally Posted By: NYT article, 2016 (Texas case)
    ... the ruling’s basic message was that admissions officials may continue to consider race as one factor among many in ensuring a diverse student body.


    Originally Posted By: Cornell summary (Michigan case)
    Equal Protection Clause does not prohibit the Law School’s narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.


    Also from Cornell summary:
    Originally Posted By: Cornell summary (Michigan case)
    “It would be a sad day indeed, were America to become a quota-ridden society, with each identifiable minority assigned proportional representation in every desirable walk of life. But that is not the rationale for programs of preferential treatment; the acid test of their justification will be their efficacy in eliminating the need for any racial or ethnic preferences at all”

    Top
    #243101 - 06/15/18 01:59 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    philly103 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/02/17
    Posts: 77
    As someone noted previously, I've always taken the current Ivy model to be one that seeks to put the well connected, the very bright and untapped potentials all in the same room with the goal of maximizing post-graduation networks of influence. So, the son of a politician in the same room as a kid with future leadership potential. Or the daughter of a CEO in the same classes as a kid with potential in her parent's industry.

    Through that mixing and mingling, they provide the powerful with talented kids to use in the future and the talented kids with access to social capital they wouldn't otherwise obtain.

    Specific to GPA's and SAT's, GPA inflation is rampant. It's crazy how many kids have 4.0+ GPA's even with an occasional B. The test score situation is becoming just as bad. Given how much time and money some people devote to prepping for that single test, do the scores still reflect intrinsic ability and future potential or just more effective test prep?

    It's a complicated subject because as the stakes for getting into an elite college go up, the more people devote resources to specializing in college admission. Which leads to less attention on what happens post-graduation.

    As a gifted forum, I'm sure we've all read up on the difference between the gifted and those kids who are hothoused into similar appearing results. We wouldn't confuse the 2 but frequently colleges are coming face to face with having to make that call. Is this student as amazing as their GPA and test score suggests or is this an example of academic hothousing.

    I don't know what to make of the personality thing. I had read a separate short piece that alleged that 85% of the difference between Asian American admissions and projected achievement admissions is tied to legacies, donors and athletes but that was in relation to the West Coast, I think.

    The cited Harvard numbers seem to speak to the same general trend where ~70% of the difference comes from these other non-academic, non-demographic criteria.

    I have a mixed opinion on this. These schools are desired because they seem to open doors to post graduation opportunities at greater rates. People want to send their kids to these schools because of those post graduation opportunities. But the reason they provide those opportunities is precisely because they carefully select a student body that maximizes those post-graduation opportunities. And those opportunities are largely not about pure academic skills.

    So if the university switches to a primarily academic focus, do they sacrifice some of the soft skills that are essential to making it post graduation? A great politician doesn't need to be an elite student, it's a different set of skills and Harvard would probably not want to sacrifice it's politician pool just to bolster it's scientist pool (maybe to bolster it's finance pool though since they might donate in greater amounts, lol).

    Anyway, I do think some kind of change is needed as this point because the fixation on admission to a small handful of schools is distorting secondary school behavior.

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