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    #245139 - 03/28/19 06:07 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: madeinuk]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4474
    Somewhat diverging from the OP's focus on weighing ECs along with academics in making admissions decisions for elite schools...
    but in keeping with recent posts on flagging SAT scores:

    This article provides some insight into the process of SAT scores being flagged by College Board and Educational Testing Service (ETS), although in this specific case, it may have been a result of intensive study and focused prep which raised scores. Ultimately, it was agreed that this student was going to take the test again, and that College Board would work on completing its investigations more swiftly to minimize impact on students.
    Miami Gardens student drops fight to validate her SAT score
    By Jason Hanna, CNN
    February 9 & 10, 2019

    When considering the possibility of surrogate test-takers, regular test-center ID requirements are followed stringently, therefore concerns that a surrogate took the test may tend to arise only when a test is administered one-on-one, as was described regarding the recent college admissions scam.

    In the opposite vein, I am aware of homeschool students who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) at a local public high school, during that school's regularly scheduled PSAT/NMSQT administration for their own pupils. The homeschool students were assigned to sit in a designated row and their completed, unsealed tests were collected together as a group. When results were available online, in reviewing them they were astounded to see some answers were indicated as erasures, and had been changed to incorrect answers. They were certain they had made no erasures on their tests.

    #245140 - 03/28/19 02:28 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: madeinuk]
    ashley Offline

    Registered: 03/26/12
    Posts: 639
    Originally Posted By: madeinuk
    I am sure that surrogate test taking occurs more often than we know.

    The FBI merely stumbled upon this racket run by one individual. There are surely more of them out there. We have seen numerous reports of SAT tests being leaked from China and South Korea the day before the exams in the USA and that several coaching centers used those to provide unfair advantage to their clients. So, it is not really hard for a proxy test taker who is paid thousands of dollars to also get a hold of such resources.

    Obviously, I am assuming that the college board itself is innocent until proven guilty. I was hoping that one of the recent lawsuits against them by a high schooler will reveal how their internal auditing worked, but, that lawsuit seems to have been dropped.

    #245156 - 03/31/19 04:34 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1644
    Kid in DD's school got accepted at Harvard and apparently a few other top. Not that he isn't smart, but it was a surprising moment. And the rumor is that they got a consultant. But I looked at his linkedin page. Said he did a research project at Stanford for the first 8 months of 2018 (we are in toronto), and also did a research project at U of t on the impact of the new Nafta during the same period. Started a company to design business cards (though no website) said he started and is president of a business club (since I am on the parent funding group) which is basically he tried to start an investment club and asked us for 5K since they wanted to learn to trade with real money. I said no. So there is no business club. He is a strong debater but we have had stronger ones in the past couple years and they got waitlisted at top schools, since debate does not seem to be enough, even if you are on the national team. I question the veracity of those research projects and I wonder how much do they check when they have 50,000 applications to get through.

    #245157 - 03/31/19 06:23 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    cricket3 Offline

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 683
    Sorry, Wren, but this kind of thing shouldn’t be a surprising moment to anyone going through the process. It is very discouraging and can be divisive. Competition like that can really change people. We always tried to assume the best and believe that the kids like you describe had unseen gifts or achievements of which we were unaware. But the cheating that plagues schools like ours easily lends itself to “embellishments” on applications- we saw it on a small scale at awards ceremonies and honor society induction-type things (where it was often brazenly public), but know it is common on college apps. And no one checks, not the school counselors, advisors, or the college admission people. There were some very good schools our DD crossed off her list because of the classmates she saw admitted and/or matriculating there.

    My advice is to be supportive and continually remind your kid of their strengths, values, and the goal(s) they are working towards, and forget about the kid two seats down from them. It can be very, very difficult.

    #245158 - 03/31/19 12:03 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3795
    The majority of what one gets out of college at an accredited four-year institution is what one puts into it, and the experiences one seeks out. Not the name of the school, the quality of instruction, or the networking (with the exception of first-generation college students). Not to say there is absolutely no value to name/elite schools, but the incremental benefit for a young person from an educated, professional, financially-stable family may or may not justify the stress, diversion of energy away from true interests to resume-padders, and sometimes blurring of one's true identify--not to mention the assumption of massive amounts of student loan debt.
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

    #245160 - 03/31/19 12:37 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1644
    Had brunch with mother and DD's school president, who got into Stanford. She is in the class with the kid who embellished and across the class, there was shock that he got in. And it appears that some kids have been caught embellishing. So it is like tax audit, some get caught some don't.

    #245162 - 03/31/19 01:30 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Wren]
    ChaosMitten Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 10/20/14
    Posts: 35
    Somebody could take it upon themselves to report it to Harvard; they can and do rescind offers of admission for such things.

    Edited by ChaosMitten (03/31/19 01:31 PM)

    #245164 - 03/31/19 02:38 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: aeh]
    Val Offline

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    The majority of what one gets out of college at an accredited four-year institution is what one puts into it, and the experiences one seeks out. Not the name of the school, the quality of instruction...

    I disagree. The quality of instruction is enormously important.

    I went to a small liberal arts college. The expectations were high and the instructors were generally excellent. I don't recall taking a single multiple choice test there. Compare to a nearby state U where we could take classes. Classes were often huge, interaction with instructors was therefore minimal, and MC tests were the norm. Expectations were lower. Papers that got As at the big state U would have got Ds at my college.

    I agree that the physics or chem departments at a big university have a lot to offer and have high standards. But the same isn't true of all the departments. The reality is that a lecture with 200 or 500 students is very different from one with 20. A handful of the savvy state U students used to come to my college to take lower level science classes because our "giant" lecture classes had 40-50 students, compared to 500+ where they were. They got more attention at my little college. Full stop.

    The thing about little undergrad-focused colleges is that the emphasis is on teaching, not research. So these colleges put a greater priority on the former, while the big research universities have a very, very high priority on research.

    Now: I also understand that standards have fallen at many colleges since I graduated in the late 80s. My own alma mater has something like two dozen "studies" majors (up from a handful in my time) and has eased the science requirements while also providing easier options. I also know that the costs of many private colleges are over $70,000 a year and rising. I'm not sure that's worth it. I also know that you can go to a community college and have small classes with terrific instruction for about 1/100th to 1/50th of the price.

    But my point still stands: the quality of instruction is very important, as is class size. I teach myself a lot of things, but I learn a lot faster from a good instructor. Nothing compares to learning from someone who really knows the subject, and who knows 1) what to emphasize now based on what's coming later, and 2) how to put an idea in the context of the larger field. Poor instruction can impoverish a student by forcing him to waste time and by not illuminating the important ideas.

    It's a complex problem that's made more complex by inequality in our society and by the US competitive ethos (as opposed to a community ethos).

    Edited by Val (03/31/19 03:21 PM)

    #245165 - 04/01/19 07:35 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4474
    For an edge in Ivy League admissions, grab an oar and row
    By Sophie Alexander, Ben Steverman
    The Washington Post
    March 31, 2019
    Accessed from The Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2019

    Recent online articles continue to tout the importance of extra-curricular sports activities to help one gain admission to elite and Ivy League colleges, "a system that favors athletes in college admissions". This article focuses on rowing crew (possibly not coincidentally, a sport mentioned in the recent college admissions scandal), and shares that "college rowing coaches recruit heavily from abroad..."
    ... recruited athletes who score highly on academics have an 83 percent chance of getting in compared with 16 percent for non-athletes -- a 67-point boost. Legacy applicants and low-income applicants had a 40-point and 9-point boost, respectively.

    Meanwhile this college consulting service boasts
    Originally Posted By: Ivy Coach college consultant
    In 2018-2019 92% of students who worked with us on 3 schools or more and heeded our advice earned admission to their top college choice

    #245168 - 04/01/19 01:13 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: Val]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3795
    Val, perhaps I am overstating the point a bit. Of course, there are differences between good and bad instruction. Otherwise, we wouldn't need teachers of any kind. But my (possibly exaggerated) point is simply that beyond a minimum level of instructional quality, much of the difference in educational outcomes is reflective of the extracurricular resources of the individual student (prior learning, family resources, experiences, study skills, motivation, etc.). For most of the respectable range of four-year colleges, it seems to me that the effort, expense, and anxiety invested by a middle-class-plus family into attempting to move their child's college admissions up a tier is disproportionate to the educational gains resulting.
    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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