Ivy League Admissions.

Posted by: 22B

Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 03:51 PM

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).

I came across this book "The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton" by Jerome Karabel
http://www.amazon.com/The-Chosen-Admission-Exclusion-Princeton/dp/061877355X
I won't read this 738 page book, but the reviews give a good idea of the history.

Can anyone suggest anything more succinct to read about this baffling topic?

Does anyone have any insight?

I imagine a discussion on this topic could get quite wide ranging but I'd specifically like to hear actionable information and actual experiences.
Posted by: Mk13

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 03:59 PM

I remember a discussion or two about this subject not too long ago. Might come up for you if you run the search.
Posted by: user1234

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 04:22 PM

In a nutshell, I recall reading somewhere that this was done to keep the number of Jews down in the universities (rampant anti semitism at the time). Apparently there were too many Jews for the admissions committees comfort at the time (the 40s maybe?). The idea was that Jews would easily be admitted using academic measures. But if other measures were introduced, admissions committees could use the extracurriculars as a way of excluding people. Am I the only one who has heard this?
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 04:23 PM

I'll add a couple of questions. Do you do anything about this (i.e. try to build an "EC resume") or do you just ignore the whole thing and see where your kid gets accepted? (And be happy not to go to a place that rejects your kid for the wrong reasons.)

Also, can anyone explicitly name which universities put weight on ECs at the expense of academics?
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 04:30 PM

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).

Visit College Confidential, where this is discussed non-stop smile.
A book I liked was

The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College (2003)
by Jacques Steinberg

which profiled the admissions process at Wesleyan.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 05:11 PM

Originally Posted By: 22B
I'll add a couple of questions. Do you do anything about this (i.e. try to build an "EC resume") or do you just ignore the whole thing and see where your kid gets accepted? (And be happy not to go to a place that rejects your kid for the wrong reasons.)

Also, can anyone explicitly name which universities put weight on ECs at the expense of academics?


I believe that it is pretty much always AND, not "instead of."

It's just that with grade inflation being what it is, and with AP coursework not being what it used to...


well, there isn't so much to indicate which kids are the authentic article and are likely to succeed at a genuinely rigorous/prestigious institution.

Okay-- that's the official line, anyway.

Cynical me says that extracurriculars requiring ANY of:

[SPAM], numerous vaccinations, special riding clothes, equipment which can only be purchased at auction and for a lot of money,

and most critically-- heaps of cash--

probably also signify to admissions committees that they are looking at the vitae of future alumni who will donate even larger heaps of cash eventually.

I second College Confidential-- just be aware that everyone there has very definitely been drinking the Kool-Aid, and quite a few of them have been drinking doubles or triples, neat.

wink

But it will give you a sense of the sheer extent of the frenzy, anyway.

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 05:47 PM

Yes, College Confidential is the place to go. Be warned, it is like crack for parents of college bound students, though!

One book that I really like that can help you think about ECs vs academics is:

How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) by Cal Newport
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 06:31 PM

I think it comes down to the stats of the kids who apply to the elite schools. Most applicants have stellar GPAs and SAT scores; the admissions folks need to look at other aspects of the application. Somewhere I recall reading that about 85 percent of Yale's applicants are "qualified", but since they admit less than 10 percent, other factors come into play.

For example, here are some stats on Brown applicants/admitted students:
http://www.brown.edu/admission/undergraduate/about/admission-facts

You have 2,457 applicants with an 800 SAT Math score. Brown admitted 2,759 students, so if they went strictly by scores, then you probably shouldn't even bother applying if you were less than perfect on the math section.

A kid with a 770 or 780 in math (one question wrong) isn't a weaker applicant than the 800 kid. Once you get to a score of about 2250 on the SAT, there isn't much difference from a perfect 2400 (just a few questions wrong on each portion can bring you down 150 points).
Posted by: gabalyn

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 06:44 PM

I guess I drunk some Kool-Aid myself, because I'm Brown grad. When I got in – a long time ago –, when it was certainly much easier than it is now, Brown's
line was that they wanted people who were passionate. Their story was that they were looking for young people who really cared about something, and were willing to take a risk to pursue it. I will say this. I recently went to my (gulp) 25th reunion. Most of the people that I reconnected with there had done some really interesting things with their lives. There were lots of doctors, a handful of lawyers, and many professors. There were nonprofit CEOs, and political activists. Movie directors, and social workers. There were very few people who had made a killing in financial services or business. It does seem that, at least as it pertains to my graduating class, there was something to the propaganda.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 07:34 PM

Originally Posted By: 22B
I'll add a couple of questions. Do you do anything about this (i.e. try to build an "EC resume") or do you just ignore the whole thing and see where your kid gets accepted? (And be happy not to go to a place that rejects your kid for the wrong reasons.)

Also, can anyone explicitly name which universities put weight on ECs at the expense of academics?



Oh, and since we're in the thick of this right now, (the college shopping extravaganza, I mean) given that DD is a rising HS senior, I should have answered the first part of the post.

A. I refuse to participate in this toxic arms race. I have more principles than that, and I do not wish to signal to my child that a limitless variety of means are justified by some end which is largely of mythical importance anyway. This is what I would call-- The Moral/Ethical High Ground. These children are being actively coached to OPT OUT of the elite college machine. NO WAY would their parents send them to an Ivy, even if they wanted to go. shocked


B) Children must be prodded, coaxed, and bribed into the right choices. When that doesn't work, do whatever is necessary to demonstrate participation and move on to another activity that looks... er... elite. Sure, he doesn't love Chess, but he needs to learn that we all do things that we're good at. Save love for your grandma.
All the other parents are helping their kids get {competitive opportunity/award/etc}, so it's not like he's got much of a chance if I don't do his science fair project. I'm sure not going to feel guilty about helping MY kid get ahead of everyone else's kids... if they want their kids to get ahead, they need to be doing it, too. whistle

C) I'm going to click my heels together three times and hope that this goes away. FAR away. On the other hand, every time I open one eye even a teensy slit, I find that college tuition has jumped another 5%. Maybe I should help. All the other parents seem to be doing it. Gosh, what if allowing her all those hours in girl scouts/dogging/reading/playing in the mud/babysitting was WRONG?? Oh no... sure, she liked it. But maybe we should have pushed her harder in fencing, cryptography and water polo. She liked those things too. We should probably have been more ruthless and forced her to spend her summers working at a volunteer job rather than visiting my mom and her cousins in the country. Aughhhh... I hope she knows that we just wanted her to be happy and enjoy her childhood. What if she wants to go to Snooty University and we BLEW it?? eek

D) I know that he'll get into a great school... because I've made sure of it. But what then?? What if he hates it?? He certainly seems to have resented the process of getting his resume into that condition. He'd never practice at all if we didn't tie him to the sofa. I hope he can handle the pressure year after next. He doesn't seem very happy, though. Hopefully Elite College will be better for him. We've done it all for him, after all. I'm sure he knows we only wanted the best for him. eek

Us?

We fall most near C-- like most parents these days, save the ones we avoid (the B and D types). I completely understand the motives of the A parents, though. Boy, do I ever.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 07:38 PM

I'll also say that a good many C-type parents are stunned to see just how much the landscape has shifted under them since they were applying themselves. They really thought it was mostly talk from hyperventilating helicopter parents and that it would be relatively low-stress for THEM, because, well, they already knew what college admissions were like, having done it themselves once upon a time.

It wasn't all Kool-Aid then. I'm convinced of that.

The other horrifying thing is that most institutions now want the value of assets like your residence, your retirement savings, etc. in calculating your child's "need" for assistance in writing checks to the tune of 45-70K annually.

I don't know too many middle class-- even UMC-- families that can do that. It feels extortive, frankly.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 08:32 PM


As I still have nightmares about college and consider it the absolute worse experience in my entire life (yes, worse than practicing law), I am going to recuse myself from this discussion.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/14/13 08:52 PM

We have been through the process twice in the past five years (youngest D will be a college freshman in 6 weeks!). Really -- go to College Confidential's discussion area. You won't find enough people on this forum who have successfully navigated it recently to get solid advice. On CC you can really learn the ins and outs of how to maximize your need based and merit based financial aid, hear about how to balance grades vs. test scores vs. ECs when looking at your kids chances for schools, get suggestions on reach/match/safety schools, explore the pros and cons of visiting and what to do on visits, endlessly discuss the pros and cons of Early Action and Early Decision applications, and just about anything else you could ever think to ask regarding college. The landscape HAS changed unbelievably since we went to college, but CC is a fantastic resource to help you navigate through it.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 05:00 AM

Thanks intparent for the experienced based input. This type of discussion tends to have too much whining about reality and wanting a different scenario.

The world is different and you gave actionable advice to give your kid advantage in a highly competitive environment.

Having heared from parents going through the process this year, I heard good stories about fairly easy admissions to USC and Columbia, with good scores, not perfect and not big ECs. The USC stories seem to be generous about scholarships. But these are anecdotal. Good luck.
Posted by: epoh

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 07:16 AM

At this point I am hoping against hope that Texas's current rule where the top X% of high school students are granted automatic acceptance to state schools sticks around. When I graduated it was 10%, last I heard they'd dropped it to 7% or something.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 07:49 AM

Another resource that may be helpful is your school counseling staff. That is situational, obviously-- but if your child's school regularly sends it's top 15% (or more) into elite schools, then it's a safe bet that it isn't happening by accident. Ours is mostly not very helpful, but yours may be different.

Another resource that doesn't provide advice, per se, but just the numbers and admission requirements:

College Board's College Search feature Be sure to check out the "how do I stack up" tab under each college entry. Don't rely on that as set in stone, however-- colleges can and do shift their admissions requirements periodically-- but it's a good way to plan whether or not your child will want to take subject SAT's or not, for example, or a fourth year of foreign language versus a third year of laboratory science. It also gives you a feel for what kind of percentile your child would be at, achievement-wise, at a particular institution. Consider whether your child wants to be in the middle of the achievement distribution-- for some of our kids in particular, that would be a shock to them. Could be good, could be bad.

Anyway-- the College Board search tool also tells you about the relative weighting of test scores, transcripts, essay, and EC's in admission decisions.

Start this process-- at the very latest-- before the child's junior year of high school.

Ideally, you begin looking ahead to the interlocking steps of testing, academics, and extracurriculars when your child enters high school, if not before. If you haven't, of course, it's not too late at that junior year mark, but it is later than most of their peers will have done.

It's way better for most schools if the child has at most 2 or 3 extracurriculars that they are passionate and committed about-- not seven or ten. Better still if they are somewhat related to a larger whole that indicates who that child is as a person. This can be something of a problem with HG+ kids who often have high levels of multi-potentiality and NEED many quite diverse EC activities in order to fully explore different facets of who they are.

If you are low income-- look into QuestBridge and programs like it. My DD has four classmates that have been matched with Ivies via QuestBridge. We also know another bright, but not spectacular, somewhat nontraditional (older-- mid-20's) student who recently received a complete full-ride at Reed College, and another at Stanford. There is merit aid-- just less than was once the case, and more of it is directed at a smaller slice of the top students.

One other problem that we've noted is that if you have a grade-accelerated student, they may not be fully capable of comprehending the gravity of the situation there. On the one hand, you walk a fine line w/r/t perfectionism, but on the other, yeah, that "B" in Spanish is likely to make at least some difference-- to someone, somewhere.

Oh, and the other thing that I have both heard-- and seen in print recently as advice to high schoolers and their parents-- getting into an Ivy isn't appreciably harder than it's ever been. That is, if you'd have been a highly competitive candidate to get in at Harvard 30 years ago, you're still likely to get in at an Ivy. The real difference is that you may not get into Harvard now-- could be Yale, could be Princeton instead.

I'm seeing that this seems anecdotally to be true, from observations of our kids in youth activities and DD's classmates-- about the same number of them are matriculating at the same elite schools as when I was in high school, and it's the same 'slice' of kids in terms of ability/achievement.

More kids are applying to more schools, though-- this is largely because of Common-App. That does mean that ONLY applying at a particular Ivy is probably unwise, though.

DD will probably apply at 6 or 7 schools, but she's not interested in an Ivy. Her college list at the moment:

a) Reed College
b) UW
c) a local college, which would likely be a full ride, but is far from prestigious, though reasonably high quality.
d) USC
e) Rice
f) U-Chicago
g) Carleton
h) Claremont-McKenna
i) UVA
j) Trinity Dublin
k) UBC or Simon Fraser
l) ? She's looking into a Swiss one, a Parisian school, and another in Austria.



Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 07:55 AM

Oh-- and at only a handful of those does she fall in the "middle" of the green bars at College Board's site-- mostly, she's well above the middle 50% of students at the institutions.

Another tip:

look into what reciprocity agreements exist regionally if you are worried about out-of-state tuition.

MOST elite institutions, this isn't an issue since they are private, but that's a big reason why DD's list is mostly private schools, to start with-- often out of state tuition rates are 200-250% of in-state. Who wants to pay that for an "adequate" college when it elevates tuition into the same range that one would be paying at a place like Rice or Harvey Mudd, anyway??

International college used to be "too expensive" to really be worth considering seriously for most people. That has changed, but it is more complicated to live internationally as a student.

Posted by: KADmom

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 08:22 AM

HK, are you concerned about your dd being grade accelerated (2 grades?) and how her scores will look on paper compared to the other applicants? Or is she still out-performing them?

The reason I ask, of course, is that ds11 is about to skip 6th grade and so everything from here on out, ACT, SAT, etc, will be harder for him to do exceptionally well on. Or maybe that's my misconception. Making the kind of decision we did feels like a huge leap of faith and I hope we haven't hurt his chances for choices later in his life.

The alternative is status quo, and that didn't really work for my older HG son, whose focus and grades slipped now and then because he never really learned to work at something.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 08:56 AM

It already has been a factor, unfortunately. DD isn't a kid that (apparently) does College Board tests exceptionally well-- I'm not sure if it's the format, or if she still has safety concerns that ramp up her anxiety to performance-attenuating levels, or what. It seems quite probable, now that we have an N of two.

Anyway, she certainly scored 99th percentile on the PSAT, but because of the timing of her 3rd skip, she didn't get a 'practice' run at that one, and therefore that was her very first out-of-home, formal testing experience. She missed the cut-line in our state by about a single question, and there is NO question that if she'd made that cut, she'd be a major contender for NMS, given the rest of her resume and her transcripts. Most of her practice tests had been VERY comfortably above the cut line. Interestingly, at home, when she's been tested by teachers from school, her scores are stellar relative to practice, so I do think that unfamiliar environment and disability-related anxiety is a major part of the performance attenuation happening. I am not entirely sure what the acceleration has done there.

As you note, the alternative to having that additional acceleration is virtually unthinkable either way.

Her scores are high enough for all but a tiny handful of institutions, and I'm not so sure that she wouldn't be competitive there, too,

The short answer is that yes, there MAY be some impact on test scores, but it's hard to say what it is. In practice that seems to have meant that on any given day, DD's SAT scores are "above 700" rather than higher. She has only taken the SAT once, and honestly, her endurance is part of the problem with that one. In light of that, we've determined that having her take the SAT again probably wouldn't matter. Sure, her math and writing scores might be higher, but she's unlikely to top the reading score that she has, since it's already near 800. On any given day, though, the math or writing COULD be higher quite easily. She's definitely hit repeated home-runs on the writing, scoring 800's routinely in practice exams. The SAT is a grind-- maintaining your focus on something that is inherently not that challenging or absorbing, but IS that stressful, over the course of 5 hours is-- a bummer, to say the least. Especially when you're done with each section in about 1/3 the allotted time, and just get to SIT there doing NOTHING while time runs out, which is what happens. Even if you test with accommodations or individually-- you sit for the full time allotment in each section.

Given how HG+ kids read multiple choice exams that are written for bright but NT people, 'perfect' scores are not necessarily a given no matter how capable the individual is, anyway, and so it may be that waiting to take them as an older student wouldn't really be helpful anyway. DD did a lot better on SAT practice done for fun a few years ago than she has in the past 6 months, when they 'counted.' As she grows cognitively, it gets harder to read those questions as-intended.

In my opinion, and this may only apply to kids who are EG+, I don't know-- it's probably a wash whether acceleration helps them or hurts them in terms of SAT performance. The further they go "past" NT for that cohort, the harder it may be to read superficially enough to get near-perfect scores. On the other hand, more life-experience means better executive skills, etc. which improves that 'on-demand' focus and ability to get inside the internal logic of the test.

We're thinking that the ACT probably would have showcased her better, being both shorter and not as choppy, as well as having a science subsection, but seeking accommodations complicates things substantially for her and frankly I'm not able to do it again just for the ACT-- too much energy output. If she does take the ACT, I've already told her that she'll have to do it without accommodations and hope for the best. Not ideal.


That brings up another really good point, though, and that is that for 2e parents-- you MUST make sure that your IEP/504 is both current and adequate to gain your child the accommodations that s/he needs in order to take those standardized tests. Do not assume that it's a given just because the school has been doing them, and allow at least 3 months to get them squared away with College Board or ACT either one.



Posted by: KADmom

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 09:25 AM

Thank you, for all of this detailed information. I guess we'll have to wait and see what challenges the new school year brings for ds.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 02:21 PM

Quote:
Another resource that may be helpful is your school counseling staff.


We have a pretty good counselor at my kids' school, and a good ratio (she is helping about 60 kids in grade, and has some additional staff helping her). She was an admissions counselor at a top 20 LAC, so knows the ropes. That said, my D had the best results of the senior class last year, and we mostly "did it ourselves" (with a lot of CC help). My D got into U of Chicago, Swarthmore, Carleton, Harvey Mudd, Kenyon, Mt. Holyoke, Lawrence, and Macaleter -- every place she applied, no wait lists. Only one of those schools that offered merit aid did not give her any, too. Your school GC will be helpful, but they are not all you need. One area in particular where I think they are not usually strong is the finances side, which is a huge issue in the college search process today. I also think the GCs start kind of late. They don't really spend a lot of time with the junior class until very late in junior year because they are worried about getting the seniors into college -- a lot of your work should be done by that time as a parent/student duo.

Quote:
We also know another bright, but not spectacular, somewhat nontraditional (older-- mid-20's) student who recently received a complete full-ride at Reed College


Reed does not offer any merit aid. If this student has a "full ride", it is either need based aid (certainly with some loans involved) or from an outside source that is not the college. No merit aid is one of the reasons my D did not apply there (not the only reason, but it was a factor).

One thing to note from HowlerMonkey's posts is to think about test scheduling. Most kids will want to take the SAT twice to try to get their best score. My D also took the ACT -- she actualy did very well with no prep other than one practice test the weekend before -- but her superscored SATs were slightly higher, so she used those. And if your kid is applying to top schools then most of those schools want at least two SAT Subject tests as well. And... my D was not happy with her first Math II subject test (required for Harvey Mudd), so she took that one twice. It adds up to a LOT of Saturdays for testing, and can get complicated with extra curricular activities -- my D said up front she did not want to miss Quiz Bowl state tournament or nationals for testing. It is also a really good idea to have almost all testing done by end of junior year. All my D had left to do fall of senior year was the repeat of the subject test. All of her visiting except two colleges was done by then, too. That meant she could focus in fall of senior year on her applications -- she knew where she was applying and what her odds of admission were because she knew her scores. A lot of kids are still visiting and testing in the fall -- try to avoid most of that by doing it early.

My D said to me recently that she is the only one of her friends who never cried over the college application and admissions process. smile Because we started early, had an organized search, and used a lot of outside resources to understand the landscape, she had the best results AND the least stressful search of all of her friends. It was long (kind of like a long presidential campaign!), but she says it was worth it to do it that way.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 03:16 PM

Quote:

I also think the GCs start kind of late.


I agree, and this has been our experience, too. I wanted DD to take her school's "test prep/college orientation" class much earlier than spring of her junior year, but that is when the school offers it to students. Which is dumb, at least for the top 2% of them, who NEED to be looking further ahead.

Because of DD's skip, we're operating about 6-8 months behind schedule. There was just no way for her to do everything else (including a spring break international trip) this year and get caught up.

Pay close attention to what your child's target colleges require-- and what they prefer-- as far as academics and testing go. Some want multiple SAT subject tests, which means many test dates. Some prefer the ACT. If you are 2e, quite honestly, my advice is to really think hard about those schools, because if you have to test with accommodations, getting it all in is going to be seriously challenging no matter how early you start. If you have out-of-the-box accommodations you may have to really work hard to be seated for ANY exam you take. This has been our experience thus far-- DD has taken two of those suckers, and I just don't see it being POSSIBLE for her to do subject tests given the barriers that exist.

Waiting UNTIL your child's junior year is no longer a good idea. At all.

We didn't have a lot of choice, because DD's third grade skip was 9th-to-11th and we didn't have a ton of lead time to plan the outward ripples from it well. To my credit, I at least realized that it meant scrambling to get College Board approval for testing accommodations for the PSAT/NMSQT, but it was a near thing even so. Literally just days to spare.

Ideally, this is a smooth process that runs from freshman course selections and four-year-planning through fall semester of the senior year, as intparent indicates above. You don't need to have a college list by the end of your sophomore year, but you SHOULD have an idea what you'd like a college experience to have to offer... and be narrowing your wish list. That College Board college search engine is VERY powerful, I might add-- you can tweak it about 35 different ways to emphasize what is most important to you/your child. It may surprise some to know that the most selective colleges aren't all Ivies, strictly speaking.

As an aside, I have no idea what the nature of the aid was at Reed, other than to note that it was not loan-based, and may have been specifically awarded as a result of some diversity/returning student initiative with a college partner or benefactor. But it is a four year, full-meal-deal. I asked specifically because it shocked ME, too. I know Reed well, and I was very surprised.

That points out something else, too, though-- you don't really know unless you are a college insider at an institution-- or until you apply-- what is possible aid-wise. Many colleges have a "no merit aid" policy, but the fine print still exists-- individual departments may well offer merit aid to majors.

Oh-- and don't be fooled by lower tuition rates at public universities-- they may REALLY not offer any merit aid. Then again... students like most of our kids here? The sticker price isn't OUR price, either. Learned that one this past year when a friend's son could have attended {local land-grant school} for 20% of what the apparent published going rate is. Just because he had such awesome transcripts and test scores.

Also don't be put off by the high dollar amounts at private schools, but don't be fooled by "100% need met" either. Details, details, details. If that means loans, that's quite a different matter than 90% of need met without loans. wink
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 04:04 PM

Usually when College Board grants accomodations for the PSAT, they grant it for all of their tests at the same time (PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP). You do need to register early if you need accomodations (like extra time), not all locations offer them. Another reason to lay out the testing calendar early for the OP.

I do not think any colleges express a preference for the ACT vs. the SAT. Almost every college takes both. And I think there is only one college left (maybe Georgetown?) that wants 3 subject tests -- all the rest take 2 now (since writing was added to the SAT & ACT). So whatever your kid is best at will be accepted anywhere.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/15/13 04:54 PM

Yeah-- there can be additional complications if you have particular types of accommodations, such as "breaks as needed" for a medical condition. That automatically means individual testing, not at a "center" but at a school, and if you aren't in an urban area in a large school, then you may have to beg a seat with another school. Obviously if you homeschool or use a virtual school, you don't have a "home school" to test at, so you have to call around to find one willing. That sounds trivial, but it's not.

Outside of urban centers, scheduling tests is really not trivial. I'm emphasizing the need to look-- specifically at which tests are offered on which dates and at which local locations. It's complicated. smile It's hard to avoid needing to test at a school/site not your own, basically.

Different test site coordinators may be more-- or less-- helpful with kids not their own, too. That's kind of a pain when you test under normal conditions-- but it's REALLY a hassle if you're testing with accommodations of any kind.

(Thus my aside about just not seeing how DD can possibly do a subject test... yes, she has accommodations, but it took moving heaven and earth just to get her a seat for the one time she took the SAT. Lots of butt kissing on mom's part, let's just say, and revealing just how well she did on the PSAT. Apparently being "elite" material meant that she was "worth" the trouble of accommodations... to the test site administrator. :gag: ) The reason we sought accommodations via College Board rather than ACT (they are different entities) is that AP, CLEP, SAT, PSAT, etc. are all administratively under the same umbrella. Technically, that meant that a single approval could be used to test with the same accommodations for any of those tests-- in perpetuity. The practical reality is that the barriers that exist to getting a "special" seat for a test mean that it takes months and months of phone tag and uncertainty to get a testing ticket anyway.

Oh-- and get a state-issued ID (or that national thing that I can't mention that lets you back into the country... wink ) because your child WILL need that to be seated for a standardized test, regardless of age.



Seriously: plan ahead. If you have any-- ANY-- special circumstances, TRIPLE that planning time. At least.


We're already looking and there are just four places that DD can take the ACT any time prior to the end of 2013 around us (and by around I mean within 65 mi)-- without accommodations, which still makes us pretty nervous. That one varies regionally-- being in the west means that the SAT much more widely offered than the ACT.

I'd say that parents ought to start thinking critically about what kinds of people their kids are as students and as individuals about middle school. That's going to guide a LOT of college decision-making. It's probably not a good idea to start that process sooner, though, because kids change so much during adolescence.

For example, we were looking at fairly rural settings and very small schools-- Grinnell, Bryn Mawr, etc. until recently, when DD decided that she really wants to live in an urban setting for undergrad. Then we started looking at places like Reed, Drexel, Claremont, Rice, etc.

We also wanted a mixture of both STEM and arts/humanities, with some established culture of interdisciplinary studies, since DD leans both ways and hasn't decided yet precisely what she wants to do. A school that has a history of very young matriculants gets a bonus score, and it's the reason that UW made our list.

Also be aware that more and more campuses are moving toward mandatory freshman dorm residency. If that is not part of your vision, keep that on your radar as a preference.

Oh, and one other thing to remember about public versus private institutions-- different categories for the purposes of disability. Likely as not that isn't a major consideration for most students, but it's something to be aware of.





Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:10 AM

Originally Posted By: user1234
In a nutshell, I recall reading somewhere that this was done to keep the number of Jews down in the universities (rampant anti semitism at the time). Apparently there were too many Jews for the admissions committees comfort at the time (the 40s maybe?). The idea was that Jews would easily be admitted using academic measures. But if other measures were introduced, admissions committees could use the extracurriculars as a way of excluding people. Am I the only one who has heard this?


That was from the book I referenced in the OP. It was the 1920s. (I've only read some reviews, not the book itself.) Apparently over time things have changed, but what has changed is the specific groups that are favored or disfavored.

My spouse and I were never educated in the USA, but we live here now and our children are born here. (By the way our oldest is 7 so we have a long time to plan.) This whole "Extra-Curriculars" (ECs) as a part of university admissions criteria is completely outside our experience, and I just cannot wrap my head around it at all. I certainly don't believe it's a legitimate method of selecting the best students. I want absolutely no part of it. But I have to be informed and try to understand it.

One thing I do understand is the pricing of colleges. The key observation is that if you are in the bottom 75% of household incomes in the USA, up to $90k/yr, see here
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/15/business/one-percent-map.html?ref=business&_r=0
(or maybe even bottom 90% of household incomes, up to $140k/yr), the private universities are much cheaper than the (out-of-state) public universities, and the more elite the cheaper. I could send a kid to Harvard, Princeton or Stanford for about $10k/yr, but an out-of-state public university would cost $30k/yr or more.

So it's a huge financial windfall to get your kid admitted to an elite private university. It saves you a mountain of money. So it's important to understand what it takes to get into these places.

One thing that should be said is that some of the academic admissions criteria, such as High School Grade Point Averages, SAT or ACT scores etc. have low ceilings giving the false impression that all the students clustered near the ceilings are roughly equal, and that they can only be separated by non-academic considerations. But this is nonsense. They could simply have much tougher academic tests to really see who really are the academically stronger students. The universities surely know this, so it's curious that they choose not to have more revealing rigorous testing. (It's a bit like selecting for a gifted program by using an IQ test that has a ceiling of 120, and then choosing who gets accepted by seeing who has the most interesting (or expensive) hobbies.)

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 04:53 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
They could simply have much tougher academic tests to really see who really are the academically stronger students. The universities surely know this, so it's curious that they choose not to have more revealing rigorous testing.


Looking at http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloa...thnicGroups.pdf , a 750 on the SAT Math is the following percentile for various groups:

Asians 92
Whites 98
Latinos(not Mexican or Puerto Rican) 99
Mexican-Americans 99+
Blacks 99+

A higher-ceiling math SAT would disproportionately benefit Asians, since they are more likely to be hitting the current ceiling, and it would not help blacks or Mexican-Americans, for whom it is already a high-ceiling test. This is not what elite universities want. Furthermore, to identify math stars, they look at results on the AMC/Math Olympiad and participation in summer camps such as Ross.

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 05:37 AM

Quote:
So it's a huge financial windfall to get your kid admitted to an elite private university. It saves you a mountain of money. So it's important to understand what it takes to get into these places.


Ah, I missed that your kid is only 7 years old. You are setting your kid (and yourself) up for a miserable upcoming 10 years if you focus all your efforts on trying to get your kid ready for admission to one of the most elite schools for financial reasons. If you are really worried about cost or quality of education, move to a state where the public universities are strong, as obviously in-state tuition is more affordable (Michigan has U of Michigan, California has Berkley, Texas has UT Austin, North Carolina has University of North Carolina, Virginia has UVA or William & Mary, Wisconsin has U of Wisconsin Madison -- those would be among the top public university choices.) Not sure what reciprocity choices there are other states for these colleges -- at the moment I know Minnesota students can attend U of Wisconsin Madison for in-state rates. But it is hard to know whether any of those agreements will be in place in 10 years given the current financial difficulties many colleges have. But if you live in a state with a strong university, then you have that as a financial and academic option even if your kid does not get one of those very few spots at the top 2 or 3 colleges.

The Cal Newport book I recommended above is probably also something you should read because it is intended for exactly what you want -- figuring out a way to leverage ECs that are unusual/go against the normal tide of activity to get into top colleges. The basic idea is that every year there are 10,000 validictorians, 10,000 salutatorians, and just as many sports team captains, student body presidents, yearbook editors, etc. competing for the spots at top colleges. It is very difficult to compete head to head with that pool and stand out. Even things like AMC and the Olympiads are strongly represented in the applictant pool. So his idea is to follow things that interest you into some depth and stand out by being different (in a substantial way) from the rest of the applicant pool. It is an interesting perspective. But I do know this from having two kids who are past that stage (23 and 18 now) -- you can't force them to do things they are not truly interested in, it is easy to snuff out their interest and damage your relationship with them by pushing them too hard, and you can't make them into something they aren't for college admissions purposes.

One other thing I would recommend (other than saving your money, that is really the best strategy) is starting when your kid is in about 9th grade to spend some time on the financial aid topic. You can position yourself better in terms of assets and income stream if you understand what the colleges look at. It is really too early to worry about it now. And don't let anyone tell you that saving is a waste of time because it reduces financial aid. Most colleges take about 5% of your assets into account when awarding aid -- I would much rather be the family that saved 1/3 or 1/2 of what is needed than the family that has no savings. One bit of advice now is to NOT put any money into your kids' names or let any family members do so. That is weighted much more heavily in the financial aid picture.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 05:51 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Most colleges take about 5% of your assets into account when awarding aid -- I would much rather be the family that saved 1/3 or 1/2 of what is needed than the family that has no savings.

What matters is the cumulative "tax" on savings, not just the annual levy. Let c = 5%, the "tax rate" on savings.

If your children will be in college for N years, the fraction of your savings you get to keep is

(1-c)^N

which equals 81% for N = 4 (1 child) and 54% for N = 12 (3 children).

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 06:11 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
So it's a huge financial windfall to get your kid admitted to an elite private university. It saves you a mountain of money. So it's important to understand what it takes to get into these places.


I ran the numbers (based on my current 50% savings rate).

They would drain a lot of the money I saved over the years.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:34 AM

Bostonian, the calculation is different if your kids are in college the same years (they still only look at 5% regardless of how many kids you have in college). I guess that is a bonus of having them close together.

Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of college topics. CC has thousands (literally) of threads on stuff like this, and also many very knowledgeable posters. There are a couple of people who are college financial aid professionals (work in the area) on the FA board that can cut right to the chase on stuff like this. If you want the straight scoop, that is the place to go.

Jon, not sure what you are saying. Ultimately we as parents and our students are responsible for paying for our kids' educations. No one owes us any financial aid -- by the time we are done our family will have saved about $250,000 to spread over two kids (starting when they were wee, so it isn't quite as painful as it sounds), plus we have and will pay out of current income as well. And our kids have saved and will work summers and in school for some expenses as well. Of course it will drain money you have saved. But everyone has the option of cheaper colleges (in state, community college with a transfer, living at home during college). And honestly, those are the options that most low income students do take, along with loans.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:45 AM

Quote:

But it is hard to know whether any of those agreements will be in place in 10 years given the current financial difficulties many colleges have.



YES, yes, yes. But-- those with middle schoolers should begin thinking strategically.

Some states with traditionally strong systems are in deep, deep financial trouble within those systems at the moment.

There's a reason why no UC schools are on my DD's list-- even though we're relatively local and one parent is a product of one of the top-notch schools within that VERY fine system. Right now? I wish that I lived in NC. Seriously. But I wouldn't predict that to remain true for a decade, so if my child were seven, no way would I move there for the opportunity that exists right now.

Look at rates of tuition increase over the past two decades within the institutions that you're eyeing. The UC system is particularly eye-watering there, but a good many elite schools have also gone from "no loan" policies to "oh well" in the past seven to ten, too, as their tuition has skyrocketed.

We have found-- at least theoretically-- what Jon posted to be true. The very, very elitest of the elite? They offer no merit aid-- because they don't NEED TO. Oh, sure, they offer financial aid-- to those who qualify. If you're above the 75th percentile in income, that's not going to be much, and even if you're not, "loans" are often the underlying answer to "how do you make sure that 100% of student need is met at your institution?"



This is the conundrum that we find ourselves in. DD is in for a truckload of financial aid at most public institutions because she's at the 90th percentile (and then some) at most of those. Not so much for places like Rice, Reed, the Ivies, etc. where she looks like a more-or-less average admit. (Aside from the fact that she's 3-4y younger, I mean.) Take a look at the College Board's stats on places like Virginia and the University of Chicago-- how many of their admits are in the top 10% of their graduating classes?? At some elite institutions, it's 95% or more of the student body. Why would they offer merit aid? There are 100,000 of those students for the picking of those top 100 colleges and universities... every.single.year. It's a giant game of musical chairs, and because parents will do whatever it takes (second mortgages, loans, etc) they really don't need to offer merit aid.

Different institutions are perfectly within their rights to consider whatever assets they like as "fair game" when it comes to determining what your ability to pay actually is, as well. That's not whining or doomsday talk-- it's just reality in this particular era. Be prepared to pay until it hurts. A lot.

Honestly, our plan for paying is to bump our household income by 30-40% and just write the checks.

I also LOVE intparent's advice re: EC's and interests off the beaten track. This is why we haven't pushed DD into math competitions and chess, and have encouraged her to do things like 4-H. Elite college admission planning? Good luck with that, honestly... you're aiming your child at a moving target whose transformations are largely irrational and unpredictable.

Remember when everyone wanted their kids to take Japanese since that was what the future had in store for North America?? Now, it's the Chinese and everyone wants them learning Mandarin. You can't play catch up like that and hope to guess right as you peer 10-16 years into the future.

Encourage your kids to do what they love, to develop passion and determination and commitment to some things, and the rest? Realize that there's no real way to control it, and little way of even predicting it from more than 5-6 years away.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:46 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Ultimately we as parents and our students are responsible for paying for our kids' educations.


You are looking in the rear view mirror.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:47 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Bostonian, the calculation is different if your kids are in college the same years (they still only look at 5% regardless of how many kids you have in college). I guess that is a bonus of having them close together.

Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of college topics. CC has thousands (literally) of threads on stuff like this, and also many very knowledgeable posters. There are a couple of people who are college financial aid professionals (work in the area) on the FA board that can cut right to the chase on stuff like this. If you want the straight scoop, that is the place to go.

Jon, not sure what you are saying. Ultimately we as parents and our students are responsible for paying for our kids' educations. No one owes us any financial aid -- by the time we are done our family will have saved about $250,000 to spread over two kids (starting when they were wee, so it isn't quite as painful as it sounds), plus we have and will pay out of current income as well. And our kids have saved and will work summers and in school for some expenses as well. Of course it will drain money you have saved. But everyone has the option of cheaper colleges (in state, community college with a transfer, living at home during college). And honestly, those are the options that most low income students do take, along with loans.



Yes, again.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:49 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Honestly, our plan for paying is to bump our household income by 30-40% and just write the checks.


You can also find employment with the university in question.

That often gets you 75% off.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:51 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
YES, yes, yes. But-- those with middle schoolers should begin thinking strategically.


I think that lots of people are playing the wrong game.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:58 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Honestly, our plan for paying is to bump our household income by 30-40% and just write the checks.


You can also find employment with the university in question.

That often gets you 75% off.


Ahhhhh-- you DO know my plan! laugh

Alas, since the rollout of adjunct and fixed term teaching, it's often more like 20-50%, and those are prized 'benefits' that aren't offered to anyone less than full time. "Adjunct" as a category, by the way, is often by definition <0.49 FTE at an institution.

There's also the matter than without ties TO an institution, getting hired into an elite campus is easier said than done. But there are always lab positions. They just don't pay very well.

Here's another resource for general college planning (not specifically 'elite' and in fact, much of his advice is about cost savings, NOT considering 'worth' of colleges based on how good they are):

FrugalDad-- common sense for college He does have a couple of really good blog entries-- pay particular attention to his discussion of freshman versus renewable aid from colleges, something that is very easy to overlook.

Another resource:

College Data

Some of the information here is a reprise of what is over at College Board, but there are also financial particulars that College Board doesn't address or make public, too. There are built-in calculators at that site, but it is behind a registration wall.


Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 09:06 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
There's also the matter than without ties TO an institution, getting hired into an elite campus is easier said than done. But there are always lab positions. They just don't pay very well.


Considering that the point of working for them isn't to collect a paycheck, the pay doesn't really matter.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 09:35 AM

Quote:
Take a look at the College Board's stats on places like Virginia and the University of Chicago


U of Chicago actually does give some merit aid (my D got some, much to our surprise). But don't count on a lot -- but something is better than nothing.

Quote:
You are looking in the rear view mirror.


Jon, I have one who graduated from college last year and one entering college this fall. So I am not looking in the rear view mirror. I know exactly what the college bills look like these days, and what the pros and cons of the various choices are.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 09:38 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Quote:
You are looking in the rear view mirror.


Jon, I have one who graduated from college last year and one entering college this fall. So I am not looking in the rear view mirror. I know exactly what the college bills look like these days, and what the pros and cons of the various choices are.


That's not the rear view mirror that I'm talking about.

My point is that it does not appear that the next 30 years are going to look anything like the last 30 years.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 09:55 AM

... which is why it's really difficult for parents whose kids are only 6 or 7 to know what the right thing to do is, from a strategic standpoint.

Ask parents who planned that way in California.

Many public university systems are edging nearer toward insolvency all the time, and that is having real consequences, not just for tuition rates (which are a symptom of the larger problem) but also in terms of institutional infrastructure in an educational sense. If I had a 6yo, I wouldn't plan on sending her to a public university in ten years. No matter how storied or robust. That system (in general) is currently on quicksand.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 10:01 AM

The reason that I think this conversation is a valid one here (as it is not in most online communities) is that we are all the parents of the kinds of kids who are inherently "Ivy League Material" in some way by virtue of their HG-ness.

If you start from a position where that is not the case, then there are only two real reactions to this kind of question (meaning, "How do I make my first-grader Harvard material and insure his/her eventual admission?").

1. TigerParenting. These are the parents that never even question whether the goal is reasonable or achievable, nevermind worth doing. They figure that it's merely a matter of figuring out HOW to make it so, and doing whatever is required to see it through.

2. You're insane. Your child is a little kid, and you've got a screw loose to be worried about college planning other than to be saving as much $$ as you can.


I think that this community being what it is, there is a legitimate middle ground that involves neither 1 nor 2, but it is predicated on the fact that any child of a poster here is probably legitimately destined to be competitive at a range of Elite colleges, pretty much regardless of what we as parents do in the interim.

With that said, understand that my remarks have much more to do with questioning the assumptions in response 1 than they do with judging people who opt for a goal-oriented approach. I also question the possible worth of looking more than 4-5 years away in attempting to out-play one's fellow parents at this game. Unless you have limitless resources and the ethical sensibilities of a sociopath, outplaying that particular field probably can't actually be done. Please see Tiger Mother for details. While she was writing tongue-in-cheek, um-- she was still actually DOING all of those nutty things to?/with? her kids. I couldn't bear to prune and snip and mash on my DD's character and interests to the degree necessary. I'm not a human Bonsai master, basically, and I do think that is largely what it takes to go the conventional, low-risk route to a guaranteed Ivy admission.

I also think that choosing your child's college is probably not entirely wise, and even less so when they are not yet in middle school. There is no college which is "perfect" for every student in every field of study, and much of the data needed isn't available until a child is 2-5 years from matriculation.

I don't think that it's a crazy question for parents of young PG kids to be thinking about, though. smile



Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 10:34 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The reason that I think this conversation is a valid one here (as it is not in most online communities) is that we are all the parents of the kinds of kids who are inherently "Ivy League Material" in some way by virtue of their HG-ness.


Which is why I fully intend on continuing my and my wife's family tradition of getting into the Ivy League and then telling them that the only way we attend is if they agree to pay full freight like the other colleges.

If they can't pay, then they don't deserve our children's attendance.

Sorry, but them's the breaks.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 10:40 AM

I'm with you, Jon.

On the other hand, my DH is not. He's old school-- "you get in, and we'll handle the money-- wherever you can get in and want to go, we'll find a way."

That's so thirty years ago, frankly... wink

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 10:44 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I'm with you, Jon.

On the other hand, my DH is not. He's old school-- "you get in, and we'll handle the money-- wherever you can get in and want to go, we'll find a way."

That's so thirty years ago, frankly... wink


It's *undergrad*.

That's like high school these days.

You don't *pay money* for undergrad.

In fact, your goal in *undergrad* is to get a 3.8 so you can go to dental school or get a Ph.D. or whatnot.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 10:53 AM

Look, the Tiger Children are all hammering at the Ivy League where they all get to compete with each other in some sort of insane perfectionistic Adderall arms race to nervous breakdown land.

Put your child where they aren't.

Use the Ivy League *admittance* (ideally more than one, the lesser Ivies might work best for this) to get *more* money out of the university that's already offering you lots of $$$.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 11:03 AM

Jon, you can do that if you want to... but they will not adjust their financial aid based on what you WANT to pay. There are plenty of kids on the waitlist who will take the spot if you don't pay. I would suggest you not have your kids waste their time on Ivy applications if the net price calculator does not show what you consider to be a reasonable price for them. The NPCs have changed the game somewhat in the past few years. Now you can have a better sense of what the cost is going to be ahead of time. College apps (and the financial aid process) are a LOT of work. I would not waste mine or my kid's time on applications to colleges you know they can't afford to attend. It isn't worth it to say "My kid got into...." if you know you can't pay the bill.

Now... I do have that attitude toward schools that are not as strong, but still don't give merit aid. Franklin & Marshall, for example, might have made a fine safety school for my science oriented D2. But they do not give merit aid. Sorry, a lower ranked school that won't reduce their price for a high stats kid isn't even getting an applications. And (sorry, HK) -- Reed is on that list as well for us. My D was on the high end of their stats and "their kind of kid" in a lot of ways. But they didn't offer enough that we wanted to make it worth paying full freight if their FA was poor (which their calculator indicated it would be). But top colleges can find students who will pay and/or borrow to attend. If you don't want what they are selling at that price, then go find other options.

HK, I do think Berkeley still offers a world class education even with CA's financial issues. I probably wouldn't encourage my kid to go to any other California state system college, but they start from a very high place. Also, in our state the legislature stopped some of the slide in funding this year. They froze tuition in-state for the next two years, and started putting some money back into the university system that had been stripped out during the recession. It may be that more states will do that in the next several years. The slide we have seen as a result of the recession may not be permanent.

The thing about the "next 30 years" is that you are all looking at shorter horizen -- 10 years or so until the OP's first kid hits college. We all thought 10 years ago that it also couldn't go on this way (college couldn't POSSIBLY cost $60K/year by the time our kids attend). Guess what? The trajectory did not change. You have to also assume it will not change for you. Start saving -- a strategy that includes savings, some merit aid (don't aim for the top schools, but go to 2nd tier if this is important to you and your kid doesn't like your state schools), paying some from current income, and making your kids at least own their spending money and book expenses can work (tell 'em now, they can start saving grandparent birthday checks for college -- no kidding, my kids did). And possibly some small loans. If the trajectory does change and it ends up cheaper (or your kid gets that golden ring of a top 3 college acceptance with a cheap price), celebrate with a trip to Maui or some extra into your retirement account.

Jon, just read your previous post. Ivy league admittance won't do a thing for your FA at another college. Now if you have a better FA offer from a comparable or better college, SOME schools will review your FA with that in hand (we did it last year, so I know). But some colleges won't budge (example: Swarthmore) no matter what other offers are on the table. But I think Ivy League acceptance means nothing in the FA negotiations with other schools.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 11:19 AM

Yeah, I'm actually in agreement-- with all of that.

If it's the RIGHT school, then that has to include financial considerations. It just has to. That's not to say that we'll get to name our price, though. LOL. I wish.

Reed isn't seriously on my list, either-- but it's a relatively local "fit" (the only one within 600 miles of us that isn't a "safety"), let's just say, and an admission there can be used-- as Jon notes--

to leverage additional merit $ from public/less prestigious schools that still have good-to-very-good programs in my DD's interest areas.

Places like UW, Linfield, Gonzaga and Cal Poly, basically. It's possible that this is a regional thing. There are fewer "top" students vying for merit aid at places where population is sparser. We do know several people who have been able to leverage prestigious admissions this way within the past four to seven years, though, so it's a real effect.

Also-- at an increasing majority of college campuses, the notion that it couldn't keep going like that has proven to be true. It hasn't, in spite of gut-churning annual tuition increases. 72% of college courses are now being taught by non-tenured/non-tenure-track faculty. Adjuncts, post docs, and fixed-term faculty. It's the money. The other problem is that courses are full, thereby increasing time-to-degree. Even Berkeley isn't quite what it used to be there, which is why we've opted to bag that entire system in spite of the loyalty that we naturally feel. Five years ago, I'd have felt differently, but it really does feel too fragile to continue-- and we're hearing that from insiders (faculty and admin) within the most prestigious UC campuses-- they are advising their OWN kids to look elsewhere, basically. That has shifted just within the past 24 months or so. It's a disturbing change.

Our state has frozen tuition increases temporarily, too. But everyone knows that is merely a band-aid. The student loan bubble is fraying around the edges, and I don't think that anyone knows for sure where those particular ripples are going to wind up.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 11:29 AM

Can I just goggle in admiration at this feat of verbal navigation for a moment? Let us appreciate:

Originally Posted By: Jon. Of course!


Tiger Children are all hammering at the Ivy League where they all get to compete with each other in some sort of insane perfectionistic Adderall arms race to nervous breakdown land.


You just won the Science Olympiad, Jimmy! What are you going to do now??

:cue cheesy grin at the camera, and a big thumbs up from Jimmy:

I'm going to Nervous Breakdown Land!


grin
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 11:35 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Jon, you can do that if you want to... but they will not adjust their financial aid based on what you WANT to pay. There are plenty of kids on the waitlist who will take the spot if you don't pay. ... It isn't worth it to say "My kid got into...." if you know you can't pay the bill.


That's not the point of the exercise.

You show your child that you are the one who is trying to dictate the terms, not the university.

They could make it free, but they choose not to make it free. So, your demand is not fundamentally irrational. It is within *their power* to act, but it is *their choice* not to.

They are then free to decline your demand. But it was your demand, not theirs.

This is a very useful tool to develop in terms of negotiation because creating a frame that defines the transaction is particularly useful in life.

It's a learning exercise.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 11:41 AM

The Tiger Cub http://tigersophia.blogspot.in/2013/07/cultural-faux-pas-and-fourth-of-july.html , who is attending Harvard, is spending the summer in India working at a gifted school for rural youth. I read her blog and have noticed any signs of a nervous breakdown (and one would not wish that for anyone). My colleagues and I have good jobs and stable families and are graduates of Ivies or flagship state schools like Berkeley or Michigan. Pretending that most Ivy league grads (or their parents) are miserable or sociopathic sounds like sour grapes to me.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 11:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
The Tiger Cub http://tigersophia.blogspot.in/2013/07/cultural-faux-pas-and-fourth-of-july.html , who is attending Harvard, is spending the summer in India working at a gifted school for rural youth. I read her blog and have noticed any signs of a nervous breakdown (and one would not wish that for anyone). My colleagues and I have good jobs and stable families and are graduates of Ivies or flagship state schools like Berkeley or Michigan. Pretending that most Ivy league grads (or their parents) are miserable or sociopathic sounds like sour grapes to me.


I honestly didn't realize the problem existed until I spoke with a Cornell professor about their local problem. (What do you mean another one just threw themselves into the gorge near your office??? This happens a lot???)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-fishman/the-gorges-of-cornell-uni_b_498656.html

And another relatively recent valedictorian overachiever medical student suicide from perfectionism.

http://www.whiteville.com/news/what-coul...1a4bcf887a.html

Apparently this problem is well-recognized within the various counseling departments at these institutions. It was, however, news to me.

And please.

Amy Chua is a relatively nice well-balanced person who just happens to be particularly obsessed with intellectual social climbing (Yale Law or Bust!) and box-checking. It's her thing. And it's a *good* trait to have as a law professor where status really *is* everything.

And I'm not talking about schools like Berkeley and Michigan.

Those are the schools that you *should* be attending because they are *not* saturated with Tiger Children.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 12:16 PM

I have to say that this is true. There are schools which children and their parents choose-- which are good, logical reasons, well-considered and based upon the facts available to them...

and then there are the TigerParents who are most concerned with the appearance of the thing, and not the thing itself. In this instance, a very fine education.

I pretty much think that anyone who posts here is by definition not in the latter category to start with. We've all been bitton by "but it's the GIFTED PROGRAM" (so what more do you want, exactly? Actual RIGOR??)

That is not to say that the Ivies are not very fine schools. But there are schools which are probably equally fine (for individual students) which do not carry the same social cachet.

Admission statistics, emotional patina, and social currency aren't the whole story. Not by a long shot.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 12:41 PM

Quote:
You show your child that you are the one who is trying to dictate the terms, not the university.


Sorry... this is like telling your kid to stop the tide, and saying they get a moral victory because they tried (even though they didn't stop it). You are playing with your kids' hopes and emotions with the idea of having them apply to schools you KNOW you can't afford for them to attend, then telling your kids to just thumb their noses and walk away from an acceptance and feel good about it because they rejected it on their own terms. This feels cruel to your kids. There is no negotiating power on your side in this process with the top colleges -- they honestly don't give a fig about whether your particular kid chooses to attend because of the thousands (literally) of other kids waiting to take your kid's place if you don't want to pay. Example: U of Chicago put something like 14,000 (!!!) kids on their waitlist this year. Not really sure why so many... in the end they probably took a few hundred if most (no idea what their stats are for that this year). But they did. You are NOT in a buyer's market with the top colleges unless your kid is Malia Obama or Emma Watson or Chelsea Clinton. Our kids are GREAT -- but they aren't famous. And you and I aren't rich enough to endow a new building for them. Those are the ONLY students who have real leverage. Don't make your kids waste their time and hopes on a school they cannot attend -- an Ivy or tippy top college won't bend for them.

One thing a lot of parents don't realize is that top schools accept quite a few more students than they expect will say yes to their offer. They offer more acceptance than they have actual space for because they know some kids will turn them down. And they have the waitlist for backup if more kids say no than they expected. Your little snowflake is special to you, but to the top colleges they are one of a crowd of qualified applicants.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 01:05 PM

Great analysis... although...

I can easily see my own DD 'bothering' to apply (assuming we'll pay the fee) to a school she has little intention of attending in order to play a strategic game with the institutions she IS interested in. In her case, she just-- really-- isn't interested in an Ivy. She's thought about it, and just isn't. So in her case, those "reach" schools would NOT be places that she'd seriously want to go if she were admitted, and therefore it would be merely strategic for her. In that case, it wouldn't be cruel. Though I do agree about the time required to do the applying. (ay yi yi)

Of course, this also only works if your child isn't really interested in attending one of those top 50 or so institutions to start with, and it also means giving up on having him/her with similarly able peers (though even that is not necessarily told by the numbers... a kid that gets perfect scores on the SAT after ten tries, and has a 4.0 due to many grueling hours with a tutor isn't really "just like" my DD).

I know just enough about how admissions works and just enough about the current arms race to seriously question whether-- anymore, I mean-- the statistics on admitted students are actually reflecting that those are-- as they might well appear-- HG+ kids. Or are they hothoused bright and nearly-MG ones?

My gut says that it is increasingly the latter. I'm pretty sure that there is no college placement that will put my DD with only "true peers." Nature of the beast. We're hoping to put her with enough peers that she can find a few to connect with. smile

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 01:21 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
And you and I aren't rich enough to endow a new building for them. Those are the ONLY students who have real leverage. Don't make your kids waste their time and hopes on a school they cannot attend -- an Ivy or tippy top college won't bend for them.


Well, it is fun to point out to a Ivy League grad that you got paid to go to college and they had to take out $$$ loans and that, amazingly, you ended up in the exact same place.

The reaction is pretty priceless.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 01:35 PM

I think the fact that our last names are not Clinton, Bush, or Obama, and that we lack sufficient cash to endow a potted plant, much less a building...

means that maybe she's not so likely to regard those kids as "peers" in some senses of that term.

Hmm.

In all seriousness, I do think that this is an important consideration. I'm being flippant, obviously, but we have thought about how comfortable we want DD to be-- and how far out of her comfort zone is wise, in terms of educational benefit. This relates to the major reason why I think elementary is way too soon to be short-listing colleges. I would have very strongly predicted one set of answers to those introspective queries a couple of years ago when DD was 11-12, and have quite different answers NOW. Luckily, we've left our options as open as they can be. She could decide out of the blue that she simply MUST attend a super-elite school, in spite of what she's always indicated. She still has over 6 months before she MUST know where she's applying.

That revolves largely around peers (how many? who are they? how similar are they to dd SE/IQ-wise? cultural differences?) and the individual 'culture' of a campus. It's hard to capture that with numbers-- which is why it's NOT good to decide on a college based solely on its relative reputation, without ever seeing it in person or knowing alumni.

Posted by: Cricket2

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 01:59 PM

I, too, am a graduate of Berkeley, but I do think that the game has changed somewhat since I applied many years ago. Back then, I got mostly As with a few Bs in high school, worked at the mall at a nut and candy store, babysat, didn't volunteer much at all, didn't attend academic summer programs or do internships, had very good but not perfect SAT scores, only took the SAT once with no prep beforehand, was a NMSF as were a number of my classmates, but no one communicated with me the steps toward becoming a NMF so I never applied, and generally was a good kid. I don't think that with that record I'd get into Berkeley today.

The kids I see bordering on nervous breakdowns are the ones who are trying to do everything and at a level beyond what they would naturally be driven to do without the worry and pressure that it is necessary to succeed in life. A full 10% of my dd14's class (they are going to be juniors) have GPAs above a 4.0 meaning that they've never gotten a B and they've also taken the only one or two AP classes that have been available thus far at their grade level. Really, it would only be one AP that was available by your sophomore year unless you were accelerated enough in math to have finished pre calc by freshman year. Many of these kiddos also sign up for zero hour classes, meaning that they start school at 6:15 a.m. rather than 7:30; they are enrolled in numerous extracurriculars, members of many clubs, work, volunteer,etc.

I don't know that it should all be about that degree of sheer quantity.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:20 PM

Okay, Cricket2, that sounds really awful. No wonder they're bordering on having nervous breakdowns.

I went to an elite women's college in Massachusetts. My high school experience sounds similar to yours, except I had really no clue about the national merit scholarship competition. Definitely not my thing anyway. My SAT scores were all 90th percentile+, but not perfect, either. Like you, I don't know if I'd get in today. Probably not.

As far as I'm concerned, this is all completely insane. We're beginning to embrace the idea of opting out in this house, that's for sure. The kids will be welcome to apply anywhere they like, but we'll have heard-to-heart talks with them about the state of affairs and why they should not be upset by rejection letters.

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:33 PM

HK, I don't see that admissions to a higher ranked college gives you any leverage in the financial aid for a lower ranked or equivalent college. I have heard no stories on College Confidential of success with that strategy... What I have heard is asking for a "review" of your Financial Aid. The colleges will all say they don't "match" FA offers from other colleges. But if you can show them evidence of lower cost of attendance at a higher ranked or comparable college (they want the financial aid letter and/or any scholarship letters to look at), SOME schools will negotiate to match that FA (even though they hate that word). In our case my D's top choice school looked back over our FA information, asked a question about one account (did not require any written proof of the answer), then granted more aid. But just for freshman year, who knows what will come in the future? It may very well evaporate after that point. But you have to show a cheaper cost of attendance at a comparable or higher ranked school to even have a chance with this strategy.

Val, honestly... your kids will probably not thank you for opting out entirely. To some extent you are in anyway if your kids are going to college. Some of my D's friends had pretty awful senior years due to lack of planning and preparation in their families for the college process.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:35 PM

My DD's transcripts DO look like what Cricket describes (her GPA is a weighted 4.4, unweighted it's 3.96) and she has hard-core leadership experience in 4 different EC's, has 3 other EC's, and has hundreds of hours of community service to her credit. Her test scores are well over 90th percentile-- and one subscore at 99th. One shot, and no subject tests, no AP scores. She should graduate in the top 3 in her class.

This sounds like a lot-- and it is, in terms of scheduling everything-- but DD still has plenty of free time. This is because she simply doesn't have to work that hard to do most of it; it DOESN'T take her four hours to do her homework at night-- only 30 minutes.


We've not really pushed her to do all of those things she's got on her resume, but we definitely see some peers who DO get that kind of pressure. As I've noted before, these are parents who are pushing MG or bright NT kids to look as though they are PG. The genuine article doesn't require so much effort to look like that, YK?

My child is probably NOT a good bet for a top-10 or even top-20 admission. She's merely 'competitive' there, and she doesn't have anything particularly flashy about her other than her age. She hasn't placed with INTEL, done an international academic Olympiad, or won the National Spelling Bee.

Yes, I do think this is insane.

intparent-- I'm merely going by what I've heard in some detail from parents we've known pretty well. The upshot is that the gap between the school which has admitted the student and the one offering additional aid has to be REALLY significant. Significant enough that they want your kid there to improve their department/stats. In other words, most parents of kids here probably wouldn't use this strategy because they wouldn't want their kids headed to a regional public uni or anything.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:40 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
My DD's transcripts DO look like what Cricket describes (her GPA is a weighted 4.4, unweighted it's 3.96) and she has hard-core leadership experience in 4 different EC's, has 3 other EC's, and has hundreds of hours of community service to her credit.


As I've said before, dogging is definitely good for $$$$.

My SIL (now a pediatric dentist) cashed that in back in 2003-ish.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:49 PM

Quote:

Val, honestly... your kids will probably not thank you for opting out entirely. To some extent you are in anyway if your kids are going to college. Some of my D's friends had pretty awful senior years due to lack of planning and preparation in their families for the college process.


Yeah, I was all over the opt-out bandwagon, too...


until I realized-- and more to the point, my DD realized-- that just going to "Local Uni" meant that her classes were going to be filled by the same caliber of classmates that she's been suffering through in her honors coursework for the past several years.

In other words, she NEEDS for college to be different, and she recognizes that the kids at the homegrown option.... just... aren't bright enough. frown This trend is a bigger problem than it used to be what with initiatives that have expanded "college-for-all" to include those students who would have been conditional admits at best ANYWHERE when we were in college 25-30 years back.

Well, colleges accept them and do what they can to RETAIN those students now. eek
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:53 PM

Having read that post, I'll say one thing - that cub is a fine writer.

It is also rewarding to see that gifted is rewarded and not pilloried over there. Getting into the school that she will be interning at makes getting into an Ivy like a cakewalk.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 02:56 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
In other words, she NEEDS for college to be different, and she recognizes that the kids at the homegrown option.... just... aren't bright enough. frown This trend is a bigger problem than it used to be what with initiatives that have expanded "college-for-all" to include those students who would have been conditional admits at best ANYWHERE when we were in college 25-30 years back.


That's because college is now high school.

Literally.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 03:07 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Quote:

Val, honestly... your kids will probably not thank you for opting out entirely. To some extent you are in anyway if your kids are going to college. Some of my D's friends had pretty awful senior years due to lack of planning and preparation in their families for the college process.


Yeah, I was all over the opt-out bandwagon, too...


until I realized-- and more to the point, my DD realized-- that just going to "Local Uni" meant that her classes were going to be filled by the same caliber of classmates that she's been suffering through in her honors coursework for the past several years.

In other words, she NEEDS for college to be different, and she recognizes that the kids at the homegrown option.... just... aren't bright enough. frown This trend is a bigger problem than it used to be what with initiatives that have expanded "college-for-all" to include those students who would have been conditional admits at best ANYWHERE when we were in college 25-30 years back.

Well, colleges accept them and do what they can to RETAIN those students now. eek


Your second to last paragraph sums up EXACTLY why I am busily trying to sock away the moolah right now
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 03:07 PM

Quote:
In other words, she NEEDS for college to be different, and she recognizes that the kids at the homegrown option.... just... aren't bright enough.


Yes... this is one reason I was all over the college search from early on. As hard as parents work out here to get acceleration and differentiation for their kids in the lower grades, you have to realize that most state universities and lower priced colleges also do not have a lot of intellectual peers for our kids.

My D attended THINK at Davidson for a couple of summers, and one thing she said in several of her college essays (the "Why College X?" essay so many schools want) was that the reason she wanted to attend their college is because they matched the intellectual environment she found at THINK. Seemed to resonate with admissions. smile She only used this with the colleges where she truly felt it was the case (did not say it for her "safeties"). But I think it was the deepest desire for her in her college search. And she would not get that at our state university -- at least not in our state.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 03:10 PM

The point of college right now (from the administration's perspective) is apparently to vacuum in as much "free" government debt as possible.

With every passing year, this problem is getting worse.

However, I don't expect the system to break or anything major to change anytime soon. I don't see a reason for it to change.

I simply expect it to keep getting worse for some time.

The students are clearly functioning as excellent sources of tax revenue (now at 6+%), the colleges are happy (free $$$), parents are happy (college is good! education is good!), and students are happy while in school (look at these perks! We have a spa! the government is giving me beer money! Yay!!!).

I also expect the median wage to continue its punctuated decline (in real terms). I expect that the next recession (whenever it hits) to drop this lower.

http://www.oftwominds.com/photos2013/household-income-real1-13a.gif

The system seems to be solidly locked into making things worse because there are enough people who are getting what they want at the moment.

I expect health care to be a major "problem" before college is really noticed as a problem.
Posted by: Cricket2

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
My DD's transcripts DO look like what Cricket describes (her GPA is a weighted 4.4, unweighted it's 3.96) and she has hard-core leadership experience in 4 different EC's, has 3 other EC's, and has hundreds of hours of community service to her credit. Her test scores are well over 90th percentile-- and one subscore at 99th. One shot, and no subject tests, no AP scores. She should graduate in the top 3 in her class.

This sounds like a lot-- and it is, in terms of scheduling everything-- but DD still has plenty of free time. This is because she simply doesn't have to work that hard to do most of it; it DOESN'T take her four hours to do her homework at night-- only 30 minutes.


We've not really pushed her to do all of those things she's got on her resume, but we definitely see some peers who DO get that kind of pressure. As I've noted before, these are parents who are pushing MG or bright NT kids to look as though they are PG. The genuine article doesn't require so much effort to look like that, YK?


See, I think that the difference on our end is a couple fold:

1) dd's school has the most bizarre weighting system that I've ever seen. I thought that dd misunderstood what they said until we reached this year when she was taking AP classes. For an A in an AP class, you get a 4.02 rather than a 4.0 figured in. They also take nine classes per semester. So, if your unweighted GPA was a 3.96 coming out of your junior year, I don't think that you could get the weighted number much over a 4.0 even if you'd taken every AP class available and gotten As in all of them when you are only getting an additional .02 points per AP classes and spreading that over the 54 classes you would have taken by that time. Also, to have gotten to AP science courses by your junior year, you would have had to have taken two science courses each year since pre-AP bio, Earth Systems, and pre-AP chem must all be completed before any AP science that is weighted. There is no AP lit class available until 11th grade either and pre-AP gives you no GPA bonus.

2) my dd is not blessed with speed. Her processing speed is very average or even a bit below. Her depth is amazing and she out performs her grade peers on achievement tests by a lot (still 99th percentile compared to national and her school's norms) but the other kiddos seem to be able to do good enough work to get As faster or they just aren't sleeping - lol!

If I am defining "effort" as time, she does require as much as the bright and MG kids easily. Where she differs is that the quality of the work she is putting out (like writing for instance) is beyond what those kids can do even with a lot more time than she.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 04:17 PM

Right-- and the system as it stands is poised to mostly reward kids like mine (or those who can be made to LOOK that way, anyway)--

who can pack more than seems humanly possible into a day-- every day. I feel very strongly that this is WRONG, by the way. A kid like Cricket's ought to look like a great prospect for college by virtue of the quality and depth of her output.



A word about GPA here-- 'weighted' is very significant at some high schools, and hardly at all at others. AP is about twice the volume of work compared with the standard issue course, but an A in an AP course is a 5.0, and the standard course, it is a 4.0. An honors course is not that much more work than standard (but all the assessments, etc. are different and more... erm-- 'enriched') and that is a 4.5-- which explains why my DD's GPA is what it is, I hope. She does have a couple of A-'s and a B on her transcripts. She's just packed a LOT of classes into her past four years.

We also successfully lobbied for her to be able to take some things at the AP level without having had a full year of the regular course first (which I think is stupid-- at least for kids that actually BELONG in an AP class to start with, let's just say). Physics, for example. Policies like that really hobble highly capable kids from distinguishing themselves come college time. Grrr.

Because they are on semesters and use Carnegie units to calculate graduation credit, she will graduate with-- I think-- 26? maybe 27 Carnegie Unit "credits." That's nine classes a year-- on average-- and technically, students can graduate with only 24 credits.

This is why admissions offices use unweighted GPA, though. Trying to parse what it all means otherwise is Byzantine. To say the least.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 04:21 PM

The hardest part of all of this (back to the OP's question, I mean) is that with a super-accelerated kiddo, you wind up DRIVING THEM to all of this stuff that they do...


And with that, I'm off to pick my DD14 up from her internship and schlepp her to a piano lesson, after which I'll take her downtown again, to a local writer's group moderated by a YA author... before swinging by the grocery store on our way home in at 8:30 PM. tired

She has been at work since 7:30 this morning-- after working with the dog for 45 minutes before getting ready for work.

This is a TYPICAL day in her life.
Posted by: Cricket2

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 04:39 PM

I wish that our school gave some credit for pre-AP/honors/dual enrollment courses. Thus far, dd has taken and gottens As in every pre-AP class available save for one that she chose to not take at the pre-AP level b/c she didn't like the subject that well and because she already had two other pre-APs plus multiple science classes that year (she did get an A in the regular class, though). The pre-APs easily have double the work of the regular level class and cover a lot more material, but there is no GPA bonus for taking them.

She has her first dual enrollment class next year along with some APs. The APs will give that +.02 bonus, but the dual enrollment, like pre-AP, has no GPA bonus either. She is, none the less, probably going to take physics as a dual enrollment her senior year rather than as AP because she'd have to take two science classes again next year to get the pre-AP physics in first before getting to AP. Her school really is not willing to flex on that for anyone.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 05:48 PM

Quote:
Right-- and the system as it stands is poised to mostly reward kids like mine (or those who can be made to LOOK that way, anyway)--

who can pack more than seems humanly possible into a day-- every day.


No..I don't believe this is true (again, go read that Cal Newport book recommended near the top of the thread). I think the admissions officers are aching for kids that are not just crammed so full of activities that they don't have time to breathe. There is a minimum they are looking for in GPA and test scores. But beyond that -- I think they want kids who are not "flat Stanleys". They want texture and evidence of true intellectual interest. My kid who got into Swarthmore, U of Chicago, Harvey Mudd, and Carleton last year had a 3.7 GPA (unweighted, her school does not weight or rank, and they can't take AP courses until senior year anyway). She had great test scores, but NO leadership. She was busy in high school, but a lot of the time was with activities that were not what everyone else was doing. And some things were outside of school (eg, entomology, took her collection to the State Fair through 4H).
Posted by: Cricket2

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 07:31 PM

This does bring to mind a question for me: how does one ascertain if the culture of a school lends toward a HG+ kid with deep passions finding intellectual and emotional peers?

We are just starting the college visiting tours with dd14 as she's going into her junior year in the fall. We are going to kill two birds with one stone so to speak later this summer by visiting family out of state and looking at a uni that is near those family members that has been in dd's top few for some time. While we're there, we are also going to try to look at another campus that someone recommended that is fairly close. Over spring break of her junior year, I plan to send her to visit my mom in another state and have my mom take her to look at another school that is in her top few list.

She's hoping to get a feel for what these schools offer and whether she likes big or small, but everyone is going to tell us that they have a great fit for her socially I'm sure. How does one know if that is true? FWIW, she is not interested in Ivy League schools, just normal "good" schools like UW Seattle, Stetson in FL, etc. partially because these schools have an undergraduate major in her very specialized area of interest.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 07:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Cricket2
This does bring to mind a question for me: how does one ascertain if the culture of a school lends toward a HG+ kid with deep passions finding intellectual and emotional peers?


Step 1: Find where the school ranks on "Top Party School" on a scale of 1 to 10.

Step 2: Find where the school ranks on per student athletic spending on a scale of 1 to 10.

Step 3: Find a high quality list of academic reputation on a scale of 1 to 10.

Create an optimization program on Excel that minimizes (1) and (2) and maximizes (3).
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 07:42 PM

It is more art than science... we started our search with the Fiske Guide to Colleges and a pack of post-its to mark the schools that looked interesting. Then looked at SAT test score ranges. Then visited. It was easy to find reach (and expensive) schools that fit the bill. Much more challenging to find matches and safeties. We found you really have to set foot on campus to tell. And my D didn't really know for sure until going back for accepted student days (so 24 hours on campus) at her top choices. She ended up picking what was her 3rd choice going into those final visits.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:02 PM

Ah, my D did mostly stay away from schools with Greek life and Division I athletics. But to be fair, you can find a significant number of HG kids at a college like University of Michigan. They just co-exist with the other types...
Posted by: Cricket2

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:06 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Ah, my D did mostly stay away from schools with Greek life and Division I athletics.

I would know how to search as to whether schools are Division I athletic schools, but are you also saying to avoid schools that have any Greek presence at all? Are there any universities with no sororities or fraternities? I'd agree that dd isn't interested in that being her social outlet and doesn't want a party school.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:10 PM

That's really good to hear, intparent. My DD also tends to gravitate to stuff that just interests her-- not what seems like it will 'sell' well. She's busy, all right (hey, it's the run-up to fair, and she's a 4-H kid with several project areas), but hardly frenetic, in spite of how it sounds. We don't do the over booking thing, and we're pretty confident that the EC's that she does as social activities like RPG-tabletop gaming aren't going to even be on the applications.

What we've found to be true is that as much as we wish her age didn't matter-- it does. There is this underlying assumption that-- whatever she does-- we're somehow behind the scenes pulling her strings like a puppet. Bizarrely, she is judged WAY more harshly than typically aged peers, and her grade skips are counted as "lack of experience" in some ways, which boggles my mind. I mean, seriously-- how the heck is a kid who SKIPPED two grades since 5th grade supposed to have EC's for those years? She's done at least a third more than most of her peers every year, but the elapsed time is sometimes what matters anyway. "Oh, this kid has been doing this for six years." There's no real concept of how to handle the kind of compression that PG kids have to have academically. Scouting and 4-H have both proven problematic here, particularly whenever there is an "also" that specifies a lower limit on age. DD is a fair target shooter, but because she only JUST turned 14, she can't really do it through 4-H, because she'll get less than a year in the project.

This is a big reason why a college like UW that has a lot of experience with young PG students gets a huge bonus score in our personal ranking system. They stand to understand that being radically accelerated 3-4 y comes with some strange baggage on the side.

As I said earlier, we never really worried about all of this much because we figured that we were opting out and then-- well, then she started really considering what kind of intellectual peers she wanted/needed out of college. Then we took a hard look at just what kind of students are now the majority at even reasonably good public universities, and realized that she was going to be-- again-- at the 95th+ percentile or higher. Not good.

At the start of their junior year is NOT a good time to suddenly decide that you aren't opting out after all, because it leaves you all scrambling to document things and schedule everything that has to happen.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:21 PM

Just saying that if Greek life dominates on campus, then partying also probably dominates. One thing the Fiske Guide tells you is what % of the men & women on campus are in the Greek system. A high percentage is something we personally tried to stay away from. Some colleges have no greek presence (Carleton doesn't, I am thinking maybe Mount Holyoke didn't).

However, my oldest D went to a LAC that does have sororities and fraternities. She did not have any trouble finding a group of like-minded friends (good students, very light partiers), and wasn't bothered by that aspect of the campus. But she is not my PG kid, either...

You can't avoid partying altogether at colleges today unless you send your kid to BYU or a very religous school like Liberty. But as JonLaw said, you don't want one with a huge party reputation, either. You can read between the lines in Fiske and get a feeling. Also, College Confidential has a forum for pretty much every college -- you can go read past posts there and get a pretty good idea for a given school what the culture is like, I think.
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/16/13 08:59 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Just saying that if Greek life dominates on campus, then partying also probably dominates. One thing the Fiske Guide tells you is what % of the men & women on campus are in the Greek system. A high percentage is something we personally tried to stay away from. Some colleges have no greek presence (Carleton doesn't, I am thinking maybe Mount Holyoke didn't).

On the other hand, 44% of the students at MIT are in the Greek system.
Posted by: Dandy

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 02:00 AM

I thought this article would fit nicely somewhere in this conversation:
Dear Eighth Grader...

Although from 2012, I believe the advice is still relevant.

Dandy
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 04:16 AM

The article brought up some good points and by the time DD is applying, parents will have strategized an EC path to optimize intellectual curiousity.
Reading the college search,I am glad I am out of the US college insanity. My parents were not even involved in my college search. I did it myself, applied myself, and accepted and then told my father.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 04:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Dandy
I thought this article would fit nicely somewhere in this conversation:
Dear Eigth Grader...

Although from 2012, I believe the advice is still relevant.

Dandy


There is little evidence for the predictive ability of unstructured interviews (although applicants must deal with the system as it is):

http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~danajd/interview.pdf
Belief in the Unstructured Interview: The Persistence of an Illusion
by Jason Dana, Robyn M. Dawes, and Nathanial R. Peterson
Abstract
Unstructured interviews are a ubiquitous tool for making screening decisions
despite vast evidence of their invalidity. In three studies, we investigated the propensity
for "sensemaking" - the ability for interviewers to make sense of virtually anything the
interviewee says – and “dilution” – the tendency for non-diagnostic information to
weaken the predictive value of quality information. In study 1, participants predicted two
fellow students’ semester GPAs from background information and, for one of them, an
unstructured interview. In one condition, the interviewee secretly answered questions
according to a random system. Consistent with sensemaking, random interviews did not
perturb predictions or diminish perceptions of the quality of information that the
interview yielded. Consistent with dilution, participants made better predictions about
students whom they did not interview. Study 2 showed that merely watching a random
interview, rather than conducting it, did little to mitigate sensemaking. Study 3 showed
that participants believe unstructured interviews will help accuracy, so much so that they
would rather have random interviews than no interview. Impressions formed from
unstructured interviews can seem valid and inspire confidence even when interviews are
useless. Our simple recommendation for those making screening decisions is not to use
them.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 05:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Wren
The article brought up some good points and by the time DD is applying, parents will have strategized an EC path to optimize intellectual curiousity.

Parents strategizing to optimize the intellectual curiosity of children sounds like a contradiction in terms to me.
Posted by: KADmom

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 05:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Dandy
I thought this article would fit nicely somewhere in this conversation:
Dear Eigth Grader...

Although from 2012, I believe the advice is still relevant.

Dandy


Dandy, I love it and I've printed it out. Thanks.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 05:54 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Bizarrely, she is judged WAY more harshly than typically aged peers, and her grade skips are counted as "lack of experience" in some ways, which boggles my mind.


Because the "lack of experience" is often true, regardless of intelligence.

Some things need to be experienced to be known. And experiences take time.
Posted by: Dandy

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 08:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
There is little evidence for the predictive ability of unstructured interviews (although applicants must deal with the system as it is).


Interesting study. It gives a name "dilution" to what I've often thought about our company's pre-employment interview process. I never had a study to back up my inkling, but it's comforting to know that I wasn't completely nuts.

Although the study suggests that the interviews might be useless for the decision-maker (school), the interviewee (student) should danged well be prepared and aim for impressing during the meeting. After all, the alum and/or school might not be familiar with the study and still give too much weight to the interview.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 09:30 AM

Some of the Ivies require the interview, but there is very little weight placed on the interview. Unless you really mess it up, it is just something checked off on the list of application requirements.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-30...cess-slips.html

At some other schools the interview can sway a decision.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 09:59 AM

Originally Posted By: ElizabethN
Originally Posted By: intparent
Just saying that if Greek life dominates on campus, then partying also probably dominates. One thing the Fiske Guide tells you is what % of the men & women on campus are in the Greek system. A high percentage is something we personally tried to stay away from. Some colleges have no greek presence (Carleton doesn't, I am thinking maybe Mount Holyoke didn't).

On the other hand, 44% of the students at MIT are in the Greek system.


That value isn't what I'd call "high" however. My DH and I have both seen campuses where the ranges encompass Greek participation from a low of 0% to a high of 90%+.

It is true that there is a rough-- very rough, as it happens-- correlation between Greek system participation and party culture. However, the highest value was NOT at a party school, and one of the two with the lowest participation was a notorious party school. Our personal cut-line (and we're approaching school selection EXACTLY the way that intparent described) is at about 60-70% Greek. Not because of party culture per se, but for the same reason we're seeking schools with on-campus residency less than 80-90%-- because being PG makes you a singularity already, particularly if you're young-for-college. Why make it worse by choosing two OTHER means of making one's self an outlier?

Kids who are likely to want to be a part of the Greek system (which does, by the way, have many opportunities for leadership if that's your kid's thing) would evaluate those criteria differently.

Similarly, Div1 athletics and academic quality. Just looking at the traditional Pac-10 schools, you have UW, UCLA, and Cal in that grouping; all are very good public universities, ranked in the top 100 in the world for certain disciplines. Duke is a basketball powerhouse and has been for decades. Gonzaga. Boston College. UVA.

Personally, having done undergrad at a place with almost no athletic program to speak of, and then grad school at a Div-1 school, it was both interesting and a lot of FUN to attend big-time football and basketball games-- get your face on ESPN in the crowd, laugh at the antics of the crazy undergrads, cheer with the band, all that jazz. It was just fun. We're thinking a bit differently than some parents about this, however-- DD's attendance at an online high school means that she has NOT had a lot of personal experience with this kind of thing, and therefore it's a facet of the college experience that we would like her to have available. She has enjoyed the Div 1 athletics that she's experienced growing up in a Uni town.



It really just depends on such a complex cocktail of factors, I'm afraid.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 10:02 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
It is more art than science... we started our search with the Fiske Guide to Colleges and a pack of post-its to mark the schools that looked interesting. Then looked at SAT test score ranges. Then visited. It was easy to find reach (and expensive) schools that fit the bill. Much more challenging to find matches and safeties. We found you really have to set foot on campus to tell. And my D didn't really know for sure until going back for accepted student days (so 24 hours on campus) at her top choices. She ended up picking what was her 3rd choice going into those final visits.


This is TERRIFIC as a blueprint for finding a good fit. smile

It's also what we're finding-- there are a number of "reach" schools (most of which are also solidly out of our league financially), and then the rest are all in the 'safety' category (and so far to that side that they're almost academically unthinkable), though many of them are also out of reach for financial reasons.

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: Wren
The article brought up some good points and by the time DD is applying, parents will have strategized an EC path to optimize intellectual curiousity.

Parents strategizing to optimize the intellectual curiosity of children sounds like a contradiction in terms to me.


Indeed. I wholeheartedly agree.

I mean, I can suggest to DD that some things will "play" better than others in terms of scholarship payoff and prestige with college admissions, but she IS going to do things her own way. I'm actually rather glad of that, because as has been pointed out numerous times in this thread alone, while I can THINK that I know what will play well with college admissions committees, even though I have direct insider knowledge, the bottom line is that it's inherently rather difficult to predict accurately.

Ergo, I would be advising her to quit being herself-- which certainly has a clear cost... and a not-so-clear benefit which is mostly conjecture.

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 10:32 AM

Quote:
parents will have strategized an EC path to optimize intellectual curiousity.


We really didn't have to strategize... my D's ECs were pretty much on the mark for this. She was a top quiz bowl player in our state (that was really her top EC), went to THINK for two summers, was one of only 2 girls on her FIRST Robotics team, collected insects and did some other wildlife biology activities, was in a fencing club (just practiced, no competition prior to applicatons), and won a few awards in visual arts. And had fantastic test scores and good teacher recs that I think backed up the intellectual impression. And she knew immediately what she would write on for her common app essay (thankfully she did not have to agonize over her topic for that particular essay!) -- she wrote about how she has tried to emulate Sherlock Holmes in her life since first encountering him in literature in 3rd grade. We really did not try to make her into something she wasn't... and when colleges could see clearly what she was, they seemed to want to admit her.

Also, my D is pretty introverted, and interviews would have been a nightmare for her. So she chose not to interview at all. None of her colleges required it (no Harvard application like the one in the article). College reps from a lot of the schools she applied to came to her high school, so she made sure to attend those sessions and take a couple of good questions for the reps. Usually only a few kids were there so the rep got their names -- that is as close as she came to interviewing. Although it would be a great skill for her to develop, we felt like the stakes were too high for her to struggle through interviews for college (she has been practicing on the summer job circuit this summer instead :)). Now my older D was a great interviewer, so she interviewed everyplace, and I am convinced it helped her get more merit money at the school she attended. So your milage may vary on the interviews depending on your kid and the school -- if you think this is a weakness for your student, then consider avoiding them if possible.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/17/13 10:46 AM

Quote:

We really did not try to make her into something she wasn't... and when colleges could see clearly what she was, they seemed to want to admit her.


LOVE that.

It also begs the question-- why would any parent want anything else for a child? smile
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/19/13 01:19 AM

Here's a link. "The Match Between You And MIT"
http://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/match

It seems to be more about who you are than what you do.
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/19/13 09:55 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Here's a link. "The Match Between You And MIT"
http://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/match

It seems to be more about who you are than what you do.


That list is a really accurate picture of what it's like at the Institute. If it doesn't resonate with your kid, he's not likely to be happy there.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/19/13 01:25 PM

That is a great insight, Elizabeth-- thank you so much for sharing that. smile It's hard to know what is wishful thinking and marketing anymore and what is authentic. It's great to hear it's the latter.
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/19/13 01:31 PM

MIT has the luxury of being prestigious enough that they can be really open and honest about what it's like there. They don't have to chase after anyone - just provide a certain environment, and describe accurately what it is, and the people who belong there will get there. Some others who don't belong there and think that these kinds of description are puffery may also get there, and may be miserable or flunk out or whatever, but at least the ones who need it can find it.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/19/13 04:27 PM

Not all colleges are that up front, that is for sure. One way to get a "real" flavor is to pick up copies of the campus newspaper when you visit -- or a lot of colleges have them online now, too. You can get a feeling for their "dirty laundry" and some of the issues on campus by reading several issues.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 05:00 AM

Here is how Marilee Jones, then director of admissions at MIT, described MIT students in 2001. Her last paragraph about ethics is ironic, considering that she was forced to resign in 2007 for having faked degrees on her resume. The part about "not as likely to study subjects for the pure pleasure of it" because they are so busy is troubling.

http://www2.lns.mit.edu/fisherp/Fnl141-1.pdf
New Kids on the Block: Observations on the Newest Generation of MIT Students
by Marilee Jones
MIT Faculty Newsletter
September 2001

...

They are idealistically pragmatic.
Combining the idealism of their Boomer
parents and the pragmatism of the Gen
Xers, these students really want to make
the world a better place and, most
importantly, they have a plan.

• They are group centered. As the
population with the highest percentage
of members in day care from an early
age, they have learned good group skills,
how to lead and follow as circumstances
demand. They spend more time in groups
and group activities than their
predecessors.

• They have no problem with
authority. These students have been raised
in relative affluence in peacetime by
Boomer parents. Most of their free time is
spent in adult-supervised activities. They
have little urge to push back against adults.
In fact, they actually like adults. This is
shocking to both Boomers and Gen Xers
who still regard authority figures with
suspicion, but Matures find a certain
resonance with them.

• They are attracted to large social
movements, very much like their
Boomer parents, but look for ways to
make their contributions on a local level,
more like the Gen Xers. They are
expected (even required) to volunteer in
their communities, working side by side
with adults who teach them competence
and effectiveness. Consequently, they
know how to work the system and they
always have a Plan B. Many of our
students have already made significant
contributions to their communities while
still in high school.

• They are not as likely to study
subjects for the pure pleasure of it, not
as likely to focus on one thing, because
they are the busiest students in US
history. The majority of my audiences
this age seem to carry upwards from
eight ECAs in high school, in addition to
a stiff course load. (I wonder when these
teens actually sleep.) They have
essentially been trained to be generalists.
Consider the tension created when MIT
Mature, Boomer and Gen X faculty, who
are living their passion, teach Millennials,
who want to learn the material just well
enough to get a good grade so they can
move on to the other 17 activities they
have to master that day. This has the
makings of a classic generation gap.

• They desire instant gratification.
A member of the Financial Services
staff remarked recently that these kids
“have never heard a busy signal.” They
are used to surfing the Web and they
prefer Instant Messaging to the phone
for the sake of efficiency. (Why have a
conversation with just one friend when
you can speak with 8 simultaneously?)
With Boomer parents who demand top
service and strive to meet their childrens’
every need, these kids expect what they
want when they want it from all of the
adults in their lives.

• They may not see or accept the
consequences of their behavior. Adults
are always saving these kids. I see that
top high school students who fail exams
or miss deadlines due to outside
commitments are regularly protected by
their teachers and school personnel.
Excuses are made, adults blame
themselves rather than allow the student
to accept the painful consequences that
previous generations knew all too well.
Parents do most of the negotiating with
admissions offices now, regularly
weighing in on every piece of the process
on behalf of their busy children, taking
on an almost eerie quality of parent-as-applicant.
No surprise that students cheat
more often, drop activities if they can’t
win, cut corners. Their time is all carved
up, given away to multiple and
competing demands that please adults
while the adults in their lives race to
protect them from failure.

*****************************************************

An article from the MIT student newspaper describes her commitment to "diversity and equity".

http://tech.mit.edu/V127/N66/marileejones.html
Marilee Jones Leaves Behind Complicated Legacy
By Marissa Vogt
February 5, 2008

...

Jones had worked in the Admissions Office since 1979 and became dean of admissions on Jan. 1, 1998. During her 28 years at MIT, admission to the Institute became increasingly more competitive and the incoming classes became more diverse. As the associate director of admissions, Jones was tasked with increasing the percentage of female students, which grew from 28 percent in 1985 to 42 percent in 1996.

Michael C. Behnke, director of admissions during that time, said in an e-mail that although Jones was his point person on female recruitment, the increase was the result of a team effort by the Admissions Office and was supported by MIT administrators, including then-President Paul E. Gray ’54. “Marilee has obviously brought some discredit on herself, and I would hate to see any of that reflected on the increase in female enrollment that happened while she was there,” Behnke said.

When Behnke left MIT to take a position at the University of Chicago, Jones was named interim director of admissions and a national search began to find Behnke’s replacement. “By conducting a serious national search, we wanted to ensure that any internal candidates would be measured against the highest standards,” Professor Rosalind H. Williams, dean of students and undergraduate education from 1995 to 2000, said in an e-mail.

The search committee, which included then-Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 and other MIT administrators, eventually chose Jones for the job based on her familiarity with MIT and the admissions process and her commitment to diversity and equity, Williams said.
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 06:01 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Quote:
parents will have strategized an EC path to optimize intellectual curiousity.


We really didn't have to strategize... my D's ECs were pretty much on the mark for this. She was a top quiz bowl player in our state (that was really her top EC), went to THINK for two summers, was one of only 2 girls on her FIRST Robotics team, collected insects and did some other wildlife biology activities, was in a fencing club (just practiced, no competition prior to applicatons), and won a few awards in visual arts. And had fantastic test scores and good teacher recs that I think backed up the intellectual impression. And she knew immediately what she would write on for her common app essay (thankfully she did not have to agonize over her topic for that particular essay!) -- she wrote about how she has tried to emulate Sherlock Holmes in her life since first encountering him in literature in 3rd grade. We really did not try to make her into something she wasn't... and when colleges could see clearly what she was, they seemed to want to admit her.

Also, my D is pretty introverted, and interviews would have been a nightmare for her. So she chose not to interview at all. None of her colleges required it (no Harvard application like the one in the article). College reps from a lot of the schools she applied to came to her high school, so she made sure to attend those sessions and take a couple of good questions for the reps. Usually only a few kids were there so the rep got their names -- that is as close as she came to interviewing. Although it would be a great skill for her to develop, we felt like the stakes were too high for her to struggle through interviews for college (she has been practicing on the summer job circuit this summer instead :)). Now my older D was a great interviewer, so she interviewed everyplace, and I am convinced it helped her get more merit money at the school she attended. So your milage may vary on the interviews depending on your kid and the school -- if you think this is a weakness for your student, then consider avoiding them if possible.


I find this thread overall ironic. Most everyone on here have kids like intparent's who establish the criteria that all the preppers and college coaches are trying to imitate.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 06:09 AM

Yes -- but there is so much "noise" in the college admissions process that helping the admissions office clearly see your kid without missteps that get the application thrown in the reject pile is still a huge challenge. How do you get admissions to really identify your kid from all the 'preppers' at a school like U of Chicago that gets 30,000+ applications?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 07:08 AM

Exactly.

It's ironic indeed that parents like us are forced to consider that NOT doing any of that stuff (well, you know-- all of the TigerParent stuff, like programming a child's cell phone to give alarms to indicate the times of the next activity, intervening all the time to 'flex' things enough to squeeze just one more thing into an already over-crammed schedule, rationalizing why "doing it for them" is necessary and justifiable, etc. etc.) ultimately can result in your authentically superior student looking...


well, in them looking just like all the rest. Because the rest of them are certainly willing to do whatever it takes to look like my DD or intparent's kids.

I have no idea what the answer is. I don't. I am merely offering that there is a great deal of tension and anxiety surrounding this entire issue as a parent.

It also makes me really angry to watch this prepping taking place. It's unfair on so many levels-- truly a perversion of the system. It's unfair to the institutions who have no real means of determining student quality/suitability and have given up even trying in a lot of senses, it's unfair to students who really CAN'T meet the demand that their resumes are setting up as expectations, and it's also unfair to the students who CAN readily meet such demands, because they have to try to scramble their way to the front of the crowd and raise their hands higher than anyone else...

yet again. In order to get what amounts to appropriate education. We don't want our DD to get "the best degree" that money can buy. We want her to finally get an experience that allows her to truly stretch her wings and FLY intellectually. That can't happen when her classmates are essentially flightless birds dressed up in eagle suits.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 08:41 AM

MIT is on my list of "potentially toxic institutions" depending on the personality of the student.

And by that I mean, there are a number of students who are exceptionally good who will not fit in at MIT in a way that will be very harmful for the student in question.

I wonder if there is actual evidence out there to support this.

MIT was not on my list of colleges to attend because I had no interest in going there. This picture of the inner situation at MIT I obtained through one of my friends with some MIT experience.

For someone who does really well in a place like MIT, MIT would be a wonderful experience.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 09:22 AM

Originally Posted By: CFK
[quote=HowlerKarma]Flightless birds in eagle suits? That is an extremely condescending statement.

Just because these students are willing to jump through the hoops that these schools require for admission does not make them less intelligent.


It also happens to be true for a certain subset of the population at certain universities.

The issue here is one of the developmental arc through a lifetime, which we don't even seem to understand.

I use the "free" strategy for undergrad and so does my wife's family, so this conversation is pretty moot to me.

Which means, I am targeting 75% to 100% merit-based financial aid for my DD (first to college) to begin with. I will revise the approach accordingly as college gets closer.

I've been playing this game since the early 1990's (either myself or advising others) and so far my strategies and tools have worked.

However, I consider a lot of the process to be a complete joke because my goal is to game and rig it with *minimal* effort and time pressures on my children in terms of "playing the game".

I am still considering whether dogging is going to be one of my tools. However, driving all over God's Green Earth to develop your champion dog is a ginormous pain (although quite effective if your child enjoys it...some kids love dogging).
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 09:24 AM

I'm also convinced that the entire college experience these days is basically high school, so I don't really expect intellectual rigor or intellectual development.

That's simply not what college is there for anymore.

It was *never* all about intellectual development, in fact that was only ever about 40% of it, but that share has declined to about 15% in my opinion.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 09:37 AM

In addition, my approach is essentially dealing with the periphery rather than the core.

My techniques only work if you are avoiding the major centers such as NYC/DC.

My concept is to avoid the Tiger Kids. There's no rule that says that you have to compete in that game and to me, the "risk-adjusted return" is greater in doing what I'm doing.

I also use this approach in law. For example, I chose to *avoid* the MegaFirms and MegaCorps. There are major, major deathtraps later in your career in those areas (even years ago). In fact, one the sources of my corporate work (which also was a corporation that recruited me to do my own job) walked straight into one a few years ago.

I try to look at the entire system, cradle to grave.

Bostonian and Wren, on the other hand, attack the Core and seem to do quite well. They are experienced in their approaches and use their knowledge to thrive there.

These are completely different approaches and they both work, however, both approaches require really understanding what is going on and having actual experience in the systems.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 10:38 AM

Our approach has always been one that looks for detours to meeting an intractable or onerous issue head-on.

It's only that now, as we're nearly AT that point of departure from secondary, it's become increasingly apparent that our DD is not going to be able to really tolerate "high school, part II" as college.

She's at risk of dropping out, in our estimation, if we try that route, and NEEDS to be with a peer group which is at least 50% MG+ in order to survive.

Well, since that gets us into a tier of institutions which are 40K+ and who frequently rely on branding to justify not offering merit aid, we're looking fairly critically at what the demographics are ACTUALLY like at institutions of higher learning, and considering how much of it is the result of prepping/hyping and what percentile in ability is going to feel comfortable or tolerable to our DD, and knowing that she is still accelerating in her ability, but not knowing where/when that is likely to plateau again.

What we're finding is kind of depressing, actually. Partly this is a problem which is related to our DD's personal learning style and personality, and partly it's related to an unchecked arms race which has been playing out since the early 1990's.

It's very, very different now. It is. The level of 'crazy' to which some parents are willing to go to make their kids APPEAR to be PG... is kind of difficult to overstate. To go head to head, you have to have both know-how and a certain ruthlessness that my family mostly lacks, I think. I'm envious of parents like ElizabethN, Bostonian, and Wren who have insider knowledge, and I'm really grateful that they are willing to share it so freely here. smile


RE: my remark about flightless birds... it's not a slam against the penguins. Please. I hardly said that those students aren't college material. Elitist or not, kids who are MG are not capable of providing the kind of intellectual peer group that my DD seems to be in desperate search of at this point in time. She is weary of pretending to be a penguin. We felt quite differently about this as little ago as a year back, and were planning to avoid the entire scene, thinking that she'd gravitate to 'her people' in college, end of story. That changed radically in light of a few data points collected over the past year-- unsettling things that point to a profound dissatisfaction with the level to which the most capable of the 'penguins' can go, resulting in bitter disappointment which she turns INWARD into maladaptive coping and self-loathing for her "freakish" nature as a result of her intellect. She knows that most people cannot keep up with her. She also knows that isn't their fault, and they are trying, and that most of them are reasonably decent people, in spite of how frustrating it is to her. The problem with our previous plan is that it was predicated on any given college campus having a viable number of people as a peer group-- and we're rapidly being forced to revise the notion that such a thing will be true on any college campus she attends. It won't be. College is now High School, part II. That's the problem; the solution is to figure out where college is NOT merely more high school. Surely not every college and university has sold its soul, right?

She needs for college to be different.

Our concern there relates to the fact that we don't see this doing anything but intensifying over the next few years. Her development seems to be hitting overdrive again, and as she matures, she is even more frighteningly capable as the asynchrony (which drove some of her weaknesses in executive function) vanishes. We're now looking at things with hindsight and realizing that perhaps keeping her in high school was the wrong move, even though it seemed like a good idea at the time. Darn. She'd probably be better off in the next two years if she were finishing a Bachelor's and looking toward grad programs instead, since those tend to be the people she is gravitating to (and likewise) in her internship. The undergraduates and the other interns? Not-so-much. She humors them by dropping into low gear. But she's clearly more than ready for higher demand, and frankly has chafed that her fellow interns can't keep up well enough for the project to really take off and be as demanding and interesting as it otherwise might have been. She feels sorry for kids who are Tiger Cubs. Seriously.

Jon is absolutely right-- the slice of higher ed which is authentic for kids like this is getting smaller and smaller.

I'm still hunting for a way to minimize exposure to Tiger Kids/Parents while meeting our DD's needs. But I'm not coming up with a lot of great solutions. Places like MIT, quite honestly, seem like a good fit for her-- providing that they are the way that they seem. That's not a small matter, incidentally. There are some big name institutions which are not the kind of quality that they were 20 years ago-- the trouble is figuring out how to read between the lines in the press releases and marketing.

That's the other part of the problem. Just like with GT programs and educational initiatives, there is a TON of spin-doctoring happening on the institutional side of things as well as the parent/student applicant side.

Ultimately, this may make living internationally more appealing in spite of the obvious down sides.


Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 10:43 AM

Originally Posted By: CFK
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
That can't happen when her classmates are essentially flightless birds dressed up in eagle suits.



Flightless birds in eagle suits? That is an extremely condescending statement.

Just because these students are willing to jump through the hoops that these schools require for admission does not make them less intelligent.



Perhaps it would have been better to identify my DD as a falcon that can't tolerate another four years of being bundled into a penguin suit? She's ready to fledge-- in a world run by penguins, for penguins.

What do we do with her??




Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 12:36 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Places like MIT, quite honestly, seem like a good fit for her-- providing that they are the way that they seem. That's not a small matter, incidentally. There are some big name institutions which are not the kind of quality that they were 20 years ago-- the trouble is figuring out how to read between the lines in the press releases and marketing.


I can't tell you a lot about what MIT is like today - I left Boston at the end of 2004. I'm still on the mailing list for the one student group I was seriously involved in, even after I graduated, so I see a little of what's going on with undergraduates, but not much of their academics. Still, I think it's very likely that they are not penguins in eagle suits. Maybe some crows, but there are genuine eagles, too. And they are not required to wear penguin suits to shine, at least while they are at school.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 01:38 PM

Originally Posted By: CFK
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
That can't happen when her classmates are essentially flightless birds dressed up in eagle suits.



Flightless birds in eagle suits? That is an extremely condescending statement.

Just because these students are willing to jump through the hoops that these schools require for admission does not make them less intelligent.


Personally, I thought that the remark was rather apt. This is not to disparage those that are accepted to these institutions but to acknowledge the fact that intelligence and aptitude appear to be ever shrinking considerations being taken into account by college admissions boards. The trend appears to be headed for selecting those that have all of the window dressing but none of the substance aka The Flightless
Posted by: AlexsMom

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 02:54 PM

Originally Posted By: CFK
There are pockets of intelligent people at just about every university. There are majors that by definition attract more intelligent people, there are honor societies, honors programs, clubs, etc. You don't need to spend a fortune or go crazy trying to find these people.


That works best when what you're interested in is something that inherently attracts more intelligent people, and which has a relatively linear course progression. For a math major who's far enough ahead that he's starting off with graduate level courses, a well-regarded state flagship is not exactly scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to opportunities to have intelligent peers with similar interests.

If you're interested in a non-quantitative subject that meets gen ed requirements, doesn't lend itself to AP credit, and requires junior or senior standing for advanced courses, "high school part II" is not an inapt description of what you can expect for the first couple of years.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: CFK

There are pockets of intelligent people at just about every university


I think that the problem that I have is that I think that giftedness ought to be the norm at a university or at least a top tier/state flagship one. So I would be more comfortable if the inverse of what you wrote applied I suppose.

I guess that I am too idealistic.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/20/13 06:26 PM

Originally Posted By: madeinuk
I think that the problem that I have is that I think that giftedness ought to be the norm at a university or at least a top tier/state flagship one. So I would be more comfortable if the inverse of what you wrote applied I suppose.

I guess that I am too idealistic.


The problem isn't idealism. It's math.

There aren't enough gifted people who want to actually attend state flagship universities to do that.

The gifted people tend to be in the Honors program or whatever it is called at the state flagship university.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 04:02 AM

Originally Posted By: CFK

There are pockets of intelligent people at just about every university. There are majors that by definition attract more intelligent people, there are honor societies, honors programs, clubs, etc.


This is true, especially at flagship state schools, but here are the 25-75 SAT percentiles for U Mass Amherst, the Massachusetts flagship, and Harvard:

http://collegeapps.about.com/od/collegeprofiles/p/umass-amherst.htm
U Mass Amherst
SAT Critical Reading: 530 / 630
SAT Math: 560 / 660

http://collegeapps.about.com/od/collegeprofiles/p/harvard_profile.htm
Harvard
SAT Critical Reading: 700 / 800
SAT Math: 710 / 790

The 25th percentile at Harvard well exceeds the 75th percentile at U Mass Amherst. In our affluent Boston suburb, the average SAT scores at the high school are about the same as the mid-range for U Mass Amherst. We'd like our children to have smarter peer groups in college. There are of course schools intermediate in selectivity between Harvard and U Mass Amherst, but many of them cost almost as much as Harvard.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 04:18 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: madeinuk
I think that the problem that I have is that I think that giftedness ought to be the norm at a university or at least a top tier/state flagship one. So I would be more comfortable if the inverse of what you wrote applied I suppose.

I guess that I am too idealistic.


The problem isn't idealism. It's math.

There aren't enough gifted people who want to actually attend state flagship universities to do that.

The gifted people tend to be in the Honors program or whatever it is called at the state flagship university.


Then the way ahead is clear:-

Oxford is now reintroducing entrance exams.

Details...
Austria and Finland (at least) have national exams where the top x get to study at university.

Thanks - you just saved me a ton of money - German lessons will be way cheaper
Posted by: lilmisssunshine

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 04:36 AM

This link was recently making the Facebook rounds in my circle of friends (particularly since my alma mater, and those of other friends were on the list-- at number 8, HK, and I really think your daughter should consider Wellesley).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmarshal...rtest-students/

Of course, it's based on performance at Luminosity, so take it for what it's worth. smile

Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 05:35 AM

MoN you bring up great points but I cannot help thinking that my DD will have to put up with being an outlier throughout elementary, middle and high school in addition throughout adulthood. Perhaps, I am being unrealistic, but I would like her to at least find college a place where she can swim with other swans before life catches up and forces her back into ugly ducklinghood.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 06:59 AM

Good points, Bostonian and madeinUK. That is exactly how my DD felt when reading down that list from MIT. She started to kind of glow.

As if she were thinking-- Wow-- I'm--I'm a SWAN!!

The problem we've had in looking at elite schools is that we kind of HAVE to do our level best to avoid TigerKids, because she's like MoN's DD in terms of her prosocial leanings, and she is viscerally intolerant of pretentious, elitist snobbery. Ergo, many of the places which would otherwise be suitable in terms of test scores and GPA aren't because of the elitist factors. Besides, nothing draws TigerKids like snobbery and a brand name.... :sigh:

I know that I recommended this early on in this thread, but-- truly-- check out the "how do I stack up" tab at College Board's college search engine for those stats, because they are REALLY eye-opening. I truly had no idea just HOW low they were for our state flagship... and for those of neighboring states, for that matter. Literally the SOLE institution within 500 miles of us where my DD looks "only slightly above average" is Reed, which isn't suitable for her in particular for a variety of reasons.

When you get into that tier of institutions (those that draw higher in terms of performance of matriculants) you have to tease apart what role hyper-prepping plays in that average. This is particularly important in the schools that have universal "Ooooooooo" Name Recognition.

Finding safety schools is NO problem for HG+ kids who perform at high levels. Finding "matches" academically isn't hard either-- it's just hard making them stand OUT enough from the horde who justify almost any means... and understanding that unlike most kids, there are no "match" schools where admission is a slam dunk-- because of the nature of those schools.

Where we've had some trouble is identifying "reach" schools-- for an academic rock star, what does that even mean? Is it Oxford? DD asked me, and I seriously didn't know how to answer her. Because in pragmatic terms, she's theoretically the kind of student places like U-Chi, Oxford, King's-London, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, MIT, Claremont(s), etc. are seeking... but because of the Tiger component to admissions at any and all of those institutions... in a pragmatic sense, all of them are "reach" schools, so don't fall in love because any one of them could (and probably will) turn you down, even if you're Stephen Hawking or a future Nobel winner.

On the other hand, my DD is willing to WORK to make her odds better for a place like MIT. Which is a first-- SHE wants it. She wants to do what it takes to let them see who and what she is.

I just hope that she has enough time.







Posted by: QT3.1414

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 07:01 AM

Giftedness is so rare that there is no one institution for us and your children who will be attending college in the future. As a PG 23 year old, I am used to being and outlier and not quite fitting in except amidst my small group of friends and some professors who supported me. I'm sorry to be pessimistic but gifted ness will never be the norm at any school. To think otherwise may be an idealistic expectation.
Posted by: QT3.1414

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 07:02 AM

I am very sorry about all the typos. I am on a kindle and am not used to typing on it.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 07:05 AM

Right-- the point of seeking out an elite college is that the only way-- other than sheer random luck-- to find other HG+ individuals (who are, for PG people, at least close enough in ability to have shared perspective) is to look for places that are "enriched" in those individuals to begin with.

The odds of finding a fellow HG+ student at a school with an average SAT score of 500/500/500 is lower than it is at an institution of the same size and focus whose SAT average is 750/750/750, basically. The students at the former school are going to be mostly average to MG, and the students at the latter are going to be mostly bright-to-MG+. It's a statistics game.

The other thing that an elite institution does for PG people is provide lifelong opportunity. Choices, in other words. The ability to WALK AWAY from toxic situations by virtue of seldom having just the one choice.

I'm well aware that HG+ kids can and do wind up at public universities whose stats would not suggest that they are there... and that one can find 'pockets' of those students, often in math and physics, at any post-secondary institution. But finding ENOUGH of them can be a problem, particularly for a polymath.

Why is state college a more viable option if you intend to major in math or a physical science?

The Audacious Epigone: IQ estimates by college major

And if one looks further to GRE scores as a proxy of IQ (which, okay, has some sampling methodology problems, but hey-- the TRENDS are probably true, in any case):

Steve Sailer's estimate of IQ by actual (not just intended) college major

One important reason for the latter's estimates being different from the former, clearly, is students who change majors or do not complete a degree. Presumably those who are taking GRE's are successful, and they are, by definition, seeking to attend graduate school.

What is interesting is that about half of those students in many disciplines are gifted people. Most are in MG territory, given where the mean is at, but there ARE large concentrations of gifted people in some disciplines.

It is deeply unfortunate that the analytical section of the GRE has ceased to exist. That was probably the single best proxy of IQ in all of standardized achievement/aptitude testing. Totally unscientific, but it's my opinion that there is a 1:1 correlation there among people I've known who took it, and the LSAT still correlates VERY well with IQ. Not coincidence that the analytical questions are similar to some IQ measurement tools.

More on this subject from a College Confidential thread:

Average Harvard IQ?


Even if one were to assume that this is somewhat inflated, HALF of the students at Harvard (and presumably similar institutions) are MG, which means that one might reasonably quadruple the incidence of HG+ students in that population relative to the general population, as well. So at Generic State, the rarity of PG students might be little higher than in the regular population-- about 0.02-0.05%, say. If the rate at a place like Harvard is more like 0.2%, that seems to me to be a significant increase which improves a student's odds of finding true peers... who can become a lifelong support network.

Assuming, of course, that the other elements of the environment support that kind of thing. If it's too cut-throat, then it doesn't matter because those people are merely competitors and not colleagues.


ETA: yes, Sailer. Ironic coming from me, I know. Disclaimer: I'm not saying that I agree with his CONCLUSION, just citing him here because it's one of the few sources of actual data on the subject of IQ and institution/majors, and it seems pertinent to the current trend in the thread. I disagree vehemently with him re: race, SES, and the Bell Curve. That has not changed, but I see no reason to doubt the conclusions to be drawn with this particular data, which says nothing spurious that I can see. Particularly in the GRE-associated data.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 12:26 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

The odds of finding a fellow HG+ student at a school with an average SAT score of 500/500/500 is lower than it is at an institution of the same size and focus whose SAT average is 750/750/750, basically. The students at the former school are going to be mostly average to MG, and the students at the latter are going to be mostly bright-to-MG+. It's a statistics game.


Yeah, but, the odds of meeting a LOT of maniacally prepped unhappy people is also much higher. So are the odds that a lot of people are there for reasons related to status and not actually wanting to, you know, learn stuff.

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The other thing that an elite institution does for PG people is provide lifelong opportunity. Choices, in other words. The ability to WALK AWAY from toxic situations by virtue of seldom having just the one choice.


Hmm. I went to an elite American college, and I honestly don't see how this idea applies. Getting a degree from a fancy college is great in many ways, but it doesn't provide a ticket out of toxic situations. It also doesn't provide lifelong opportunities as a given. TBH, I think that this idea has been pushed in spite of being untrue. Those lifelong opportunities come either from having connections or from being very good at what you do, including having really good interpersonal skills (the latter attribute being as important as the former (or more important) in many situations).

Maybe you were saying something else here?

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I'm well aware that HG+ kids can and do wind up at public universities whose stats would not suggest that they are there... and that one can find 'pockets' of those students, often in math and physics, at any post-secondary institution. But finding ENOUGH of them can be a problem, particularly for a polymath.


I am just so sorry to sound like such a bummer here, but this is reality. When you think very, very, differently than almost everyone else, your are simply not going to meet a lot of like souls on your journey.

Personally, I think that one big draw of this site (NOT the only one) is that many of us can interact with others who are, well, really smart.

Have you considered a top-tier college for women? They tend to be undergraduate-only, small, and not so loopy about the competition to get in (because of the niche thing). Yet the education is very good. Smith and Mount Holyoke are in a valley with 3 other colleges (the Five College valley), and students can take courses at all the colleges for free. So if you want to take a really exotic physics or whatever course, you can go to UMASS. Etc.
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 12:50 PM

Having been an undergraduate at both types of schools, I can tell you the differences I saw were far more relevant in the lower classes than in any other aspect of the school. At the higher end school, the material was like twice the content in a given classroom and the expected outside work were much greater. The dialog in the classroom had many people engaged, debating, etc. At the state university, had to rush to take 3 and 4 hundred level classes to not be bored. Socially, you could have engaging conversation at the top tier school with most anyone right outside the classroom, and big senior projects and internship opps were the norm. But at the state school I met people in organizations with common interests and my good friend there was PG and her parents professors at the school. Other HG+ folks at the state school, were overall quirkier and more likely to have had other routes into school like military first. Within the psychology department all my friends were grad students.

Oh yeah, I also found the professors much more engaging and available at the state school. They liked their few challenging students.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
[Hmm. I went to an elite American college, and I honestly don't see how this idea applies. Getting a degree from a fancy college is great in many ways, but it doesn't provide a ticket out of toxic situations. It also doesn't provide lifelong opportunities as a given. TBH, I think that this idea has been pushed in spite of being untrue. Those lifelong opportunities come either from having connections or from being very good at what you do, including having really good interpersonal skills (the latter attribute being as important as the former (or more important) in many situations).


What Val is saying here is basically true.

The "lifelong value" lasts about 3 or 4 years out of the school.

Your actual skills, particularly interpersonal skills, matter at that point.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 02:10 PM

Actually, Val, I think that what I was saying is that my DH and I have both witnessed "OHhhhhhh, this candidate went to Prestigious Institution" and "Ohhhhh, this candidate knows so-and-so from Prestigious Institution" and garnering preferences for interviews and shortlists by virtue of those things-- without having demonstrated anything else, basically.

Neither of us has anything like that because of our relative lack of elite pedigree-- and we both know that it has cost us professionally because we lack the natural network that attending an elite institution helps a person to build. WHEN we can get a food in the door, of course, our competence and professional experience speaks for itself. But our diplomas merely say "Yawwwwn."

I, too, met quirky and VERY bright (EG, at least) people in STEM at a virtually no-name state college during the 1980's. My test scores were clearly way above the mean for the institution, and probably for my department, even. Even so, of the handful people who graduated with me, well over half went on to earn terminal degrees and a fair percentage went to fairly high-powered graduate programs.

Quote:

I also found the professors much more engaging and available at the state school. They liked their few challenging students.


This is also reflective of my own experience at my undergraduate college, and later-- as a faculty member. Not so much of my DH's at a large UC school, though he certainly drew attention by the time he was a junior in the department.

I don't think we're hunting for a brand name, so much, just hunting for a place (if such a thing still authentically exists) where the Tiger Cubs either learn to go with the flow (if they can) or go elsewhere, and the genuinely intellectually curious students are rewarded by being fed authentic challenge. Hopefully it isn't too late and the pincer grip of college-for-all on the one hand, and an escalating TigerParenting arms race on the other... hasn't ruined it all at this point in time. It's a narrowing target between the two, to be sure.

Part of the problem in being a PG polymath and college applicant at this point in time is that you DO look almost indistinguishable from a TigerKid on paper. Oh well-- we just have to hope that a few places will look at the fact that she's 14, and realize that there's only ONE possible explanation for the gestalt that they're seeing, and it isn't Tiger Parenting.

Yes, Mills, Smith, and Holyoke are all on our short list at this point in time.

At some point in late August, DD is going to have to go through each school's online footprint with a fine-toothed comb and start eliminating anything that doesn't feel like a good-- GOOD match. Then she needs to figure out what she's missing in terms of testing, and we'll need to schedule that for early fall.


Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/21/13 03:14 PM

I've always had that sense, too, Mana.

I seem to have a kid who is kind of superhuman, though. She would have been incredibly intimidating to me as a peer, that's for sure. I don't think I ever knew anyone this bright when I was a student-- and I was one of the smart kids. She just lacks full-time global drive and killer instincts in a competitive sense.

I'm getting that same sense of disquiet (but more intense) that I got just before she entered high school-- she looks to be building expectations for college which are similar in flavor. "This will be different-- finally, I'll learn at a faster pace! More interesting things! Challenging things that exercise my brain! Other people who are as smart as I am! Finally!!"

I'm frustrated by the situation for the same reasons that MadeinUK noted earlier-- shouldn't there be a few places that are still capable of meeting those expectations?? Places which are about substance; neither false rigor, head-patting and awards-for-all, nor pretentious baloney and naked avarice??


DD is so hungry for real intellectual engagement. It just makes me sad to consider that it may never happen for her. However, I do appreciate the insights, even if they aren't what I'd like to hear.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:59 AM

Originally Posted By: eema
As someone who lives outside the US, I am just fascinated by this thread.

Where we live there are no SAT's, and we have world class institutions that can be accessed without spectacular grades or a lengthy resume. Fees are lower too.

Good luck to all of you who have to navigate this!


I'm not from this country (USA), but we live here now. When I went to university it was free. (Now it's increased to being merely cheap). Entrance was based on sufficient academic qualifications, and no other criteria.

But I've recently been reading online, and I'm aghast at what goes on here, which is why I started this thread. I just don't get it. I've never actually met anyone in real life who has ever mentioned anyone ever doing anything non-academic in order to increase their chances of college admission. So I've been completely oblivious to this whole phenomenon of people engaging in (huge amounts of) non-academic Extra-Curriculars in a calculated attempt to get into desired colleges. It never would have occurred to me that such a thing was even possible.

Originally Posted By: intparent
Yes, College Confidential is the place to go. Be warned, it is like crack for parents of college bound students, though!

One book that I really like that can help you think about ECs vs academics is:

How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) by Cal Newport


I actually got this book and started reading it, but I couldn't get past a few chapters of this stuff. It's so bizarre.

We're not going to get involved in this non-academic busy-work arms-race. My kids can focus on academics to the extent they want to, and can do whatever else they want for fun and fulfilment.

But the preparation for university should be academic.
Posted by: polarbear

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:49 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B

We're not going to get involved in this non-academic busy-work arms-race. My kids can focus on academics to the extent they want to, and can do whatever else they want for fun and fulfilment.

But the preparation for university should be academic.


22B, I'm not even close to an "arms-race" parent - re extracurriculars *or* academics. My oldest children are in middle school, and the way that the look forward to college impacts us is limited primarily to thinking about where their areas of interest are leading them and to financial planning. I do, however, do what I can to provide opportunities for my children to have meaningful extracurricular activities - because, jmo, academics can't be their everything - having a physical activity they can enjoy throughout their life is important, having hobbies that bring them joy is important, and having opportunities to be a part of a group of whatever (hobbyist, sport, etc) is also something that I see as important in life. My kids may be smarter than many other kids, but it's not just brains and academics that make for success in life, either in college or beyond - and that's the reason that most kids I know - in my little corner of the US - participate in activities outside of school.

When I went to college (back in the dark ages now lol!), the applications all included questions about extracurriculars etc. The school I ultimately went to (a well-respected highly competitive-admissions , extremely rigorous STEM university), was very up front in acknowledging their belief that the incoming students who had the most potential for success at their school were *not* the students who were strictly straight-A high IQ students, but were rather the students who had other things in their life than "only science" and "only straight As" etc, and jmo, but that vision definitely played out among the students I knew well in college. FWIW, I suspect that most of the kids I was in college with were at the very least MG.

Once we were at the end of the universtiy experience, and interviewing for our real-world jobs, there once again was the question of extracurriculars - and I know it was considered - I looked at it myself later on in my career when interviewing candidates for jobs coming out of university.

I wouldn't purposely choose my kids' outside-of-school activities to ty to pad a college resume, but I do believe they are important in their lives - and that's how most of the parents I know have approached parenting... including my non-tiger-mom friend who is sending her dd off to MIT this year smile

Best wishes,

polarbear
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 05:05 AM

22B,

I share your pain, I think.

I am just as puzzled with the 'hows/whys' of this sorry state that the US colleges have allowed themselves to lapse into. I think that this is the end state of the 'college as a business/college for all' model, though.

I continually oscillate between the extremes of thinking; 'Well this is the World we live in so deal with it!' and being in an almost catatonic state of utter revulsion that things have become so corrupted.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 05:19 AM

PB,

I think that I fully appreciate that a completely personalityless sideshow freak-geek wouldn't be the optimal student for a university (but I think if they can push the boundaries of knowledge that a university is still the optimal place for them).

Universities want people that are bright, articulate and driven and also applicants that have a strong sense of who they are. So ECs, at a time that is now in the past, probably were an appropriate measure of balance; evidence that the applicant was not a hothoused 'monomath'.

But the college admissions process appears to have morphed into an arms race that has become so extreme that EC's have become just another grindstone for Tiger parents to push their offsprings' collective noses to. This reality then completely undermines their entire raison d'être as a factor that indicates 'balance'.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 05:22 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
So I've been completely oblivious to this whole phenomenon of people engaging in (huge amounts of) non-academic Extra-Curriculars in a calculated attempt to get into desired colleges. It never would have occurred to me that such a thing was even possible.


Because you aren't a university fundraiser smile. Universities are trying to choose not just the smartest students but the ones who are most likely to be successful and bring fame and/or millions of dollars to their schools. But if Harvard is about as public spirited as Goldman Sachs, I think it ought to pay taxes on the investment income from its $32 billion endowment (as of 2011 http://www.usnews.com/education/best-col...cial-endowments ), just as Goldman pays corporate income taxes on its trading profits.

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/07/who-donates-most-to-colleges.html
Who donates the most to colleges?
by Steve Sailer
July 1, 2013

One of the interesting subjects that is kept under wraps is this: top colleges have had their admissions and alumni offices get together to carefully model what kind of high school applicants are likely to donate the most money to their alma maters in the long run. But, that information is treated like the President's nuclear football, so I can only guess based on anecdotal information about huge donors.

As far as I can tell from reading articles about 9-digit donors is that a one word description for many of the really big donors is jock: white, male, straight, athletic, competitive, fraternity-joining, and pretty conservative.

To be a big donor it also helps to have legacy ties to the college: either your parents or your children should go to the college.

For example, I first got interested in this subject reading about the first $100 million donor to USC. He was the shotputter on the USC track team, son of two USC grads, then started a steel fabrication company in Fresno.

...

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 05:34 AM

Quote:
But the preparation for university should be academic.


You did ask about Ivy League Admissions in your original post. And whether you prefer it to be that way or not, purely academic preparation will not get you into any of the Ivies, probably even the "lesser Ivies", today. There are thousands of other colleges in the US, obviously, and your kids can certainly go to college with minimal EC activity. But this is the way it is for top colleges in the US now.

I am going to take a bit of exception about Finland, which someone mentioned above. One of my kids speaks Finnish (eight years of immersion language camp at her request -- we aren't Finnish but she got interested... a couple years of high school credit, and a summer homestay in Finland). In college she spent a semester at University of Helsinki. She said U of Helsinki was so much easier than her 2nd tier US liberal arts college that it was almost laughable. She thought the difficulty was about what one would expect at a community college here in the US. Not trying to be critical, and I am sure that is not the case with all foreign universities (I know it isn't), but just saying that as rosy as the picture looks in some other countries, the grass isn't really greener when you get there sometimes. This is not my PG kid, either, so you can't really look at through that lens and say she would find any school to be easy.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 05:46 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Quote:
But the preparation for university should be academic.


You did ask about Ivy League Admissions in your original post. And whether you prefer it to be that way or not, purely academic preparation will not get you into any of the Ivies, probably even the "lesser Ivies", today.

A student whose ECs were an extension of his academic interests, for example scoring at the national level on the Math, Physics, Chemistry Olympiads, and/or doing scientific research, could be a strong applicant. You can get in as an academic star, but being a valedictorian with almost-perfect test scores does not make you a star, especially if you are deemed "privileged".
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 06:04 AM

Originally Posted By: madeinuk
Universities want people that are bright, articulate and driven and also applicants that have a strong sense of who they are. So ECs, at a time that is now in the past, probably were an appropriate measure of balance; evidence that the applicant was not a hothoused 'monomath'.

But the college admissions process appears to have morphed into an arms race that has become so extreme that EC's have become just another grindstone for Tiger parents to push their offsprings' collective noses to. This reality then completely undermines their entire raison d'être as a factor that indicates 'balance'.


Even when I was in high school (years ago), I wasn't doing the EC's because I "knew who I was". I don't have any interest in sports or performing music whatsoever, but I did those things anyway, because it was expected (I guess to show that I was "balanced" whatever that means).

I was trying to execute a strategy to package myself as whatever it was that colleges wanted.

I viewed it as necessary or I would be plunged into the abyss. The "abyss" being actually having to work for a living.

When I got to college, there was no longer any pressure on me to do things I didn't really want to do (because I had already achieved my main objective in life), so I did nothing, to the extent that I was able to do nothing. "Nothing" being reading books, watching TV, and playing computer games.

The same thing is true in much of life however.

I don't really have the slightest inherent interest in having a career, but in order to survive, I needed a career.

I'm never going to figure out "who I am", but that's not even relevant to being able to live day to day. You just have to do things so that other people don't knock you out of your employment so that you can continue to generate income.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 06:38 AM

The Ivies seek to maintain their status (derived from wealth and power), which only partially overlaps with what many of us think ought to be their role of educating the very brightest. They have been successful and see little reason to change:

http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes...sity-background
Obama Administration's Private University Background
Inside Higher Education
July 22, 2013
National Journal has just completed its analysis of the college degrees (undergraduate and graduate school) of the top 250 Obama administration officials. The institutions at the top of both lists are private. Of graduate degrees in the senior ranks of the administration, only 25 percent come from public institutions. And while the top five lists lack public U.S. institutions, the University of Oxford does make one of the lists.

Top Universities for 250 Top Obama Administration Officials

Undergraduate
Harvard U. -- 23
Yale U. -- 12
Cornell U. -- 11
Princeton U. -- 6
U.S. Military Academy -- 6

Graduate
Harvard U. -- 38
Georgetown -- 12
U. of Oxford -- 11
Columbia U. -- 9
George Washington U. -- 9
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 07:36 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Quote:
But the preparation for university should be academic.


You did ask about Ivy League Admissions in your original post. And whether you prefer it to be that way or not, purely academic preparation will not get you into any of the Ivies, probably even the "lesser Ivies", today. There are thousands of other colleges in the US, obviously, and your kids can certainly go to college with minimal EC activity. But this is the way it is for top colleges in the US now.

I am going to take a bit of exception about Finland, which someone mentioned above. One of my kids speaks Finnish (eight years of immersion language camp at her request -- we aren't Finnish but she got interested... a couple years of high school credit, and a summer homestay in Finland). In college she spent a semester at University of Helsinki. She said U of Helsinki was so much easier than her 2nd tier US liberal arts college that it was almost laughable. She thought the difficulty was about what one would expect at a community college here in the US. Not trying to be critical, and I am sure that is not the case with all foreign universities (I know it isn't), but just saying that as rosy as the picture looks in some other countries, the grass isn't really greener when you get there sometimes. This is not my PG kid, either, so you can't really look at through that lens and say she would find any school to be easy.


I think that this may depend on the major as well as the institution - American Universities and Northern European universities differ in that the amount of work that you ''have to do' is less in N. Europe in the humanities because there is an expectation that you *will* read around your chosen subject. Often you do not *have to* to attend lectures, for instance, just do the reading and attend the tutorials. It is not an extension of high school over there - no one is there to make you study...
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 07:43 AM

Well... I am going to assume that it isn't everyone's highest ambition to work in a government administration position, even a top 250 one. I think this sample is somewhat biased by the industry it represents (of course Georgetown, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and GW are going to be on the list -- they also have top political science/government programs). IMHO, the true "power" in this country lies in corporations today anyway (we could get going on a whole conversation on the role of corporate money in our political system, but that is probably not where we should go with this, so hoping the rest of this thread does not go down that rabbit hole...). But I will say that I just don't see this as evidence that we all ought to strive for Ivy educations for our kids. My D applied to no Ivies -- as others have said their future goal will be, ours was primarily to find a place where she could have four years with at least some intellectual peers. Our goals really had nothing to do with status or power. In the long run I want her to be happy (and for her being intellectually challenged is essential to her happiness) and be able to earn a solid living. I don't care if anyone oohs or ahhs over where her degree is from.

As an aside, we had a terrible time with my parents, who were convinced that Stanford was the only college worthwhile for her to apply to and attend! She didn't want to apply after visiting... we ended up having to stop talking about college at all with them after too much hassle from them during her junior year. To this day they still don't know where she actually applied or was accepted -- they only know where she is attending in the fall. So another minefield for you to navigate is expectations of others on what is best for your kid -- only you and your kid really know.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 07:43 AM

Originally Posted By: madeinuk
22B,

I share your pain, I think.

I am just as puzzled with the 'hows/whys' of this sorry state that the US colleges have allowed themselves to lapse into. I think that this is the end state of the 'college as a business/college for all' model, though.

I continually oscillate between the extremes of thinking; 'Well this is the World we live in so deal with it!' and being in an almost catatonic state of utter revulsion that things have become so corrupted.


Precisely. I saw this happening from the inside, and it STILL horrifies and stuns me, the transformation that higher ed has undergone.

The closer your kids are to this milestone, the more keenly one tends to feel this particular conundrum.

Okay, so I want my kid to be who she is, not a "produced" item intended to garner money, Ivy acceptances, and maximum prestige and vicarious parenting victory for us.

So what if Prestigious Institution doesn't want her, right?? It's clearly not the right place if they don't want her the way that she ACTUALLY IS.

But then... you look at the other side of that equation, and realize that this means that your child may well be going to Podunk U unless you're willing to shell out Ivy-level money for a degree that isn't appreciably any better than a regional state uni... (and by this, I mean places like Lewis & Clark College, Pacific Lutheran, etc) so why not do the latter in light of the cost alone, KWIM?

It's become a two tier system in some ways, now. There's the TigerSystem. And then there is everything else, which (administratively) apparently exists to process maximum "product" per unit time. Faculty are punished for anything that doesn't fulfill that mission efficiently, by the way. This is new-- and has been the case since 'retention' became a huge buzz in higher ed about 15y ago... so parents whose experiences are older than that probably don't truly understand how far down that rabbit hole the lower tier institutions have gone.

Your choices are Ferran Adrià's latest restaurant... (if you can get a reservation, that is, and if you can afford it); if you opt out of that, you can still enjoy your meal at McDonald's, Taco Bell, or Pizza Hut. Or you can pay 40%-70% of the Adrià cost to eat at Denny's, Cracker Barrel or IHOP. We're hoping that Adrià is worth it, because we can see perfectly well how little the rest of it is worth relative to the expense.

There are bright pinpricks shining in that dark wasteland, to be sure... but only if your kid is lucky enough to encounter stubborn old goats with tenure who still know that there is a RIGHT way to do higher ed... and then there's the administrator's way...or is nearly 100% autodidactic and not that concerned about interaction with classmates as peers... if unlucky, though, they will be surrounded by the same mediocre and kinda slow classmates and instructional hand-holding that they've spent high school with. WHY BOTHER?

This is where I am now. Like intparent, we're looking at this system and could care LESS about prestige or selectivity per se. It's just that to get the intellectualism that DD needs in order to justify paying for any sort of college experience at all... (because let's face it, if your choices are paying 25K annually for more high school, or... not... er... yeah. Not a fair question, I know) then you do seem to wind up looking at places like Harvey Mudd, Claremont-McKenna, U-Chi, MIT, etc.

Oh-- and Bostonian is completely correct here, I think. Both about the particulars of what elite colleges PREFER to recruit, and also why.

I also agree that when Unis convert their methodology in admissions to "maximizing cash accumulation + enhancement of prestige via our prospective ALUMNI DONORS" and subvert everything about the organization's mission to serve those twin goals, they are at that point functionally corporate, and ought to be taxed like it. I'm a liberal and humanist, and there aren't a lot of things that I find morally reprehensible and indefensible, but that's one of them.

This all amounts to a hideous Venn diagram in a lot of ways. I envy parents for whom this decision is easy because the only suitable schools are (relatively) inexpensive state schools. Those schools-- and we've visited a few-- are really not very suitable environments for my DD, given her particular learning style, interests, and expressed ambitions. She is, in a word, interested in some disciplines which skew low in terms of student ability at those places.

So there is a component for me personally that wants to RUN from that TigerSystem in its entirety; that was always my plan, in fact. I figured that we'd steer DD into physics or theoretical mathematics, and let her go the local state Uni route.

But it's not me seeking higher education-- it's my DD. If she wants a high level instructional environment, she needs to enter the fray like she means it-- and hope she hasn't left it too late.

I will say that considering MIT's selectivity has lit a fire under her the likes of which we've seldom seen.

Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 08:03 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I will say that considering MIT's selectivity has lit a fire under her the likes of which we've seldom seen.


If you haven't visited MIT yet, and there's any way to swing it, you really should. I think that it would be good for her, but also good for you. Trying to figure out a school by reading forum posts is just not the best method for actually getting to know a place.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 08:16 AM

No, it isn't. But she'll have to apply prior to visiting. Flying requires months of advance planning for us, unfortunately, and it's the only way to feasibly visit given where we reside.

Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 08:18 AM

I tend to agree with Bostonian and JonLaw here (not to mention the people who are appalled by all this crass admissions mania).

On the one hand, colleges appear to be run like businesses, with finances as a bottom line. On the other side of the coin, there are as whole lot of parents and students who are mildly fixated to rabidly obsessed with IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS!! for many wrong reasons (status, the Mecca-like quality these places have in some people's imaginations, the (generally incorrect) assumption of future connections, etc).

The admissions letter, not the education, seems to be the end goal in way too many cases. If the goal is an education, then the mania path may not be the right one. If the goal is to avoid hysterically prepped and burned out unhappy peers, well, I would think twice about the Ivy League and similar schools. MIT and Caltech are more about merit than extracurriculars, but my impression is that the workload is crushing. (Maybe I'm wrong. I certainly hope I am.) Niche schools and universities overseas may be a better answer. YMMV.

Also, I don't remember reading much about the cost of IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS!!! in this thread. Personally, I just can't see that 60K for 8 classes, a shared dorm room, and institutional food is actually worth it. Well, that's 60K this year. It'll be more next year, and so on, unless the bubble actually bursts.

Another problem is that education in the US is increasingly being driven toward high-achieving master-craftsmen. This is great if you fit in this category, but if you're a creative type or a learn-a-lot-in-depth type or an undecided type, or if you're the type who challenges the status quo, you may not be happy in the current mainstream environment.

Whoever bemoaned the fact that colleges really should have more gifted students who are interested in learning was dead on.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 08:29 AM

Quote:
There are bright pinpricks shining in that dark wasteland, to be sure... but only if your kid is lucky enough to encounter stubborn old goats with tenure who still know that there is a RIGHT way to do higher ed... and then there's the administrator's way...or is nearly 100% autodidactic and not that concerned about interaction with classmates as peers... if unlucky, though, they will be surrounded by the same mediocre and kinda slow classmates and instructional hand-holding that they've spent high school with. WHY BOTHER?


HK, I think you may be seeing things a bit too darkly IMO (I totally get that this is driven by frustration and I sympathize).

There's still a big middle ground between a poorly-run college run by bean counting administrators and whatever the top is.

Also, I fear that you may be giving more credit to the Ivy League than is due to it. A lot of top-tier admits are there because they were prepped. Why should they suddenly transform from being Achievement machines into lifelong learners just because they entered the magical gates of College X?

You were really excited about a local undergrad college not too long ago. What happened?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 09:00 AM

Yes. To be clear, it's not that we're looking at ONLY test-score ranges to pick 'match' institutions for DD. It's a factor, though. Particularly so in second tier private institutions, which presumably draw high in SES, and therefore ought to represent "optimized" standardized test scores for the students. I do know that public colleges often don't.

Anything that places DD in the 95th (plus) percentile of those ranges has got some red flags to begin with, though.

What changed? Well, DD's internship experience changed things, as did recent (and brutally frank) conversations with friends who are STEM faculty at a variety of institutions in that lower tier-- some of which were originally on DD's interest lists. They are being told that they need to lower standards to keep retention high... to shut up and do what they are told... and in the end, converted to adjunct teaching and untenured teaching corps anyway.

The internship. Well, this is pretty high-level in theory-- highly selective (15-25% success rate), and a feeder for the INTEL and Google SciFair competitions.

DD does love the academic environment, but even she is aware and articulating that it is insufficiently stimulating/rigorous for what she needs as a next step. This is a huge problem out of the blue for us. We never anticipated that one of the state's two flagship Unis would not be suitable for DD in terms of challenge. But it is clear that this is the case. Certainly the other regional school we were thinking about won't be, in light of this. That is in complete agreement with our conversations with friends who are faculty at both institutions, by the way.

The problem is that we're seeing that SAT scores at some of the other institutions also look to be in the same range, in spite of those places being 'private' and nominally more rigorous/selective. DD is a good 200 points over that in each section of her SAT's, which were probably not that great relative to her capability. I'm not just saying that, either-- she just isn't a super-tester the way that I am.

Reed is pretty much the only institution in the region which doesn't look like a "low safety" for her. She's not a Reedie, even if we could afford it-- or were willing to pay for it.

The other problem which is emerging from DD's improving metacognition and self-awareness is that her underlying interests are going to wind up pulling her away from areas where challenge and peer groups would be something like a good fit (math, theoretical physics, etc.). In other words, she's discovering that probably her interest in math has been driven by the fact that this is the sole area in which she has ever been able to learn at a pace/level that feels okay to her.

I know that there are still schools that are in between the two extremes. I just have no idea how to find those that we don't already know about when all we have to go on are useless ranking systems that pander to the heinous aspects of the failing/failed portions of things. We need a nice independently owned restaurant that takes food seriously-- the trouble is that they get drowned out in the cacophony of advertising from the fast food places, and the hype of the high-prestige ones.

I'm also working against my DH here, who-- coming from an industry perspective-- sees MIT as vastly superior to Harvey-Mudd because of the branding associated. I don't, but opinions vary locally, let's just say. wink I think he's been hitting the Kool Aid, myself.



Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 09:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
On the other side of the coin, there are as whole lot of parents and students who are mildly fixated to rabidly obsessed with IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS!! for many wrong reasons (status, the Mecca-like quality these places have in some people's imaginations, the (generally incorrect) assumption of future connections, etc).

For money managers, the future connections are valuable:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/09/business/09fund.html
Quantifying the Role of School Ties in Investing
By DAVID LEONHARDT
New York Times
June 9, 2007

A new study circulating through hedge funds and university campuses points to the powerful role that old-school ties play in the world of investing.

Mutual fund managers invest more money in companies that are run by people with whom they went to college or graduate school than in companies where they have no such connections, the study found. The investments involving school ties, on average, also do significantly better than other investments.

The authors of the study offer two possible explanations — one benign and one decidedly not. Fund managers may simply know more about their old classmates, including which ones are likely to make good executives. The alternate explanation is that those executives may be passing along inside information to the fund managers.

The researchers do not take a position about which explanation is more likely.

“Everything we have is consistent with both explanations,” said Andrea Frazzini, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago and one of the study’s three authors. But he added, “We have no evidence of wrongdoing by any of these fund managers.”

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 09:23 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

I'm also working against my DH here, who-- coming from an industry perspective-- sees MIT as vastly superior to Harvey-Mudd because of the branding associated. I don't, but opinions vary locally, let's just say. wink I think he's been hitting the Kool Aid, myself.

Brand name is less correlated than I thought it would be with average salary as measured by PayScale. Here is some salary data in $K for a few schools:

http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2013/full-list-of-schools

school starting_salary mid_career_salary
Princeton 58 137
Harvey Mudd 67 135
MIT 68 118
Lehigh 57 118
Harvard 51 111
Yale 49 105
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 09:24 AM

Thanks, Bostonian-- I'll definitely have to share that with DH. His assertion is that "nobody outside of a few narrow fields has ever even HEARD of HM."

I mean, Boston is lovely for cultural reasons, but no question that HM is closer to us and logistically a thousand times easier to visit or to attend.


“We have no evidence of wrongdoing by any of these fund managers.”



WOW.

Well, I guess the date gives this one away. Now I understand how it might have been possible for someone to have meant such a statement in a perfectly serious, non-humorous way. It was before 2008.

(Sorry-- veering off topic, I know.)

I'm just thinking that "evidence of wrong-doing" is often clearest in a hindsight, big-picture kind of way.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 09:24 AM

HK, I am not sure if I said this earlier (I think I did), but Harvey Mudd is where my daughter is headed. I personally think the fit is better for her than MIT would be -- with some focus still on the humanities, a little bit smaller school, but plenty of smart kids there. She did run into a couple of students from THINK at accepted student days at Mudd -- they are accepting a pretty bright crew of kids, I think. Another thing she liked about Mudd was the strong presence of women on the faculty and in the student body. She did plenty of "male heavy" activities in high school - Robotics, Quiz Bowl, engineering camp - so she is used to that environment. But she liked the idea of a tech college where about half the population are women. She also really liked a couple of the women physics professors she met there (something one could barely find, as there are so few, at U of Chicago...). She figured Mudd gave her all these things -- strong physics program with a great track record of PhD program acceptance, opportunity to still pursue her humanities interests (particularly visual arts), the benefit of the Claremont consortium for social and other course opportunities, a pool of other smart kids (with the bonus of some humanities-smart kids at Pomona), a Quiz Bowl team and a fencing club, more women in her classes and as professors/mentors, and the opportunity to set fires for fun. smile Do not underestimate the power of the last item...

She went to accepted student stays at Swarthmore and U of Chicago, and has spent a lot of time at Carleton (we live nearby). And in the end after those visits she decided on Mudd, and she is solid on her decision and is very confident it is right for her. My pocketbook is not as happy -- but we can do it. And it is the right fit for her. You gotta tune out the "prestige" voices (your H needs to do that, I think, but it is very hard for some people). Your D is going to shine ANYPLACE. So do your best to find places that feel good to her so she has a happy and fulfilling four years. It may not be Mudd if she isn't sure about the STEM path. But setting aside that "branding" criteria can really help clear the path.

I will also say that top colleges are looking for students who aren't all about the branding. I am sure one reason my D had great success in admissions is because that was the last thing on her mind. I think her "Why College X" essays were well considered and devoid of any gushing about the general reputation of College X (except when she compared some of them favorably to THINK). smile
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 10:08 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Thanks, Bostonian-- I'll definitely have to share that with DH. His assertion is that "nobody outside of a few narrow fields has ever even HEARD of HM."


I'm with your DH on this one.

Granted, my initial emotional response to "Harvey Mudd" is that of a bald middle aged man covered with dirt.

Granted, a midcareer salary of $135K per year also makes me think "Meh", so my emotional reactions may not represent that of the average person or have any actual connection to reality.

This is mostly because I came of age during the first $125K associate attorney era and it was all anyone was talking about for a couple of years.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 10:16 AM

intparent, DD's interests are such that she'd probably have a great time finding mentors at Scripps, I think. We also still have friends in the area from DH's childhood down there.

She also likes the look of Mills. I'm just not so keen on living as a single mom in the East Bay. blush

We have friends in the Chicago and Twin Cities areas, as well-- having lived in that part of the world. In fact, DD was born not far from Northfield. wink Another very good school there that few people seem to have heard of is Macalester.



Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 11:56 AM

There are universities that go all-out to attract talent:

http://www.businessinsider.com/alabama-football-facility-pictures-2013-7 .
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 11:59 AM

So... one of D's friends from the online Cogito chat forum run by CTY (who happens to be from our city as well, but that is how they initially met) is a PG girl who picked Scripps. She just finished her freshman year. D had coffee with her when we went to Mudd's accepted student days. The gist of their conversation was that while her friend likes Scripps and got good merit money, she feels underchallenged there. She is triple majoring, and making the best of it. But she told D she wishes she had gone to a harder college.

My D was also accepted at Macalester. She got some decent merit money there, and it is a fine school. Again -- your D is going to be a superstar in the pool there, though. That is the problem with the merit money schools...

My D1 is not PG, and she took the merit money from her LAC and had a great experience. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, has a good job she loves, and made a lot of friends. But she was not looking for top intellectual company. So while we had some schools like that on D2's list (in case she... changed her mind? More like in case I got hit by a truck and could not pay her tuition -- as I have said to her, if the truck kills me you are all set becaues of life insurance -- but if I just can't work, then you need a financial backup school!). But her heart was never in attending one of those schools...
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 12:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
There are universities that go all-out to attract talent:

http://www.businessinsider.com/alabama-football-facility-pictures-2013-7 .


How unfortunate that my DD was born without the requisite Y chromosome in order to give her a fighting chance at a big time football scholarship.

I blame my DH.

In all seriousness, it is crazy that institutions of (theoretically) higher learning will spend like that on athletic talent, but will basically tell the academic talent pool that they just need to be grateful they can get a seat, and oh, by the way, here's your tuition bill.





Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 12:51 PM

That's easy... some numbers from 2010...
Rank ----- School ---------------- Revenue --------- Expenses -------- Profit ------- Profit Margin
1 University of Texas (Football) $93,942,815 * $25,112,331 * $68,830,484 * 73%
2 Univ. of Georgia (Football) $70,838,539 * $18,308,654 * $52,529,885 * 74%
3 Penn State Univ. (Football) $70,208,584 * $19,780,939 * $50,427,645 72%
4 Univ. of Michigan (Football) $63,189,417 * $18,328,233 * $44,861,184 71%
5 Univ. of Florida (Football) $68,715,750 * $24,457,557 * $44,258,193 64%
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:00 PM

Unfortunately, academics don't bring in billions of dollars.

From: http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Finances/Revenue

Originally Posted By: NCAA
The most recent estimate from the NCAA research staff is that college athletics programs annually generate about $6.1 billion from ticket sales, radio and television receipts, alumni contributions, guarantees, royalties and NCAA distributions. Another $5.3 billion is considered allocated revenue, which comes from student fees allocated to athletics, direct and indirect institutional support, and direct government support.


Hey, isn't it lovely that the taxpayers and the academic students get to subsidize a billion-dollar industry?
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:01 PM

To be fair... University of Alabama offers one of the best deals around to National Merit Finalists. Four years of tuition (in or out state), 1 year of on campus housing, $1,000/year, an iPad, and a $2,000 allowance that can be used for a summer internship. A lot of NMFs from families with limited financial means take them up on it.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Zen Scanner
That's easy... some numbers from 2010...
Rank ----- School ---------------- Revenue --------- Expenses -------- Profit ------- Profit Margin
1 University of Texas (Football) $93,942,815 * $25,112,331 * $68,830,484 * 73%
2 Univ. of Georgia (Football) $70,838,539 * $18,308,654 * $52,529,885 * 74%
3 Penn State Univ. (Football) $70,208,584 * $19,780,939 * $50,427,645 72%
4 Univ. of Michigan (Football) $63,189,417 * $18,328,233 * $44,861,184 71%
5 Univ. of Florida (Football) $68,715,750 * $24,457,557 * $44,258,193 64%


I made a profit from one of those schools freshman year.

In fact, I recommend those types of schools because they are free, when the Ivies make you pay to attend them.

Does this moral have a story to go with it?
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:03 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
To be fair... University of Alabama offers one of the best deals around to National Merit Finalists. Four years of tuition (in or out state), 1 year of on campus housing, $1,000/year, an iPad, and a $2,000 allowance that can be used for a summer internship. A lot of NMFs from families with limited financial means take them up on it.


Exactly.

Undergrad *should* be free.

Because it's really high school.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:06 PM

And just to be clear, I'm only recommending the "free" approach when you want to maximize your GPA for professional schools, such as dental, medical, and law school (although law school is a complete mess at this point).

I don't know whether the same approach is used for Ph.D.'s since my experiences and my DW's family's (free/massively subsidized undergrad) experience consists solely of psychiatrist, dentist, lawyer, etc.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:06 PM

Well, sure, but now we're right back to "the institution's primary mission."

Those profits may drive alumni loyalty/donations, but otherwise, they do little for the academic community on campus-- other than provide more $$ to run the programs associated with the larger Athletic Department. Things that have to be there to satisfy Title ix, but aren't money-makers.

Now, I have no objection to funding the college education of young women who are volleyball or rugby talents and have few other routes to college.

But I have a big problem when a star volleyball player with a 1300 SAT can go for free and a kid just above the local median HHI and SAT 2000 can't go at all.

Personally, I think higher ed ought to shed the pro-sports farm system. But that's me. DH turned down athletic scholarships at two different top-25 schools because the coaching staff were not going to permit him to choose a STEM major. Too much time involved, apparently. And that was 30 years ago-- it certainly isn't better now, and few kids would feel able to walk away from a full ride like that.


Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:08 PM

Jon, I think the only moral to be drawn from your posts is that some students will not be truly happy anywhere or in any career, so they might as well pick the cheapest option. That is not true for all students, and some parents see it as appropriate to try to help their kids find a fit of schools and careers that WILL make them happy.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Jon, I think the only moral to be drawn from your posts is that some students will not be truly happy anywhere or in any career, so they might as well pick the cheapest option. That is not true for all students, and some parents see it as appropriate to try to help their kids find a fit of schools and careers that WILL make them happy.


One of those schools is Duke, which came with a nice 75% discount for undergrad (merit scholarship) for my BIL, who is quite happy with his outcome.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:11 PM

Jon, my own perspective is just as strongly held an opinion that nobody should PAY for graduate studies.

wink

Why? Because in any non-professional degree program, that PhD is essentially wasting your earning potential while you do something that offers mostly marginal additional earning power. Now, it's fine if its about something other than money-- but NEVER go into hock for it. Never. They ought to be paying YOU-- via teaching assistantships and tuition waivers.

But I don't really understand things like law and optometry school, to be fair. It's a curious model for someone like me.

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:13 PM

I'm a little sensitive about the term Tiger Mother, but it appears that Harvard fears for the well-being of bright but uncompetitive children placed with Tiger Kids.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/q...4871_print.html

Q&A: Bill Raduchel on getting into Harvard and the future of newspapers
By Thomas Heath
Washington Post
July 19, 2013

So here is a question every parent might ask. Other than high SAT scores and straight A’s, what does it take to get admitted to Harvard?

The challenge at a really selective college like Harvard is finding people who can still find self-esteem in that competitive environment. If you are not the best at anything, life in that environment is not a lot of fun. And every admissions officer who is there a long time, more than a few years, probably had a case or two where he or she pushed someone into the class, only to have it turn out in tears.

You learn to look for what we called “translatability.” Do something where you were the best. A kid who got straight A’s and was going to get B’s wasn’t going to work if academic success is how they get self-esteem. So you had to look for people who could come into a very competitive environment, who could still find self-esteem and who in some way, shape or form was still the best at something.

How do you figure that out?

It was never the answers they gave. It was the questions they asked. The questions give a much better clue to how a person thinks. Answers can be learned, can be rote. But it’s the questions. Like the questions Sean Parker asked me that day at AOL.

What was it like serving on the admissions committee?

It’s incredibly competitive. If you take the job seriously, it’s really stressful, because at the end you realize you are affecting lives. You are making choices that are intrinsically very hard to do. You want to learn about how to work with people, how to evaluate people, how to make great decisions.

It was a committee process. Your peers had to vote to let anybody in. If you didn’t get along with your peers, you didn’t get many people into the class. We all had candidates. Some private schools sent large numbers of kids.

What you are looking for is trying to put together the best class for the college. That doesn’t mean the brightest. You always had conflicts between kids who are very smart but were not otherwise exceptional and kids who were exceptional but not quite as smart.

The data showed kids who did something else but were smart and not exceptionally smart always did better in life and in grades. The cynics would say the reason was course selection.

What do you say?

If you have a good and solid group of friends, college comes down to having the right dozen people around you. And if you find them and prod them on the success, you will do fine. The trick is to go find that group of people.

The kids who were smart but exceptional, they look in the mirror and look at themselves and say, I’m in charge. And they act accordingly.

Kids who look in the mirror and they see Mom and Dad and the teacher and say to themselves, “What do they want me to do?” — it’s a very different feeling. That’s what you are trying to sort for. Have you figured out how to take control of your own life?
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:17 PM

HK: This is why I'm gently encouraging DD8 to take up softball. She's got a cannon of an arm already, a very strong build, and she has the hands to make good contact. With some normal development with a bat and glove, and given the limited amount of competition for Title IX scholarships, she can get me off the hook for college tuition.

Of course, there's always the chance that, in the next ten years, a massive wave of bankruptcies in higher education wipes out the debt service obligations for all those ridiculous and unnecessary facilities upgrades that have been built, resulting in tuitions falling back to reasonable levels.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
I'm a little sensitive about the term Tiger Mother, but it appears that Harvard fears for the well-being of bright but uncompetitive children placed with Tiger Kids.


I got the opposite out of that. It seems to me they're more concerned about the competitive kids and the Tiger Kids.

Originally Posted By: Competitive Kids
A kid who got straight A’s and was going to get B’s wasn’t going to work if academic success is how they get self-esteem.


Originally Posted By: Tiger Kids
Kids who look in the mirror and they see Mom and Dad and the teacher and say to themselves, “What do they want me to do?” — it’s a very different feeling. That’s what you are trying to sort for. Have you figured out how to take control of your own life?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:22 PM

It must be strongly emphasized here that "that was then" is the order of the day in this entire conversation.

Anything longer than 10 years ago is simply not relevant information about higher ed anymore.

http://nces.ed.gov/FastFacts/display.asp?id=76

Unfortunately.

The mean costs from that table-- taken at 10y intervals from Public, four-year institutions are:

1980-- $6,381
1990-- 8,485
2000-- 10,711
2010-- 15,605

Please note that most "good/flagship" public colleges are double those values, and a fair number even higher.

I don't give the private college numbers there because I'm not sure they are accurate, given that they include the for-profit sector. Suffice it to say that the apparent advent of for-profit higher ed in a big way in the late 1980's seems to have resulted in a huge jump in that number, and that the rise since then has not been as extreme as in public post-secondary. But it's still been around 5K per decade otherwise. The other thing is that just within the past 3-4 years (since '08), a fair number of top-notch private schools have reneged on a pledge to graduate students "loan-free" and to freeze tuition for matriculants, to slow tuition increases to no more than 150% of inflation... all those things that kept the increases somewhat in check.




Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:30 PM

Quote:
This is why I'm gently encouraging DD8 to take up softball. She's got a cannon of an arm already, a very strong build, and she has the hands to make good contact. With some normal development with a bat and glove, and given the limited amount of competition for Title IX scholarships, she can get me off the hook for college tuition.


Dude, not sure if you are serious about this post or not... but if you are, you are assuming she would want to attend a college with D1 or D2 sports (where the scholarships are). A lot of the higher powered academic schools (not all, but a lot) are D3 and don't give sports scholarships. No Ivies give sports scholarships, for example... Plus the cost of traveling squads and development to really be eligible for a full scholarship in any sport is high. And the kid has to really want it... not because mom or dad wants them to earn a college scholarship, but in their hearts. Partly just to get good enough to earn the scholarship and partly to be willing to completely devote themselves to the sport all the way through high school and college.

And counting on the bottom falling out of the college market and prices dropping down to where you can easily afford them without savings... again, you are day dreaming.

I'd suggest you start putting money in a 529 account now and don't count on either of these things happening. Your D won't thank you for having no college savings because you expected one of these two very unlikely outcomes to come true. Or... maybe you were kidding...
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:37 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Jon, my own perspective is just as strongly held an opinion that nobody should PAY for graduate studies.

wink

Why? Because in any non-professional degree program, that PhD is essentially wasting your earning potential while you do something that offers mostly marginal additional earning power. Now, it's fine if its about something other than money-- but NEVER go into hock for it. Never. They ought to be paying YOU-- via teaching assistantships and tuition waivers.

But I don't really understand things like law and optometry school, to be fair. It's a curious model for someone like me.


I agree that you should never pay for Ph.D. programs for the reasons you set forth above.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Dude
I got the opposite out of that. It seems to me they're more concerned about the competitive kids and the Tiger Kids.


That was my take on it as well for the reasons Dude set out.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The other thing is that just within the past 3-4 years (since '08), a fair number of top-notch private schools have reneged on a pledge to graduate students "loan-free" and to freeze tuition for matriculants, to slow tuition increases to no more than 150% of inflation... all those things that kept the increases somewhat in check.


I honestly missed this one. The reneging, that is. Any good articles on this lately?
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:06 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Quote:
This is why I'm gently encouraging DD8 to take up softball. She's got a cannon of an arm already, a very strong build, and she has the hands to make good contact. With some normal development with a bat and glove, and given the limited amount of competition for Title IX scholarships, she can get me off the hook for college tuition.


Dude, not sure if you are serious about this post or not... but if you are, you are assuming she would want to attend a college with D1 or D2 sports (where the scholarships are). A lot of the higher powered academic schools (not all, but a lot) are D3 and don't give sports scholarships. No Ivies give sports scholarships, for example... Plus the cost of traveling squads and development to really be eligible for a full scholarship in any sport is high. And the kid has to really want it... not because mom or dad wants them to earn a college scholarship, but in their hearts. Partly just to get good enough to earn the scholarship and partly to be willing to completely devote themselves to the sport all the way through high school and college.

And counting on the bottom falling out of the college market and prices dropping down to where you can easily afford them without savings... again, you are day dreaming.

I'd suggest you start putting money in a 529 account now and don't count on either of these things happening. Your D won't thank you for having no college savings because you expected one of these two very unlikely outcomes to come true. Or... maybe you were kidding...


I'm kidding on the square. You may also have noticed the term "gently" there earlier.

I'm not kidding at all when I say that my DD will not be attending an overpriced, brand-name school. I would consider forcing a child to play a sport she doesn't like to be kinder than trying to shoehorn her through the requirements for an Ivy acceptance. I consider that game to be like global thermonuclear war... the only way to win is not to play. I knew kids who were trying for that when I was in school, and I openly pitied them. And that was before helicoptering and gaming the system became recognized as necessary components of the process.

As for tuition declines in the next ten years... look through the news today and you'll easily find an article giving sound financial reasons for NOT pursuing a degree. That says the current price point is not sustainable at current demand levels. Impressionable young people (and the parents who finance them) are reading those articles with interest, and that can lead only to a decrease in demand. You'll find other articles that speak to a trend among young adults to reject debt accumulation. So no, I don't think I'm dreaming there at all. What goes up, must come down.

Now, I don't expect the Ivies to be among those hurt in price, because that's an arms race.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Dude
As for tuition declines in the next ten years... look through the news today and you'll easily find an article giving sound financial reasons for NOT pursuing a degree. That says the current price point is not sustainable at current demand levels. Impressionable young people (and the parents who finance them) are reading those articles with interest, and that can lead only to a decrease in demand.


The question is whether that will result in lower tuition or smaller (in terms of enrollment) institutions.

Right now, law schools seem to be tilting toward smaller institutions, but we are really on the first stages of a possible economic shift toward a new equilibrium point.

This is an absolutely fascinating process to watch.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:21 PM

Many people said that about tuition rates 10 years ago, and it hasn't happened... what you will see are some lower quality colleges going out of business. The rates will stay the same and increase somewhat still for the colleges where you would actually want to send your kids to school. And I don't just mean the Ivies. Unless states step up and increase their funding levels for universities, costs will continue to rise at state universities as well. I don't sense the winds of change in state legislatures on that, either. There is whining and hand-wringing, but no actual appetite for tax increases that would be required to increase funding to the universities.

You make a basic assumption that the "brand name schools" are all overpriced. But if you have been reading HK's posts, you can also see the dilemma -- if you do want your kid to attend a school with a reasonable sized pool of their intellectual peers where the classroom challenges match their abilities, many of those schools are the "brand names" -- or charging the same prices as the "brand names". It is hard to find that fit with a lower priced school. It is easy to say when your kid is eight that you won't pay -- but much harder when you see what schools your kid would actually attend if you stick to this when they are 17.

I stick with my original advice -- start plugging money into a 529 now. You will be very happy that you did when the time comes.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:25 PM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The other thing is that just within the past 3-4 years (since '08), a fair number of top-notch private schools have reneged on a pledge to graduate students "loan-free" and to freeze tuition for matriculants, to slow tuition increases to no more than 150% of inflation... all those things that kept the increases somewhat in check.


I honestly missed this one. The reneging, that is. Any good articles on this lately?


Let me see what I can dig up for you.

I may need to use Wayback to find cached information to compare with current data-- because (naturally) many colleges have been curiously quiet about this type of change (as opposed to the press releases that accompanied the original promises 8-12 years ago). Funny, that. wink


Here is a pair of data-points on the subject, though it may not adequately reveal how determinations of 'need based' versus 'merit' aid have changed. It's shocking how few tier 1 and even tier 2 institutions even offer merit aid officially at this point. The other problem is that this fails to capture the point at which endowments crashed for private-not-for-profit institutions. But it's good data nonetheless.

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_357.asp


This one gets at the "why" of some of this, and the notion that tuition increases are "price gouging" (well, they are, but maybe not quite in the way we think):

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_366.asp

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_370.asp

Wouldn't it be cool to know what THIS looked like from year to year:

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_376.asp


Here's a glimpse at what I was referring to-- take a look at Private, not-for-profit 4y institutions and the percentage of loan aid-- the rate jumps almost 3% from '08 to '09, which is several times the rate of increase up to that point.

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_354.asp

Of course, for a glimpse at part of the system which is most problematic, check out the loan rates under FOR-profit schools. Ai yi yi.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
I stick with my original advice -- start plugging money into a 529 now. You will be very happy that you did when the time comes.


Since financial returns are trending toward 2% to 4% over longer term time frames, I'm utilizing standard taxable accounts because there's little loss from taxation and I have increased flexibility.

And *this* gets to my complaint about the entire issue of tuition discounts.

If you save for college, you get punished by not having access to these discounts.

Granted, I'm using the intparent approach, except that I'm not using the 529.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:29 PM

Quote:

If you save for college, you get punished by not having access to these discounts.

Granted, I'm using the intparent approach, except that I'm not using the 529.


Which is precisely the advice that our financial adviser gave us ten years ago. You can't possibly invest the money SAFELY in an investment that has the kind of return to make it worth doing, basically-- every dollar is losing purchasing power every year in the current climate.



Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:44 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
You make a basic assumption that the "brand name schools" are all overpriced. But if you have been reading HK's posts, you can also see the dilemma -- if you do want your kid to attend a school with a reasonable sized pool of their intellectual peers where the classroom challenges match their abilities, many of those schools are the "brand names" -- or charging the same prices as the "brand names". It is hard to find that fit with a lower priced school.


HK's kid is on a whole other level from my kid. I'm confident that my DD could find a large-enough cohort of her intellectual peers at any reasonably-sized public university.

Originally Posted By: intparent
I stick with my original advice -- start plugging money into a 529 now. You will be very happy that you did when the time comes.


The money I would have paid into a 529 is getting sucked up by increasing costs of living... medical expenses, gas and grocery prices, etc.

I suppose I could always not eat...
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 02:54 PM

The thing is, we didn't think we were dealing with "that level" of kid until pretty recently, either.

She'd been coasting in spite of a 3y skip and pretty high levels of differentiation that we've worked hard to get her. At the same time, though, she seemed to be doing okay doing that. Until very recently when we started noticing signs of stress from lack of challenge again.

We have very little saved, either. We were saving, and then got told-- "You're not funding your retirement, and that's the goal you CAN realistically reach."

No way to max a 529 annually without me working, and no way to do that and get DD through K-12 with appropriate academics and reasonably safety. Besides, a 3y skip really takes a bite out of your compound interest.

Catch-22, but there it is.

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 03:14 PM

For us it was cheap vacations -- my kids know their grandparents VERY well :), buying relatively inexpensive models of used cars and driving them til they dropped, rarely eating out (and only at inexpensive places when we did), renting most movies, heavy library use, living in less house that we could afford for many years so our mortgage (and interest payments) were still pretty small when we finally upsized, both parents working, rarely hiring someone to do things like housework or yardwork, etc. Can't remember the last time we ate steak... All of this was done with education savings as a top priority for a lot of years. HK is at the brink now and can't really make up ground, but parents of younger kids have an opportunity to prioritize and figure out what situation they want to be in when the college bills arrive.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
For us it was cheap vacations -- my kids know their grandparents VERY well :), buying relatively inexpensive models of used cars and driving them til they dropped, rarely eating out (and only at inexpensive places when we did), renting most movies, heavy library use, living in less house that we could afford for many years so our mortgage (and interest payments) were still pretty small when we finally upsized, both parents working, rarely hiring someone to do things like housework or yardwork, etc.


I'm still very resistant to the idea of upsizing, since I prefer to have no debt, having already gone through the joy of paying off six figure student loans.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 04:15 PM

JonLaw's plan is beginning to sound sensible to me. The terminal degree is the most crucial one. With the right research and a good dose of luck I can see how this might work. Paranoia being the only the keeping me sane, though, I am still going to save as well, though...
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 04:20 PM

CFK, I'm certainly not suggesting that a plan like that isn't a good idea for a lot of DYS-level kids. Nowhere is that more true than in those kids with well-honed interests in math, computer science, or physics.

In fact, it's probably the best, most sane plan for the vast majority of them-- presuming that the entire family can avoid buying into the hype surrounding elite college admissions (which is just about as meaningless as PG, as terms go). Also assuming that you've been able to realize a fairly ideal K-12 education for that child, and maximize study in an area of interest so as to accumulate a couple of years' worth of dual enrollment credit. Truly, this sounds-- given where I live, and the reality of what GT ed is and is not around here-- like "you should have been eating cake." Well, yes... but I was a little more concerned about bread in the short-term. wink KWIM? The school makes it VERY hard advice to follow, and that includes the local colleges at which one must beg a seat for a non-admitted, very young student.

Also, this is a good, workable plan for students who have a learning style which is a good match for it. That's not to say that CFK's child is antisocial-- far from it. Just to note that for some kids, being an outlier BOTHERS them a lot more than it does others. How they cope varies wildly.



Flagship State varies dramatically from place to place, also-- for someone in CA, that's an excellent plan from an educational standpoint (though I think that at this point, I'd hasten to add that this graphic is pretty disturbing if that is, in fact, 'plan A' for you, ten years down the road). For someone in WY or ID, maybe not so viable. For us, the cost of a neighboring state Flagship University rivals that of Stanford in cost, and our OWN state Flagships are more like the best that the Cal-state system has to offer, and THEY are in some serious financial doo-doo, too, so fee increases there may soon be back into double-digits annually.


WA's legislature just approved a freeze. For one year-- for in-state students, anyway.

:shrug:



We're definitely not hopping onto the HYP(e) Bandwagon. I just see too little to suggest that it is worth the costs-- both real and incidental.








Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 04:22 PM

Honestly, I have trouble naming more than a couple of undergraduate institutions that I think are really worth paying 40+K annually for. The problem is that this is now most private colleges, and not a few state flagships, particularly if you are unlucky enough not to be in-state for SUNY or UC.

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 05:19 PM

Quote:
note that in that bastion of mediocrity, otherwise known as our state flagship, almost all of his professors have degrees from Harvard, Brown, Berkely, Princeton, etc.. I wonder at what point did they lose IQ points?


This is something we haven't touched on yet... where do all those PhD recipients go in "academia"? The answer is that many of them, even from top schools, end up at state or regional or lower tier colleges. I have degrees from two universities, one an undergrad degree from what is considered a "top" state university and one a masters from a more mediocre state U. The professors at the lower ranked state U were very, very good. It is the quality of fellow students (and thus quality of class discussion, quality of group project work -- of which there is a ton because you can't get away from it, quality of conversation in the common area of campus, etc.) that varies widely between the institutions. I don't think I have disparaged the faculty themselves at lower ranked institutions at any point in these postings. But someone mentioned earlier in the thread that the faculty are forced to "dumb down" their content to match the student body at schools where the students aren't as strong. Many of those professors are thrilled when they get an exceptional student and will work one-on-one with that student -- but there still is a difference between being in a classroom of peers or near-peers, and being one of a kind in the student pool.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 05:55 PM

It mattered for my kid -- she got through high school, but the difference in her experience there and at THINK told me everything I needed to know about what we should look for in a college. She doesn't complain often about high school, but the joy she experienced at being in a fast paced, PG-peer group was something I have never seen in her before. And actually, we do have over $100,000 in her college account -- but have been working toward that diligently since she was born. I wouldn't say it is "sitting around", but I would say that we have sacrificed a great deal toward this goal because it was a top priority. That still doesn't pay the bill at a full pay top college, but it puts us in striking distance and gives her options so she does not have to make a choice between high debt and top academics/peers. Or making her wait another four years for the possible relief in grad school if she ends up attending one.

People do what they can afford and they justify it... but if you have younger kids, I still stick by my advice -- figure out how to start saving more now and do it. You won't be sorry.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 06:32 PM

Well, for us, our plan was always for me to go back to work when DD went to college. In part this is because our K-12 educational choices, while imperfect, have also been expensive. Effectively, about 60-100K annually in my lost income.

So I'll work for four years in order to put my income toward tuition, and then I'll put that $ into retirement investments and our mortgage (or what is left of it).

So yes, to us-- because we have the ABILITY-- that difference, which we've worked out to be more like 100K additional at most, over 4y, we're willing to do what it takes.

My child seems to need this. I was not of that opinion until recently, when I could see what it meant to her to interact with people closer to her intellectual peers... and to realize that those were all people who already possessed undergrad degrees. Placing her with a group much like her high school experiences have been is going to increase the risk that she'll just give up and walk away. She has indicated very emphatically that she NEEDS for college to be a different experience from high school in this regard. High school has been barely tolerable. Not "fine."



We thought that acceleration alone would be enough w/r/t college, and if we'd had CFK's options through high school (dual enrollment, etc) it might have been. Then again, DD being a true polymath and so radically Socratic/collaborative w/r/t peers, maybe it wouldn't have in light of her other personality quirks.


An Ivy? No way. Not worth the $.

An elite school where merit matters? Might be worth the premium. To my DD and to us. IMMV.



Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 06:58 PM

I was weeding the garden tonight and thinking about this -- what is going on right now with the very top colleges seems almost like doping in sports... baseball and cycling are in the news this week, maybe that is why it is on my mind. I think that is one reason we stayed away from the Ivies altogether in the application process -- it feels like there are too many students (and parents) who would do ANYTHING for their kids to get into those schools these days. We focused more on schools with an intellectual reputation -- Swarthmore, U of Chicago, Mudd... although U of Chicago seems to have joined the Ivy-like frenzy, their head of admissions is focused on knocking off Yale in the college rankings... D got in there, but did not much like most of the present or accepted students she met. Anyway, that is the analogy I was thinking about.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 07:02 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
figure out how to start saving more now and do it. You won't be sorry.


Excellent advice for any situation.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 10:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: intparent
Quote:
But the preparation for university should be academic.


You did ask about Ivy League Admissions in your original post. And whether you prefer it to be that way or not, purely academic preparation will not get you into any of the Ivies, probably even the "lesser Ivies", today.

A student whose ECs were an extension of his academic interests, for example scoring at the national level on the Math, Physics, Chemistry Olympiads, and/or doing scientific research, could be a strong applicant. You can get in as an academic star, but being a valedictorian with almost-perfect test scores does not make you a star, especially if you are deemed "privileged".

If someone is a USAMO contestant (with academic results and awards consistent with that, but with little in the way of non-academic Extra-Curriculars) what are their chances at places like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, CalTech, Stanford?
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 10:44 PM

Several people have mentioned merit aid.

What kinds of places offer merit aid?

More to the point, who offers full rides or close to it, and what does it take to get it?

If you qualify for some need-based aid, does that make it harder or easier to also get some merit based aid?
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 11:02 PM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: intparent
I stick with my original advice -- start plugging money into a 529 now. You will be very happy that you did when the time comes.


Since financial returns are trending toward 2% to 4% over longer term time frames, I'm utilizing standard taxable accounts because there's little loss from taxation and I have increased flexibility.

And *this* gets to my complaint about the entire issue of tuition discounts.

If you save for college, you get punished by not having access to these discounts.

Granted, I'm using the intparent approach, except that I'm not using the 529.


I hope everyone realizes that you should not put any money into a 529 plan or taxable account unless you have already put the maximum allowed amount into all available tax-shelered retirement plans first. And paying down/off your mortgage should also take precedence over taxable or 529 plan investing.

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Quote:

If you save for college, you get punished by not having access to these discounts.

Granted, I'm using the intparent approach, except that I'm not using the 529.


Which is precisely the advice that our financial adviser gave us ten years ago. You can't possibly invest the money SAFELY in an investment that has the kind of return to make it worth doing, basically-- every dollar is losing purchasing power every year in the current climate.


But stocks have doubled in the last decade. (Actually they've doubled twice and halved once.)

I avoid financial advisers. Seeing a financial adviser does help a kid get into college --- theirs not yours.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/22/13 11:58 PM

I think one of the main points in all of this is that costs matter. But the costs depend on your financial status, your academic status, and the institution.

If you have a second quartile household income
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/15/business/one-percent-map.html?ref=business
namely about $50k-$90k per year, the the Ivies and other elites are much cheaper than other options. (Some Ivies will even cap net price at 10% of income up to $150k income, so 91% of households would pay at most 10% of income, if accepted.)

I went to http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ to get stats on universities, and also checked out the Net Price Calculators of each place, and put in mid 2nd quartile income numbers $70k income, $200k house, $100k other non-sheltered assets.

The following are the 15 private universities with 25th Percentile SAT Math scores at least 700, and I list the middle 50% of those scores, and the Net Price (including loans and student work) given by their Calculators.

California Institute of Technology
760-800
$21k

Columbia University in the City of New York
700-790
$15k

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
725-790
$13k

Harvard University
710-790
$7k

Harvey Mudd College
740-800
$19k

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
740-800
$17k

Northwestern University
700-780
$26k

Princeton University
710-800
$11k

Rice University
700-780
$18k

Stanford University
700-790
$8k

University of Chicago
700-790
$25k

Vanderbilt University
710-790
$16k

Washington University in St Louis
720-790
$22k

Webb Institute
700-750
$10k

Yale University
700-800
$14k


The following are the 5 public universities with 25th Percentile SAT Math scores at least 640, and I list the middle 50% of those scores, and the Net Price (including loans and student work) given by their Calculators. These are out-of state prices.

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
660-760
$26k

University of California-Berkeley
650-770
$44k

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
680-790
$44k

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
650-760
$41k

University of Virginia-Main Campus
640-740
$20k

-----------------------------------

Berkeley is SIX TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE THAN Stanford!!!!

It may be very hard to get into some of the elite institution listed above, but if you do, and you have an upper middle class income in the second quartile $50k-$90k range, then some of these places are very affordable.

This is why I am so keen to find out what it takes to get in.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 04:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Mana
Just adding a link to a different on Allen Yuan:

http://www.aapt.org/physicsteam/2009/team.cfm?id=787

My favorite bits:

" Before kindergarten, I wasn't particularly bright; the one thing that fascinated me most was the vacuum cleaner."

"I did not do too well at the competition, but I was inspired by the people in the countdown round -- I marveled at their speed and wanted to be like them, so I began to study for MATHCOUNTS and eventually was able to get 2nd written at the national competition."

"As for physics, I took my first introductory physics class in 9th grade. While I didn't really obtain a very solid understanding of physics, I became interested in the subject (after doing quite terribly on the first round of the USAPHO that year)."

You can't help but cheer for a boy like this.


Indeed.

And it also shows that while the 'magic ingredient' might be innate intelligence; curiosity, drive and self discipline are substantial factors also.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 04:53 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
I think one of the main points in all of this is that costs matter. But the costs depend on your financial status, your academic status, and the institution.

If you have a second quartile household income
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/15/business/one-percent-map.html?ref=business
namely about $50k-$90k per year, the the Ivies and other elites are much cheaper than other options. (Some Ivies will even cap net price at 10% of income up to $150k income, so 91% of households would pay at most 10% of income, if accepted.)

I went to http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ to get stats on universities, and also checked out the Net Price Calculators of each place, and put in mid 2nd quartile income numbers $70k income, $200k house, $100k other non-sheltered assets.

The following are the 15 private universities with 25th Percentile SAT Math scores at least 700, and I list the middle 50% of those scores, and the Net Price (including loans and student work) given by their Calculators.


Thanks for your research. Were the prices quoted for state schools for out-of-state residents?
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 06:28 AM

Originally Posted By: madeinuk

And it also shows that while the 'magic ingredient' might be innate intelligence; curiosity, drive and self discipline are substantial factors also.


You put the "innate" modifier only in front of intelligence, but I suspect, based on both reading and paternal experience, that curiosity, drive, and self-discipline are also tough for parents or teachers to change, and even for people to change themselves through force of will. A recent book I am reading is "Willpower", by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney.


Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 06:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Thanks for your research. Were the prices quoted for state schools for out-of-state residents?


Just looking at Berkeley as an example, it appears to be a median between the in-state and out-of-state costs, including room and board.

http://www.collegedata.com/cs/data/college/college_pg03_tmpl.jhtml?schoolId=1090

Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 06:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: madeinuk

And it also shows that while the 'magic ingredient' might be innate intelligence; curiosity, drive and self discipline are substantial factors also.


You put the "innate" modifier only in front of intelligence, but I suspect, based on both reading and paternal experience, that curiosity, drive, and self-discipline are also tough for parents or teachers to change, and even for people to change themselves through force of will. A recent book I am reading is "Willpower", by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney.




While I think that there may be differences between individuals in terms of the innate 'ceiling' for these qualities, I do believe that unlike 'g' these the other qualities can be learned and are largely based on level of maturity.

From my own personal experience I know that I would only apply myself as a youngster if I found the teacher engaging and the topic at hand interesting. Only later did I learn that to sometimes you do have to do stuff because you have to do it. There is a strong cultural component too - I do not think that Chinese, Korean and Japanese overachievement in this country is entirely genetic, for instance.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 06:54 AM

... also bear in mind that as income level rises, the amount of aid which is in LOANS also rises.

We're just above the range mentioned above... and our EFC is in the mid-thirty-thousands.

Calculators which are university specific generally have been spitting out loans to the tune of 5-14K annually as a result.

Thus our bimodal decision tree on the subject. We can either pay completely out of pocket for a private school out of state, pay completely out of pocket for a public school out of state, or pay a WAY smaller amount out of pocket for an in-state flagship.

My point is-- watch and tease apart the LOAN amounts in "met need" calculations. It's often hidden a bit in the fine print-- particularly when colleges play the game of considering STUDENT loans separately from PARENT loans. (This is so insane that it is hard to even articulate coherently, frankly.)


http://collegecost.ed.gov/catc/Default.aspx

The above is a great way to truth-check a University/College's statements against what they have actually been doing in terms of aid and tuition/fees. We have really opted to try to steer clear of anyone that comes up with a clear gap between what they SAY and what the NCES data suggests is more in line with reality at the institution. I gather that this is also the approach that intparent has used.


Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 07:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian

Thanks for your research. Were the prices quoted for state schools for out-of-state residents?

Out-of-state.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 07:21 AM

Quote:
I hope everyone realizes that you should not put any money into a 529 plan or taxable account unless you have already put the maximum allowed amount into all available tax-shelered retirement plans first. And paying down/off your mortgage should also take precedence over taxable or 529 plan investing.


Only if you plan to tap your retirement funds somehow (possible with a Roth or possibly a loan from a 401K) or your home equity via loans (which has a high interest rate) to pay for your kids' educations. Especially if you have a very low interest rate on the mortgage with the tax break that comes along with the interest payment (if you itemize), it doesn't necessarily make more sense to pay down the mortgage. And don't think your house equity is exempt from scrutiny by top colleges looking at your assets for paying for college...

Also, most 529 plans have a variety of options regarding investment risk. They aren't just a savings account with .1% interest or something like that. There are options like that within our plan, but there are also things like "age banded" options with a mix of stock & bond investments that shift as your kid ages. We don't have all of our college savings in 529s, but generally those investments have done quite well over the course of the 15 years or so that we have had them. Investing regularly (especially if you can front load) in a 529 is an excellent way to make sure you have money set aside for college. There are also ways you can get the money out if you don't need it for education for various reason without a tax hit (if your child gets scholarships that cover the cost, for example). Or it can be used later for a graduate degree if you want to. Or transferred to another person (child, grandchild, etc). Don't knock the 529 investment and assume retirement and mortgage paydowns are a better idea. They have their place as well, and we have not ignored retirement or the mortgage. But we are better positioned that almost anyone I know in our income bracket for paying for college, so take that for what it is worth.

Note that the net price calculators are not reliable if you have a small business, are divorced, get any money from relatives to help with payments, or have any trusts. They are not a guarantee of what your actual cost will be. I assume that to run the calculator for a state school like Berkeley or Michigan you need to tell them if you are a state resident or not -- the costs shown in 22B's list are clearly from OOS. And who would expect a state university to give good need based aid to an OOS student? So that is no surprise.

Regarding the question about USAMO -- no one can tell you what the admissions committee considers "worthy" of admission to any of these schools. A very top prize nationally in a competition like USAMO AND great grades AND great test scores AND great recommendations will certainly get your kid considered at top schools. But they could be competing against kids who have that AND play a sport AND are an under-represented minority at the school. There are no guarantees in this process.

And you can (honestly) destroy your relationship with your kids if you become a "tiger parent" who is all about admission to those schools and drive your kids to accomplish it. To me that would not be worth the tuition break... you might say you are not being a "tiger parent" because you are doing it for the money, not the prestige. But the end result for you and your kids is the same.

You asked about merit aid. Generally colleges that are "second tier" or lower tend to offer more merit aid. Merit aid is not based on your financial need at all. BUT, many colleges cut need based grants if you get merit aid. Some of them will cut the loans out of their financial aid "package" first if you get merit aid from the college. Note that outside scholarship also often offset the need based package. So your cost of attendance ends up unchanged...

My D got the following merit aid offers this past spring. All are "per year", so she have gotten this each of her four years on campus:

Kenyon - $15,000
Macalester - $15,000
Lawrence - $21,000
Mount Holyoke - $25,000 plus funding for a summer internship
University of Chicago - $5,000

She also would have gotten an extra $1,000-$2,000 per year for being a National Merit Finalist if she had picked any of those colleges.

There are colleges that offer free rides for merit -- University of Alabama and University of Oklahoma come to mind. USC has some half tuition scholarships for National Merit Finalists, too. Some public universities, especially in the south, have guaranteed scholarships for students based on test scores/GPA.
Really, we ARE recreating College Confidential out here. You should go out there and review the existing threads and post questions there. Here is a link to the financial aid forum:

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/

At the very top of this page there is a link on automatic and full ride scholarships.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 07:34 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
And don't think your house equity is exempt from scrutiny by top colleges looking at your assets for paying for college...

Not at Harvard -- see http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post126438 . I am not sure about other schools.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 07:45 AM

Harvard and a very small number of other schools have such massive endowments that they COULD allow everyone to go for free. Say there are 3,000 colleges in the US (guessing), then 2,995 of them can't afford to do that. Most of the colleges that say they "meet need" do ask about your home equity on the CSS profile form. FAFSA only colleges do not look at home equity. But a lot of the colleges that do require the CSS (pretty much all the top colleges) won't tell you their exact equations for calculating need... so you can't know for sure.

Unless a college has a big enough endowment to cover everyone's expenses anyway, they want to make sure people don't have large assets they COULD tap for college. If you have a $750,000 house that is paid off, but only $100,000 in liquid assets, you can hardly blame colleges for taking that into account. It used to be that they didn't look at that... but every time people try to game the system (trying to get someone else to pay their college bills by doing things like investing in home equity that they thought wouldn't be considered), eventually the colleges that have to limit their Financial Aid distributions get wise and close the loophole. Which also tells you that the rules today for calculating financial aid may not be the rules in 5 or 10 years when your kids are actually applying.

Colleges that don't guarantee to "meet need" just gap you -- they give you some aid, and offer some federal loans. But they know perfectly well that your income and assets are not sufficient to pay the rest, and they expect you to take out private loans to cover that gap.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 07:56 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Which also tells you that the rules today for calculating financial aid may not be the rules in 5 or 10 years when your kids are actually applying.


Which gets you back to the problem of "college" or "retirement" given that future nominal returns for (reasonable) financial assets over all reasonable time frames is approximately 4%.

Which leads me back to "free, if possible".
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 08:08 AM

Originally Posted By: master of none
Originally Posted By: madeinuk
I do not think that Chinese, Korean and Japanese overachievement in this country is entirely genetic, for instance.


Ha! I met a Chinese woman yesterday who was explaining the effect these cultural stereotypes have on her family. She said that in general police officers, teachers, bosses, people in authority look at her as if she will yield to what they ask, even if unreasonable. They will ask her to move to another seat, do an undesirable task, etc. She struggles because culturally, she would not stand up for herself but would hope to earn respect by her actions.

She also said in school, her dd who is a junior has tremendous pressure on her to keep up with the other Asian kids and drives herself to an unhealthy level. The dd tells her mother that the younger sibs are not disciplined enough, not focused enough, etc.

This mom said she gets pressure from other Asian parents too. They tell her if she doesn't start violin lessons young, doesn't get them into the right sport, math tutoring, etc, her kids will not do well.


So the stereotype *is* true for most of the Asian parents in her circle. In general, most stereotypes have some truth to them, as social psychologist Lee Jussim has documented.


Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 08:23 AM

Originally Posted By: master of none
This mom said she gets pressure from other Asian parents too. They tell her if she doesn't start violin lessons young, doesn't get them into the right sport, math tutoring, etc, her kids will not do well. She has tried to raise her kids to follow interests and passions and to be relaxed and she feels like she is improving with each child, but has a great deal of guilt over how stressed her older dd is, and a world that tells her that her children must achieve.


What are they trying to "achieve" though?

It's always been a complete abstraction to me because there's no benchmark as to what is an acceptable level of achievement.

Kind of like the empty word "success". I can't even tell you what that means.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 08:30 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
What are they trying to "achieve" though?

It's always been a complete abstraction to me because there's no benchmark as to what is an acceptable level of achievement.

Kind of like the empty word "success". I can't even tell you what that means.


As with most relative terms, it means whatever you decide it means.

For maximum mental health, I suggest setting the bar extremely low... like, pants-on-correctly low. Then you can be a winner all day long.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 08:41 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Harvard and a very small number of other schools have such massive endowments that they COULD allow everyone to go for free. Say there are 3,000 colleges in the US (guessing), then 2,995 of them can't afford to do that. Most of the colleges that say they "meet need" do ask about your home equity on the CSS profile form. FAFSA only colleges do not look at home equity. But a lot of the colleges that do require the CSS (pretty much all the top colleges) won't tell you their exact equations for calculating need... so you can't know for sure.

Unless a college has a big enough endowment to cover everyone's expenses anyway, they want to make sure people don't have large assets they COULD tap for college. If you have a $750,000 house that is paid off, but only $100,000 in liquid assets, you can hardly blame colleges for taking that into account. It used to be that they didn't look at that... but every time people try to game the system (trying to get someone else to pay their college bills by doing things like investing in home equity that they thought wouldn't be considered), eventually the colleges that have to limit their Financial Aid distributions get wise and close the loophole. Which also tells you that the rules today for calculating financial aid may not be the rules in 5 or 10 years when your kids are actually applying.

Colleges that don't guarantee to "meet need" just gap you -- they give you some aid, and offer some federal loans. But they know perfectly well that your income and assets are not sufficient to pay the rest, and they expect you to take out private loans to cover that gap.


What intparent says in the post above is exactly what we've been finding, too-- as we have talked to colleges and run preliminary financial aid at various institutions, second tier private schools are coming in at 12-20K in institutional grants (but remember that this is off the top of a tuition bill which is 36-45K), and the public ones have tuition discounting instead-- for a student in the 90th percentile and higher for the institution, that might be as much as 40-50%, but that is IN-STATE students.

The gapping problem is getting bigger. Colleges gloss over it in their statements, but it's not trivial.

Also, even preliminary aid calculations now ask questions re: equity and other investments. They clearly DO consider those things somehow, though the exact details are frequently proprietary.

One reason why I still think that this conversation likely is better here than at CC is that the reality here is predicated on most of our kids BEING in the top percentiles no matter where they are looking. The real question is whether it is acceptable to be in the top 1% for the institution, or the top 10%.

It's not about "getting in" for anyone posting here, I suspect. It's about getting in so that you can extract a good education from that setting at a cost that seems worth it.

I also concur strongly about TigerParenting (for any reason) as a means of achieving this goal. No matter how defensible your rationale, unless you are desperate and this is (seriously) the ONLY way that your child can attend college at all due to financial dire straits... it's simply NOT worth what it will cost either of you in the long run. What constitutes "Tigering" varies with the individual child significantly, however.

Some kids respond very well to push-parenting (done in moderation, mind). My DD is one of them. Now, our version of "push" parenting is "No, this was your idea, you signed up for it, we paid for it, and you're going to follow through on the commitment." Not "here's your list of extracurriculars, and here are our target outcomes. Do whatever you need to in order to reach those." :cringe: To be clear, we have seen some of DD's peers subjected to the latter type of parenting.





Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 09:04 AM

About that "gap" thing again-- UW, for example, estimates our EFC at 32K annually, give or take. Because we are OOS, the tuition and fees (2013) are ~47K.

Okay, so that 15K gap?

LOANS. Mostly unsubsidized, and 9K annually are parent loans, not "student" loans.



So, Reed College--

Estimates our EFC at 34K (using the same data that UW used), and DD's "self-help" contribution at 5K annually.

They'd offer us a 10K "Reed Grant" (unclear whether this is need based or something else-- presumably "need-based" of some sort).

The rest? (Meaning that pesky remaining 3.6K gap)

Loans again.

(This is a relatively low loan-rate for institutions like Reed, too.)

Interestingly, UW touts people like us as having "100% of need met" and Reed wouldn't, based on that calculation, because of the gap.

On the other hand, because Reed didn't tell us to go get loans, they can say that their aid packages don't include loans in cases like ours.

It's a huge shell game-- that is what I'm pointing out.

Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 09:21 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
It's not about "getting in" for anyone posting here, I suspect. It's about getting in so that you can extract a good education from that setting at a cost that seems worth it.


I agree, and the gulf seems to be between the following camps:

1) This is the only educational option that works for our kids, so no price is too high.

2) The [rent] is too damned high.

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Some kids respond very well to push-parenting (done in moderation, mind). My DD is one of them. Now, our version of "push" parenting is "No, this was your idea, you signed up for it, we paid for it, and you're going to follow through on the commitment."


That's not pushing, that's just parenting. If the goal is to raise self-sustaining individuals that function well in society, then the ability to follow through on obligations is a critical one.

Other parents act differently, because apparently they have another goal in mind.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 09:26 AM

The Reed Grant is need based -- they have no merit aid... frown

What you are also pointing out is that it is crazy complicated -- and parents are often whiplashed and surprised by the complexity of it. That is why I like the CC financial aid discussion forum -- there are a couple of people who work as financial aid officers posting out there who can help you decipher/cut through the bs and figure out what is really going on.

I have this massive spreadsheet where I tracked everything about D2's college search. I think the most complicated part of it is the financial aid portion -- just tracking all the offers and the differences. And due dates & formats for FA materials to the college. Every one of them has a different set of requirements for CSS forms, how to get tax forms to them, what tax forms they want, and what the due dates for all that stuff is. One thing I will say is that there is no way our kids can just handle and figure this out on their own -- it is super, super complicated, and requires an adult understanding of your finances, assets, taxes, etc. It was practically a full time job to get all the paperwork in this last spring. Some people say you should apply to a LOT of colleges (15-20) to compare FA offers. I think that would have killed me (never mind my kid doing the applications).
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
That's not pushing, that's just parenting. If the goal is to raise self-sustaining individuals that function well in society, then the ability to follow through on obligations is a critical one.


This is a pretty good definition of parenting.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 09:42 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent

I have this massive spreadsheet where I tracked everything about D2's college search. I think the most complicated part of it is the financial aid portion -- just tracking all the offers and the differences. And due dates & formats for FA materials to the college. Every one of them has a different set of requirements for CSS forms, how to get tax forms to them, what tax forms they want, and what the due dates for all that stuff is. One thing I will say is that there is no way our kids can just handle and figure this out on their own -- it is super, super complicated, and requires an adult understanding of your finances, assets, taxes, etc. It was practically a full time job to get all the paperwork in this last spring. Some people say you should apply to a LOT of colleges (15-20) to compare FA offers. I think that would have killed me (never mind my kid doing the applications).


The process would be simpler if colleges charged everyone the same amount (lower than the current list prices), but that amounts to a parental wealth/income test. With a complicated financial aid process, colleges have made the wealth/income test easier for some but added to it a parental IQ/organization/motivation/cooperation test. Some applicants on CC report that their parents refuse to divulge any financial information, putting them in a difficult situation.



Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 09:55 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
LOANS. Mostly unsubsidized, and 9K annually are parent loans, not "student" loans.


And still burns so many years later, that no one explained that the parent loans are not deferred. So, a parent scraping by to meet their portion of the non-covered tuition/expenses can be totally crushed when that loan repayment starts to hit a few months after school starts. (see above, where I was "lucky" enough to attend both a top tier and a mid-level state school.)
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 10:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
It's not about "getting in" for anyone posting here, I suspect. It's about getting in so that you can extract a good education from that setting at a cost that seems worth it.


I agree, and the gulf seems to be between the following camps:

1) This is the only educational option that works for our kids, so no price is too high.

2) The [rent] is too damned high.

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Some kids respond very well to push-parenting (done in moderation, mind). My DD is one of them. Now, our version of "push" parenting is "No, this was your idea, you signed up for it, we paid for it, and you're going to follow through on the commitment."


That's not pushing, that's just parenting. If the goal is to raise self-sustaining individuals that function well in society, then the ability to follow through on obligations is a critical one.

Other parents act differently, because apparently they have another goal in mind.



LOL-- yes, but when your kid is Ghandi-like, the amount of, er.. insistence (ahem) can be fairly extreme. Dealing with this right now, in fact. DD promised to complete a BUNCH of things for fair entry, and she then dragged her feet so that she could socialize for the past six weekends instead of tackling it early. Well, the materials are here and so are her entry cards, so she WILL turn something in. Her choice how picky to be about quality, though. wink



CFK, the thing that I think differentiates a lot of parents HERE from parents there is that I do see a considerable amount of what I'd call hyper-prepping and Ivy-frenzy there. I just have trouble wading through it, honestly. I also have some trouble believing that "underachievement" is really a huge problem for kids who are statistically most likely to be bright or MG (IQ 120-135) and performing at the 95th percentile. But that seems to be all that I read over at CC, which just makes me appalled, so I tend not to read over there much.

I can find what I think is WORTH reading by searching specific things out, but it's important to stay away from the HYP(e) there. LOL.

I'll also say that I think there is a distinct difference between LOOKING top 1% and actually BEING top 1% within the context of a particular population. If you believe everything that people post at CC, then there are an awful lot more of the former than the latter.

Again, this is why I think this is a different population, in general. It's also a more thoughtful population since only a few of us are really into the stage of being processed by this particular machine.


I'd add a third group of parents--

3. Defaults to paying out of pocket because it's too Byzantine to be WORTH figuring the rest of it out at multiple institutions.


We're leaning this direction in spite of vacillating between perspectives 1 and 2. grin


Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 10:24 AM

Interesting article-- lots about the big endowment colleges and about the increasing pressure on those in the UMC w/r/t college costs.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-09-06/the-debt-free-college-degree#p3

What private colleges consider "need" varies wildly, by the way. At Reed and Stanford, we are considered eligible for "need-based" aid.

At many institutions, not at all.


Interesting report on the financials of college attendance from Sallie Mae:

https://www.salliemae.com/about/news_info/research/how-america-pays/

The most startling thing about that report is that so FEW parents and students consider cost when applying. I mean, the media reports are treating 67% of families that reported that the eliminated some colleges on the basis of cost as a HIGH value. I'm surprised it's that LOW, honestly.

I can't even begin to understand that frame of reference that says "money isn't a consideration." :shock:

This is a reasonably coherent compression of that report:

The Dark Side of College in One Chart

... and another issue which is related to it:
Loan interest rates not the only problem
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 10:58 AM

I tend to stick to the parent forums on CC, and I stay off the Ivy forums altogether. I do like the financial aid forum. Have also gotten some good info in the past on the summer program forum, and the national merit scholarship one. I have also found it valuable to go back and read old posts on the colleges that aren't tippy top (so there aren't a zillion posts). You can learn a lot about the college isn't mentioning in their marketing materials. Must admit, I have developed a sort of morbid fascination with one school that D considered that is going through a lot of issues -- I still read their forum for the soap opera entertainment value (and to remind myself to be glad D did not pick that school).

Quote:
It's also a more thoughtful population since only a few of us are really into the stage of being processed by this particular machine.


I would use a different word... I would say this is a more "theoretical" population vs "thoughtful". Some of the comments remind me of what people without kids say to those of us with kids. "My kid will never..." fill in your blank. It is easy to say you "won't pay the rent" when you have no concrete options with the various pros and cons in front of you and it is all 10 years away. A lot harder when you start looking at the imperfect world of options in the college admissions process with an actual kid involved.

Quote:
3. Defaults to paying out of pocket because it's too Byzantine to be WORTH figuring the rest of it out at multiple institutions.


Or there is #4 - Defaults to paying out of pocket because when you do figure it out, it does appear to be the best option for your particular kid. That would probably be us -- although we did (via negotiation using another college's FA package) get D's college to give us $10,000 in grant money for her freshman year (they had offered none). So not entirely out of pocket for year #1. smile But I am guessing it may be for years 2, 3, and 4. She has been STRICTLY informed (as my father did with me 35 years ago) there there are NO EXTRA SEMESTERS beyond four years. So no changing majors junior year, losing track of graduation requirements, etc.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 11:00 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I can't even begin to understand that frame of reference that says "money isn't a consideration." :shock:


The same frame of reference that brought us the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble.

For some people, money is never a consideration because they just ignore it.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/13 11:30 AM

Clearly we've been doing this all wrong. wink
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 01:40 AM

As I said here
http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post162765
Costs matter, but the costs depend on your financial status, your academic status, and the institution.

For us, with a 2nd quartile income, elite institutions such as CalTech, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford would cost in the $10k-$20k range. That's a lot of money, but we can handle it. The difficulty is not the paying, but getting in in the first place. (I don't see any reason for choosing not to go.) It's good that it's hard to get in due to high academic standards, but it's bad that it's hard to get in due to all this extra curricular nonsense. But it is what it is, so the main thing is to understand it and assess one's chances, for these and other options.

Now "lesser", and easier to get into, but still high quality are places like Rice, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, U Virginia, which would cost us in the $15k-$25k range. Hopefully some merit aid would reduce that.

I really would rather not go over $20k/yr (with 3 kids that's $240k), so most places become irrelevant to us, and that's fine.

We're very frugal, saving 2/3 of income, which makes us secure, but we get that way by saying no to unreasonable expenditures.

And if our kid doesn't get into a good place at a low price? Well I agree with CFK that the state flagship is an option.

Originally Posted By: CFK
Or your child can go to a university where he/she can get a lot of merit aid, and save the super selectives for grad school when (at least if in STEM) it will be funded.

My son entered with enough dual enrollment credits that he is now a college junior after one year. He will graduate from his university (an apparent bastion of mediocrity from what I read here) in three years total. He will have completed about 15 graduate courses if all goes as planned, enough to earn a Masters degree if that was desired. At 18 he plans on being at one of these "elite" colleges as a graduate student because he plans to stay in academia and the terminal degree is important for that. (note that in that bastion of mediocrity, otherwise known as our state flagship, almost all of his professors have degrees from Harvard, Brown, Berkely, Princeton, etc.. I wonder at what point did they lose IQ points?)

Honestly, my son is extremely advanced, always has been (I don't use the PG label because it is too loosely defined and widely applied in my opinion). He attended two other universities (flagship equivalents) for dual enrollment before he officially matriculated. He did not wither and die at any of them. Given enough AP/IB/dual enrollment credits an advanced student can probably complete a BS in two to three years and then head off to grad school where academic achievements and research are just about all that matters, thereby skipping the whole EC/clubs/athletics thing. My son is very well adjusted and can function in any environment but I think that even the most sensitive student could survive two years in a less than perfect environment.

Or you can start signing your children up for every club, sport, summer program you can find and plan on paying upwards of $50k per year. To each their own.


It's not what we'd want. But as a consolation, it's essentially free, with merit and living at home. Similarly to what CFK said, a very advanced kid can get a BSc in 2 or 3 years, maybe start early, and take grad courses, maybe tack on a quick MSc, interact with faculty who did go to much better universities, maybe start doing some decent research, and get into position to get into an elite university for grad school.

Actually this is basically what I did. I went to the local university (which was free), then I went to an elite university for PhD on a scholarship, in a different country. (Neither were in USA which is why I am so unfamiliar with the American system.) I actually didn't even really consider going elsewhere for my undergraduate, but I now regret this. I needed to be exposed to a higher caliber environment so I'd realize how much more mathematics there was to learn and how good people were. I got complacent and didn't realize how much harder I should be trying (even at the elite foreign university, where there was no coursework, just thesis, which I did the research for in 6 months the goofed around for the next 2.5 years of my scholarship).

So if you have to "settle" for a state flagship, or similar, you really need to stay aware of the very high standards out there and not get too complacent.

That's why I'd really like my kid to go to the best place possible for undergrad. (And "fortunately" our income is low enough that we can afford the elite places.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 05:20 AM

You need to remember that:

1. Costs are still going up every year. Count on at least an average of 3% increase per year. I watched tuition over the past two increases at the 10 colleges my daughter was seriously considering (part of that spreadsheet smile ). They actually went up an average of 4% per year. If you assume (as I believe it was Dude?) does that costs won't rise as fast over the next 10-15 years, then use the 3%. But you have to remember that we are in a period of very low inflation in the rest of the economy now. If inflation takes off across the economy, costs rise for the colleges as well (although with their "normal" increases).

2. If you are saving 2/3 of your income, then your assets might be higher than the $100,000 that you plugged into the calculator. If you plugged in current assets vs what they will be in 10 years, obviously your results will look better.

3.
Quote:
extra curricular nonsense
This comment just makes me sad. My kid did mostly what she loved (I insisted on SOME kind of physical activity, so fencing isn't actually a beloved activity, but the best of a bad lot of athletic choices in her opinion... and like HK, sometimes the 4H projects she signed up for weren't something she was loving a week before the county fair). But all in all she would be a different (and less complete, less happy) person without them. Worry more about the whole kid and less about the cost of college, IMHO.

4.
Quote:
Hopefully some merit aid would reduce that.

Most colleges do NOT stack your merit aid. They might use it to offset loans in the FA package. Then they offset grants. Only if you will merit scholarships big enough to offset ALL the need based aid do they do you much good at most colleges. I think there are a few exceptions, but this is a very painful lesson learned again and again by students and parents. They work really hard for merit scholarships, then find their cost of attendance is unchanged.

5. Some of this talk bugs me because remember this -- every penny you get tuition reduced by through whatever means you use is paid for by someone else. It is paid for by a taxpayer or another parent/student (many of them saved more or have had two parents working to earn the tuition) or a donor to the university. The expectation in the US college system is that parents have the primary responsibility to pay for college. They are first in line -- help is intended for those who would not be able to attend college any other way. We haven't talked about this, but some kids choose to go abroad to college. McGill or St. Andrews or Oxford... those are also generally lower priced alternatives.

6. One thing we didn't talk about is your own kid's responsibility in all this. Obviously a kid can't cover these kinds of expenses on their own. We have told our kids since middle school that they own all book and spending money expenses for college. And the expenses of any unpaid summer internships they choose to take (common in areas like political science). So any monetary gifts they have gotten since then have gone almost entirely into their savings. Both had jobs the summer before college started, worked/will work on campus, and will have paid work most summers during school to cover these expenses. They are pretty frugal kids any way (books are about the only thing they ever buy). But making that expectation clear to them helped them be prepared and plan ahead.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 07:22 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
5. Some of this talk bugs me because remember this -- every penny you get tuition reduced by through whatever means you use is paid for by someone else. It is paid for by a taxpayer or another parent/student (many of them saved more or have had two parents working to earn the tuition) or a donor to the university.


"Every penny"?

You mean the continuous massive maladaptive economic distortion that's caused by mammoth amounts of debt that's being poofed into existence by the United States Government and pumped into the university system by the United States government on a regular and ongoing basis so that the administrators of the system can overpay themselves and lard up on perks?

Those pennies?

Um, yeah.

I'm not interested in being a mark.

(Notice that I didn't call it a bubble nor did I predict that it would end anytime soon.)
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 07:30 AM

Yes to intparent's post above.

Honestly, with an EG/PG kiddo, the extracurriculars are what keeps her sane. This is the method through which we've been able to teach her skills like perseverance, responsibility, doing one's BEST when it won't be THE best, etc. It certainly hasn't been possible through academic means. (Gosh, thanks school for listening to us and working with us on this-- NOT... ) As for 4-H lowering odds of admission to competitive private colleges... er-- well, I'd like to think that most of the places that are looking for Polo and third-world-orphanage building as extracurriculars are NOT the kinds of places that DD is wanting to go, anyway. I'm also guessing-- STRONGLY-- that this statistic is skewed heavily by kids who look very "ag" oriented. Naturally, there are any number of reasons why a kid who has done a decade of market-animal projects wouldn't be a great fit at Yale. Just saying. Archery or digital arts, though? I'm thinking probably not the same.

Do be willing to consider international post-secondary. We are-- and we have some VERY significant barriers to doing it because of DD's medical issues and our plan for me to use renewed employment at DD's location to pay for her post-secondary education.

Depending on how accelerated your kiddo is, they may/may not really have any opportunity to contribute financially to their college costs. Realistically, this is DD's situation-- she has a savings account with a staggering sum of money in it-- for a MC kid who just turned 14, that is. She saves VERY well. She just doesn't have a regular source of cash the way a 16yo with a summer job would. For kids who are 12-16, or those who are disabled somehow, contributing to college savings is just not terribly realistic when you're looking at college costs in the many thousands annually. And to be clear, unless you're looking at local community colleges-- that IS what the costs are going to be, even at local state flagships, for most families.


From what I can tell, as long as the stock market doesn't crash again in a HUGE meltdown, private schools will be increasing in costs at about 3-4%. I wouldn't count on that with public institutions-- it COULD be that low, but it could look like CA, too, depending upon what individual state legislatures feel compelled to do. Anywhere that unemployment numbers are high, take a look at how well-funded higher ed is within that state... because that is directly tied to tuition increases. The unemployment rate in a state is tied to its overall economic health-- and how the state is handling it also tells you something about long-term priorities/methodology. For an example of what I mean, NC used to look like a very good bargain even for out-of-state students, and because of the commitment to affordable higher ed there, UNC-Chapel Hill also has a very high level of elite students admitted. On the other hand, during the past year, the state of NC has been quite busy slashing spending in that sector (and others)-- so as a long-term bet, this is no longer such a good one. We will be wary, and we're only trying to look 5 years ahead. Even that is quite challenging in the public sector.

Another thing that we worry about a bit with DD's triple acceleration is what colleges will THINK about that during admissions-- will MIT think "there's no way that we want a 15yo living in the dorms" or will they not care? Is there some way to point out that she WON'T be living on campus, but off-campus with a parent?? Should we? I know that a lot of parents really feel that the dorm/house experience is an integral feature of college, but we don't (and we have other reasons why it isn't feasible anyway-- so even on a campus which requires it, she'll be exempt).

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 07:49 AM

You could argue that if someone is starting college 3 years early, they may have 3 more years of lifetime earnings over which to amortize the cost of a college education, so they should be willing to borrow more than a normal-age college student. The counter-argument is that a gifted 15yo is still a minor and should not be taking on debt. I'm not sure which argument is stronger.

Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 07:51 AM

Originally Posted By: intparent
You need to remember that:

1. Costs are still going up every year. Count on at least an average of 3% increase per year. I watched tuition over the past two increases at the 10 colleges my daughter was seriously considering (part of that spreadsheet smile ). They actually went up an average of 4% per year. If you assume (as I believe it was Dude?) does that costs won't rise as fast over the next 10-15 years, then use the 3%. But you have to remember that we are in a period of very low inflation in the rest of the economy now. If inflation takes off across the economy, costs rise for the colleges as well (although with their "normal" increases).


22B is invested in the "elite" schools, though, which I hypothesized will be largely insulated from the reality check the rest of the higher education industry has coming.

I endorse your comments about the inflation rate increasing. It's also worth considering how ordinary costs keep going up... groceries in particular are catching fire, and I don't see any reason for that to slow down over the next ten years. The medical system remains irretrievably broken. Fuel prices are still rising despite increasing US production. Among all these increasing cost pressures, salaries remain flat. A second-quartile income can be expected to have noticeably less buying power in the next 10 years.

Originally Posted By: intparent
2. If you are saving 2/3 of your income, then your assets might be higher than the $100,000 that you plugged into the calculator. If you plugged in current assets vs what they will be in 10 years, obviously your results will look better.

3.
Quote:
extra curricular nonsense
This comment just makes me sad. My kid did mostly what she loved (I insisted on SOME kind of physical activity, so fencing isn't actually a beloved activity, but the best of a bad lot of athletic choices in her opinion... and like HK, sometimes the 4H projects she signed up for weren't something she was loving a week before the county fair). But all in all she would be a different (and less complete, less happy) person without them. Worry more about the whole kid and less about the cost of college, IMHO.


The idea of saving 2/3rds of a 2nd-quartile income sounds noble, until you start digging in and realize the other costs that come with it. The neighborhoods that can afford are crowded, unsanitary, and unsafe. And since most school budgets are tied to local property taxes, school quality suffers as well.

That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 07:53 AM

Quote:
she has a savings account with a staggering sum of money in it


This works against her in the FA process, I am sure you know this. Money in your kid's name is considered at something like 35% available for college expenses (vs. 5% for parents). Assuming it is maybe an UTMA account? Since a true savings account in her name isn't really allowed in today's banking world. I think that still counts as a "kid" asset. You do have other options (eg, joint checking account with you as the lead name/SSN on it) -- gives them access to a debit/ATM card, checks, and gives you some options to move money around as needed if they overseas or at school or whatever. I can't recall if you can do then when they are under 18... but maybe you can.

Yes, Jon, "every penny". I don't count loans as part of that aid, obviously you end up paying those back (although Stafford loans have interest paid by the taxpayer until the student graduates from college, so even those are subsidized by tax payers). But all the grants have to come from someplace. You may not like how American universities choose to compensate or spend their money (hence consider McGill, etc. if you are happy with that format and quality of education for your kid, and feel confident that employers and graduate schools will be also). Some people do take that route. And even attending an in-state public university means you are taking a subsidy from the tax payers of your state (obviously we all pay taxes, and some of us may pay more than the subsidy our kids would get back -- but some of us don't).

Quote:
The idea of saving 2/3rds of a 2nd-quartile income sounds noble


I think this is what the OP said. I do think "living below your means" is something to consider in order to save for anything -- college, retirement, etc.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 08:01 AM

Originally Posted By: master of none
The talk of 4-H as an extra curricular reminded me of a post I saw a while back but can’t find now with a search. This is the best I can do.
http://isteve.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-to-get-into-college.html

“But what Espenshade and Radford found in regard to what they call "career-oriented activities" was truly shocking even to this hardened veteran of the campus ideological and cultural wars. Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student's chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. "Being an officer or winning awards" for such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and Radford, "has a significantly negative association with admission outcomes at highly selective institutions." Excelling in these activities "is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission."


Worth noting that in the original text (as opposed to Sailer's blog post) the authors only state specifically having analyzed the impact of "ROTC and co-op work programs" and follow that "60 to 65% reduction" with a speculation that a similar finding MIGHT also apply to FFA and 4-H, though they fail to defend why those should be included as "career-oriented" or activities which support a thesis that a participant is "undecided" about his/her academic future.

Also worth noting that this study was based on admissions in 1995-96. It's so old (in terms of the changes in higher ed) that I'm not sure it has much validity at this point. Also the case that 4-H and ROTC programs are profoundly different than they would have been for students in the early 90's.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 08:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
You could argue that if someone is starting college 3 years early, they may have 3 more years of lifetime earnings over which to amortize the cost of a college education, so they should be willing to borrow more than a normal-age college student. The counter-argument is that a gifted 15yo is still a minor and should not be taking on debt. I'm not sure which argument is stronger.



Personally, I'm of the opinion that NO student debt is actually "good" debt at this point in time. It's non-dischargeable debt-- so if your child were to be hit by a car and completely disabled prior to his/her senior year... or, for that matter, on the way to his/her first job--

they'd still be on the hook for repayment of any educational debt. Yes, one would hope that such a thing is rare... but really, the ONLY debt that I think is remotely acceptable is that which can realistically be repaid while being seriously underemployed for the entire period of repayment. Nobody knows for sure what their future holds. There's no real insurance policy to cover "inability to work" in educational debt.

That's a third factor for us. It may be that this is because we know a few people to whom such things have, in fact, happened. A single auto accident can do it in a split second, even if it isn't you at fault.

In other words, all educational debt is unsecured debt. Think of it as being like a Visa that you only use for restaurant dining.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 12:35 PM

Not all student debt is the same. Generally direct subsidized, direct unsubsidized, and direct PLUS loans can be discharged if the borrower is disabled, dies, or goes through bankruptcy. So while it is unsecured, there are some provisions for discharging the debt. Private loans are a whole different story and are to be avoided. Here is a link with some information on discharging loans:

http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation#when-can-my-federal

We will probably take the subsidized loans as they are offered for my D, with the plan to pay them back upon graduation. It just stretches out the payment process a little longer over the income stream in our case.
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 12:40 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent

5. Some of this talk bugs me because remember this -- every penny you get tuition reduced by through whatever means you use is paid for by someone else. It is paid for by a taxpayer or another parent/student (many of them saved more or have had two parents working to earn the tuition) or a donor to the university. The expectation in the US college system is that parents have the primary responsibility to pay for college. They are first in line -- help is intended for those who would not be able to attend college any other way. We haven't talked about this, but some kids choose to go abroad to college.

Here's a little speculative thought process on this:
Imagine if college tuition wasn't actually a zero-sum closed system...

What if a school sought out students likely to become future government policy makers?
What would happen if the statistics of incoming freshman and graduates were used to solicit new customers?
What if they went all modern advertiser and used tricks like markup/markdown? (increase tuiton by 20%, then send out 20% discount coupons.)
Or had the idea that giving someone money now signficantly increases the chance that person will give considerably more money later on?
What if a school competed and advertised based on reputation? Listed famous graduates, nobel prize winners, diversity statistics, winning sport teams, etc? What if testimonials from former customers helped attract new customers?

In an environment like that I would start to suspect that they have an interest in attracting certain types of students who will either support their statistics or have a probability of donating significant money later. I would also think in a business-oriented non-altruistic thought exercise like above that "help" is NOT intended for those who would not be able to attend college any other way but for those who fulfill the business objectives. In this bizarre fantasy world, then every penny reduced is a penny that shows up in the annual report under advertising costs.

*shiver* glad I live in a different world than that one.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 12:51 PM

I think you mean that colleges ARE doing these things. Some of them... the ones I think they are not doing:

Quote:
What would happen if the statistics of incoming freshman and graduates were used to solicit new customers?


Good luck trying to get a clear picture of outcomes from any college other than anecdotal stories about a few specific grads. They trumpet the stats of the incoming fresman class, but it is very, very difficult to get clear, consistent information on outcomes.

Quote:
Or had the idea that giving someone money now signficantly increases the chance that person will give considerably more money later on?


Possibly merit money is granted with this as at least a portion of their thinking (if I thought they were looking at the long term, but that is actually also somewhat questionable). I don't see it for need based aid -- it isn't like those students come from big money families, and who knows if they will be financially successful enough to give money back to the college later if that is not the case? Now I think colleges do grant ADMISSION to students from families with a lot of money if the family has made significant contributions in the past to the school.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 01:13 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent

Quote:
Or had the idea that giving someone money now signficantly increases the chance that person will give considerably more money later on?


Possibly merit money is granted with this as at least a portion of their thinking (if I thought they were looking at the long term, but that is actually also somewhat questionable). I don't see it for need based aid -- it isn't like those students come from big money families, and who knows if they will be financially successful enough to give money back to the college later if that is not the case? Now I think colleges do grant ADMISSION to students from families with a lot of money if the family has made significant contributions in the past to the school.


Confirming intparent:

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/college-aid-recipients-donate-less-as-alumni/
College Aid Recipients Donate Less as Alumni
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
New York Times
February 21, 2012
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 01:17 PM

Quote:

What if a school sought out students likely to become future government policy makers?


Hello-- Yale, Harvard, etc. Take a quickie glance at the vitae of the SCOTUS and the Cabinet members.

Quote:

What would happen if the statistics of incoming freshman and graduates were used to solicit new customers?


Done-- seriously, already happening. College Board is allied with the top tier in promoting it. I'm not at all convinced that some of the posts at places like CC aren't deliberate con jobs intended to produce DEMAND in order to inflate the numbers of applicants so as to make a school seem more "prestigious" by virtue of the selectivity, which then lifts the institution in sort metrics at various database sites (like College Board).
Quote:

What if they went all modern advertiser and used tricks like markup/markdown? (increase tuiton by 20%, then send out 20% discount coupons.)


Again-- already happening. IMO, anyway, this is precisely what second tier private schools are doing by offering "Presidential Award/Scholarship" that amounts to a 10% discount on tuition. Some of that $ is for merit and some is for financial need, but they aren't necessarily showing anyone the (proprietary) rubric for deciding who gets them either way. KWIM?

Quote:

Or had the idea that giving someone money now signficantly increases the chance that person will give considerably more money later on?



What do you think drives "make students live on campus" nowadays? Some quants got together and told College Presidents what seems to correlate most strongly with "brand loyalty" and "alumni giving" rates, that's what. Seriously. I know someone in this industry, and that is EXACTLY what they do-- they find the numbers that lead to the greatest amounts of donations in the future.

Quote:

What if a school competed and advertised based on reputation? Listed famous graduates, nobel prize winners, diversity statistics, winning sport teams, etc? What if testimonials from former customers helped attract new customers?


Again-- this IS happening. You know who Reed features in their catalog (which I happen to actually have a copy of)?

Steve Jobs, that's who.

Big 10, Pac-12, and SEC schools regularly feature their big-name bowl teams in such literature. They feature alums who are famous... alums who are rich-rich-rich, and alums who may not have even completed a degree before going on to fame and riches.

Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 01:24 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

Hello-- Yale, Harvard, etc. Take a quickie glance at the vitae of the SCOTUS and the Cabinet members.

Done-- seriously, already happening.

Again-- already happening.

Again-- this IS happening.


Psst - check your irony meter. I think it may have a clog.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 01:31 PM

Yeah, I think Zen Scanner was being sarcastic, and mostly was on the mark. But you can't say that ALL colleges are doing those things -- for example, only a small number (half a dozen) are really sure they are educating future policy makers.

I would just say that anyone who does not understand that college is big business, and that the colleges treat it as such, is at a big disadvantage in the college selection and admissions process. And I think a LOT of families don't really see it that way. You have to be able to look past the marketing and try to find the "real" school and "real" value for your situation. It takes a lot of time and elbow grease to get there, IMHO.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 01:46 PM

I agree-- which is why (though I happen to agree with the underlying sentiment behind ZS's post wink ) I wanted to treat those questions literally for a moment. Just in case.

Like intparent, we've run into a few families of high school students who have a complete and total lack of comprehension of how the concepts of marketing and monetization have corrupted the process from top to bottom. It really is completely about extracting maximized cashflow-- whatever the window dressing might look like at the moment.

Or as my DH put it--

"Harvard love you LONG time..." sick

(yes, not very PC of him, and crass... no doubt. But only about as crass as what some of the colleges themselves are up to behind closed doors. LOL)
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/13 02:15 PM

We get some interesting insight into that... my oldest kid works for a company that does consulting for higher education. They do studies as requested by the colleges, and often survey several colleges on the topics before putting together a report. If she didn't think it was "big business" before, she sure does now!
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 06:34 AM

Rather conveniently for the purposes of this discussion, Forbes has their rankings out. Now, ordinarily I pay VERY little attention to these things, but Forbes does use quite different inputs-- they are strictly outcome focused. In part because quite a few schools have been caught actively lying to improve USNWR rankings and related metrics.

They use a series of factors to determine placement:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2013/07/24/ranking-americas-top-colleges-2013/

The only one of those that I argue fairly vehemently with in terms of basic methodology is the first one; student satisfation via "rate my professor" data. Quite frequently, students rate faculty negatively if they expect to earn a poor grade in the course, which of course makes this one (potentially) a better source of information on grade inflation rates at various institutions or watering down of material than anything else.

The second thing that makes me a little reluctant to use their results as a personal mandate is that they measure "success" in a way that I'd argue isn't necessarily what my family considers "success" to be. They use career factors, but probably not the ones that I would choose-- they chose earnings, and being a 'mover-and-shaker' of some kind. In other words, they're selecting for assertive/aggressive extraverts.

Still, all in all, I think this set of rankings has a lot more to do with reality than most of them do. Also interestingly, the Ivies don't do THAT well.



The complete rankings list from Forbes


The other thing that I want to point out is what I have (repeatedly) stated in this thread. You essentially have three choices if your child is headed to college in the next few years: a) pay about 50-60K a year for a college which is of highly variable quality, b) pay about 30-45K a year for a college which is not-quite-so-good quality, or c) determine the quality of your in-state college options, which are LIKELY to run in the 18-30K range.

Now take a look at the sticker prices associated with the top 100 in Forbes' list. Okay, now take a look at 200-300. 400-500 Notice anything? Second tier isn't really much less expensive, right?

Elmira College (NY), at number 556 on Forbes' list, has a sticker price of 50K. Princeton (number 3) is 55K.

One thing which separates a college education from any other consumer purchase (save medical) is that you can't "do it different next time" if you regret that purchase.

Well, sure-- you can transfer out, I suppose. You can stop attending. But you can't trade one degree in for one at a better institution. You can't get the time back, either.

It's why it is so important to get it right. There is also not any one "best" school for every student-- not even any one "best" kind of school.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 07:00 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
One thing which separates a college education from any other consumer purchase (save medical) is that you can't "do it different next time" if you regret that purchase.


This is true of most life choices.

You can never unmake your decisions.
Posted by: polarbear

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 08:57 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
One thing which separates a college education from any other consumer purchase (save medical) is that you can't "do it different next time" if you regret that purchase.


This is true of most life choices.

You can never unmake your decisions.


ITA. and as with all life choices, you learn and we most often do have second chances... I know quite a few people who found ut during their first two years of college that they weren't where they wanted to be for many different reasons (everything from homesick to too hard to too easy to bad cafeteria food -but most often because they changed their mind about what they wanted to study), and they switched to different schools. They have all been successful. I switched my major at least three times and it all turned out ok. I think it's very difficult for anyone at the age most kids typically enter college to know exactly who they are and where they want to go for sure in life - they are typically still growing and learning and finding themselve - so as difficult and stressful as it is to go through the decision of where can my child attend college, where can we affords etc..l I think its important to be accepting of the possibility that it might not be the only choie or only chance. I think its reasonable to put limits on what we as parents can contribute toward our children's education, but I wouldn't want to send my child off to school with them thinking they can't change their minds if it doesn't work out.

polarbear
Posted by: KJP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 08:59 AM

So this thread has me terrified. I have two sons, 5 and 2. I thought we'd be able to save a lot of money for our kids' college educations but with at least one 2e kid that would be savings is getting shifted towards therapy, pricey assessments and private school with smaller classes.

We were discussing college tuition at work and someone brought up Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA as a good buy. I thought it was a regular state school here in WA but apparently it is really different in terms of how the curriculum is presented.

I totally understand that Evergreen has no place in a discussion of elite universities but with rising costs and more than one parent here expressing the "undergrad is the new high school" sentiment, it is nice to see there might be engaging inexpensive options.

Here is a link:
http://www.evergreen.edu/admissions/about.html

Maybe there are other schools in other states with a similar curriculum model. The individual control and interrelated themes seem like they might appeal to some gifted students even if there were a shortage true peers.





Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 09:56 AM

Absolutely agree, CFK. The reason that I posted the Forbes list was two-fold:

a) Ivies don't actually seem to confer as much benefit as one might imagine based upon their prestige (and cost!)

b) Price comparisons-- the costs of anything BUT a local public university are downright staggering unless you receive very significant merit/need-based assistance.


Definitely not doom-and-gloom. Pragmatism. Honestly, when you look at the data, it's hard to argue for the costs of a private "elite" institution. Knowing what we do-- that is, that about 80% of a college experience is what the student themselves brings to it/works for-- it's tough to beat the relative bargain of a local public college/university.

We are also of the opinion that 12-15K a year for "living expenses" is outrageous to the point of indefensible when the student can live at home while attending undergrad. There are ways to make this a lot cheaper than 40-75K a year, particularly for very high ability students. As CFK notes, merit aid IS generous even now-- there's just a catch. It's most generous at a place where such students are relatively rare. (Non-'elite' colleges, mostly public ones.)

I also look down that Forbes list of colleges, and I only come up with about four schools in their top 200 that I think are remotely worth the sticker price-- even in light of everything that I've said about my DD needing high-ability peers.

smile


Honestly? My priorities and my DH's differ substantially even though we are looking at the same data. He leans toward a ritzy private college "experience" for his princess (sigh-- I guess you can tell already how I feel about this, right?)* and me? I look at the numbers and my frugality kicks in and I just can't justify the expense-- not even remotely.

I think to myself... I went to a regional directional college, and I got into PLENTY of very fine, tier-one grad programs. Friends went to very illustrious places, including the likes of CalTech, MIT, Penn, Nebraska, etc. So it's not like that kind of undergrad experience limits your future if you're in a merit-based field like STEM. I had no trouble with grantsmanship, landing a teaching job right out of grad school, etc. In spite of my apparent lack of the right pedigree, I mean.

I just don't see our DD having the kind of ambition that mandates that higher pedigree.

PERSONALLY, I think that she'd be better off going to a local public university and growing up a little more. Exploring what she actually wants to do-- maybe tripling a major and taking 5y.

I also worry about the effect of the pressure on her if she knows that we're writing a check for 60K for each additional year. I worry that she won't take risks because of the expense.

At our local Uni, she could attend for about 6K a year. EASY. I'm not even all that certain that even MIT is actually worth the 50K premium over and above that.

* Truthfully, I think that he's got some inner hazy mashup of smoking jackets and men discussing their progeny at 'the Club' with fresh-scrubbed girls strolling earnestly through bright fall foliage in cardigans, plaid skirts, and saddle shoes. I think he's dreaming of a world that no longer exists-- if it ever did. I understand the "dream" here in relationship to understanding WHO our daughter is (she's a throwback type "intellectual" who would benefit greatly from that kind of old-school environment)... but I'm less convinced that it is authentically available at ANY price in the contemporary real world.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 09:59 AM

PS. We're in the region, and I'd never recommend Evergreen to someone who is even remotely concerned about college as a credentialing process.

Evergreen is unfortunately shorthand for "alternative education; not real college." I don't say that to denigrate anyone who has attended there. Merely to point out that as far as rigor goes, it is little different than homeschooling or self-study, and carries similar weight with outside agencies.

Most STEM graduate programs, for example, simply don't accept transcripts from them because they don't contain information that can be used to compare candidates to those from other institutions.
Posted by: KJP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 10:51 AM

Thanks for the information on Evergreen. I kind of wondered how that would work. It would be nice if they took early entrants. It seems like it could at least be an interesting high school substitute. smile
Posted by: ColinsMum

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 11:08 AM

I'm mostly staying out of this thread because it's pretty US-specific (thank goodness!) but as an academic I will say one thing: when considering perceived university rankings, it really matters what your child will be doing with the degree, because universities are not homogeneous: good departments can exist inside not-so-good universities and vice versa. So do you pick good department or good university? One approach would be: if your child expects not to use the specific education in the department (the major to you I guess) then pick good university, for impressing people later. If s/he does expect to use it (e.g. to go on to graduate school) then pick the good department, because people in the business know the departments and couldn't care less about the university overall. [ETA and for, you know, actually getting a good education you couldn't just as well give yourself, i.e. learning from real experts!] Most people should care a lot more about the quality of the department than they apparently do.

In the UK, what you want to look at as a serious potential scholar is the RAE data for your subjects of interest - this tells you how good the department is at research, and nothing about teaching, but tbh teaching ratings are more or less synonymous with spoon-feeding ratings in practice, and not of much interest to our children.
http://www.rae.ac.uk/results/selectUOA.aspx

More stars is good, more staff submitted also typically good.
You'll see that it doesn't match that well with popular perception, especially for less ancient subjects.

Don't know what the closest US equivalent is - does someone else?
Posted by: KJP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 11:10 AM

I suppose I should keep in mind that at this point, DS5 plans on being some sort of ecoterrorist and DS2 acts like a little cage fighter. Perhaps I should be saving for their "bail and legal defense" fund.

In any event, it is a long way off but I am glad to hear it isn't all doom and gloom.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 11:11 AM

Originally Posted By: KJP
Thanks for the information on Evergreen. I kind of wondered how that would work. It would be nice if they took early entrants. It seems like it could at least be an interesting high school substitute. smile


Absolutely-- it's very Sudbury-like in many ways.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 11:18 AM

Quote:

I'm mostly staying out of this thread because it's pretty US-specific (thank goodness!) but as an academic I will say one thing: when considering perceived university rankings, it really matters what your child will be doing with the degree, because universities are not homogeneous: good departments can exist inside not-so-good universities and vice versa. So do you pick good department or good university? One approach would be: if your child expects not to use the specific education in the department (the major to you I guess) then pick good university, for impressing people later. If s/he does expect to use it (e.g. to go on to graduate school) then pick the good department, because people in the business know the departments and couldn't care less about the university overall. Most people should care a lot more about the quality of the department than they apparently do.


YES. A thousand times yes.

This is what drives me nuts about the US ranking systems. They generally seem to pretend that those differences don't really matter, or only matter in a few fields that are obviously radically set apart from mainstream liberal arts curriculum-- like fine/performing arts, or engineering.

Otherwise, they make no distinctions. So if Princeton is #3, what does that mean? Does it mean that it has the #3 theoretical mathematics program? The #3 creative writing program? Anthropology? Of course not.

It's stunningly difficult to ferret that information out and mostly, it becomes most efficient to do so by parsing which graduate programs have the highest ratings in particular disciplines-- because THAT is relatively easy to discover based upon publication rate and rankings, grantsmanship, graduate placement, etc.

One reason why dealing with a polymath is so frustrating in this climate is that a great many lower-tier schools do have just one or maybe two (often related, like math-physics or anthro-archeology) excellent programs, but the rest of the campus is rather lackluster. Finding a place which is a good match for a child who has three or four serious interests as potential majors is a bit of a challenge.
Posted by: ColinsMum

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 11:30 AM

We probably have much of that information collectively here, though. People might prefer not to say precisely what field they're in on the public forum, or, come to that, to express in public unfavourable opinions of departments, though... A possible protocol would be to ask here

"Does anyone know what [university] is like for [subject]? PM me. I'll summarise, preserving respondents' anonymity."

For a poster I recognised, I'd be happy to respond to such a request, where I had anything to say.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 07:47 PM

Another comment on Evergreen:

- They accept 98% of the students that apply.
- SAT ranges (25% to 75% range for attending students):
Critical Reading - 510-640
Math - 460-590

When you have a kid with scores that are something like CR 800/M780 (as many of us out here do/will), this just doesn't seem to make sense no matter how open the curriculum is. I do have a cousin and also a niece who attended Evergreen. They were both kids that struggled to succeed at other colleges -- one made it through Evergreen and the other did not. For the one who made it through, it was great that he found it. I honestly don't know if he would have made it through any other four year college.

That is the problem with people at work or marketing materials from the colleges themselves -- they are not really looking at many kids with profiles like our kids have...

Again... if you want feedback on a specific major at a specific college, my advice is to go to College Confidential, create an ID for yourself, and post the question on that college's specific forum. Or if you are looking for colleges that are strong in a few different majors, go post one question on the "College Admissions" forum out there. It is a pretty good "crowd sourcing" way to generate a list of colleges -- the parents in particular have pretty deep experience in a lot of cases, and there are lot more people reading with kids in college than out here. We are a pretty small pool, and most of our direct experience is going to be 20-30 years old (since the majority of posters out here have kids that are younger than college age).
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 08:17 PM

Quote:
* Truthfully, I think that he's got some inner hazy mashup of smoking jackets and men discussing their progeny at 'the Club' with fresh-scrubbed girls strolling earnestly through bright fall foliage in cardigans, plaid skirts, and saddle shoes.


I can't imagine an image that would make my D run faster in the other direction. smile
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/13 08:30 PM

Yes, but DADS like that image-- particularly when the vision is boy-free. With their teenaged daughters, they like that a lot. LOL. grin

My DD probably wouldn't be too keen on it, either-- though the 'intellectualism' part of things, she'd love. Talking about everything from Plato to Bose-Einstein condensate and all points in between in a single conversation that revolves around Batman.



Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/13 04:40 AM

Ha...my D would love that conversation too, although you have to replace Batman with Sherlock! I notice your D does not have any women's colleges on her list -- Wellesley probably makes your pocketbook twitch too much, but what about Mount Holyoke? My D got the best merit money there, and there is the five college consortium there for some supplementing of subjects at other colleges (Smith, U-Mass Amherst, Amherst, and Hampshire).
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/13 06:05 AM

Yes, it's on DH's list. I'm not sure that DD is sold on it.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/13 06:33 AM

Has she visited? Mt Holyoke has a beautiful campus. Both of my Ds applied, they really liked it when they visited -- picked other colleges for various reasons. But I think D1 would have gone if they had given her merit money (they didn't). But D2 got a pile of it and money for a summer internship.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/13 10:30 AM

Good to know. Yes, I like the breakdown on non-need based aid at Holyoke.

Here's today's interesting news story:

WSJ Four Ideas to Fix Higher Education

The graphic is interesting-- as is the observation that:

Quote:

the average cost of in-state tuition, room and board ($12,110 a year last year) at a four-year public university, after scholarships and tax breaks, has risen 40% faster than economywide inflation over the past decade, the College Board estimates. Private schools are more expensive (average net cost $23,840), but their inflation-adjusted net price has climbed more slowly, at 9%.


Another useful bit of data, mentioned in the WSJ article above:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/higher-education/college-score-card



Follow-up from Forbes' stories on higher ed earlier this week and month:

Want To Know How Much College Will Cost You? It's Often Not What You Would Expect

Quote:

Students who do not qualify for need-based financial aid will find that their aid will range from nothing to a grant that will provide full tuition depending on the student’s academic ability and the priorities of the institution. As a general rule of thumb, an academically talented student who wants to get a large scholarship needs to look to schools which provide a lot of merit aid and where the student is significantly above the average academic achievement of the students that this school generally attracts. In addition, for the wealthier student, public institutions in the state where the student is resident often offer the lowest cost options because of their lower tuition.

The bottom line is that college pricing is very complex and that complexity seems to discourage students of limited means and high ability from applying to top institutions. It pays to invest some time on a college’s web site or on the government’s college navigator site before drawing any conclusions about which school will cost the least for someone in your situation. Clearly, money isn’t everything and your choice of college should not be based solely on net price. For most of us, though, it’s an important factor to consider.



emphasis mine-- this is what it boils down to, basically. If you're above middle income, expect to pay a lot out of pocket, or send your student to an in-state public institution... OR... to a college where your student is an academic rock star relative to his/her classmates.

Posted by: GailP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/13 06:29 PM

I love intparent's comment about how College Confidential is like crack to parents of college bound students. I would completely agree! It's an amazing website with tons of information.

I'm coming late to this discussion, but have to comment that colleges, like everything in life, are complicated. Some seemingly prestigious schools can be a great bargain, with amazing financial aid. Some in-state schools can cost a whole lot more than these private schools (Penn State anyone?).

The benefit of the ivies and other prestigious schools for gifted kids is that they can be FINALLY surrounded by other equally smart kids for the first time. They don't have to hide or suppress their intelligence like they may have had to in high school.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 12:05 AM

Originally Posted By: CFK
My son's tuition for his BS degree in math at a decent state flagship will cost me about $9700. That's not per year, that's total. And that includes taking many (more costly than undergrad) graduate courses. ... It's not all doom and gloom.


Did it cost much to take university courses while in high school?

It seems you can get almost free tuition with high merit once you are a university student. But do you have to pay full price for individual courses when still enrolled in school?
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 05:21 AM

I think this depends on the state and the university. In the state I live in (MN) there is a program called Post Secondary Enrollment Options. I think some other states use the same term, too. Students can take some or all courses in the state university system during their junior and senior year of high school. Tuition fees are paid for by the state. I believe it is pretty competitive to enroll in courses at the state flagship, and you have to be aware of deadlines and paperwork required (you can't decide summer before junior year that you want your kid to take classes at the flagship that fall and get it done in that time period, I think the deadlines are earlier).

Here is a link to Minnesota's program:

http://www.mnscu.edu/admissions/pseo.html

One thing to be aware of is that if your student has completed essentially two years of college work prior to enrolling in college, they may have to apply as a transfer student instead of a freshman. Different admission criteria, fewer slots, and usually no merit aid available. Which may be worthwhile for the overall cost reduction, but sometimes parents are surprised by this limitation.

Also, in most states students still have to fulfill the high school graduation requirements, and depending on the state that can limit your ability to do dual enrollment in college courses (if they don't count toward the graduation requirements -- it depends on how the state has defined them).

Some colleges (especially top universities) do not accept some or all of these credits -- you need to read the information on a given college website carefully about acceptance of other credits. You can be pretty sure that if your student stays within your state university system to complete their undergraduate degree that the credits will be accepted. Outside that, your milage may vary. Be sure your student saves the course description and syllabus for any courses taken in case the colleges considering accepting the credits want to see it.

We didn't actually do this. My kids' private school did not allow participation in the PSEO program, although at one point we looked into withdrawing D2 from that high school, switching to the public school, and doing PSEO for her last year of high school. But didn't end up going down that path. Others out here may have more experience.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 05:25 AM

If you are still thinking Ivies for your kids, here is a discussion of Yale & dual enrollment credits:

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/yale...dual+enrollment

You will need to check the website of each college on their policies, but I suspect this isn't unusual among top colleges.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Originally Posted By: CFK
My son's tuition for his BS degree in math at a decent state flagship will cost me about $9700. That's not per year, that's total. And that includes taking many (more costly than undergrad) graduate courses. ... It's not all doom and gloom.


Did it cost much to take university courses while in high school?

It seems you can get almost free tuition with high merit once you are a university student. But do you have to pay full price for individual courses when still enrolled in school?



Here, that varies by county, by school district, and even by individual school.

DD's school (and the one she's districted for, also) will not cover dual enrollment costs. Period. They'll allow you to count the courses toward graduation... but--

they also won't "weight" the grade the way that they will with AP offered on campus. Yes, this is stupid. When asked to defend this policy, one local administrator patiently "explained" to me that college courses-- unlike their AP courses-- are of 'variable' quality... and they don't 'control' them, so they can't very well offer grade weighting...

You can imagine what I thought of THAT... and never one to not speak my mind, I said so, too. With a pointed aside about class rank being utterly meaningless in such a system.

In a neighboring district's schools, though-- students can attend the local community college for VASTLY reduced rates.

In some states, this kind of patchwork doesn't exist because of centralized policy on the subject. Recall, though, that my own state is one in which AP is thought to be the cornerstone of GT educational policy for secondary, in spite of the many hurdles associated with getting a child into that system before 12th grade. Most districts with a lot of dual enrollment opportunity have very weak course offerings themselves. So it isn't necessarily a good thing if that option exists for you.

Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 09:29 AM

CFK's posts have got me thinking. There was a related discussion in the thread "Finishing school maths when not ready for college" started by ColinsMum.
http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...hs_when_no.html

Our DS7 will probably finish AP Calc BC in grade 6 at age 11-12, and will then have run out of courses at his virtual school. (Since it is one school for all grades he will get high school credit for all courses Alg I, Geom, Alg II, Trig/Precalc, AP Calc BC, even though he'll take them in Elem/Mid school.) So the question is, what then? He'll only be slightly accelerated in "humanities" type subjects, so won't be ready for college until about age 17 (one year early), maybe a bit earlier, or maybe not early at all.

My thinking had been for him to try to get into an "elite" university at the regular age of 18, assuming that they are so competitive that trying earlier wouldn't be a plausible option. (Obviously I can't be sure yet if he'd be strong enough academically, but the fact that these "elites" focus a lot on non-academics makes admission that much harder.)

I'm not sure why I hadn't clearly thought it through before, but CFK's posts make it clear to me that my son is on a trajectory where he could be taking university maths courses for 4-5 years at the local university (and maybe some science courses too) before he actually formally starts university, by which time he'll be in a position to finish his BSc in about 2 years at the local university, fulfilling the "humanities"(etc.) requirements, while taking math graduate courses, and then trying for an "elite" university for graduate school.

There's a dilemma here. This kind of acceleration puts you on a path of starting university early at the local "mediocre" university, and finishing quickly, and it actually seems to make it less likely that you'll have the option of getting into an "elite" university for undergraduate.

I still think there are big advantages to the "elite" universities for undergraduate too, if the price is right. The courses will be much more rigorous, the standards much higher, and there'll be a larger pool of more able students. (I explained earlier how I thought my combination of "mediocre" undergraduate and "elite" graduate was a mistake.)

But I'm seeing our son's trajectory being similar to CFK's. He could still apply to the "elite" universities, but if it's at a younger age, admission is that much more unlikely, and also much of the course credit would be lost (and it is right for these universities to not accept the courses of "lesser" universities, and it's not so bad to retake a much more rigorous version of a course).

You don't want to artificially slow down the natural pace of acceleration, but the acceleration can land you in some awkward places. (My attitude is to keep up the natural pace of acceleration, and cross bridges when you come to them, but you still need to look ahead.)

I'd appreciate any thoughts on all this.

ETA: I didn't see CFK's latest reply. I'll read it now.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 09:32 AM

CFK, the credit thing is a serious concern only in terms of scholarships and class standing, as far as I can tell.

It does matter in that if you come into an institution with college credits, the college itself may deem the student something other than a "freshman" on the basis of those credits, making them ineligible for financial aid offered to 'true' freshman who come in without earned (as opposed to AP) college credits.

I do not know of any specific instances in which a student has been made to apply as a transfer student on the basis of credits earned prior to high school graduation... but one does hear stories about it from fairly reliable sources (like faculty).

It's true that some institutions won't accept dual enrollment (or CLEP, or AP) credits anyway as transfer credit, though they may still consider them in determining placement.

It just varies too widely to say for sure. There certainly seems little harm in doing dual enrollment for a child that needs more than their local school can offer, though. Aside from cost, obviously.

I gathered that our local high school's plan for dealing with this would be to offer credit by exam (or simply do it quietly based on her grades in more advanced coursework and performance on standardized tests) and simply graduate my daughter officially once she outstripped what they could offer, which would have been during her sophomore year. Yet another reason we didn't go back to our local B&M school, given that DD was 12 at the time and this would have left her without much of a high school transcript for colleges to even look at.

They recommended what CFK has done, incidentally-- to 'withdraw' to homeschool and send DD to the local community college or University (if we could get her seated, that is, in light of her age) as a homeschooling student. On our dime, of course. LOL.

We did NOT do that primarily because DD is a polymath and therefore it wasn't that difficult to get her to a place where she'll hopefully be ready and promising in terms of entering a good-to-elite school at age 15. If she'd had a single area of profound ability, though, it would have been MUCH harder to choose to go this direction.

In that case, we'd have opted for the path that CFK's family has chosen-- because there would have been little choice.

Instead, we've been hothousing a few spots in order to get them up to speed for a general college experience rather than encouraging immersion in a single passionate interest and ability area.

Different kids, different solutions, KWIM? The thing that irks me is that the virtual school is likely exactly what killed some math interest in my DD by not offering much direct instructional contact in secondary. It's been sad-- so 22B, in your case specifically, I'd say to take it as it comes. I would not be planning very far ahead on the basis of elementary experiences. Wait and see what happens in Algebra I, Geometry... much could change there depending on how your school handles those courses.

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 10:10 AM

CFK, just curious, what types of schools were these? State universities? Private universities? LACs? Ivies? Or a mixture? Thanks.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 04:07 PM


Clarifying my previous post
http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post163162
I'm not sure if dual enrollment would be the right term for what we'd be looking for. By the time our son finishes calculus he'll have enough high school math credits (even though he wouldn't be in high school yet).

So he'd be needing university maths courses to keep moving in maths (while doing needed high school courses in other subjects), but he'd only need university credit (not high school credit) for maths.

So it would really be a case of taking some university courses totally independently of the K-12 school. I know there are other options like AoPS for some courses, but university is the logical choice for courses that will have to be taken eventually anyway.

Anyone have experience with this?

Also CFK, what does it entail to "graduate" from homeschool?
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 04:14 PM

Don't recall where you live, but I think it is not Minnesota. Here there is a program called "UMTYMP" (pronounced "um-tee-ump") that the most gifted math students in the state often enroll in.

http://mathcep.umn.edu/umtymp/

Obviously just specific to our state... but I suppose a few other states may have something similar. I am sure the posters out here would know!
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 06:40 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Don't recall where you live, but I think it is not Minnesota. Here there is a program called "UMTYMP" (pronounced "um-tee-ump") that the most gifted math students in the state often enroll in.

http://mathcep.umn.edu/umtymp/

Obviously just specific to our state... but I suppose a few other states may have something similar. I am sure the posters out here would know!


Well that looks pretty good. We don't have anything like that.
Posted by: Mana

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/13 07:47 PM

Caltech:

Applications for transfer admission will be considered from students who have completed their secondary school education and have enrolled at a college or university and earned credit for courses. Students concurrently enrolled in a secondary school and a college or university should apply for freshman admission

http://admissions.caltech.edu/applying/transfer

MIT:

I have been attending college during high school. Should I apply as a transfer?
The transfer process is intended for students who have finished high school and completed at least one year of college. If you are still in high school, you are considered a freshman applicant regardless of how many classes you may have taken at the university level.

http://mitadmissions.org/apply/transfer/faqs

Harvard:

Students who have completed one full-time year of college in a regular degree program in lieu of their senior year of high school (under an early admission plan) should contact the Admissions Office before submitting an application, but generally, if the courses were taken for credit toward a high school diploma, candidates should apply as a freshman.

http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/transfer/eligibility.html

Yale:

If you are currently jointly enrolled in high school and college, you are not eligible for the transfer program, but should apply through the freshman admissions process.

http://admissions.yale.edu/transfer

Stanford:

Students who are dual-enrolled in both high school and college programs should apply for freshman admission.

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/uga/application/transfer/credit.html

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/29/13 06:09 AM

Parents, including me, have complained about the $60K/year cost of many schools. Even in a mediocre economy, the elite schools are competing on the basis of amenities rather than trying to economize:

http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=63166
How Students Eat Now
By Theresa Johnston
Stanford Magazine
July/August 2013

Quote:
More important than any of these, though, has been a change of mindset. Stanford Dining views itself not as a glorified cafeteria service, but as a key player in supporting the University's academic mission. Its programs aim to teach students how to cook and eat for life. "We calculate that the 4,000 undergraduates on our meal plans each year will consume more than 200 million meals over their lifetimes," says Eric Montell, Stanford Dining's executive director. They figure, too, that habits formed on campus will ripple out in ways that transform individual lives and wider communities.

In many cases, he adds, it is students themselves who drive these changes. "They are much more interested in food today than their parents were. They think about where food comes from, and about the social justice aspects of food production. They think about environmental sustainability, and healthier eating, certainly. They come from all over the globe. And they watch the Food Network."

Lunchtime at the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons: The first-floor kitchen is fronted by a glass wall that allows students to watch while meals are prepared. Upstairs, there's an expansive salad bar topped with white ceramic bowls of organic oranges. On the back wall, a pizza oven blazes. Whole chickens, rubbed with pungent fresh oregano, twirl slowly on the rotisserie. White-jacketed executive chef David Iott, who worked at Ritz-Carlton hotels before landing at Stanford nine years ago, began his day by clipping herbs in the dining hall's organic garden.

There are no plastic cafeteria trays, except upon request. Instead, diners stroll around holding china plates, as they would at a hotel buffet. Hormone-free skim milk, fair-trade Starbucks coffee and Crysalli Artisan Water are on tap. A Pepsi machine is tucked away in a corner. "We have to have that," Iott says, a bit sadly. Then he brightens as he points out roasted organic carrots and an array of miniature decorated cheesecakes.

Stanford alumni who remember mystery meat, gloppy gravy and hashers with hairnets may find this surreal. But high-quality food service provides a competitive advantage to colleges these days. From New Haven to Berkeley, American universities are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into environmentally sustainable residences and dining facilities. "You cannot be one of the premiere universities in the country," Montell says, "and not have the dining program be on a par with that."


Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/29/13 06:12 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Parents, including me, have complained about the $60K/year cost of many schools. Even in a mediocre economy, the elite schools are competing on the basis of amenities rather than trying to economize:


You are buying a patent of nobility.

Nobles always eat well, that's part of the package.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/13 12:21 AM

Thanks everyone. This is helping me brainstorm. Some more questions.

If your student is home schooling or in a virtual school, what do you do about science labs (e.g. for physics, chemistry, biology)? Do colleges have concerns about the lack of lab experience?

Generally (for any type of school, but also more particularly for a school without little or no lab facilities) is it better to take an AP course, or to take the corresponding freshman college course in a university (while the student is in high school)? Under what circumstances is one or the other better? In particular what do "elite" universities think of either option taken at an "average" high school or college? How about doing the freshman college course and then taking the corresponding AP exam as well?

The context of these questions is the idea of a student accumulation a lot of AP and/or college credit before graduating high school, and then hopefully having two options; either getting a BSc in 2-3 years at the local uni, or getting into a more elite uni albeit without necessarily getting full credit for past coursework hence needing 4 years.

ETA: local uni = state flagship (but not a really good one. Median SAT scores would be in 550-600 range.)
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/13 05:33 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B

Generally (for any type of school, but also more particularly for a school without little or no lab facilities) is it better to take an AP course, or to take the corresponding freshman college course in a university (while the student is in high school)?

The average SAT scores at our local high school are comparable to those of the state flagship, so the SAT scores of the students in AP classes (who are better-than-average high school students) would be higher than those at a community college or a nearby state university (which is less selective than the flagship). In addition, AP courses at the high school are easier logistically. So AP classes may be better than equivalent college classes for us.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/13 09:16 AM

Quote:

If your student is home schooling or in a virtual school, what do you do about science labs (e.g. for physics, chemistry, biology)? Do colleges have concerns about the lack of lab experience?


That is a HUGE concern.

We did not permit DD to take "Chemistry" via her virtual school because we both felt so strongly that the laboratory experience is so central-- and so difficult to replicate successfully at home-- that it made the class nothing more than theoretical. Most colleges seem to agree. UC, for example, will not accept most virtual school science coursework for their a-g prerequisites.

We did allow AP Physics, however-- because that one came with a Lab kit from escience labs (like LabPac) and could realistically be done at home.

AP versus college... hmm.
It just really depends. At our school it is probably six of one, half a dozen of the other. The classmates are likely a bit brighter in AP, but the instruction is not college level.

My personal opinion re: AP in general terms is that it isn't really the equal of the college course, and much of that has to do with instructional depth. The people teaching AP classes aren't PhD experts in those disciplines, by and large. They ought to be if those are truly the equal of a college course. IMO, of course.

Then again, your average adjunct teaching at the local community college isn't necessarily putting forth "better" instruction.

Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/13 10:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: 22B

Generally (for any type of school, but also more particularly for a school without little or no lab facilities) is it better to take an AP course, or to take the corresponding freshman college course in a university (while the student is in high school)?

The average SAT scores at our local high school are comparable to those of the state flagship, so the SAT scores of the students in AP classes (who are better-than-average high school students) would be higher than those at a community college or a nearby state university (which is less selective than the flagship). In addition, AP courses at the high school are easier logistically. So AP classes may be better than equivalent college classes for us.

I ETA'd above. Our local uni is a/the state flagship. But it is not one of the really good ones. Median SAT scores would be in 550-600 range. Median ACT scores are 25ish. Most high schools in the state would be lower than this (logically).

There's no logistical problem taking classes at state flagship (it's nearby and it would be the only B&M location -- all the rest would be at home).
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/13 11:21 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Quote:

If your student is home schooling or in a virtual school, what do you do about science labs (e.g. for physics, chemistry, biology)? Do colleges have concerns about the lack of lab experience?


That is a HUGE concern.

We did not permit DD to take "Chemistry" via her virtual school because we both felt so strongly that the laboratory experience is so central-- and so difficult to replicate successfully at home-- that it made the class nothing more than theoretical. Most colleges seem to agree. UC, for example, will not accept most virtual school science coursework for their a-g prerequisites.

We did allow AP Physics, however-- because that one came with a Lab kit from escience labs (like LabPac) and could realistically be done at home.

AP versus college... hmm.
It just really depends. At our school it is probably six of one, half a dozen of the other. The classmates are likely a bit brighter in AP, but the instruction is not college level.

My personal opinion re: AP in general terms is that it isn't really the equal of the college course, and much of that has to do with instructional depth. The people teaching AP classes aren't PhD experts in those disciplines, by and large. They ought to be if those are truly the equal of a college course. IMO, of course.

Then again, your average adjunct teaching at the local community college isn't necessarily putting forth "better" instruction.



This choice would be between either (a mediocre) state flagship or the virtual school, so I think your argument would shift the choice towards the university. The virtual school may require students to take available classes at the virtual school, but hopefully that can be worked around.

There's the possibility of B&M school (with its hands on facilities) but these are not ideal for various reasons, and doing lab-based classes at the uni seems like the more ideal solution.

The regular or honors level high school classes would have to be done at the virtual school, but maybe the AP phys/chem/bio classes could be skipped in favor of the freshman college versions with professors doing the lecture halls and TAs doing the labs (and then maybe the AP exams could then still be taken once the material is learnt in the college class).
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/13 12:02 PM

We have DD save her work on laboratory exercises, and have since she was in middle school. In part this is to develop the habit of keeping a laboratory notebook, and in part it's to be able to demonstrate that she has actually done laboratory work in the subject.

This is the approach that many virtual charters recommend, by the way-- keep records and let schools evaluate on that basis.

Posted by: dsandmj

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/13 12:41 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
Yes, College Confidential is the place to go. Be warned, it is like crack for parents of college bound students, though!

One book that I really like that can help you think about ECs vs academics is:

How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) by Cal Newport


Thanks, intparent, for the book recommendation. I am reading it now and I'm finding it very compelling. I think my DS13 will get a lot out of it, too, because the talk has already begun among his peers about what "looks good" on a college application.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/04/13 04:54 AM

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).

An important reason for "holistic admissions" is to provide cover for a process that sets racial targets for which kinds of students are admitted, even though explicit racial quotas are unpopular and illegal. A recent NYT article discusses this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/educat...a-berkeley.html
Confessions of an Application Reader
Lifting the Veil on the Holistic Process at the University of California, Berkeley
By RUTH A. STARKMAN
August 1, 2013

Quote:
A HIGHLY qualified student, with a 3.95 unweighted grade point average and 2300 on the SAT, was not among the top-ranked engineering applicants to the University of California, Berkeley. He had perfect 800s on his subject tests in math and chemistry, a score of 5 on five Advanced Placement exams, musical talent and, in one of two personal statements, had written a loving tribute to his parents, who had emigrated from India.

Why was he not top-ranked by the “world’s premier public university,” as Berkeley calls itself? Perhaps others had perfect grades and scores? They did indeed. Were they ranked higher? Not necessarily. What kind of student was ranked higher? Every case is different.

The reason our budding engineer was a 2 on a 1-to-5 scale (1 being highest) has to do with Berkeley’s holistic, or comprehensive, review, an admissions policy adopted by most selective colleges and universities. In holistic review, institutions look beyond grades and scores to determine academic potential, drive and leadership abilities. Apparently, our Indian-American student needed more extracurricular activities and engineering awards to be ranked a 1.

Some commentary on this article is

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/08/want-to-get-into-uc-berkeley-lie.html
Want to get into UC Berkeley? Lie
by Steve Sailer
August 2, 2013

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2013/08/working-in-dark.html
Working in the dark
by Steve Hsu
August 2, 2013

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2013/08/the-shell-game-of-berkeleys-holistic-admissions/
The shell game of Berkeley’s holistic admissions
By Razib Khan
August 3, 2013

Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/04/13 12:16 PM

Thanks, Bostonian. I have nothing against people doing whatever extracurriculars they want for fun and fulfilment. But it seems universities are misusing them to favor some applicants at the expense of others.

-------------------------

Another issue I thought of regarding admissions is foreign languages. Some universities want four years of high school foreign language credit (Harvard, Princeton), while some (MIT, Caltech) just want some foreign language credit but don't really say how much, meaning maybe two is enough if other qualifications are strong.

Two years of foreign language is sufficient for high school graduation, and most universities also seem to think this is sufficient for admission.

So what do people think is the prudent approach for learning foreign languages when it comes to university admissions?

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/04/13 01:43 PM

Honestly? I have no real idea. I do know that most classroom instruction in foreign language isn't terribly effective. I'd think that an immersion experience of some sort would be much better-- and would definitely make a couple of years of a foreign language 'stand out' a lot more.

It'd also signal that the student has some sort of personal investment in the language, other than "it's what my high school offered as an AP class."

Posted by: Nautigal

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/05/13 11:00 AM

Am I missing something in that Berkeley thing? It says 92 percent of whites and Asians graduate within six years, and 31 percent of whites in the science field graduate with a science degree within five years.

We're talking about a 4-year degree here, right?
Posted by: DeeDee

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/05/13 11:09 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Thanks, Bostonian. I have nothing against people doing whatever extracurriculars they want for fun and fulfilment. But it seems universities are misusing them to favor some applicants at the expense of others.


I don't think this is necessarily misuse.

If you want to have an orchestra on campus, you need a certain number of string players and a certain (lower) number of bassoonists on campus to sustain that. Likewise all the other things that make up the particular campus community of that school. I think it's fine for the school to look at the balance of people it's bringing in-- X number of engineers, Y number of likely anthropology majors-- for reasons of academic programming and staffing, but also look at the skills and preferences of the incoming students for how they contribute to the whole of the place.

DeeDee
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/05/13 11:22 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Thanks, Bostonian. I have nothing against people doing whatever extracurriculars they want for fun and fulfilment. But it seems universities are misusing them to favor some applicants at the expense of others.

-------------------------

Another issue I thought of regarding admissions is foreign languages. Some universities want four years of high school foreign language credit (Harvard, Princeton), while some (MIT, Caltech) just want some foreign language credit but don't really say how much, meaning maybe two is enough if other qualifications are strong.

Two years of foreign language is sufficient for high school graduation, and most universities also seem to think this is sufficient for admission.

So what do people think is the prudent approach for learning foreign languages when it comes to university admissions?



When I had interviews with Canadian schools, I was paired with a foreign language speaker and conducted part of the interview in that language in addition to English. Not sure if US schools have a similar approach.

I'm a skeptic when it comes to foreign language instruction. DH spent 9 years in French courses through high school graduation and can't order a sandwich when we go out. As HK says, it's really a question of the intensity of instruction. I would insist on my DS being taught by native speakers. There's just no comparison. I would argue you don't know a language until you think in it, so 2 vs 4 years is really quite irrelevant from a fluency perspective, but admissions may be a different story.
Posted by: kcab

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/05/13 12:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Nautigal
Am I missing something in that Berkeley thing? It says 92 percent of whites and Asians graduate within six years, and 31 percent of whites in the science field graduate with a science degree within five years.

We're talking about a 4-year degree here, right?


Five or 6 year rates are typically used in comparison of undergrad completion rates. There are a variety of very good reasons why an undergrad might take longer than 4 years, including doing a year abroad, deciding to double major, a program that incorporates an internship semester or year, or just plain needing to work to earn money to keep going. (The last was surprisingly common when and where I was an undergrad.) Also, I'm not sure how gap years are counted.

Of course, at California schools this may also arise due to "impacted" courses, leading to difficulty getting all the requirements out of the way.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/12/13 06:45 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Another issue I thought of regarding admissions is foreign languages. Some universities want four years of high school foreign language credit (Harvard, Princeton), while some (MIT, Caltech) just want some foreign language credit but don't really say how much, meaning maybe two is enough if other qualifications are strong.

Two years of foreign language is sufficient for high school graduation, and most universities also seem to think this is sufficient for admission.

So what do people think is the prudent approach for learning foreign languages when it comes to university admissions?


Originally Posted By: aquinas
I'm a skeptic when it comes to foreign language instruction. DH spent 9 years in French courses through high school graduation and can't order a sandwich when we go out. As HK says, it's really a question of the intensity of instruction. I would insist on my DS being taught by native speakers. There's just no comparison. I would argue you don't know a language until you think in it, so 2 vs 4 years is really quite irrelevant from a fluency perspective, but admissions may be a different story.


Right. Harvard and Princeton just say they want four years of high school foreign language credit, so technically speaking, they don't actually require that you can order a sandwich when you go out.

The question is, should you do the full four years of high school foreign language, just for the long shot chance of a couple/few elite universities, when most places don't require that much. (On the other hand, how would it be if you would have been accepted into one of these places, but weren't for the sole reason that you didn't satisify their language requirement.)
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/12/13 07:00 AM

Originally Posted By: kcab
Five or 6 year rates are typically used in comparison of undergrad completion rates. There are a variety of very good reasons why an undergrad might take longer than 4 years, including doing a year abroad, deciding to double major, a program that incorporates an internship semester or year, or just plain needing to work to earn money to keep going. (The last was surprisingly common when and where I was an undergrad.) Also, I'm not sure how gap years are counted.


I did five years just in engineering.

I switched from engineering science to civil engineering to chemical engineering (all the while keeping the actual engineering portion of my scholarship).
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/12/13 07:09 AM

A double major in STEM + humanities/social science can also lead to a five year program through no fault of either the institution or the student, too.

The problem becomes one of scheduling; frequently the upper division coursework in STEM come with 4:1 lab credit ratios, and a two hour lab is therefore more like an 8 hour per week commitment. Math may be a 4/week, most lecture sections are MWF in STEM, while LABS fill T/TH... and this isn't always compatible with the humanities schedule in the upper division courses, which may use a T/TH lecture with a Fri discussion/lab.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/23/13 02:09 PM



Just got off the phone with a prospective college program-- to find out what I could re: the selectivity and how my DD's age and educational history would be viewed by the admissions committee. This because they evidently rejected one of my DD's good friends last year-- who graduated among the top 5 in the class, with honors, and had volunteer service, etc.

Admissions to the program in the previous 3 yr has gone from 70% to 50% to 30%. Which isn't good, by any means. :-/

Still, the person was cordial and professional, and encouraging re: my daughter's chances of admission to the program should she apply.

I also got some whiff of "maturity concerns," but well-disguised. I suppose that I asked for that, in a way-- but I seriously wanted to know. I gently pointed out that a 15yo applicant who has EC's that look "like other students' accomplishments" has likely had to be FAR more determined and creative in order to make that happen. Which is when she revealed her bias...

As in, yes, they may be ready for the academic work... but there are studies that show... (Yes, I'm well aware. I'm also well aware that if you've met ONE highly gifted teen, you've met ONE highly gifted teen, tyvm, something which seems to have escaped this person.)


They do not accept letters of recommendation, this program. The institution which houses it is otherwise not an appropriate academic setting for DD, so it's this or not attend this particular institution.

I'm going to talk with someone whose older child (also PG and early college) was accepted into the program-- then again, that was several years ago, before the selectivity was so extreme. The OTHER flagship in-state has an even lower acceptance rate into its honors college-- just ~15% last year, and also falling.


So much for a cheaper and less high-pressure alternative. eek
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/23/13 02:11 PM

Not sure if anyone has (yet) posted this particular article here in this thread:

Application Inflation

Honestly, at $50-100 each, I'm astonished that nobody has yet figured out how much revenue this means for some institutions. I mean, sure-- it's not that it's running the football program or anything. But still, it's a BIG chunk of change.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/23/13 02:28 PM

Another:

At Elite Colleges, Legacy Status May Count More Than Was Previously Thought
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 05:16 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Originally Posted By: 22B
Another issue I thought of regarding admissions is foreign languages. Some universities want four years of high school foreign language credit (Harvard, Princeton), while some (MIT, Caltech) just want some foreign language credit but don't really say how much, meaning maybe two is enough if other qualifications are strong.

Two years of foreign language is sufficient for high school graduation, and most universities also seem to think this is sufficient for admission.

So what do people think is the prudent approach for learning foreign languages when it comes to university admissions?


Originally Posted By: aquinas
I'm a skeptic when it comes to foreign language instruction. DH spent 9 years in French courses through high school graduation and can't order a sandwich when we go out. As HK says, it's really a question of the intensity of instruction. I would insist on my DS being taught by native speakers. There's just no comparison. I would argue you don't know a language until you think in it, so 2 vs 4 years is really quite irrelevant from a fluency perspective, but admissions may be a different story.


Right. Harvard and Princeton just say they want four years of high school foreign language credit, so technically speaking, they don't actually require that you can order a sandwich when you go out.

The question is, should you do the full four years of high school foreign language, just for the long shot chance of a couple/few elite universities, when most places don't require that much. (On the other hand, how would it be if you would have been accepted into one of these places, but weren't for the sole reason that you didn't satisify their language requirement.)


Also, I suppose this goes back to the question of why we're being educated in the first place--is it for sheepskin effect or actual ability? Personally, I'd favour ability over prestige.

I'm surprised they don't use scores from a test of a foreign language, what with the popularity of standardized tests in the US.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 05:22 AM

Shhhhh. Don't give anyone any bright ideas, okay??

wink


Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 05:44 AM

I took a lot of French in Canada and couldn't order a sandwich now. French is practically a dead language in my opinion. You don't use it unless you have a mid level job in government in Canada and then it is hit and miss. Since I left Canada 2 years after school, no one spoke French. I take that back. One time I was in France going to the Renault factory and the limo driver got lost. I yelled at him, demanded the map, and proceeded to direct him. But I wasn't fluent. Enough to demand "la carte, la carte".

DD takes Mandarin and had Spanish in school since K. Now she will have to take French until grade 8 but can switch back to Spanish.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 06:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Wren
French is practically a dead language in my opinion.


Interesting, we must have very different experiences. I use it everyday and have found that all my former clients in some of the largest industries require French to communicate with their international operations. With European clients, everyone speaks French, often as a second or third language. Anglophones who make the effort to speak in clients' languages are much better received and, in my experience, this is reflected in their career advancement (in management consulting).

As such, I'm surprised that US schools aren't terribly concerned about proficiency. Having a higher proportion of language proficient students would be good for the schools' financial legacy.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 07:17 AM

So their international operations in Latin America communicate in French? China, Japan, Russia? When I had meetings in Germany, Sweden, Korea, Brazil, no one spoke to me in French. Morocco they speak French. Some. Former French colonies speak french. Swiss and Belgium speak French, though parts of Switzerland. Dutch didn't speak French to me. And the English never learned French to deal with their neighbors. And Spain, Portgual, Italy, they act like they don't know what you are saying when you try and communicate in French. Canada tried to be bilingual. In 20 years they only increased bilingualism from 12-17% The Quebec population refuses to learn English and Toronto now has a second language of Mandarin, not French. So a bilingual country like Canada doesn't speak French.
I think foreign language proficiency is important but you need the ability to keep communicating in order to keep it up. Why I cannot speak French anymore. Living in NYC I never had the chance to speak it, except in France, which was 1 week a year. Though articles are being written that because of the euro, the French are being forced to speak English more for commerce and the European language of commerce is English. Though I think that is because of global trading. You have to talk to London, New York and Singapore. No French there.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 07:45 AM

French is still considered the language of diplomacy. My kids have found plenty of folks who speak French. Of course, if you know just one language, English is the most useful.

Most Canadians I know speak French (and these folks don't come from Quebec or anywhere near there). Perhaps they are not representative of the general population (likely "gifted" folks with clearly gifted kids).

As for languages in school, the quality of courses can vary greatly, and varies from teacher to teacher within a school. Most kids we know take four years of a foreign language - the kids around here don't view that as an onerous, odd college admission requirement. My kids have seen how it is more difficult to learn a language in middle/high school instead of learning at a young age. They were in an immersion school from Pre-K into elementary. My older two take/took a second foreign language at the HS. They are proficient at the second language, but not fluent.

Eldest took the AP in both languages and has college credit in both. She also took the college's online language placement test in both and was cleared for 400 level courses (though she is starting with a 300 level course 1st semester). She thought the test in her immersion language was easy, but had a tougher time with the other language.

Getting back to the original thread and Ivy admissions - while I am sure that there are some kids with less than the suggested number of years of language, or missing some other suggested items, there are tons of kids who apply that meet all of the suggestions. The vast majority of the applicants have stellar test scores & GPA, good ECs, etc. It is very tough to stand out.

You'll never know why you weren't accepted at a school, but if you want to maximize your chances, you should fulfill all of the suggestions (and go above and beyond, if possible).

And I guess I don't understand why most kids here wouldn't take these courses - I always thought that the typical HS day includes five "core" subjects - Math, English, Social Studies/History, Science w/Lab & Foreign Language. What are the kids taking in place of these core classes?



Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 08:25 AM

Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
And I guess I don't understand why most kids here wouldn't take these courses - I always thought that the typical HS day includes five "core" subjects - Math, English, Social Studies/History, Science w/Lab & Foreign Language. What are the kids taking in place of these core classes?


Two or three Maths and two or three sciences plus English. Speaking from a Canadian perspective, in some STEM fields, having taken all of the sciences and maths puts you at an advantage for competitive programs, so students are forced to trim out other disciplines quite early. It's unfortunate.
Posted by: ColinsMum

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 09:03 AM

I agree - four years of a foreign language seems so little that it's hard to see why anyone would want their child to do less! But I think where we came in was HK's problem which was about the difficulty of getting appropriate teaching, not about not wanting it.

Yes, you lose languages if you don't practise them. But IME they come back fast too when you need them, and the more experience you have learning languages, the easier it is to learn the next one, especially if it's in the same family as one you've learned before. I haven't had a class in any foreign language for well over a decade, but I've picked up a Duolinguo habit in the last couple of weeks and could now order a sandwich in any of the 5 it offers.

And a beer, more importantly. Before I had DS and life got too busy, I used to have the good habit of learning a little of the language of any country I was going to, and I used to count how many languages I could ask for "two beers, please" in. I had 12 at one point, without putting a huge effort or expense in. And this is important for enjoying travel - even if English is the language of business where you're going, you can't rely on it being the language of the good place where the locals eat and drink! In fact I remember with amusement being in Portugal with an American friend and colleague and wanting to order at some slightly out of the way place. He took charge and ordered in slow loud English. We waited. And waited. I wasn't convinced he'd been understood, but he poohpoohed my concern. Nevertheless, we didn't get our order until I'd repeated it in Portuguese. I haven't let him forget this occasion :-)
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 11:08 AM

ColinsMum, our priorities are obviously aligned. Cheers to that! wink
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 12:29 PM

I'm certainly on board with the ordering beer.

Aquinas, the kids in Canada take two or three math courses and two or three science courses each year? Wouldn't you run out of math and science courses, or does the HS offer courses that would typically be college level?

My kids take one math course per year. Middle kid is on track to take Linear Algebra senior year. All kids in our district must take Biology, Chemistry and Physics (all w/labs) before they receive their HS diploma. Middle kid is going into 10th, has taken Biology and Chemistry, will take AP Bio this year, Physics in 11th and some sort of science (maybe AP Chem or Physics) in 12th. Does your HS offer math and science beyond those typical HS courses?
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 12:49 PM

This was a private school, but its courses had to adhere to the public curriculum requirements and was comparable to local public schools. Math and science were each one course in grades 9 and 10. I've seen a course load that looks like this for grades 11 and 12:

1. Biology
2. Chemistry
3. Physics
4. Calculus
5. Algebra & Geometry
6. English

Stats is also offered.

There would be 1-2 spare periods in the day left for lab work and homework, and some ambitious people would pick up an extra course if scheduling allowed. The school did an admirable job compressing the other mandated courses into the first half of high school to facilitate enrichment or specialization later. About half of the class were IB diploma or certificate holders.

I am going to tread lightly here so as not to offend or over generalize, but I know that the math standards at my undergraduate economics program allowed graduate level material to be taught in 3rd and 4th years. Several of the professors had previously taught at Harvard and Princeton, and they used their PhD material because we had been required to study calculus and linear algebra. Given that my class had incoming students from a wide array of high school backgrounds, I'd hazard a guess that this was fairly representative for the province.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 01:09 PM

As Howler mentioned about declining percentage acceptances, Hunter high school sees the same thing happening. They used to get 10% every year into Harvard, 13% in Yale etc. Then about 5 years ago, it became 7% to Harvard, 10% to Yale and it is getting tighter, and that is one of the top tier gifted schools in the US. Kids that would get automatic accepatance 10 years ago get rejected.
Posted by: ColinsMum

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: aquinas

I am going to tread lightly here so as not to offend or over generalize, but I know that the math standards at my undergraduate economics program allowed graduate level material to be taught in 3rd and 4th years. Several of the professors had previously taught at Harvard and Princeton, and they used their PhD material because we had been required to study calculus and linear algebra. Given that my class had incoming students from a wide array of high school backgrounds, I'd hazard a guess that this was fairly representative for the province.


Countries differ very widely in their patterns of specialisation and in what the "courses" are. The US is pretty generalist, England pretty specialist, Scotland and from the sound of it Canada somewhere in between.

In the English system a typical pattern for foreign language learning is to learn one language from age 11 to 16, perhaps with a couple of years of a second thrown in, but to continue after 16 only if it's a particular interest. However, wanting more foreign language teaching than that is one of the commonest reasons for choosing a private school. DS has had French since 4, Latin since 8, both compulsory, and could have had a couple of other languages as clubs if he'd chosen to. That's pretty typical of the sector. That said, the French teaching seems very slow - he could order a sandwich (or a beer ;-> ) but not a whole lot more so far. That also seems pretty typical :-(
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 04:49 PM

It sounds like the Australian system is more like the Canadian. Yr 11 & 12 for me was : English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math 1, Math 2 (the biology was dropped in yr 12 when you may have only 5). We were required to have at least one humanities and one math/science so you could instead have studied: English, French, German, History, Biology (just making that up).

Math was not broken down into parts (algebra, geomoetry, etc), just "Math", but was streamed into easier and harder classes (I think they called the easier stream "business" math when I was at school, and meant by that shop keeping type math). You could do math 1 stand alone, but math 2 required you do math 1, although they were delivered simultaneously.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/24/13 06:45 PM

I was an IB diploma student-- a dabbler!-- so my final year included economics, calculus, biology, statistics, French, music, and English. If I could have taken every course, I would have. What I really needed was a Time-Turner.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/25/13 07:12 AM

Originally Posted By: CFK
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma


Just got off the phone with a prospective college program-- to find out what I could re: the selectivity and how my DD's age and educational history would be viewed by the admissions committee. This because they evidently rejected one of my DD's good friends last year-- who graduated among the top 5 in the class, with honors, and had volunteer service, etc.

Admissions to the program in the previous 3 yr has gone from 70% to 50% to 30%. Which isn't good, by any means. :-/

Still, the person was cordial and professional, and encouraging re: my daughter's chances of admission to the program should she apply.

I also got some whiff of "maturity concerns," but well-disguised. I suppose that I asked for that, in a way-- but I seriously wanted to know. I gently pointed out that a 15yo applicant who has EC's that look "like other students' accomplishments" has likely had to be FAR more determined and creative in order to make that happen. Which is when she revealed her bias...

As in, yes, they may be ready for the academic work... but there are studies that show... (Yes, I'm well aware. I'm also well aware that if you've met ONE highly gifted teen, you've met ONE highly gifted teen, tyvm, something which seems to have escaped this person.)


They do not accept letters of recommendation, this program. The institution which houses it is otherwise not an appropriate academic setting for DD, so it's this or not attend this particular institution.

I'm going to talk with someone whose older child (also PG and early college) was accepted into the program-- then again, that was several years ago, before the selectivity was so extreme. The OTHER flagship in-state has an even lower acceptance rate into its honors college-- just ~15% last year, and also falling.


So much for a cheaper and less high-pressure alternative. eek


Here's my completely unsolicited opinion:

Do not mention your daughter's age when talking to college admissions people. I'm not sure I would even mention that your daughter attends virtual school. Your daughter is graduating with a high school diploma from an accredited provider. She is competing on even ground with other applicants. You are not hiding anything, all of her personal information will be readily available to anyone who reads her apps, but it shouldn't be something you spotlight.

Applying at a younger age than usual is NOT a benefit in college admissions. In fact, she has to be that much stronger in her app to make up for her age. When and if her age comes up, it should be after adcoms have gone over her app and have seen her strengths and qualifications.

You should also not use words like gifted, IQ, etc. They are really meaningless in the college world. An applicant can either do the work or not and has evidence to prove it. "Potential" to be able to do high level work does not get one admitted. (potential to CONTINUE to do high level work counts, but that is shown in transcripts not IQ tests)

One of the few instances where you should bring up the age issue is if your daughter is applying to a school that requires that freshman live on campus (there are surprisingly quite a few). Age is a valid issue in dorms. In that case, and especially if your daughter looks much older or can present much more mature than her years, I would arrange a one-on-one meeting with an admissons director to discuss this. At that point hopefully they have already been wowed by her app. They will be able to see with their own eyes then that she is not just another typical 14/15/16 year old as far as maturity goes.

Like I said, unsolicited, but I hope it helps!


Yes, that WAS the context in which I brought it up-- that the program has a special housing arrangement, and the larger institution is now a freshman residency one. Honestly-- I was pretty circumspect all in all.

The biggest cat stayed well inside the bag. wink Didn't need to let that one out once I found out that she wouldn't HAVE to live on campus-- but it's an issue if a child plans to live at home with a parent, off-campus, and the campus otherwise has a residency expectation/requirement. THEN, the age becomes a huge issue, and it's my observation that it can K.O. an applicant unless you explain ahead of time that the student won't be living on-campus.


Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/25/13 07:17 AM

Originally Posted By: aquinas
Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
And I guess I don't understand why most kids here wouldn't take these courses - I always thought that the typical HS day includes five "core" subjects - Math, English, Social Studies/History, Science w/Lab & Foreign Language. What are the kids taking in place of these core classes?


Two or three Maths and two or three sciences plus English. Speaking from a Canadian perspective, in some STEM fields, having taken all of the sciences and maths puts you at an advantage for competitive programs, so students are forced to trim out other disciplines quite early. It's unfortunate.


Yup.

My DD will graduate with FIVE years of English (two in AP), four of math (one AP), four of social studies/history, two of foreign language, three of science (w/ lab-- at least nominally-- and one AP), and honestly, when you tack on all of the little fluff classes that are "requirements" for graduation, there isn't a lot of room for anything else.



Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/25/13 07:20 AM

We also found out why the friend of my DD's didn't get into the program-- at least we think so.


Two Some reasons why she probably didn't look quite as strong as some applicants:

a) junior year grade-slump. (Now, it couldn't have been MUCH of a slump or she'd not have graduated near the top of her class, I think, but probably it was nasty, nasty timing, that-- since she would have applied when those would be the last grades on the transcript. DD won't have that problem, for sure.)

b) relatively low SAT scores-- DD said that she reported "mid-to-high 600s" Wont' be a problem for DD, anyway.

c) not-rigorous-enough in STEM on high school transcripts. Again, not a problem that my DD should have.

Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/25/13 12:19 PM

HK, I realize that your daughter is young, but it might be a plus for her application if she makes the call to the school and asks the questions. You might want to be standing there to hear the conversation, but I think that schools like to see students take the initiative.

I know it is tough - we had to convince our eldest to call college coaches herself - but I think it pays off. My middle kid (10th grade) now has her travel coach asking her to contact coaches prior to showcase tournaments. She is a lot less outgoing than my eldest, so it will be even tougher for her. However, it has forced her to do some college research and it is good practice for future college interviews.

Also, you had mentioned some schools in other posts. I recall you mentioned RPI. That would be a good school to check out. It is a strong engineering/sciences school and they really want girls. The student body is about 70 percent male. They kept after my eldest well past the application deadline. Of course, they didn't realize that engineering/hard sciences would come in dead last on her list of potential majors, but she enjoyed the attention from RPI and some other engineering schools.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/26/13 08:21 AM

Yes, and I made two things clear while I was on the phone:

a) that this friend/classmate NOT getting into the program was leading my DD to think that maybe she shouldn't bother applying (so I wanted to know what their acceptance rate was, and whether or not her age or diploma from a virtual HS could be a problem), and that

b) I was only the one calling because my DD was at work while their office was open. At work on the same campus, in a research setting.

It is super important to not look/behave like a helicopter parent. smile

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/30/13 10:09 AM

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/how_got_nyc_rich_kids_in_college_KQQVjQ2t4AFmy3UaFkvTDK
Tutor reveals Ivy-admissions madness of rich penthouse parents
By LACY CRAWFORD
New York Post
August 25, 2013

Lacy Crawford’s first novel, “Early Decision” (William Morrow), out this week, was inspired by the 15 years she spent working as an independent college-admissions counselor to the rich-and-powerful’s sons and daughters in Manhattan, Chicago, Los Angeles and London. For a fee, Crawford would help them with their entry essays and applications to get them the one thing they couldn’t always buy — a spot in an Ivy League school. She shares her stories (with the names and some characteristics changed) with The Post.


Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/07/13 06:09 AM

The Harvard Crimson has a series of articles based on a survey of Harvard freshman. They like Apple products, especially the rich kids:

Quote:
Sixty-eight percent of surveyed incoming freshmen said they own a Mac, and 70 percent said they have an iPhone.

Seventeen percent of respondents said they have Androids. All but nine percent of respondents said they have a smartphone, and only one percent of surveyed freshmen said they are entering Harvard without a cell phone.

Those from families with a higher income were significantly more likely to report owning a Mac laptop or an iPhone. Ninety-three percent of those whose parents’ total income is over $500,000 a year—the highest income bracket on The Crimson survey—have an iPhone, compared to only 55 percent of those students whose parents together make less than $40,000 a year—the lowest income bracket. Similarly, 91 percent of those in the highest income bracket reported owning Macs, compared to 47 percent of the lowest.


The article discussing the incidence of cheating has attracted some media attention.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/9/5/freshman-survey-academics-extracurriculars/
Freshman Survey Part III: Classes, Clubs, and Concussions
The Class of 2017's Academic and Extracurricular Lives
By MADELINE R. CONWAY and CORDELIA F MENDEZ, CRIMSON STAFF WRITERS

Quote:
After going public a year ago with their investigation into Harvard’s largest cheating scandal in recent memory, administrators went to great lengths to promote a culture of academic integrity in the Harvard community.

But the results of a Crimson survey of the Class of 2017 conducted last month suggest that some of the newest members of that community are already guilty of academic dishonesty.

Ten percent of respondents admitted to having cheated on an exam, and 17 percent said they had cheated on a paper or a take-home assignment. An even greater percentage—42 percent—admitted to cheating on a homework assignment or problem set.

Recruited athletes were even more likely to admit to cheating—20 percent admitted to cheating on an exam, compared to 9 percent of students who were not recruited to play a varsity sport at Harvard. Twenty-six percent of recruited athletes said they had cheated on a paper or take-home assignment, compared to 16 percent of non-recruits.

Across the board, the incoming freshman class reported higher rates of cheating than did Harvard’s Class of 2013 in a Crimson senior survey conducted last spring. In that survey, 7 percent of graduating seniors said they had cheated on an exam, and 7 percent said they had cheated on a paper or take-home test. Thirty-two percent of graduating seniors said they cheated on a problem set or homework assignment during their undergraduate careers.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 09:19 AM

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).

Since this topic is of continuing interest I will revive the thread and mention a new article

Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League: The nation's top colleges are turning our kids into zombies
By William Deresiewicz
The New Republic
July 21, 2014

Quote:
In the spring of 2008, I did a daylong stint on the Yale admissions committee. We that is, three admissions staff, a member of the college dean’s office, and me, the faculty representative—were going through submissions from eastern Pennsylvania. The applicants had been assigned a score from one to four, calculated from a string of figures and codes—SATs, GPA, class rank, numerical scores to which the letters of recommendation had been converted, special notations for legacies and diversity cases. The ones had already been admitted, and the threes and fours could get in only under special conditions—if they were a nationally ranked athlete, for instance, or a “DevA,” (an applicant in the highest category of “development” cases, which means a child of very rich donors). Our task for the day was to adjudicate among the twos. Huge bowls of junk food were stationed at the side of the room to keep our energy up.

The junior officer in charge, a young man who looked to be about 30, presented each case, rat-a-tat-tat, in a blizzard of admissions jargon that I had to pick up on the fly. “Good rig”: the transcript exhibits a good degree of academic rigor. “Ed level 1”: parents have an educational level no higher than high school, indicating a genuine hardship case. “MUSD”: a musician in the highest category of promise. Kids who had five or six items on their list of extracurriculars—the “brag”—were already in trouble, because that wasn’t nearly enough. We listened, asked questions, dove into a letter or two, then voted up or down.

Clearly someone with only 6 ECs in addition to good grades and test scores is a slacker.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 09:33 AM

I started reading that article earlier today and will finish at lunchtime. This paragraph struck me:

Quote:
No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them.


I was also saddened, but not surprised, by the industrial acronyms and metrics used by the admissions committee (e.g., you get points for having good PQs [personal qualities] or being a DevA [parents in the highest category of donors to the university]).

I was also a bit surprised that being able to memorize 30 lines of Pope's poetry made students at a "top university" "thoroughbreds." Err. My 9th grade Honors English class had to memorize Marc Antony's speech in Julius Caesar. Children in France memorize a new poem every week, starting in first grade.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 10:17 AM

"You cannot cogitate your way to sympathy with people of different backgrounds, still less to knowledge of them. You need to interact with them directly, and it has to be on an equal footing: not in the context of “service,” and not in the spirit of “making an effort,” either—swooping down on a member of the college support staff and offering to “buy them a coffee,” as a former Yalie once suggested, in order to “ask them about themselves.”

Instead of service, how about service work? That’ll really give you insight into other people. How about waiting tables so that you can see how hard it is, physically and mentally?"

I did this.

Based on my experience, service work doesn't really give you an insight into other people, at least when you do it at age 18 or 19.
Posted by: momosam

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 10:29 AM

Hmmm. The things I learned from waiting tables have stuck with me ever since. It was invaluable experience. Seriously.
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 10:34 AM

So, what I read is elite colleges are elitist. They take DivAs and convert them into zombies thus preventing the transfer of usable skills to old money. Then they take old money and convert it into basic research. Insidious.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 10:48 AM

Originally Posted By: momosam
Hmmm. The things I learned from waiting tables have stuck with me ever since. It was invaluable experience. Seriously.


Well, I reaffirmed what I already knew about myself, namely that any activities involving physical coordination and balance are not my strong suit.

However, I already knew that from years of playing sports.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 10:56 AM

I found a Slate article that provides some entertaining commentary on this article:

"None of this is to say that we shouldn’t attempt to bridge socioeconomic and racial divides, or that we shouldn’t give more money to our struggling public colleges. But it’s unclear why we should expect undergraduate education to produce seismic shifts in perspective that Deresiewicz claims life itself largely cannot. “College is not the only chance to learn to think, but it is the best,” he writes. “One thing is certain: If you haven’t started by the time you finish your B.A., there’s little likelihood you’ll do it later.”

This is perhaps the most terrifying sentence about higher education ever committed to print, one that feeds into the anxious, competitive mindset that Deresiewicz decries. Every ambitious student who believes that college is their opportunity to shape themselves will do whatever it takes to get into the very best, most exclusive school they can. When their experiences underwhelm, as many necessarily will, they will indeed leave college “anxious, timid, and lost,” believing that they’ve missed out on a chance at intellectual development. Deresiewicz has simply traded careerism for another exalted goal, with similar results."

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/educa...iversities.html

As I have said before, I wasn't sure what the point of college was or why I was there.

However, I did learn a lot while I was there. Granted much of it related to mysticism, religious fundamentalism, general criminality (in conjunction with sociopathic behaviors), and severe mental illness.

Had it not been for my college experience, I doubt that I would be to deal with the mentally ill on a day to day basis as I currently do.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 11:02 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: momosam
Hmmm. The things I learned from waiting tables have stuck with me ever since. It was invaluable experience. Seriously.


Well, I reaffirmed what I already knew about myself, namely that any activities involving physical coordination and balance are not my strong suit.

However, I already knew that from years of playing sports.


Yes, I knew this as well, Jon. smirk

Self-discovery is highly overrated, I must say, since mine seemed to come with ample amounts of self-loathing and humiliation.

I will also say that working such jobs during my teens taught me that I never wanted to work at a job where my boss felt actively threatened by my educational attainment or intellect. NEVER.

College, on the other hand, taught me that academia was a much friendlier environment in which to be very intellectually capable. So I spent the next fourteen years there. LOL!


Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 11:16 AM

Originally Posted By: article
There are smart people who do not go to a prestigious college, or to any college—often precisely for reasons of class.


Hi there. Have we met before?
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 11:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Article
Is there anything that I can do, a lot of young people have written to ask me, to avoid becoming an out-of-touch, entitled little sh*t?


Line of the article.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 11:39 AM

{wince} That's pretty telling, isn't it?? I can't decide whether the correct response there is:

a. Don't worry-- since you've asked, I predict that you're fully immune.

b. Sure there is-- get over yourself. Early and often. You're welcome.

c. No, not really. The real question is-- why would you WANT to? [/b]

Posted by: momosam

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 11:44 AM

Originally Posted By: aquinas
Originally Posted By: Article
Is there anything that I can do, a lot of young people have written to ask me, to avoid becoming an out-of-touch, entitled little sh*t?


Line of the article.


wait tables wink
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 11:58 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
{wince} That's pretty telling, isn't it?? I can't decide whether the correct response there is:

a. Don't worry-- since you've asked, I predict that you're fully immune.

b. Sure there is-- get over yourself. Early and often. You're welcome.

c. No, not really. The real question is-- why would you WANT to? Being an entitled sh*t is awesome!

One man's "entitled" is another's "realistic". I'm more concerned that they not be guilt-ridden wimps. I will have my children read The Bell Curve some day and explain to them that so-called "privileged" children outperform the "underprivileged" academically primarily because of of IQ differentials.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 12:11 PM

Some of the quotes that really struck me in that essay:

Originally Posted By: Article

At least the classes at elite schools are academically rigorous, demanding on their own terms, no? Not necessarily. In the sciences, usually; in other disciplines, not so much. There are exceptions, of course, but professors and students have largely entered into what one observer called a “nonaggression pact.” Students are regarded by the institution as “customers,” people to be pandered to instead of challenged. Professors are rewarded for research, so they want to spend as little time on their classes as they can. The profession’s whole incentive structure is biased against teaching, and the more prestigious the school, the stronger the bias is likely to be. The result is higher marks for shoddier work.


This has been increasingly true for at least 20 years in the Ivies themselves. I know someone who was personally told-- in a STEM field, no less-- to "look again" at a midterm that had been graded and earned a failing grade. The student was the child of a VERY prominent Federal official who shall remain nameless (but whose name everyone would instantly know). The graduate student was gently reminded whose child this person was, and again told to "Check it over again. It's okay-- we all make errors in grading, I'm sure."

sick

So yeah, pardon me if I do NOT happen to buy into the thinking that HYPS is actually delivering a superior education to a regional public uni. COULD they, given the resources that they can bring to bear? Absolutely-- possible, yes. There's just about zero incentive to actually do so, however.

So yes, Intro to Botany is the same basic class at both Yale and at Southwest Missouri State, at least unless your last name happens to be {someone important}.

Originally Posted By: Article

Why is it that people feel the need to go to places like Guatemala to do their projects of rescue or documentation, instead of Milwaukee or Arkansas? When students do stay in the States, why is it that so many head for New Orleans? Perhaps it’s no surprise, when kids are trained to think of service as something they are ultimately doing for themselves—that is, for their résumés. “Do well by doing good,” goes the slogan. How about just doing good?


A question that my daughter started asking back at about 8-9yo. Since I didn't have a good answer that didn't feel extremely repugnant from a moral and ethical stance, she got to drive the bus using HER conscience rather than my academic planning. She finds resume padding to be egregious and disgusting, and she avoids her peers who engage in it. I suspect that she'll be happier not spending the next four years surrounded by them, anyway-- and that is certainly not sour grapes talking.

Originally Posted By: Article

I don’t think it occurs to the people in charge of elite colleges that the concept of leadership ought to have a higher meaning, or, really, any meaning.


YES. This is yet another facet to DD; her leadership style is SO non-aggressive that it doesn't translate into something that many people can see as "leadership." A lot of authentic leadership is intangible and hard work without glory and titles to point to-- none of which makes it easy to pick it out (for real, anyway) on a prospective student's resume. She didn't care, and found "playing the game" there to be utterly repugnant-- so she didn't.

She knew that it WAS a game, and she opted to not play in some very specific ways. She wanted to be competitive for being who she REALLY is-- or not at all. COULD we have forced her to do things to look like an Ivy-kid? You bet-- of course. But I think it would have been profoundly wrong to do that to a child who had such a clear moral compass about this-- it would have meant violating her personal values.



Finally, I loved the following (unintentional?) pithy summary of the article:

Originally Posted By: Article

They aren’t called elite colleges for nothing. But apparently we like pretending otherwise. We live in a meritocracy, after all.


Haha! Nice sarcasm, that. I mean, sure-- we'd all like to THINK that this is a pure meritocracy, but the data there really doesn't support that particular conclusion very well. There are much simpler conclusions to be drawn. SES explains a LOT about educational attainment and outcomes. One need not resort to The Bell Curve at all.


Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 12:24 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
This has been increasingly true for at least 20 years in the Ivies themselves. I know someone who was personally told-- in a STEM field, no less-- to "look again" at a midterm that had been graded and earned a failing grade. The student was the child of a VERY prominent Federal official who shall remain nameless (but whose name everyone would instantly know). The graduate student was gently reminded whose child this person was, and again told to "Check it over again. It's okay-- we all make errors in grading, I'm sure.


This is just evidence that magical thinking does work.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 12:27 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
{wince} That's pretty telling, isn't it?? I can't decide whether the correct response there is:

a. Don't worry-- since you've asked, I predict that you're fully immune.

b. Sure there is-- get over yourself. Early and often. You're welcome.

c. No, not really. The real question is-- why would you WANT to? Being an entitled sh*t is awesome!



d) Psshh. They just call us that because they're jealous.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 12:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
One man's "entitled" is another's "realistic". I'm more concerned that they not be guilt-ridden wimps. I will have my children read The Bell Curve some day and explain to them that so-called "privileged" children outperform the "underprivileged" academically primarily because of of IQ differentials.


Yeah, about that:

Originally Posted By: article
The Bell Curve, it turns out, is full of mistakes ranging from sloppy reasoning to mis-citations of sources to outright mathematical errors.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
This has been increasingly true for at least 20 years in the Ivies themselves. I know someone who was personally told-- in a STEM field, no less-- to "look again" at a midterm that had been graded and earned a failing grade. The student was the child of a VERY prominent Federal official who shall remain nameless (but whose name everyone would instantly know). The graduate student was gently reminded whose child this person was, and again told to "Check it over again. It's okay-- we all make errors in grading, I'm sure.


This is just evidence that magical thinking does work.



Yes, but only if you happen to be named Tiger von Preeiminence. grin Still, it's an important consideration. Pretty sure that's its own category, not mentioned in the article.

R-PITA-- a person whose parent(s) have the power to make themselves either friendly or hostile to the institution via regulatory oversight at the local, state, or federal level.


Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 02:24 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

Yes, but only if you happen to be named Tiger von Preeiminence. grin



That's His Excellency Tiger Lord von Preeminence IV to us plebs. wink

Pardon my French, but this whole academic prestige-hounding is about as tasteful as a nouveau-riche talking loudly at a party of old money about his finances. If you have to flaunt it, it means too much to you and is too novel to be "really" you. Groucho Marx and all that.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 02:44 PM

Ouch, Aquinas. Good one --- you really nailed it there about the flaunting.

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: aquinas
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

Yes, but only if you happen to be named Tiger von Preeiminence. grin



That's His Excellency Tiger Lord von Preeminence IV to us plebs. wink

Pardon my French, but this whole academic prestige-hounding is about as tasteful as a nouveau-riche talking loudly at a party of old money about his finances. If you have to flaunt it, it means too much to you and is too novel to be "really" you. Groucho Marx and all that.

As a practical matter, an advantage of attending a prestigious school is that you don't need to flaunt your intelligence (or whatever it is that prestigious schools are supposed to signify). Every college graduate puts the school he attended on his resume. So you get to "flaunt" without boasting. If it were commonplace for employers to explicitly ask about SAT/ACT and other test scores, and for people to put those numbers on their resumes, the importance of attending a "name" school (which may be exaggerated in any case) would fall. Listing SAT scores on resumes and employers requesting them does happen, but it's not the norm. The College Board sends score reports only to colleges, not to employers. If it were more widely understood that the SAT is largely an IQ test and that IQ predicts job performance better than most other variables, the perceived need to attend an elite school (or to attend college at all, for that matter) would dwindle.

Schools maintain records of who attended and graduated from them. I think they should maintain records of who they admitted, regardless of whether they attended. People could use "got into X" as a credential. I doubt my suggestion will be taken up.
Posted by: notnafnaf

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 03:31 PM

I don't know that IQ predicts performance as well... where are studies that show that? I have known some very, very smart folks who did not do as well due to their inability to deal with their co-workers - despite their college background. There are intangibles that are just as important (not what college you go to - but sometimes I wonder to some extent how employers also look at the activities you do when hiring college grads... I recall a few recruiters very interested in the sport I participated in, and I have wondered at times whether that was a factor in offers I received for my first job out of college... there was definitely some pull based on the school attended, and sometimes I wonder, to the activities along with your GPA/course work).
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 07:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
I started reading that article earlier today and will finish at lunchtime. This paragraph struck me:

Quote:
No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them.


I think that it needs to be pointed out that he is essentially using the old bond trader's cheat sheet approach to social occasions.

So, it's certainly a valid technique that has a proven track record.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 07:42 PM

Originally Posted By: notnafnaf
I don't know that IQ predicts performance as well... where are studies that show that?

Frank Schmidt and John Hunter are prominent researchers in this area, and their 2004 paper General Mental Ability in the World of Work: Occupational Attainment and Job Performance cites many earlier papers.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 08:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
I will have my children read The Bell Curve some day and explain to them that so-called "privileged" children outperform the "underprivileged" academically primarily because of of IQ differentials.

Then why do "elite" colleges use extra-curriculars in their admissions process.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/23/14 09:32 PM

...because sometimes admissions committees are packed with people who are-- well, unspeakably GAUCHE, to speak plainly. Those people can't be expected to just recognize the relative importance of the von Preeminence name and how those bearing it are to be treated. We have to help them somehow.



Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 06:45 AM

You can tell an applicant's class from the financial disclosures, but you can't tell class. The right kind of applicant lists canoeing/sailing, volunteering at the art museum/political campaign, and charity fund raising, for starters.
Posted by: Old Dad

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 07:26 AM

I know a Harvard Professor in STEM who told me, "Don't bother sending you sons to an ivy league school as an under graduate, generally speaking, they're much better off in any number of state or small private colleges as under graduates where professors actually teach the classes. Under graduates just aren't looked upon with much importance at an ivy league school. When they get to the graduate level courses, that's different."

His opinion coming from a man who came from a third world country and attended a state college, then was hired to Harvard from that background. Certainly it's only one man's opinion but note worthy.
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 07:38 AM

I agree. The focus can be on teaching undergrads XOR on graduate research. There are a number of pseudo-ivies though that have a strong undergraduate focus (like Rice in Houston TX or Wellesley in MA) that could be a good fit for a gifted kid. Rice has a student teacher ratio in the low single digits and a ton of research/internship opportunities b/c it is located in the Houston Medical district, near all the museums and a ton of fortunte 500 companies.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 07:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Old Dad
I know a Harvard Professor in STEM who told me, "Don't bother sending you sons to an ivy league school as an under graduate, generally speaking, they're much better off in any number of state or small private colleges as under graduates where professors actually teach the classes. Under graduates just aren't looked upon with much importance at an ivy league school. When they get to the graduate level courses, that's different."

As a physics major at Harvard, I never took a course that did not have lectures by a professor, although some of the lower-level classes also had sections with teaching assistants. It's probably true that the first priority of most professors at elite research universities is research -- that's the primary basis on which they are tenured. But the physics professors were enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about what they taught, and I think they felt that training the next generation of physicists was a serious responsibility. They would not skimp on topics covered out of apathy or the desire to make things easy for students. Many physics majors taught themselves by working individually on problem sets and then discussing them with other classmates, rather than going to professors' office hours. I think this is a reasonable approach.

If you are a well-prepared physics major, coming in with 5's on AP Physics C and AP Calculus, you may be taking graduate courses as early as your junior year, so there is not a bright line separating undergraduate and graduate education.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 09:56 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
{wince} That's pretty telling, isn't it?? I can't decide whether the correct response there is:

a. Don't worry-- since you've asked, I predict that you're fully immune.

b. Sure there is-- get over yourself. Early and often. You're welcome.

c. No, not really. The real question is-- why would you WANT to? Being an entitled sh*t is awesome!

The author himself is pretty narrow-minded, so students should not be seeking his absolution:
Quote:
In the affluent suburbs and well-heeled urban enclaves where this game is principally played, it is not about whether you go to an elite school. It’s about which one you go to. It is Penn versus Tufts, not Penn versus Penn State. It doesn’t matter that a bright young person can go to Ohio State, become a doctor, settle in Dayton, and make a very good living. Such an outcome is simply too horrible to contemplate.

What's wrong with being a doctor in Dayton? I think the author is projecting his own preferences onto others. I think my middle son, given his interests, may become an engineer. Penn State and many other state schools could be a good place for him.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 09:56 AM

Bostonian, I'm pretty sure that he meant it tongue-in-cheek, given the tenor of the rest of the piece. I mean, you have an excellent point, there, but I think that the author agrees with you. smile

I can definitely see both sides of the Elite-vs.-Egalitarian education argument, Bostonian (and Old Dad)-- because I know that those experiences also happen at public state universities, including small ones with enthusiastic faculty. Not everyone teaching at a public Uni does no research-- not even at primarily undergrad institutions! It's just that you stay out of the shipping lanes, as it were-- you occupy little niches that are out-of-the-way and likely to stay that way.

I also know that lackluster courses taught by adjuncts or barely-English-speaking TA's can happen at any institution.

The details matter there. I would not be happy sending my DD into any class where the majority of the teaching was being shouldered by a TA corps or by adjuncts. But I'm also aware that a good TA can be better than a disgruntled, dried up old jerk who is teaching only because the department is FORCING him/her to do so, and taking it out on any student with the temerity to show up at office hours.


Many physics majors taught themselves by working individually on problem sets and then discussing them with other classmates, rather than going to professors' office hours. I think this is a reasonable approach.

That's the ONLY learning approach that I've seen work for most students in STEM, speaking plainly-- so what I look at when I look at quality of programming isn't to be found on paper. I look for posted solutions, or at least notes about them on faculty offices, I look for clusters of students with textbooks and laptops open, CHATTER about what they are working on, and spaces that invite such groups to "hang" near faculty offices and lab spaces. I look at what's hanging on the walls-- is it graduate posters and publications by faculty? Or is it internship opportunities, undergraduate research posters, funny cartoons, lists of helpful links, etc.?

That's my insider tip for parents-- when you go to look at colleges, look for that. Don't listen to the marketing spiel. Believe what you see and hear for yourself.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 10:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
What's wrong with being a doctor in Dayton? I think the author is projecting his own preferences onto others. I think my middle son, given his interests, may become an engineer. Penn State and many other state schools could be a good place for him.


Silly, that's because being a doctor in Dayton is indicative of profound underachievement and catastrophic life failure.

You don't stand astride history like a colossus if you are a Daytonian doctor.

And, by definition, you are not a CEO of any relevant international megacorporation.

Also, the word "doctor" makes one think "general practitioner". As opposed to "pediatric neurosurgeon."

It can really be summed up in one word.

"Irrelevant."
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 11:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
It's probably true that the first priority of most professors at elite research universities is research -- that's the primary basis on which they are tenured.


One of the universities I attended is ranked in the top 10 globally for research output and its tenure model weights research only at 40%, with teaching weighted equally and the balance going to service. So even some research juggernauts can't neglect teaching.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 12:27 PM

Yeah, but after tenure...

that's the real problem. "Tenure" as such takes care of (at most) the first ten years of a thirty year (or more) reign as a professor at an institution. That is another thing to watch for in quality undergraduate education (as opposed to merely "elite" in brand name, I mean)-- are SENIOR faculty, on average, the ones in undergrad classrooms? Or is it only a few of them, mostly those who haven't published anything in 20 years either?

Which undergraduate classes are being taught by faculty, and which operate as their own entities, with separate faculty who do nothing else, and run a stable of adjuncts/TAs to staff them? Largely it's service courses that operate this way-- in Math, it's Calc, in Chemistry, it's Gen Chem, in Physics it's Gen Phys, etc. Those classes tend to be more or less similar from one institution to another, and only rarely are really stellar faculty the ones teaching them-- most often, it's someone who specializes in that course. Almost every large institution has those people. If they are good at what they do, you should see fair numbers of majors-- about one junior undergrad per faculty member in the department in something like chemistry or physics-- and if they are total trolls, you'll see far fewer majors than expected... or you'll see a parallel system in which the majors aren't in that "machine" with the rest of the students who need the course.

Those are the data endpoints-- all I'm doing is describing a mechanism. Most classes that are numbers-intensive like that, they don't want the department's own majors getting lost in them. On the other hand, some places figure that if you have the right stuff, you'll make it through and they'll see you as a sophomore. Different kind of environment, though. DH went to a large state flagship in CA that operated that way.
Posted by: Quantum2003

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 12:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: Old Dad
I know a Harvard Professor in STEM who told me, "Don't bother sending you sons to an ivy league school as an under graduate, generally speaking, they're much better off in any number of state or small private colleges as under graduates where professors actually teach the classes. Under graduates just aren't looked upon with much importance at an ivy league school. When they get to the graduate level courses, that's different."

As a physics major at Harvard, I never took a course that did not have lectures by a professor, although some of the lower-level classes also had sections with teaching assistants. It's probably true that the first priority of most professors at elite research universities is research -- that's the primary basis on which they are tenured. But the physics professors were enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about what they taught, and I think they felt that training the next generation of physicists was a serious responsibility. They would not skimp on topics covered out of apathy or the desire to make things easy for students. Many physics majors taught themselves by working individually on problem sets and then discussing them with other classmates, rather than going to professors' office hours. I think this is a reasonable approach.

If you are a well-prepared physics major, coming in with 5's on AP Physics C and AP Calculus, you may be taking graduate courses as early as your junior year, so there is not a bright line separating undergraduate and graduate education.


ITA. I didn't attend Harvard, but a different Ivy and had the same experience as Bostonian. I am not trying to argue that the elite schools are better than the state schools, but I do find some of the criticisms levied against Ivies rather foreign.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 02:22 PM

Yes, but recall that most of the parents posting here are referring to personal experiences in higher ed that date back decades. The entire landscape has shifted.
Posted by: Flyingmouse

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 03:09 PM

I agree with Quantum. I'd argue that there are huge differences between Ivy League schools and non-Ivy league schools.

If you're child is attending a large state school or an Ivy, chances are that many classes will be taught by TAs. That isn't something that is limited to the Ivys. However, at all institutions, more than half of the faculty is likely to consist of non-tenure track faculty (http://www.aaup.org/issues/contingency/background-facts). If your school is in an area with a lot of unemployed PhDs (such as an area near a large PhD granting institution), chances are that there will be a lot of competition for those poorly paid faculty positions. If your child is attending a rural university without a PhD program, the pickings may be more slim and the quality of the faculty may be lower.

However, I think that the peer group might be even more important than the faculty. Ivy League schools are full of kids with high IQs. Less selective schools are not. I attended a top-10 SLAC where the lowest math class was Calculus. I work at a regional university with average SAT scores in the 1100s and where a lot of students know less math than my elementary school-aged son. There also is a huge difference between the classes at my university and at the one that I attended. At my SLAC, faculty could assume that the students were competent in math and were capable of learning the material on their own. At the school where I teach, I can't make that same assumption. The classes are geared at a lower level, but are probably taught more clearly at my current university. By clearly, I mean that we do not expect our students to make big leaps on their own without guidance. At my current university, we also require our students to do more homework because they 1) do not tend to do well on exams and need the extra points to pass their classes and 2) need the extra reinforcement to understand the material. You can get an idea of whether a school thinks that its gen ed classes are generic or not by looking at whether or not they accept AP scores. If they don't accept them, they think that their classes offer something extra that is not found in a typical gen ed class.

Would I send my DYS-qualifying daughter to my current university? Yes, because she'll get a huge tuition break. She'll also be a big fish in a small pond. Studies have shown that the top students at a particular university tend to drift toward STEM careers, so she is probably more likely to go into a STEM field if she attends this school versus an Ivy. Would she receive a better education at an Ivy? Probably.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 04:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Flyingmouse
I agree with Quantum. I'd argue that there are huge differences between Ivy League schools and non-Ivy league schools.


Remember also that the guy who wrote the New Republic article wasn't claiming that there's no difference between elite colleges and public universities (he specifically said he wasn't).

He was SPECIFICALLY criticizing the insane status race that's going on right now at the elites, the fact that the elites feed it, and that it's damaging young people (as Bostonian and the article noted, 6 ECs isn't enough for some of these colleges). So none of the comments in the last few posts are really relevant to that point.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 05:15 PM

I'm not so sure that it's not. The reason why I think that the behavior at the elite end of the scale IS relevant to the rest of higher ed is the phenomenon that has been driven by the crazy coming from the top end.

So spending on sports facilities might not be a common thing at Ivies (and it often IS now at SPF's {selective public flagships}), but spending to make college a spa-like atmosphere certainly is a pervasive (and toxically $$$) phenomenon throughout higher ed now. It's rooted in that same competition-minded atmosphere, it's just the flip side of things, aimed at making a campus more desirable, thus more selective when they can reject an ever-higher % of applicants (most of whom are people that have little business applying there to begin with). OF COURSE the message has to be that attending somewhere other than Super Elite College is a massive failure... because only those who are worthy enough get in to Super Elite College... and look, we know that this is so because so few of them flunk out once they are there... and so many of them are SO successful once they graduate... so really, the ONLY way to be one of those successful people is to do whatever it takes to get into Super Elite College.


I was so sad when even UChi, which had resisted this poison, finally caved and started down the path of the marketing blitzkrieg to drive applicant numbers.


Marketing, in other words-- which is resulting the precise craziness that the author notes in all its varied glories.


That pressure for more "effective branding" and "better reach" among prospective students translates into all manner of malfeasance in the sector, and to a less extreme extent, it goes now for ALL of higher ed-- everything from cheating on the AP exams, superscoring a dozen achievement tests, lying about extracurriculars, to shenanigans at admissions offices is part and parcel of this phenomenon.

Most reasonably bright students who have done reasonably well at school, have a few outside interests, and no problems testing? Are GOING to get into colleges that are completely well-suited to them in terms of their needs. But that is getting completely lost in the buzzing noise surrounding crap like USN&WR's "selective 100" and the like.

Life isn't a disaster if you don't go to an Ivy, or for that matter, a SLAC. In fact, in some ways (not all ways, of course) those schools are not appreciably "better" than their less selective and lower-cost alternatives. The costs (direct, indirect, and opportunity) for getting INTO and attending an Ivy/SPF/SLAC may well outweigh the benefits. That aspect of things does get lost in this kind of conversation-- and I think it is an important omission that the author makes, there. He hints at it, of course, with his Dayton remark, or the one about service not requiring a [SPAM]. But being part and parcel of that elite system himself, he can't really understand those opportunity costs. Families are willing to absolutely bankrupt themselves getting their kids into those places-- and paying for them. They're willing to mortgage those kids' futures for decades in the name of student debt to accomplish it. All because of what they've been told is true about some vast difference between the "right" institutions versus all of the (apparently) great, unwashed rest of them. sick

That is where it becomes about ALL colleges, not just the Ivies. Now, the elite colleges have created that gulf in perceptions, but the rest of the higher ed sector is certainly dancing to the same tune, ever more frantic to put their own institutions to the correct side of some line that confers absolution from "mediocrity" or worse.

I'm not part of the elite system. I don't know-- maybe my education was deficient and I just don't know. Perhaps. But when I've compared (careful) notes with those who have attended elite institutions, they eventually wrinkle their brows and have to admit that contrary to every expectation, my undergraduate education seems to have been just as fine as that obtained at a SLAC. I learned many of the same things, I spent my time engaged in meaningful discourse and social interactions with other smart people, etc. Just at a fraction of the cost-- and without the prestige of their diploma's seal, of course. I didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up with them professionally, or while I was a graduate student. I can't say for certain, obviously, but I don't think that my life has been HARMED in any way by virtue of not attending a more elite institution. I was certainly accepted to a few, but decided that the costs were too high to justify them. I've not seen any reason to revise that opinion in the past 30 years.

There really IS some truth to the notion that what you get out of your college experience is highly dependent upon YOU, as a student, and not as much upon the institution itself. That is more true than many parents or students (or the institutions themselves) might believe. So I would not necessarily answer "probably" to a DYS-level student getting a "better" education at an Ivy. I'd answer "perhaps" or "possibly."

If the real difference IS the students admitted (and it is), then ask yourself this: What kinds of students are Ivies selecting for NOW, compared with thirty years ago? There have been changes, all right. Those changes have been pressure to select for higher SES, and for more Tiger-parented, anything-goes-as-long-as-it-gets-the-prize antics. A stunning number of such students no longer believe that taking prescription stimulants or cheating are actually, you know, wrong if they are done in the pursuit of a personal goal. The elite colleges are selecting for those students. If college admissions were a beauty pageant, the Ivies would be selecting those who are willing to do plastic surgery to whatever extent necessary, and maybe more than that in terms of icky behavior. They don't see it that way, of course.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 05:58 PM

OMG... this thread is baaaackkk! Anyway...

"No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them."

My kid did this a lot, but it is because she is a Quiz Bowl literature specialist. Main thing she needed to know was character names, location of book, and a bit about the plot. smile Not that she didn't go on and read many of them, she did, but she also just checked out enough to learn those salient details on quite a few.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 06:00 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I'm not so sure that it's not. The reason why I think that the behavior at the elite end of the scale IS relevant to the rest of higher ed is the phenomenon that has been driven by the crazy coming from the top end.


Because they are at the top of the academic hierarchy.

So, if you are lower on the hierarchy, you emulate the institutions that are better and *more* than you so that you can become more like them. Because there is a reason that they are elite and you are not.

It's kind of sad in a way.

Lesser institutions looking to become as much like Harvard as possible, all the while knowing that they will never *be* Harvard.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 07:06 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
My kid did this a lot, but it is because she is a Quiz Bowl literature specialist. Main thing she needed to know was character names, location of book, and a bit about the plot. smile Not that she didn't go on and read many of them, she did, but she also just checked out enough to learn those salient details on quite a few.



Which is kind of the problem. smile and frown The new goal is WINNING (the admissions race, competitions, etc.) rather than LEARNING. At least the Quiz Bowl people admit that reading summaries of works of literature is often rewarded . I guess I'm grouchy on this subject, but a big part of me asks, "What's the point?"
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 08:43 PM

Just so, Jon.

To summarize my thoughts on this subject: it's all about promoting a false impression of scarcity.

Oh, yes, verily-- there are relatively few seats at HYPS. That much is true. The thing is, though, is there THAT much difference between Cornell and Princeton?? Between Stanford and... Harvey Mudd? Is there THAT much difference between, say... UVA and, I dunno, George Mason?

The truth is that the answer is "probably not."

But that isn't going to promote much of a feeding frenzy surrounding "getting into {insert name of institution here}."

So sure, scarcity is real. It also doesn't matter, because in the larger sense, it isn't real. There are PLENTY of seats at "good enough" institutions-- for students who are able enough to take advantage of them. When is the last time you heard of a high school student graduating in the top 25% of his or her class who "couldn't get in anywhere," hmm? Never.

Most of the institutions doing this aren't doing it for any kind of well-considered reason, even. They're definitely not doing it so that they can be higher QUALITY. They aren't investing in the things that would lead there, quite honestly. They only care about demand, and will do anything to drive it higher so as to improve their ranking in crazy things like USN.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/24/14 11:39 PM

I wonder what kind of students the faculty want.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 04:28 AM

I am less worried about the 'brand' of a college in terms of the cachet its degrees may confer have than having my child amongst intellectual peers. In the US, at least, it is hard not to conclude that truly (based on academics) selective schools are going to have a higher concentration of genuinely high IQ students.

The difficulty that I have is in determining the difference between a school that eggs unsuitable applicants on just so they can reject them to look more selective and those that actually are academically selective. I really do think that my child will be better off overseas in a university that still sees itself as a bastion of higher learning and one that doesn't need to stoop to the chicanery that I see here in the US.

I came across this article on college applications that I think is cogent to his thread. Overall, I agree with the concluding paragraphs here:-

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/86560...ay-no.html?pg=2

Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 05:10 AM

This thread reminds me of the general discussion about education options. Having a gifted kid and whether they need specialized education. Will they do well in a general education environment? Some will. Will they do better in an environment that challenges them? Makes them think better, try harder? As a group, we always say yes to the before college part, why does it change in college? In my experience, the Harvard/Yale crowd is smarter as a group, way smarter. DH said when he went to Harvard as a freshman, he finally found his people. His housing group were highly successful, the whole group except for one. And I find them brilliant. I did not find that in general when I went to school. There were some brilliant, but not most. His classmates were most. That is the kind of environment I want for DD now and later.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 05:25 AM

Wren,

How long ago was your husband there?

All the evidence that i have seen here, across the internet and general media indicates that, especially at the Ivys, student demographics have shifted wildly over the past 20 years with college admissions putting less and less emphasis on academics.

I want to hear that my impressions are wrong but being an empiricist at heart I cannot believe so right now...
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 06:13 AM

Hmmm...I think anything less than a 2250+ SAT without a hook, and you should not bother applying to Harvard. 75% percentile SAT score on each section is 800, 25th percentile is 700+, so I don't see the decreased emphasis on academics.

Not only should you have 2250+ SAT, but you should excel in a variety of ECs. Even then, chances of getting in are slim, since many other applicants have the same stats.

Madeinuk, I think you will find that the elite schools in the US - maybe those with admit rates below 20% - have lots of gifted students. Eldest DD knows several PG kids, and they are now at elite schools. These kids are finally happy and challenged. There are finally some others like them, so they don't have to converse with kids like mine (who are gifted, but not anything like these kids - though they do still converse in a social sense).
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 07:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Wren
DH said when he went to Harvard as a freshman, he finally found his people.


But the question is, would he or would he not have found his people at, say, Boston College? He can only answer from the perspective of a Harvard freshman, because that's his experience. I think others here could testify to other experiences.

Another relevant question is, would he still find his people there today? As HK has described, the student body has undergone some significant shifts. The selection arms race has encouraged a student body with some significant personal deficits... moral/ethical, self-reliance, resilience, and general mental health, to name a few.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 08:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Another relevant question is, would he still find his people there today? As HK has described, the student body has undergone some significant shifts. The selection arms race has encouraged a student body with some significant personal deficits... moral/ethical, self-reliance, resilience, and general mental health, to name a few.


You are describing my state school honor's dorm experience here.

For starters, my roommate had already been arrested and charged with a felony at the time he started school.
Posted by: DAD22

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 09:25 AM

When I attended a top tier school I found it completely devoid of "my people." "My people" were other deviants from poor, broken homes. We had developed a counterculture that I identified very strongly with. No one I met at college dressed the way we dressed, or listened to the music we liked. I was surrounded by advantaged kids from private schools with whom I had very little in common.

I found that many of these students were open-minded and not judgmental, despite their privileged upbringings. I made friends fairly easily, and I learned to appreciate having conversations with my intellectual peers. In that domain, I was with "my people" for the first time. Now I have 2 sets of friends, and I appreciate them both in different ways.

Sometimes I see people here post about having difficulty finding opportunities for their children to interact with "true peers". HK has posted about her daughter being bemused by smart boys choosing to date girls less intelligent than themselves. I say there is much more to a person than their intellect. Your associations are based on criteria of your own choosing. These criteria need not be centered around intellectual ability, and we shouldn't be surprised if others with high ability choose different criteria than we do.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 10:16 AM

Yeah, DH and I are not "joiners" the way some people are. We're a little odd among every setting we've ever found ourselves in. DD is a bit that way, too. We're all polymaths, which is often a quirky thing even among very smart groups.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 10:57 AM

"The new goal is WINNING (the admissions race, competitions, etc.) rather than LEARNING. "

My kid played Quiz Bowl because it was fun, not to "win the admissions race". She didn't apply to any Ivies, although she got great results from her college apps. She spent plenty of time just reading in her room, writing and drawing, collecting bugs, etc. -- doing stuff that is not competitive, too. Just don't ascribe your general unhappiness with our overall culture to one kid and one activity. Competition can be fun. I don't see anything wrong with some elements of it in a kid's life as long as the kid chooses the activity, it is age appropriate, and it doesn't dominate their life. In the end she picked a school that is very much about learning (that is what she liked about it).
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 11:18 AM

First, DH was class of 80. His roommate had 3 kids right after law school. The first two went to Harvard, the second is now at Harvard law. The 3rd one couldn't get in, despite having scores exactly like the 1st one, it just got more competitive within a few years.
DD went from a gifted class in NYC public school where everyone scores in the 99th percentile on the OLSAT, which we know is not a great test, but enough of weeding out. In Toronto, you get into gifted with a 98th percentile on the WISC. DD keeps saying that she doesn't understand why they call it gifted or why these kids are considered gifted. DH came from small city, PA and the only guy from the area that had got into Harvard was 40 years prior. It isn't that he didn't have friends, he did not have intellectual peers.
I moved to a pretty nice area in Toronto, but after being in NYC and spending decades on Wall Street, I didn't realize how average most people think. The talent pool is really shallow. Did not realize.
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 11:27 AM

I am seriously late to this party (EIGHT PAGES? Really, people? laugh ) but I have a few thoughts:

1) As many have noted, the Ivies and their ilk are selecting for future political, corporate, and social elites, not future intellectuals. There ARE still schools selecting for the latter, and most of them are SLACS. (There are some bigger schools as well, e.g. my impression is that MIT is one.)

2) That's what the Admissions people at the Ivies care about for admitting undergrads (which I realize was the original point of this thread). But it's not neccessarily what the intellectual atmosphere of the place is, what the faculty care about. (Although, the weird mixed bag of ego and real scholarship among the faculty at those places is another whole topic, don't get me started.)

3) COHORT MATTERS. The difference between a large state school and a smaller more elite place amounts to this: What the professor can teach is limited by the overall intellectual capability of the class as a whole. Intro Botany really is different at a school that overall has smarter students.

4) How to find "one's people"? There's no getting around the fact that students at any good school are going to be relatively privileged. But some schools have different cultures than others, and some tend to attract quirky individuals, deep thinkers, and other non-HYPS characteristics.

5) Bostonian, I agree with you that there are real individual differences in intelligence, and that it matters. But you should know that The Bell Curve is full of garbage science.
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 11:54 AM

Just want to add, there ARE ways to get a top-notch education at a larger public university. HK's DD, for example, is already hangin' with a research team. But me, as an undergrad? I was shy, grouchy, and unsure what I wanted to study. I would have drowned in anonymity at a large school.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 12:00 PM

Originally Posted By: MegMeg
5) Bostonian, I agree with you that there are real individual differences in intelligence, and that it matters. But you should know that The Bell Curve is full of garbage science.

I don't agree. Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence. A characteristic of "garbage science" is that it makes false predictions. Twenty years after the publication of the Bell Curve, the patterns documented in the book do not seem to have changed.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 12:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
I don't agree. Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence. A characteristic of "garbage science" is that it makes false predictions. Twenty years after the publication of the Bell Curve, the patterns documented in the book do not seem to have changed.


No, the patterns haven't changed much, because the society producing those patterns hasn't changed much. Predicting patterns is not the point of the book, though. It purports to give an analysis of why those patterns exist, and how they emerge.

Obviously you didn't read the article I linked earlier which enumerated some of its shortcomings. Here's another, and this one is coming from a source that should have been more sympathetic to your views... and indeed, they seem to wish they could agree with the authors, but cannot, because garbage science:

Originally Posted By: article
A rigorous, well-reasoned challenge to contemporary presumptions about equality, egalitarianism, and the malleability of human beings is long overdue. Had the authors taken more care in presenting their evidence and summarizing that of others, and had they woven their argument more closely, their book would be that challenge. Unfortunately, it is not.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 12:14 PM

Originally Posted By: MegMeg
I am seriously late to this party (EIGHT PAGES? Really, people? laugh ) but I have a few thoughts:

1) As many have noted, the Ivies and their ilk are selecting for future political, corporate, and social elites, not future intellectuals. There ARE still schools selecting for the latter, and most of them are SLACS. (There are some bigger schools as well, e.g. my impression is that MIT is one.)


So, where then do you go if you want to be a political, corporate, religious, social, *and* polymath/intellectual elite ?

Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 12:39 PM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: Dude
No, the patterns haven't changed much, because the society producing those patterns hasn't changed much. Predicting patterns is not the point of the book, though. It purports to give an analysis of why those patterns exist, and how they emerge.


Plus, being poor makes you stupid.

Because money.


Yep. From that same Reason.com article I linked above, bolding added:

Quote:
The authors present evidence that IQ rises with age and with years of schooling completed. IQ may actually be a better measure of the environment facing children than the measure of environment used by Murray and Herrnstein. They use IQ to predict schooling, but schooling produces IQ. Hence, they are especially likely to find a strong measured effect of "IQ" on schooling.


But then, this becomes a "duh" sort of observation once you realize that the authors are using AFQT scores as a proxy for IQ, and that the individuals in their data set were tested between age 15-23. The AFQT is not an IQ measure, and was never designed to be one. Its purpose is to predict success in military trade schools, and like the SAT (which was also never designed as an IQ test, but to predict success in college), it mostly measures achievement. So, does academic achievement increase with age and schooling? Duh. Does that say anything about general intelligence? No. If we're truly measuring g, then the results should be stable across age groups, so that's an indicator that there's something wrong here.

Given that they started with a data set that does not measure what they purport it to measure, any conclusions are bound to be garbage, because garbage in equals garbage out. And that was only the first of their great many mistakes.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 12:40 PM

Originally Posted By: eema
Originally Posted By: Wren

I moved to a pretty nice area in Toronto, but after being in NYC and spending decades on Wall Street, I didn't realize how average most people think. The talent pool is really shallow. Did not realize.


Torontonians tend to be modest and unassuming, our mayor notwithstanding. There's lots of talent here. We just don't feel that we need to to talk about. We must be doing something right. Wall Street tanked in the last recession. Canada's economy weathered the storm very well. It's a bit like the tortoise and the hare.


Um, that's because Wall Street *was* the last recession.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 12:53 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
My kid played Quiz Bowl because it was fun, not to "win the admissions race".


Apologies. I wasn't aiming for your daughter, but for a educational culture that generally celebrates superficiality over depth.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 01:34 PM

Originally Posted By: MegMeg
Just want to add, there ARE ways to get a top-notch education at a larger public university. HK's DD, for example, is already hangin' with a research team. But me, as an undergrad? I was shy, grouchy, and unsure what I wanted to study. I would have drowned in anonymity at a large school.


I would have, too. But I managed to get a top-notch education at a small public directional college. Weird, I know-- but when you're that smart at a place like that, the faculty still know what you are, and they nurture it because they don't see it all that often. NO anonymity-- even if you might sometimes prefer that if you're on the underachiever track. blush Not that I'd know anything about that... {ahem}

Look the top notch graduate programs churn out top-notch PhD's at a regular clip-- and fair numbers of them wind up at small schools-- even public ones. No, they aren't FAMOUS... but some of them are still VERY bright, and engaging educators who are excellent mentors, focused on undergraduate education. It can be like a SLAC, if you're at the sweet spot there.

The other thing-- and I think this is why my education worked out the way that it did, honestly-- is something that HAS changed. It's that NOW, college administrators are so worried about "retention" that they have become increasingly willing to compromise academic integrity to get it. That is, loads more hand-holding and fluff assignments, etc. When I was a student, nada. If you didn't EARN a better grade, nobody was going to go out of their way to get you extra help... and you were going to flunk that class. {shrug} Nobody ever imagined the lengths to which modern college faculty are expected to go in making things EASY for students who are struggling.

So yeah-- I'll buy that the cohort argument may well be more applicable now than it was back in the day.
Posted by: amylou

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 01:40 PM

To derail this thread a bit, I'd like your recommendations on colleges for my dd. So I have a rising 9th grader (not the computer addict I mentioned in another thread yesterday) who is not a pleaser. She tests well (her 7th grade SAT scores would be the envy of most HS seniors), is likely to get great grades through high school, and may even do something interesting outside of academics in high school (if it doesn't interfere too much with her tumblr habit), but will. not. play. the admissions game. She is a deep thinker about big things, and takes *nothing* for granted. She has a prickly personality and disdains the material interests of her peers. I think "her people" are out there somewhere, and she will shine in college if she can find them, but they are going to be hard to find. She is leaning toward science right now, but her interests are very broad (philosophy, fiction writing, art, ….) Anyone know of any colleges well-suited for deep-thinking porcupines? It seems the Ivies are out of the question...
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 01:48 PM

amylou-- I'll let you know how things go this coming year. My DD had a somewhat similar profile. We opted for an honors college in a land-grant flagship with a large research footprint in STEM. That way, she gets the SLAC treatment via the Honors Baccalaureate requirements (and specialty coursework, priority registration, etc.) and also gets the research environment to be found at a larger PhD-granting institution with professional schools attached to it.

It was this, or a consortium-member school like HMC or MIT, where she could have taken humanities courses at a high level outside of her major. She has interests that are too broad for a place like SIT or RPI, much as they would have loved to have her. This also has the additional merit of being-- FREE given the amount of merit aid they tossed her way.


Depending upon her specific interests, Reed or St. Johns sound like very good fits, too, Amylou-- but Reed is quite "crunchy." (Wasn't my DD's thing at all).
Posted by: amylou

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 02:18 PM

Thanks, HK. Our large state flagship does not have something like your honors college, so I'd worry that she would get isolated here (I am on the faculty), unless her interests are more focused by then. But perhaps another state….

And thanks also for the other interesting ideas. HMC had kinda slipped my mind, as had St. John's (the one in Santa Fe, right?). Those are good ones to have in mind. And of course Reed - crunchy might be okay to a point, but I expect a low tolerance on her part for band-wagon crunchiness. And getting into MIT is by no means a given - I think a bit of admissions game-playing is needed there and it will really depend on how hs goes. And I've not heard of SIT - the School of International Training?
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 03:07 PM

My middle kid has received a lot of info from St. John's (they have a MD campus too, in case you are on the East Coast). While I think she would love the intellectual aspect, I don't think she could attend a school without varsity sports (and that touts their intercollegiate croquet team).

There are lots of great LACs in the NE part of the country. They might have your kid's people Amylou - check out the list of top LACs on College Confidential.
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence.

And the take-down of the WSJ article (including the cherry-picked and non-expert status of those researchers) is contained in that very same Wikipedia article.

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
A characteristic of "garbage science" is that it makes false predictions.

Well, no. A thing that can make false predictions is called a "hypothesis." Some hypotheses turn out to be supported by the evidence and some not. Being proved wrong doesn't retroactively make it not good science.

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Twenty years after the publication of the Bell Curve, the patterns documented in the book do not seem to have changed.

You're misunderstanding what scientists mean when they say that a theory generates predictions. It specifically excludes re-observations of the original phenomenon from which the theory was derived. They have to be new predictions, preferably ones that uniquely distinguish this theory from what would be predicted by the competing theories.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 04:43 PM

Originally Posted By: amylou
Thanks, HK. Our large state flagship does not have something like your honors college, so I'd worry that she would get isolated here (I am on the faculty), unless her interests are more focused by then. But perhaps another state….

And thanks also for the other interesting ideas. HMC had kinda slipped my mind, as had St. John's (the one in Santa Fe, right?). Those are good ones to have in mind. And of course Reed - crunchy might be okay to a point, but I expect a low tolerance on her part for band-wagon crunchiness. And getting into MIT is by no means a given - I think a bit of admissions game-playing is needed there and it will really depend on how hs goes. And I've not heard of SIT - the School of International Training?


Stevens Institute of Technology. wink It's the tech school that nobody but alums seems to know about, but MAN, is it a good one.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 05:36 PM

Originally Posted By: MegMeg
Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence.

And the take-down of the WSJ article (including the cherry-picked and non-expert status of those researchers) is contained in that very same Wikipedia article.

Arthur Jensen, one of the signers, would meet anyone's definition of an expert on intelligence. His magnum opus "The g factor" cited "The Bell Curve" extensively. Julian Stanley, another signer, was a giant of gifted education. Someone knowledgeable about psychology, especially psychometrics, will recognize many of the names on that list.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 08:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: MegMeg
Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Many researchers thought it was Mainstream Science on Intelligence.

And the take-down of the WSJ article (including the cherry-picked and non-expert status of those researchers) is contained in that very same Wikipedia article.

Arthur Jensen, one of the signers, would meet anyone's definition of an expert on intelligence. His magnum opus "The g factor" cited "The Bell Curve" extensively. Julian Stanley, another signer, was a giant of gifted education. Someone knowledgeable about psychology, especially psychometrics, will recognize many of the names on that list.


From that list:

""Although the environment is important in creating IQ differences, we do not know yet how to manipulate it""

Well, if you are poor, you can increase IQ through the application of money.
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/25/14 08:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Arthur Jensen, one of the signers, would meet anyone's definition of an expert on intelligence.

This is devolving into silliness. The implied force behind that letter is that supposedly an overwhelming preponderance of experts signed it, suggesting a field-wide consensus. This is manifestly false.

Now you've backed off to the position that One Guy signed it, and we should all be impressed by Mr. One Guy. That's not how scientific issues get settled.

It should at the very least give you pause that other equally eminent experts (we don't even know how many) were asked to sign the letter and refused. At a minimum this should suggest to you that there are controversial issues here that should be investigated on their own merits, not settled by saying "But an expert said so!"
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 01:52 AM

Is there any concrete evidence that (some?) elite institutions have lowered their academic standards by overemphasizing non-academic admissions criteria (such as extracurriculars)? Which institutions?

Do the faculty think their students are getting dumber?

What are the prospects for students who simply want to focus on their academics (plus some fun hobbies perhaps), and who totally ignore the non-academic criteria used by some institutions?

What about 10 years from now? Could the pendulum swing another way?

It seems that some institutions could do well by having purely academic admissions criteria.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 04:54 AM

Quote:

It seems that some institutions could do well by having purely academic admissions criteria.


Places like MIT still appear to do this for the most part.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 06:40 AM

Schools like MIT do admit mainly based on academics. However, think about the kids that apply to these schools - many, many of them have top scores. Just having top scores is not enough. They have to look at other parts of the application. Here are some admissions stats from MIT:

http://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/stats

They admitted 1,548 kids. Look at how many kids scored 750-800 in each section of the SAT, or 34-36 on the ACT. They could fill the class several times over with these perfect/near-perfect scoring kids. Yes, the academics are important - you need those - but you need something more to stand out.

These same kids also apply to Ivy League schools, Stanford, elite LACs, so at every top school you are competing against these same kids. Unless you are an athlete, URM or some other hook, you need to have something to make your application stand out. And even if you have a hook, there is still a minimum standard. A kid with very average SAT/ACT scores will not get in, no matter what the hook.

The standards have not dropped in the manner some have implied. I know kids with perfect scores who were rejected from some elite schools. The ones with perfect scores plus good ECs have better results.
Posted by: rac

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 07:52 AM

I do agree that less focus on ECs would be desirable. However, there is a ceiling effect on the SAT, and major grade inflation (and differences in high school standards), so purely academic admission couldn't work at present. I'm not even sure schools would want purely academic admissions - the student profile would look VERY different.
I wouldn't say that students have become dumber - but certainly more spoiled; more demanding of hand-holding and accommodations (to the extent that in some top schools, 10% of kids get time and a half or more on exams); more interested in As rather than deep understanding. Some schools are more supportive of this than others. Even amongst some of the very top schools, Deans will ask faculty to postpone a course deadline (announced at the beginning of the quarter) for a student who helped in organizing a party... . If you want a rigorous institution with serious, mostly academically oriented students for your kids, look carefully.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 08:54 AM

I couldn't have said it better than Rac has done. smile

Let's also recall that those perfect/near perfect academic scores? Um-- they don't mean what they USED to mean, before the era of massive grade inflation, gaming the system for accommodations (I'm not talking about needed accommodations for kids who are 2e, I'm talking about those that are "shopped" for-- and yeah, this IS a thing), and superscoring, tutoring FOR superscoring (another thing now is taking the ACT for a particular SECTION, and planning to "not worry about" the other sections ON THE DAY); all of those things are VASTLY enabled by high SES-- and nearly insurmountable barriers for those who are poor or even lower-middle-class.

Are students "dumber?" No-- but they've been more poorly educated, I think. Fewer of them are capable (or desirous) of deep understanding-- tangents in class are often met with derision and a query about what will be on "the assessment" now, even in honors or AP offerings. It's actually rather sad for those few students who ARE genuinely interested-- and teachers can definitely spot them a mile away. I personally think this is why even DD's lackluster enthusiasm for classes like US History met with instructor delight and approval, and spontaneous encouragement to pursue it in college, since this was obviously a passion-- only, just as clearly (to us) this was nothing of the kind. This is just what a genuinely ENGAGED student looks like. Teachers don't see as many of them now. That's obvious.

Now, those box-checking "perfect" students often slightly outperform even kids like my DD; but-- not on open-ended tasks, and there is no comparing the two things when you actually observe them aside from their resumes. The trouble is that elite institutions have driven DEMAND to such a degree that they have literally NO hope of actually doing that with thousands upon thousands of applications each year.


In short-- yes, look carefully. The Ivies may not be "all that" for all students-- nor, for that matter, even for the best and brightest ones.

I'm going to share some links that relate to some of these same issues.

Ivy Leaguers twice as likely to use study drugs, half as likely to regard it as cheating

Who Needs Harvard?-- Slate article on hiring at Fortune 100 companies

Legacy Admissions advantage-- Chronicle of Higher Ed

Educational Outcomes Op-Ed from Brookings Institute

From the latter:

Originally Posted By: Easterbrook's Brookings Institute piece

Krueger and Dale studied what happened to students who were accepted at an Ivy or a similar institution, but chose instead to attend a less sexy, "moderately selective" school. It turned out that such students had, on average, the same income twenty years later as graduates of the elite colleges. Krueger and Dale found that for students bright enough to win admission to a top school, later income "varied little, no matter which type of college they attended." In other words, the student, not the school, was responsible for the success.


Emphasis mine. This is not the last such study to have demonstrated this effect. Consider, also, how much CRAZIER admissions mania has become in the decade since that Brookings Institute op-ed was published. frown In 2004, Common App was in its infancy, super-scoring was new (and almost unheard of with the ACT, at any rate), it was only the first year after the end to the so-called "scarlet" asterisk (flagging non-standard testing of PSAT, ACT, SAT, and AP-- the results of destigmatization have been, er-- mixed, at best-- namely, those of highest SES clearly have benefited most from their ability to gain access to accommodations that are arduous and expensive to obtain-- more on that below*) and only a few private high schools were pushing all-test-prep-all-the-time, particularly with AP coursework.

Parents and students alike are fixated (now) on The Very Best School-- er, or they THINK that they are, anyway. What they actually seem to have bought into is the notion (which I maintain is largely a matter of marketing) that those schools in highest DEMAND are the ones that are most prestigious, and therefore also The Very Best.






*
From College Board's Own (much-criticized) study of timing accommodations from 2005

Quote:

Extra time seemed to affect the math sections of the
SAT more than the verbal sections. For students without
disabilities, the best performance was achieved under the
1.5-time condition with section breaks, and the lowest
with standard time. These findings held for high- and
medium-ability examinees.



The 1.5-time condition with section breaks also
proved most beneficial for the verbal sections of the test
for all ability groups, but the effects were not as great as
for the math sections.


This study provides evidence of three major findings:
• Lower-ability test-takers gain little or no benefit from
extra time. If students do not have the knowledge or skills,
no amount of extra time will improve performance.
• Section breaks appear to help test-takers at different
ability levels, regardless of their disability status.
• Extra time helps medium- and high-ability test-takers
with and without disabilities. Extra time, however,
does not help and actually may hinder low-ability
students with disabilities.


In other words, MOST high-ability test takers could use the extra time. That effect was so robust that even CB's own data collection/analysis was not able to ignore it. One would have to be incredibly naive to think that families that have no problem communicating to their children that performance-enhancing (illicit/prescription) drugs are "fine" as a method to better academic results would then have qualms over gaming the SAT accommodations game. The numbers certainly argue otherwise, unless one actually believes that only high-income WHITE children happen to have disproportionate numbers of learning disabilities... or that maybe living in a high SES causes LD's. As testing agencies like College Board have clamped down on those abusing the system, though, they've unfortunately made it even harder on those that DO need the accommodations but can't really afford to jump through all of the (new) hoops. frown The upshot is that this game has some REAL consequences at the median and low ends-- kids of modest ability (and SES) who also have LD's and could use accommodations in order to show mid-level colleges what they can do.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 09:38 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
In short-- yes, look carefully. The Ivies may not be "all that" for all students-- nor, for that matter, even for the best and brightest ones.


That's because you are buying letters patent.

Granted, a problem might arise when the purchaser thinks that they are buying something else.
Posted by: rac

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 10:29 AM

I looove the expression "box-checking perfect student". Oh so true! Just to add: I would have been more than frustrated if I had gone to school where a third or half of the students get an A. Meaningless - and I can't fathom why parents agree with this(and presumably demand it), when they spend 50k+ per year. Also, wonderful and ever improving sports facilities, but cramped basement classes with hundreds of students?? Fyi, published student-faculty ratios, are another thing to be very wary of when looking at private schools - especially if you are considering a popular major.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/26/14 11:24 AM

Right-- and look at who is considered "faculty" in the first place. A school with a 10:1 ratio doesn't look so good when 75% of their faculty are part-time adjuncts without campus offices, research programs or advisees, KWIM?


Here's a tongue in cheek analysis of what it takes (as of 2013) to get into an Ivy:

http://osu.uloop.com/news/view.php/68445/how-to-get-into-the-ivy-league

While this is obviously being played up for snark value, the data is there to back each assertion, too. Unfortunately.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/14 08:03 AM


I did not notice at Harvard that legacy students were less intelligent than others, perhaps because the ones who were stayed out of physics classes. This is consistent with a finding from the article cited -- legacy students have higher average SAT scores than the rest of the student body.

Quote:
Mr. Hurwitz's research found that legacy students, on average, had slightly higher SAT scores than nonlegacies. But he was able to control for that factor, as well as athlete status, gender, race, and many less-quantifiable characteristics. He also controlled for differences in the selectivity of the colleges.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/14 08:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian

I did not notice at Harvard that legacy students were less intelligent than others, perhaps because the ones who were stayed out of physics classes. This is consistent with a finding from the article cited -- legacy students have higher average SAT scores than the rest of the student body.

Quote:
Mr. Hurwitz's research found that legacy students, on average, had slightly higher SAT scores than nonlegacies. But he was able to control for that factor, as well as athlete status, gender, race, and many less-quantifiable characteristics. He also controlled for differences in the selectivity of the colleges.



That's a straw man slain, then.
Posted by: Mark D.

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/28/14 02:13 PM

Please keep this conversation respectful or I will be forced to delete more posts and/or lock the thread.
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/03/14 11:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: Wren
DH said when he went to Harvard as a freshman, he finally found his people.


But the question is, would he or would he not have found his people at, say, Boston College? He can only answer from the perspective of a Harvard freshman, because that's his experience. I think others here could testify to other experiences.


I can speak to this, because I attended multiple institutions as an undergraduate. I went to UC Berkeley freshman year (I got into MIT, but couldn't afford it on the aid package they offered that year), transferred to MIT as a sophomore, and took most of my humanities concentration classes at Harvard. MIT had my people; UCB and Harvard either did not have them or I couldn't find them. (I may have found them in engineering classes at Harvard, I suppose.) I was attached to a prestigious research group at UCB, and it was OK, but MIT was where I was really surrounded by my people.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/06/14 08:11 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian

A response.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
The Trouble With Harvard; The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it. By Steven Pinker. Sept 4, 2014.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/06/14 10:46 AM

The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it.


... because that has done such a BANG-UP job of fixing k through 12, after all.

Oh, wait. eek
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/06/14 11:14 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it.

... because that has done such a BANG-UP job of fixing k through 12, after all.

Oh, wait. eek

Well that's a fairly obvious comeback, but seriously, the problem in with standardized tests in K-12, is how they are used, such as to measure the percentage of students in a school above a low floor. In the current paradigm these tests are seen as measuring schools, not individuals.

If tests were used in K-12 to measure individual ability, and group students accordingly, then that would be a huge boost to K-12 education.

Presumably Pinker is endorsing the use of academic tests (with high ceilings, so not SAT/ACT) to distinguish individuals at the highest levels.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/06/14 11:33 AM

That piece suffered somewhat from thesaurus overload initially. But he made interesting points once he closed his Roget's:

Quote:
At the admissions end, it’s common knowledge that Harvard selects at most 10 percent (some say 5 percent) of its students on the basis of academic merit. At an orientation session for new faculty, we were told that Harvard “wants to train the future leaders of the world, not the future academics of the world,” and that “We want to read about our student in Newsweek 20 years hence” (prompting the woman next to me to mutter, “Like the Unabomer”). The rest are selected “holistically,” based also on participation in athletics, the arts, charity, activism, travel, and, we inferred (Not in front of the children!), race, donations, and legacy status (since anything can be hidden behind the holistic fig leaf).


He added this observation, as well (for those who didn't read the piece, the writer is on the Harvard faculty):

Quote:
The anti-intellectualism of Ivy League undergraduate education is by no means indigenous to the student culture. It’s reinforced by the administration, which treats academics as just one option in the college activity list. Though students are flooded with hortatory messages from deans and counselors, “Don’t cut class” is not among them, and professors are commonly discouraged from getting in the way of the students’ fun. Deans have asked me not to schedule a midterm on a big party day, and to make it easy for students to sell their textbooks before the ink is dry on their final exams. A failing grade is like a death sentence: just the first step in a mandatory appeal process.


He seemed to go back and forth with his opinions, and I was having trouble determining what he was trying to say in places (maybe he had the same problem).

FWIW, I agree about changing the admissions process to make it transparent, but disagree with his SAT assertion. I will repeat that IMO, we need to reform the secondary school system and use exams like the Irish Leaving Certificate (or other similar national exams) for admissions. Everyone studies the same stuff in a given course, everyone takes the same test on the same day, and admissions are based on test scores.

But this would never work in the US, because it can't be gamed, and we are a nation of people who bleat about such things as the rule of law and meritocracy while feverishly working to game the system to individual advantage.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/06/14 11:37 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Originally Posted By: Bostonian

A response.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
The Trouble With Harvard; The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it. By Steven Pinker. Sept 4, 2014.


This struck a chord with me:-


"Just as troublingly, why are elite universities, of all institutions, perpetuating the destructive stereotype that smart people are one-dimensional dweebs? It would be an occasion for hilarity if anyone suggested that Harvard pick its graduate students, faculty, or president for their prowess in athletics or music, yet these people are certainly no shallower than our undergraduates. In any case, the stereotype is provably false. Camilla Benbow and David Lubinski have tracked a large sample of precocious teenagers identified solely by high performance on the SAT, and found that when they grew up, they not only excelled in academia, technology, medicine, and business, but won outsize recognition for their novels, plays, poems, paintings, sculptures, and productions in dance, music, and theater. A comparison to a Harvard freshman class would be like a match between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals. "
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/09/14 10:13 AM

Steven Pinker is a Bostonian smile.

Quote:
As for Deresiewicz’s pronouncement that “SAT is supposed to measure aptitude, but what it actually measures is parental income, which it tracks quite closely,” this is bad social science. SAT correlates with parental income (more relevantly, socioeconomic status or SES), but that doesn’t mean it measures it; the correlation could simply mean that smarter parents have smarter kids who get higher SAT scores, and that smarter parents have more intellectually demanding and thus higher-paying jobs. Fortunately, SAT doesn’t track SES all that closely (only about 0.25 on a scale from -1 to 1), and this opens the statistical door to see what it really does measure. The answer is: aptitude. Paul Sackett and his collaborators have shown that SAT scores predict future university grades, holding all else constant, whereas parental SES does not. Matt McGue has shown, moreover, that adolescents’ test scores track the SES only of their biological parents, not (for adopted kids) of their adoptive parents, suggesting that the tracking reflects shared genes, not economic privilege.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/09/14 10:38 AM

Perhaps, but what kind of aptitude does the SAT test for? IMO, it tests for an ability to answer relatively easy questions quickly (if they were hard or anything but superficial, you wouldn't be able to answer them in even a few minutes each, let alone <1 minute).

Sure, people with (near) perfect scores on the SAT may have aptitude for elite college work, but they aren't the only ones. Plus, given the way the test is scored, it isn't clear to me that anyone can even honestly discriminate between "aptitude" in students with scores between ~650 and 800.

I think that Deresciewicz was getting at this point: the admissions process at elite colleges selects for an overly narrow group of students, to the detriment of the students and the system as whole.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/09/14 10:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
Sure, people with (near) perfect scores on the SAT have aptitude for college work, but they aren't the only ones. Plus, given the way the test is scored, it isn't clear to me that anyone can even honestly discriminate between "aptitude" in students with scores between ~650 and 800.

The relationship between PSAT scores (and very likely SAT scores) and college grades is close to linear throughout the range of PSAT scores.

https://research.collegeboard.org/sites/...st-year-gpa.pdf
Examining the Linearity of the PSAT/NMSQT®–FYGPA Relationship
By Jessica P. Marini, Krista D. Mattern, and Emily J. Shaw
Quote:
Executive Summary
There is a common misperception that test scores do not predict above a minimum threshold
(Sackett, Borneman, & Connelly, 2008). That is, test scores may be useful for identifying
students with very low levels of ability; however, higher scores are considered unrelated to
higher performance for those above a certain threshold. This study aims to examine whether
this is true for the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®),
which is used for that very purpose — to differentiate among very high performing students.
The linearity of the relationship between PSAT/NMSQT scores and first-year college GPA
(FYGPA) was explored in this paper, using a regression approach. This relationship was
explored over the entire range of the PSAT/NMSQT score scale, known as the Selection
Index, ranging from 60 to 240 as well as the upper end of the score scale (≥ 200), where
initial screening decisions are made for scholarship programs conducted by National Merit
Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). For the full PSAT/NMSQT scale, the addition of a quadratic
term improved model fit; however, the effect size was small as indexed by the change in the
squared multiple correlation coefficient (R2
) of 0.001. That is, including PSAT/NMSQT Selection
Index2
in the model accounted for an additional 0.1% of variance in FYGPA. As for the subset
of students who had a PSAT/NMSQT score of 200 or higher, the results indicated a strong
linear relationship, which suggests that even among very high-scoring students, the PSAT/
NMSQT score scale differentiates between students in terms of academic success measured
by grades earned in the first year of college. In sum, the results of this study support the use
of the PSAT/NMSQT as a screening tool for selecting Merit Scholarship winners.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/09/14 11:04 AM

But we're not talking about the PSAT.

That said, PSAT math scores go up from the mean by ~3.25 standard deviations.

SAT math scores only go up ~2.5 SDs, meaning that this very popular exam isn't terribly discriminating at the top. If we were to put this in terms of IQs, this would mean that the SAT equates an math ability score around 150 with one around 138.



Sources: PSAT SAT
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 09:05 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Originally Posted By: Bostonian

A response.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
The Trouble With Harvard; The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it. By Steven Pinker. Sept 4, 2014.

Stephen Hsu comments on Steven Pinker's article.
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-is-best-for-harvard.html
I'd really like to know how many are admitted on academic merit alone, especially in math.
I assume MIT and CalTech are more meritocratic, though they are more expensive that Harvard for those with modest incomes.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 09:46 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Originally Posted By: 22B
Originally Posted By: Bostonian

A response.
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
The Trouble With Harvard; The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it. By Steven Pinker. Sept 4, 2014.

Stephen Hsu comments on Steven Pinker's article.
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-is-best-for-harvard.html
I'd really like to know how many are admitted on academic merit alone, especially in math.
I assume MIT and CalTech are more meritocratic, though they are more expensive that Harvard for those with modest incomes.



I don't believe MIT and CalTech consider legacies.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 09:56 AM

MIT really, really doesn't consider legacy students.

Originally Posted By: MIT's admissions website
This is something I thought we'd been pretty clear about. Mollie blogged about it back in 2006. Our institutional research website says, quite specifically, that "alumni relations" are "not considered." And I can tell you, from having sat on countless committees, that we simply don't care if your parents (or aunt, or grandfather, or third cousin) went to MIT. In fact, one of the things most likely to elicit a gigantic facepalm is when a student namedrops some incredibly attenuated connection because they think it is going to help them get into MIT.

...

I want to reiterate that I agree wholeheartedly with everything Mr. Kahlenberg said about why legacy admissions are bad. I personally would not work for a college which had legacy admission because I am not interested in simply reproducing a multigenerational lineage of educated elite. And if anyone in our office ever advocated for a mediocre applicant on the basis of their "excellent pedigree" they would be kicked out of the committee room.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 10:11 AM

Originally Posted By: aeh
I don't believe MIT and CalTech consider legacies.

The Common Data set, supplied by the schools themselves, has this information -- look at the box checked for the "Alumni/ae relation" line of question C7. MIT does not, but for Caltech it is considered but is not "important" or "very important". I wonder if any school that considers legacy status owns up to its being not just "considered" but "important". Princeton is a school with a fairly high fraction of legacy students, but as with Caltech, it says that legacy status is merely "considered".

I don't think legacy admissions are necessarily a bad thing, especially in the context of the overall system. At many schools, my children will be penalized for their race and their parents' SES. Their potentially benefiting from a legacy preference at one school does not make me feel guilty.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 10:28 AM

The whole legacy never even occurred t me. What I'd mainly like to gauge is how meritocratic various places are, as opposed to using extraneous non-academic stuff.

Pinker's statement that Harvard lets in 5%-10% based on pure academic merit actually makes me feel more optimistic, but those slots would have to be at an extremely high standard.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 11:37 AM

Legacy helps if you have the scores, so if 10 kids all have perfect scores and similar applications, the legacy gets into Harvard. But if you have something they want, play pretty good football, captain of the fencing team, you can get in with lower scores compared to a perfect score with nothing else. I had a big donor to Princeton tell me this as he was close to coaches and was working his daughter in. She had great scores and played great soccer. Scores have to be really high but not perfect. And I know 2 siblings that got into Harvard but it got more competitive for the 3rd, even though she had similar scores to the 1st two and had double legacy and the father did fundraising but she did not get in because the standards are higher.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 11:48 AM

I know legacy/development admits at top tier colleges (including 1 Ivy) who were admitted when they shouldn't have been. They both turned out to be duds in life.

As the article says, it's a zero sum game and that legacy admit took a spot from someone who had higher qualifications according to the college's own criteria.

One thing I find interesting is that people who support legacy admissions will simultaneously cry foul over affirmative action admissions.
Posted by: CalvinsDad

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 11:49 AM

UVA - Alumni/ae relation = Very Important
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 12:36 PM

Any suggestions for specific schools that have Ivy-like benefits but not the single digit Ivy selectivity and legacy issues?
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 12:59 PM

Which benefits are you looking for?

Carnegie-Mellon has low legacy and 25.5% admissions. The school of computer science there has the highest average salary straight out of an undergrad program than any other school. But no secret handshake admissions to the Illuminati that I heard of.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 01:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Zen Scanner
Which benefits are you looking for?

Carnegie-Mellon has low legacy and 25.5% admissions. The school of computer science there has the highest average salary straight out of an undergrad program than any other school. But no secret handshake admissions to the Illuminati that I heard of.

According to Payscale's Best Schools for Computer Science Majors CMU computer science grads start out well at $81,300 on average but are exceeded by graduates of Standard and a few other schools.
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 01:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: Zen Scanner
Which benefits are you looking for?

Carnegie-Mellon has low legacy and 25.5% admissions. The school of computer science there has the highest average salary straight out of an undergrad program than any other school. But no secret handshake admissions to the Illuminati that I heard of.

According to Payscale's Best Schools for Computer Science Majors CMU computer science grads start out well at $81,300 on average but are exceeded by graduates of Standard and a few other schools.


I was going by the Forbes list:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/04/12/25-college-diplomas-with-the-highest-pay/
Which puts CMU CS at 84,400
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 02:13 PM

either way, Carnegie looks good. But one comment hit, where was Harvey Mudd. If they had all those females. I heard female engineering students are making way more because firms are trying to hire more women in STEM. Someone from GM told me they paid the women much more than the men.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 02:16 PM

http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2014/best-schools-by-type/engineering-schools
this showed Caltech and Harvey Mudd and on potential Carnegie didn't make the top.
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 02:19 PM

I am partial to Rice University - 16% acceptance rate and lots of medical and other internship opportunities close by.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 02:51 PM

Originally Posted By: cmguy
Any suggestions for specific schools that have Ivy-like benefits but not the single digit Ivy selectivity and legacy issues?


I am OK with high selectivity just as long as it's based on academic merit alone.

I want my DD to have peers at university as intelligent and hard working ( or even more so ) than her.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 04:54 PM

Originally Posted By: madeinuk
I am OK with high selectivity just as long as it's based on academic merit alone.


There are other selective factors at work, though, because a great many high-ability candidates are selecting their way out, because the sticker price is too high. We would only achieve a true meritocracy if admissions were strictly based on ability, and price was not a barrier.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 06:08 PM

Dude - no argument from me there.
Posted by: raptor_dad

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/10/14 06:20 PM

Oxford's head of admission has explicitly said the dons do not want "second-rate historians who happen to play the flute".

So how do the Oxbridge schools select candidates... they go beyond using APs, A levels, IB diplomas, etc... In math there are the STEP tests[1] and in other subjects there are equivalents[2].

If US schools are serious about being base on merit, they should do something similar... the difference between a 770 and 800 SAT math is largely chance. A 3 hr test with 6 hard problems should give a clearer distribution.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixth_Term_Examination_Paper
[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...s-A-levels.html
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 07:13 AM

Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
Oxford's head of admission has explicitly said the dons do not want "second-rate historians who happen to play the flute".

So how do the Oxbridge schools select candidates... they go beyond using APs, A levels, IB diplomas, etc... In math there are the STEP tests[1] and in other subjects there are equivalents[2].

If US schools are serious about being base on merit, they should do something similar... the difference between a 770 and 800 SAT math is largely chance. A 3 hr test with 6 hard problems should give a clearer distribution.

I believe that at many universities worldwide, you are admitted to study a particular subject. At most U.S. schools, you can declare a major after matriculating. So they are not admitting students as historians or mathematicians.

You can major in music or theater at Yale. If Yale thinks those subjects are worthy of a major, its admissions process ought to give some weight to achievement in those areas.

For mere transmission of knowledge, the residential university may be becoming obsolete. Schools are trying to create a vibrant campus with student publications, concerts, theater productions, and sporting events. Emphasis on extracurriculars can be carried too far, but people can differ on the definition of "too far".

Strong ECs may indirectly indicate academic ability. If students A and B both have perfect grades and test scores, and student A also has good ECs, maybe she is smarter than student B and is able to get the same academic work done in less time, freeing time for other pursuits. In making such a comparison, demands on time such as working part time and caring for siblings should also be considered.
Posted by: raptor_dad

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 10:07 AM

You don't have to restrict majors to see the value of higher ceiling tests. That is why MIT, Caltech etc ask for optional AMC series scores.

If HYP, Stanford, and MIT endorsed higher level essay exams in say Math, History, or English, kids would take them. They would be expensive to develop and administer. They would scare off many applicants. However they would allow more academic selection vs using extracurrics. The problem with APs etc is that the ceiling is way too low in all subjects for the super-elite schools.

ETA: I see the value of the flexible US system but believe super high academic achievement in any field has greater predictive value than extracurrics. I'd rather have a 700+ SAT M kid with a super exam result in history/english as a future STEM major vs a 700+ SAT M student body president. Any future slippery slope of only taking kids with both high normal score and high elite scores in the same subject couldn't be worse that our current system which is essentially a lottery for gifted kids.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 10:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
Oxford's head of admission has explicitly said the dons do not want "second-rate historians who happen to play the flute".

So how do the Oxbridge schools select candidates... they go beyond using APs, A levels, IB diplomas, etc... In math there are the STEP tests[1] and in other subjects there are equivalents[2].

If US schools are serious about being base on merit, they should do something similar... the difference between a 770 and 800 SAT math is largely chance. A 3 hr test with 6 hard problems should give a clearer distribution.

I believe that at many universities worldwide, you are admitted to study a particular subject. At most U.S. schools, you can declare a major after matriculating. So they are not admitting students as historians or mathematicians.

You can major in music or theater at Yale. If Yale thinks those subjects are worthy of a major, its admissions process ought to give some weight to achievement in those areas.

For mere transmission of knowledge, the residential university may be becoming obsolete. Schools are trying to create a vibrant campus with student publications, concerts, theater productions, and sporting events. Emphasis on extracurriculars can be carried too far, but people can differ on the definition of "too far".

Strong ECs may indirectly indicate academic ability. If students A and B both have perfect grades and test scores, and student A also has good ECs, maybe she is smarter than student B and is able to get the same academic work done in less time, freeing time for other pursuits. In making such a comparison, demands on time such as working part time and caring for siblings should also be considered.




YES! Bostonian and I agree on this one.


Having very recently been through this process with DD, this is the "tell" for higher LOG kids. They have all those EC's because they don't NEED 20 hours a week on AP calculus; only five, freeing up the other 15 for theater productions or volunteer work, or practice at a musical instrument, or robotics, or whatever. It's a matter of pacing and rate of learning. HG students are flatly going to have more time to fill. It'd be lovely if tiger parents would quit whipping their own offspring to do it when they can't possibly... but I don't see that happening any time soon, either. So those children will go on not getting a childhood, or sufficient sleep, I suppose. Kids like those on the boards, of course, have no problem there (generally speaking, obviously not for kids with 2e concerns that impact speed).

This is hard, though, because in a low SES household, those hours may wind up being empty anyway, or filled with things that are... er... well, probably not suitable for academic consideration.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 10:36 AM

Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
You don't have to restrict majors to see the value of higher ceiling tests. That is why MIT, Caltech etc ask for optional AMC series scores.

If HYP, Stanford, and MIT endorsed higher level essay exams in say Math, History, or English, kids would take them. They would be expensive to develop and administer. They would scare off many applicants. However they would allow more academic selection vs using extracurrics. The problem with APs etc is that the ceiling is way too low in all subjects for the super-elite schools.

AP exam scores are reported on a 1-5 scale and are intended to be comparable to the A-F grade scale (5 = A, 3 = C). The College Board grades each exam to get a raw score and then decides where to set the thresholds for a scaled score of 2, 3, 4, and 5. The ceiling could be lifted simply by reporting the raw scores as well as the 1-5 scaled scores.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 11:15 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Having very recently been through this process with DD, this is the "tell" for higher LOG kids. They have all those EC's because they don't NEED 20 hours a week on AP calculus; only five, freeing up the other 15 for theater productions or volunteer work, or practice at a musical instrument, or robotics, or whatever. It's a matter of pacing and rate of learning. HG students are flatly going to have more time to fill. It'd be lovely if tiger parents would quit whipping their own offspring to do it when they can't possibly... but I don't see that happening any time soon, either. So those children will go on not getting a childhood, or sufficient sleep, I suppose.


Yes, but...we all know that kids who are serious contenders for admissions at elite colleges have EC lists as long as the dean's right arm. Simple statistics tells us that they're not all HG+, and the admissions committee has no idea if:

  • Those kids were tiger-parented into those activities;
  • They were actually as involved as the application implies (did they go to all or most meetings? Or did they show up when they had to so they could check the box?)
  • They were doing the activities because they wanted to do them and had time for them without sacrificing sleep, time with friends, and downtime.


IMO, extracurriculars have no place in admissions decisions unless they're directly related to what the applicant will major in (not "I might major in x, y, or z, and so..."). In principle, what Bostonian wrote seems reasonable, but in practice, people game the system like crazy for all kinds of reasons, we end up with voluntourism for very wealthy kids, and the signal-to-noise ratio doesn't permit us to draw conclusions.

Also, I'm not convinced that all HG+ kids should necessarily be able to whip through assignments in no time. I have two kids of roughly equal very high LOG and no LDs. My eldest has always had less free time than my youngest. Some stuff just takes him more time, and that includes, resisting homework, among other things. Before my eldest was tested, I assumed that his IQ was 15 points lower than it turned out to be because he didn't teach himself to read when he was 2 or want to spend a huge amount of time learning stuff and because he enjoyed goofing around. I realize now the truth in the statement "When you've seen one gifted kid, you've seen one gifted kid."

Seriously, it would great for him if he had more free time, but it is what it is. And ETA, he isn't even interested in doing a ton of ECs. He has a couple that he likes, and that's it. DD is different. Again, it is what it is.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 11:15 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

This is hard, though, because in a low SES household, those hours may wind up being empty anyway, or filled with things that are... er... well, probably not suitable for academic consideration.



I know it is the exception, but the NYT always showcases some kid from Harlem that got into Harvard, who not only got amazing scores, but kept 2 part time jobs. ECs don't have to be volunteering or expensive dance classes.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 11:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Wren
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

This is hard, though, because in a low SES household, those hours may wind up being empty anyway, or filled with things that are... er... well, probably not suitable for academic consideration.



I know it is the exception, but the NYT always showcases some kid from Harlem that got into Harvard, who not only got amazing scores, but kept 2 part time jobs. ECs don't have to be volunteering or expensive dance classes.


And a friend of mine who recruited for Carnegie-Mellon for years gave it up in disgust when a white anglo saxon Protestant male kid he put forward from an ultra-low SES family with absent father, mentally ill/drug addict mother who got stellar grades and worked 40+ hours outside of HS to support his mother and 3 younger siblings did not make the cut because he had no ECs.

It has indeed become a lottery!
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 11:51 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
This is hard, though, because in a low SES household, those hours may wind up being empty anyway, or filled with things that are... er... well, probably not suitable for academic consideration.


In low-SES household, though, many of those hours are filled with the kinds of things Bostonian (in a rare acknowledgement of the challenges faced by to those with low-SES, hat-tip to you, sir) described as being worthy of consideration by recruiters, namely employment and child care. I'd also add to those considerations adult care (because many families are impoverished because a potential wage-earner has a health issue preventing full-time employment) or any extraordinary challenges the child had to overcome in order to produce equivalent results. For instance, if a child had to take the bus to the public library and wait an hour for a computer to be freed in order to produce the same quality of work as someone who got to do it at home, as a recruiter, I'd want to know that.

And even if that candidate isn't using their free time to overcome extreme barriers (the neighbor lets them use the computer), earn money, or care for others, I would still want to know that they had a lot of free time, and spent it in ways that didn't involve criminal activity. Because that still tells me something valuable... one student works quickly and achieves a sufficient work/life balance, and the other one is exhausted trying to keep up. That second candidate is likely to end up in the office of the school psychologist by the end of the first quarter, and out of school by the end of the freshman year.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 11:51 AM

Val, I see your point, but also consider-- kids who are well-rounded and high LOG may well be polymaths who couldn't bear to "give up" even one of their many EC's to "focus" on something that has more bearing on their putative future career path.

I'm loathe to suggest that kind of system, having seen how HAPPY it makes my own little PG polymath to be completely engaged in something that has no outside significance in her life. It's purely for the joy of doing it, if that makes sense. That is, I can't actually see her majoring in anything outside of STEM, but that didn't stop her from doing things like NaNoWriMo, being obsessively engrossed in crafting musical tragi-comedies out of Hamlet and Lear, etc. It's the quirky, sort of broad and unexpected interests that I think are the real give-away there. I mean, clearly that wasn't a list generated by parents or student either one running down some checklist of "How to Get In at Very Elite Institution."

I'd like to think that such institutions would be ALL OVER kids like mine. But the evidence seems to suggest that they often prefer the checklist-generated candidates instead.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 01:03 PM

Here's a thought. If the stated goal of a university education at an elite school is to be proficient in a subject at a high level, why don't the elite institutions offer significantly more rigorous programming, loosen admissions criteria somewhat, refocus on academics, and let water seek its own level? This is exactly what high quality Canadian schools have done and, I'd argue (with some bias) the result has been to attract top international talent--both in student and professorial ranks-- away from the old elite.

The university I attended for my undergrad was ranked in the top 10 in the world outside the US at the time in the subject. My professors were largely former Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford professors, and the material we covered in third year was equivalent to what my prof had taught in the Y1 or Y2 PhD series courses at Harvard. The incoming freshman class of over 500 was whittled down to maybe 50 graduating honors students. My tuition bill was $15K for an undergrad, before scholarships, as compared with $40k+/year at the Ivies. Frankly, the Ivies are missing the boat. I have competed against pools of mostly Ivy grads for work in Canada and won positions and promotions over them, so there isn't an Ivy premium in my area of practice.

Provided the influx of talent into top Canadian universities continues unabated, and assuming my son wishes to work in Canada, I will definitely encourage him to study in Canada for at least his undergraduate studies. Many of my Canadian friends have gone on to pursue doctoral and postdoctoral studies at Ivies/Oxbridge. The value for money in technical disciplines is, IMO, unparalleled, and a significant portion of my provincial tax bill is already allocated to subsidizing resident post-secondary enrollment.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 01:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
This is hard, though, because in a low SES household, those hours may wind up being empty anyway, or filled with things that are... er... well, probably not suitable for academic consideration.


In low-SES household, though, many of those hours are filled with the kinds of things Bostonian (in a rare acknowledgement of the challenges faced by to those with low-SES, hat-tip to you, sir)

Thanks, Dude. I have been on the forum long enough that as I write, I can imagine possible responses of other posters with long histories and incorporate them into my posts smile.
Posted by: raptor_dad

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian

AP exam scores are reported on a 1-5 scale and are intended to be comparable to the A-F grade scale (5 = A, 3 = C). The College Board grades each exam to get a raw score and then decides where to set the thresholds for a scaled score of 2, 3, 4, and 5. The ceiling could be lifted simply by reporting the raw scores as well as the 1-5 scaled scores.


A problem with raw scores is that they aren't consistent from year to year. My knowledge all comes from talking to graders and head graders from the 90's, but I assume it is still similar. Keeping grades between tables(literal folding tables) consistent in a given session was a huge issue. Trying to normalize this across different tests over multiple years just wasn't possible. Raw scores in different years just meant different things. The tests just weren't normalized that way.

A common exit exam that covers a broader swath of knowledge that seniors take is less subject to this problem than APs taken over a 4 year span.

The second problem is that raw scores on a common exit exam is useless if the ceiling isn't high enough. In the UK the various combined A level math exams are harder than the Calc BC exam. The STEP exams are harder than A levels. Going on the standard belief for above level tests, as pushed by TIP/CTY etc, that each of these tests should generate its own normal curve for appropriate populations suggests that SATs should stratify the top 25-30% of kids; multiple APs should stratify the top ~10%; if you want to accurately sort the top 5% you need harder tests.

I am ambivalent. I would like the option of more meritocracy but I also fear the results and collateral damage in our hyper competetive society...
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 01:35 PM

Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
Originally Posted By: Bostonian

AP exam scores are reported on a 1-5 scale and are intended to be comparable to the A-F grade scale (5 = A, 3 = C). The College Board grades each exam to get a raw score and then decides where to set the thresholds for a scaled score of 2, 3, 4, and 5. The ceiling could be lifted simply by reporting the raw scores as well as the 1-5 scaled scores.


A problem with raw scores is that they aren't consistent from year to year. My knowledge all comes from talking to graders and head graders from the 90's, but I assume it is still similar. Keeping grades between tables(literal folding tables) consistent in a given session was a huge issue. Trying to normalize this across different tests over multiple years just wasn't possible. Raw scores in different years just meant different things. The tests just weren't normalized that way.

I thought about that but believed raw scores would be useful because a large fraction of students for a seat in September 2014 who submitted (for example) BC Calculus scores did so from the spring 2013 version as juniors (since scores from spring 2014 tests taken as seniors would come too late for admissions purposes). For most AP exams, I'd guess that half or more of the scores submitted for admissions come from exams taken as juniors at the same sitting.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 01:45 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Val, I see your point, but also consider-- kids who are well-rounded and high LOG may well be polymaths who couldn't bear to "give up" even one of their many EC's to "focus" on something that has more bearing on their putative future career path.


I'd like to think that such institutions would be ALL OVER kids like mine. But the evidence seems to suggest that they often prefer the checklist-generated candidates instead.



I see your point about the focus thing. So, I'll amend my position and say that I don't think ECs should be used at all. The university is supposed to be about academics. ECs are great, but shouldn't be used for admissions decisions.

I see that a very bright and motivated student should stand out with lots of genuine non-tigered ECs, but the reality is that this doesn't happen these days. I'd prefer a transparent system that treats everyone the same way to the current insanity.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 02:21 PM

I think ECs say the same kinds of things about non-disadvantaged kids that the other stuff I talked about earlier says about disadvantaged kids. They say a kid has free time, has other things they're passionate about, achieves a healthy work/life balance, and depending on the particular ECs, has a growth mindset.

You can tell the difference between a resume stacker and a genuine G/T polymath, but you have to sit down and talk with them. The second one can talk about their interests in a way that communicates passion. The first one might not be able to talk much about them at all.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 02:30 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
YES! Bostonian and I agree on this one.

Having very recently been through this process with DD, this is the "tell" for higher LOG kids. They have all those EC's because they don't NEED 20 hours a week on AP calculus; only five, freeing up the other 15 for theater productions or volunteer work, or practice at a musical instrument, or robotics, or whatever. It's a matter of pacing and rate of learning. HG students are flatly going to have more time to fill. It'd be lovely if tiger parents would quit whipping their own offspring to do it when they can't possibly... but I don't see that happening any time soon, either. So those children will go on not getting a childhood, or sufficient sleep, I suppose. Kids like those on the boards, of course, have no problem there (generally speaking, obviously not for kids with 2e concerns that impact speed).


No, I don't buy this argument at all. It's like saying that someone who can factorize quadratics in their head while juggling three eggs and riding a monocycle is more suited to Harvard Math than someone someone who can factorize quadratics sitting at a desk with pencil and paper. The problem is that the mathematical task itself has too low a ceiling, and the extraneous activities are a red herring. The solution is is to have much tougher academic tests that can truly distinguish the upper levels, and ignore the extraneous stuff.

Of course these institutions can have whatever admissions criteria they please. But no-one should pretend that the top 1% are all in an academic dead-heat and we have to use ECs as a tie-breaker.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/12/14 02:37 PM

EXACTLY what 22B said!
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/13/14 05:51 PM

Originally Posted By: 22B
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
The Trouble With Harvard; The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it. By Steven Pinker. Sept 4, 2014.

Scott Aaronson comments on Steven Pinker's article.
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2003
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/13/14 06:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Aaronson


I imagine anthropologists centuries from now studying American elite university admissions, and the parenting practices that have grown up around them, alongside cannibalism, kamikaze piloting, and other historical extremes of the human condition.)



Well put, that. grin
Posted by: Tallulah

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/13/14 07:43 PM

Ditto, 22B.

In addition, if you want to play the 'truly gifted' card, then frenetic extracurricularing is the opposite of a 'tell' for geniuses. Deep focus is more their style, isn't it?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/13/14 08:56 PM

Tallulah, I think that it actually just depends upon the person. Some polymaths dabble in a lot of things. And when I say "dabble" I mean that they simply don't CARE about extrinsic motivators such as praise, accolades, or rankings-- they do those things to get something intrinsic and personally meaningful out of them, and (speaking as a parent to one of this type)-- good luck even convincing them to DOCUMENT such activities well. That's just not the point for those people.

They will dive into an interest for a bit, then completely drop it (maybe for a time, maybe forever) once they've gotten what they need from it.

I think that this is something of a personality quirk, myself. My entire household seems to share it-- so my DH is the one that once he's done with something, he's kind of done with it for good, though sometimes it takes him a while to admit it. Me, I circle back-- but it may be a long latent period. DD is more like me, but she has interests like that which she hasn't touched in a year or more. She'll be back to them, though.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/13/14 11:37 PM

Didn't the extracurricular thing originally develop early in the last century because the ivies wanted to keep the "Jewish swots" from being admitted in large numbers? I think I once read something to that effect. They overwhelmingly brought the better academic credentials with them but at least country clubs could be relied on to keep them out of tennis and riding lessons. Officially, admission officials talked about leadership, though. These days, the disadvantaged ethnic group would probably Asian kids.

My home state (I live in Europe) started introducing interviews as assessment criterion about a decade ago for high level public sector jobs (entrance for which had until that time been determined exclusively by standardized exam grades) when women began to outperform men on the exams and would have had to be recruited in larger numbers than men. (Not that they had been bothered about gender equality in the 200 years before that). Officially, of course, it was all about character and personality being important for leadership in the administrative and justice sector blah blah blah.

My point being (yes, I do have a point and I'm coming to it) the same as 22B - that if you introduce fuzzy admission criteria on purpose, they purpose is not usually the one that is being brought forth officially. If you want to distinguish by academic ability, use a criterion that actually measures academic ability and does not enable covert selection for SES, ethnicity or gender.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 12:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Tigerle
Didn't the extracurricular thing originally develop early in the last century because the ivies wanted to keep the "Jewish swots" from being admitted in large numbers? I think I once read something to that effect. They overwhelmingly brought the better academic credentials with them but at least country clubs could be relied on to keep them out of tennis and riding lessons. Officially, admission officials talked about leadership, though. These days, the disadvantaged ethnic group would probably Asian kids.

http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/162144/Ivy_League_Admissions.html
http://www.amazon.com/The-Chosen-Admission-Exclusion-Princeton/dp/061877355X
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 09:50 AM

Thanks, that must have been the publication I read the article about when it first came out.

A comparable piece of hypocrisy would be the practice of gapping, where colleges admit students on the basis of academic merit, but then discourage low SES students from attending by cutting down the financial aid offered to an amount that makes attendance financially unfeasible for them, freeing up places for students from higher SES with slightly lower academic credentials who can make a larger financial contribution.

Oxford and Cambridge have an even worse record in admitting students from state (public in the us) schools versus independent schools (private in the us), the split is roughly 50/50, while the percentage of students attending independent schools is about 7 %. The hypocrisy is not in the recruiting efforts by the universities, who can't get past the fact that the independent schools churn out much more qualified candidates than the state schools do, and whose outreach efforts to the state system I'd be prepared to give the benefit of doubt, but in a public education system which suppresses and drives out talent while pretending that this self reproducing independent sector does not exist.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 09:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Tigerle
A comparable piece of hypocrisy would be the practice of gapping, where colleges admit students on the basis of academic merit, but then discourage low SES students from attending by cutting down the financial aid offered to an amount that makes attendance financially unfeasible for them, freeing up places for students from higher SES with slightly lower academic credentials who can make a larger financial contribution.


Which is why you go to a state school for free.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 10:56 AM

Oxford was actually free at the time I went. Doesn't help if admission is so strongly biased in favor of those whose parents could afford the right school in the previous 13 years of their lives....
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 11:28 AM

No-- it doesn't.

And the problem is that Ivy/Elite admissions are exactly that way in the US right now-- only it's obscured by the window dressing re: "diversity" admits, quotas behind closed doors, etc. etc. etc. EC's are just one component of it, but all of it just provides a better smokescreen for them to admit basically the same kids they always have.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 11:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Tigerle
Didn't the extracurricular thing originally develop early in the last century because the ivies wanted to keep the "Jewish swots" from being admitted in large numbers? I think I once read something to that effect. They overwhelmingly brought the better academic credentials with them but at least country clubs could be relied on to keep them out of tennis and riding lessons. Officially, admission officials talked about leadership, though. These days, the disadvantaged ethnic group would probably Asian kids.


Some of the people I know that were part of that "jewish swoth" at Harvard, went to the catskills or the Sands club in Long Beach, LI where they had tennis for their jewish members.

I don't think the Asian kids, particularly the Chinese, are so disadvantaged. They are scoring higher. As an ethnic group they are scoring higher. Now is that because they have 3X the population and you are getting a better sampling? Who knows but when you consider that between the Chinese and India, you are dealing with 6X the US population. They now have the resources and the ability to pay for top US schools. So you have a pool of really smart kids with money applying. You can make a bunch of comments that they are not creative etc etc. But China had to totaly rebuild after the destruction that Mao inflicted. 35 years ago they had no universities left. No intelligencia. They had to send out students to get educated. And hope they came back. The people who are rebuilding China have to be pretty smart. We get idiots who earn 700X the average worker wage to run a country into the ground, if it looks good on paper. While a CEO in Japan makes 67X the average worker. It is all about the culture of entitlement.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 12:18 PM

"Swots" in that message refers to students who study a lot. "Colin is such a swot," or "I can't go to the pub; I have to swot for exams next week." The implication is that study is most important.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 01:09 PM

Wren, i was thinking of Asian American kids who may come up against hidden quotas these days as they out score Americans of all other ethnicities, sort of like it's mentioned in the thread about TJ high school, where the academic admission criteria have come under criticism because of the large Asian American intake. Or a Chinese American friend who told me that being Chinese American she would have to score higher on the MCAT than applicants from other ethnicities in order to gain a place in the med schools she wanted, as schools had to make sure their intake wasn't overwhelmingly Asian american. (She may or may not have been right about that, but the discrimination threat was putting her under a lot of stress.)

To answer your point, I think a university is perfectly entitled to have a quota for international admissions, but without racial or ethnic bias, same as for its national admissions. Small EU countries are struggling with this, as public universities are not legally allowed to discriminate against nationals from other EU countries, unless they can prove this might (in the case of med schools, for instance) actually endanger the functioning of their health care system...
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 02:10 PM

Asians do need to score higher on the SAT than whites and others. Before the SAT changed from the 1600 point to 2400 point scale, there was a study that admitted Asians scored 50 points higher than whites. (I have read that Asians need to score 140 points more than whites today on the 2400 scale - maybe things have become more difficult for Asians.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States

Look under Bias against Asians and whites - note that the guy Thomas Espenshade is a Princeton professor.

Many of the US elite colleges have very large endowments and offer great aid to those admitted. While some schools take need into consideration during admissions, there are many top schools that do not (not for US citizens anyway; story can be different for internationals).
Posted by: GailP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 02:10 PM

I know I'm joining the discussion late, but I'm curious about what others think of the Steven Pinker article mentioned several posts back http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests

Although ONLY using standardized tests might be problematic, I think he raises some great points that would challenge the variability in the selection process.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 02:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Tigerle
Thanks, that must have been the publication I read the article about when it first came out.

A comparable piece of hypocrisy would be the practice of gapping, where colleges admit students on the basis of academic merit, but then discourage low SES students from attending by cutting down the financial aid offered to an amount that makes attendance financially unfeasible for them

For most things you buy, including big-ticket items like homes, the seller quotes you a price and is not obliged to finance your purchase. If a college thinks someone is academically qualified, is it obliged to either reject them or meet the full financial need? Some colleges choose to do so (although when need can be met by loans, the definition of "meeting need" is fuzzy), but I don't think not doing so is shameful.

Some commentators will call gapping unfair. Schools that don't gap will charge very different prices to students from families at different income levels, and the parents paying full freight may consider that unfair, since it does not cost more to educate their children. There are multiple plausible definitions of fairness.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/14/14 03:35 PM

Selective colleges want to admit students who will be successful after college, so that they can donate large sums and bring honor to the college. They want to admit future Nobel prize winners but also future presidents and CEOs.

A recent paper found that It’s Never Been More Lucrative to Be a Math-Loving People Person. Therefore selective colleges value "leadership".

Quote:
Parents who spend a good chunk of the week shuttling kids to and from soccer practice or drama club might be comforted by new research that suggests this effort is not in vain – as long as their kids are good at math, too.

A recent paper from UCSB found that the return on being good at math has gone up over the last few decades, as has the return on having high social skills (some combination of leadership, communication, and other interpersonal skills). But, the paper argues, the return on the two skills together has risen even faster.

What does all that have to do with soccer practice? The research compared two groups of white, male U.S. high school seniors – the class of 1972 and the class of 1992 – to see how earnings associated with social and math skills have changed over time. Using two National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) surveys, it looked at senior year math scores on standardized tests, questions about extracurricular participation and leadership roles, and individual earnings seven years after graduating high school. And it corroborated the findings with Census and CPS data.

The analysis found that while math scores, sports, leadership roles, and college education were all associated with higher earnings over the 1979-1999 period, the trend over time in the earnings premium was strongest among those who were both good at math and engaged in high school sports or leadership activities. In other words, it pays to be a sociable math whiz, more so today than thirty years ago.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 12:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian

Some commentators will call gapping unfair. Schools that don't gap will charge very different prices to students from families at different income levels, and the parents paying full freight may consider that unfair, since it does not cost more to educate their children. There are multiple plausible definitions of fairness.

Please note that I did not call it unfair. I called it hypocrisy! Gapping lets colleges call thir admission system needs blind, pretending they do not care about how much parents can pay, while engineering the actual intake via the fiancial aid office.
It is not fair to have a student depend on his parents for college admission anyway - which is why I am a big fact of schemes like graduate taxes - an additional percentage of your income tax as soon as income reaches a certain threshold,one year for each semester. And those schools who prepare their kids well for the workplace can really rake it in then.

there are so many tangible and intagible benefits high SES status parent can confer on their kids, should there really be such crude buyer advantages in higher education? Why should a less gifted kid have an advantage in an educational decision over a more gifted kid because he or she happnes to be born to richer parents? Private colleges, not subsidized by taxpayer money, are perfectly in the right to do so of course - it is the hypocrisy about it I decry.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 06:55 AM

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)... I'd specifically like to hear actionable information and actual experiences.
The definitions of actionable include:
1. giving sufficient reason to take legal action, for example a lawsuit against a school which did not grant a student admission.
2. able to be done or acted on; having practical value, for example coaching a student about academics/extracurriculars to increase likelihood of admission to an elite or ivy league school.

Which type of "actionable information" have you been seeking with this thread?
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 06:59 AM

Originally Posted By: indigo
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)... I'd specifically like to hear actionable information and actual experiences.
The definitions of actionable include:
1. giving sufficient reason to take legal action, for example a lawsuit against an school which did not grant a student admission.
2. able to be done or acted on; having practical value, for example coaching a student about academics/extracurriculars to increase likeliness for admission to an elite or ivy league school.

Which type of "actionable information" have you been seeking with this thread?


I'll take #1, since I work with it on a daily basis.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 09:13 AM

Tigerle, I suspect that hypocrisy is one of the Soft Skills that was mentioned earlier.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: indigo
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)... I'd specifically like to hear actionable information and actual experiences.
The definitions of actionable include:
1. giving sufficient reason to take legal action, for example a lawsuit against an school which did not grant a student admission.
2. able to be done or acted on; having practical value, for example coaching a student about academics/extracurriculars to increase likeliness for admission to an elite or ivy league school.

Which type of "actionable information" have you been seeking with this thread?


2(ish): able to be acted on
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 09:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Tigerle
Private colleges, not subsidized by taxpayer money, are perfectly in the right to do so of course - it is the hypocrisy about it I decry.


Actually, they are heavily subsidized by taxpayer money in the form of government grants (which include hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in indirect costs.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 09:45 AM

See the 1990's VMI and Citadel instances of gender and admissions policies, for details about that little catch in "private" versus "federal compliance."


There are very few educational agencies that are truly "exempt" from federal laws intended to protect those in protected classes (disability, race, gender). Oh, there are agencies that THINK (or will say) that they are-- but a church preschool that runs a USDA lunch program? Yup-- they are obligated under the law because they accept funding from the feds. smile
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 09:52 AM

22B, there are plenty of applicants to elite schools with SAT scores of 2250+ or ACT scores of 34+. Once you get to scores like that, the difference between the great score and the perfect score is just a few questions (just a couple of silly mistakes). There really is nothing to choose between the great score kid and the perfect score kid (and you would see lots of kids with tons of 5s in AP exams in this group too).

The schools need some reason to choose one kid over another. Sometimes it may come to something really random, but there have been Ivy admissions folks that have stated that probably 75-80% of the kids are qualified applicants. That is why ECs come in to play.

I also get the impression that in other countries one attends a rather specialized university. My eldest is going to study abroad next semester, and she was choosing between a university that specializes in political science versus one that specializes in economics. Maybe this is wrong, but I have the impression that other countries don't have/don't value the LAC experience, and instead expect the kids to specialize at an early age. Those schools can have special admission exams. But if most kids go into US colleges undeclared, it isn't really useful to base admissions on some insane math test mentioned in previous posts...most kids will never do (or need to do) that kind of math.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 10:04 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
See the 1990's VMI and Citadel instances of gender and admissions policies, for details about that little catch in "private" versus "federal compliance."

There are very few educational agencies that are truly "exempt" from federal laws intended to protect those in protected classes (disability, race, gender). Oh, there are agencies that THINK (or will say) that they are-- but a church preschool that runs a USDA lunch program? Yup-- they are obligated under the law because they accept funding from the feds. smile

If VMI and Citadel unlawfully discriminated on the basis of sex by not accepting women, why are women's colleges such as Wellesley still getting federal money though Pell grants etc.? Similarly, whether racial discrimination in admissions is legal appears to depend on who is being discriminated against.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 10:25 AM

It does, doesn't it?

(Not saying that I disagree, btw.)
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 11:48 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
If VMI and Citadel unlawfully discriminated on the basis of sex by not accepting women, why are women's colleges such as Wellesley still getting federal money though Pell grants etc.? Similarly, whether racial discrimination in admissions is legal appears to depend on who is being discriminated against.


Because protected status is granted based on historical evidence of such things at a broad societal level. Women's equality is still a work in progress, hence protected status.

There's no history of persecution/exclusion/restriction/degradation of white military men in Virginia or South Carolina. Quite the opposite.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 01:20 PM

Several posters think there ought to be harder tests with higher ceilings for college admissions. I'd like to see that too, although it should be noted that the vast majority of colleges are not that selective, and for them the SAT and ACT work fine.

The American Physical Society, the professional organization of American physicists, has published an opinion piece saying that the math section of the GRE general exam (which does not cover more advanced math than the math section of the SAT) is hurting the quest for diversity in U.S. physics PhD programs:

Admissions Criteria and Diversity in Graduate School

If there is no consensus that the math section of the GRE general test is too easy for prospective physicists, agreement that the math section of the SAT is too easy for selective college admissions is unlikely.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/15/14 01:34 PM

Well, and this is what the analytical section used to cover. But it was too hard for most GRE takers, and most non-STEM programs didn't find it useful in any event. It sure did a bang-up job predicting good prospects for physical science PhD programs, though.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 09:29 AM

Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
22B, there are plenty of applicants to elite schools with SAT scores of 2250+ or ACT scores of 34+. Once you get to scores like that, the difference between the great score and the perfect score is just a few questions (just a couple of silly mistakes). There really is nothing to choose between the great score kid and the perfect score kid (and you would see lots of kids with tons of 5s in AP exams in this group too).

The schools need some reason to choose one kid over another. Sometimes it may come to something really random, but there have been Ivy admissions folks that have stated that probably 75-80% of the kids are qualified applicants. That is why ECs come in to play.

I also get the impression that in other countries one attends a rather specialized university. My eldest is going to study abroad next semester, and she was choosing between a university that specializes in political science versus one that specializes in economics. Maybe this is wrong, but I have the impression that other countries don't have/don't value the LAC experience, and instead expect the kids to specialize at an early age. Those schools can have special admission exams. But if most kids go into US colleges undeclared, it isn't really useful to base admissions on some insane math test mentioned in previous posts...most kids will never do (or need to do) that kind of math.


I think someone needs to write a contradict-o-bot to trawl the internet and contradict this meme wherever it appears. The current standard tests have way too low of a ceiling for the top students and the top unis. They may be okay for all but the top few percent of students, and for all but the top few dozen unis, but they are woefully inadequate for distinguish those in the upper ranges. It is an absolute myth that non-academic criteria are needed as a tie-breaker. What is needed is tougher tests, for those who are not separated by the low ceiling tests.

Also I never understood the philosophy of wanting students to be jack of all trades master of none.
Posted by: arlen1

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 10:43 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
The current standard tests have way too low of a ceiling for the top students and the top unis. They may be okay for all but the top few percent of students, and for all but the top few dozen unis, but they are woefully inadequate for distinguish those in the upper ranges. It is an absolute myth that non-academic criteria are needed as a tie-breaker. What is needed is tougher tests, for those who are not separated by the low ceiling tests.

Do Cambridge International Examinations (IGCSE, O, A, AS level ?) do a better job in this respect than the standard US exams (SAT, ACT, AP) ?

http://www.cie.org.uk/programmes-and-qualifications/
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 11:09 AM

Not sure about Cambridge international exams but the same problem has cropped up with regular A-levels where almost 30% of students received As, so they had to introduce a new A* grade. Which 8,6% of students achieve.
So Oxford and Cambridge colleges receive more applicants with nothing but A grades than they have places, too.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 11:16 AM

Possibly of interest:

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-educat...y-rankings-2014
Posted by: arlen1

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 11:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Tigerle
Not sure about Cambridge international exams but the same problem has cropped up with regular A-levels where almost 30% of students received As, so they had to introduce a new A* grade. Which 8,6% of students achieve.
So Oxford and Cambridge colleges receive more applicants with nothing but A grades than they have places, too.

Are there other standard exams that places like Cambridge and Oxford use which may differentiate among those top 8.6%?

I see TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) but it has to be taken at the (Cambridge in-person) interview.

http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/tests/

ETA: TSA seems to be Cambridge specific, and only for some disciplines.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 11:27 AM

Just interviews afaik.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 11:29 AM

The exams you cited are part of a transparent admissions sytem (the Irish Leaving Cert, the French Bac, and the Swiss Matura are similar).

All these exams expect students to synthesize knowledge from a (mostly) standardized curriculum and aren't based on memorization (an example of a test of memorized information is the AP US History exam).

Sample A-level English literature question:

Analyse (Emily) Brontë’s presentation of Nelly Dean, Joseph and Zillah in Wuthering Heights and analyse their importance in the novel as a whole.


Sample question, Irish Leaving Certificate, Higher Level Maths:

NOTE from Val: most of this stuff is in vector notation, which I can't reproduce here.

2. (a) Find the value of s and the value of t that satisfy the equation
         s(i - 4j) + t(2i + 3j)= 4i - 27j

    (b) OP = 3i - 4j and OQ = 5(OP) where O is the origin.

       (i) Find OQ in terms of i and j.

       (ii) Find cos|angleOPQ| in surd form.

     (c) (I have omitted a proof using a triangle diagram)


Sorry, but you just don't see stuff like this on the SAT, because it a) can't be graded with a Scantron-like device or by a $10 per hour grader in two minutes or less (ideally much less), and b) is quite simply asking too much of American students and their schools.

The purpose of these exams is to identify students who are capable of college-level work. They're hard, and they require those "critical thinking skills" that get lip service but not much else in American schools. In many countries, secondary school exams are the sole gatekeepers of university admissions. No one at Trinity College, Dublin or University College, Cork cares about what you do after school is out. They care about your academic ability.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 11:34 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B

Also I never understood the philosophy of wanting students to be jack of all trades master of none.



I don't think that such institutions ARE looking for jacks of any trades. Mostly they are seeking those who are masters of multiple domains, and it certainly makes sense to me why that should be so.

We've all (in this community anyway) seen this-- the really interesting thing about HG kids is that so many of them are SO good at multiple domains. If you are given the choice, having only ONE seat available, and you can choose:

a) student with top grades and test scores, with a set of three or four possible majors, interest in a wide variety of activities and skill at most of them, and who has leadership potential and clearly pro-social behavior beyond his/her years, versus...

b) student with top grades and test scores, a clear obsession for the stated major, and who has a competitive win-streak and is a bit of a social misfit and loner.



Which of those two applicants is the better choice, really?

The former. They are statistically more likely to graduate, and graduating, more likely to find stable gainful employment. Now, the latter is a person that COULD turn out to be a Steve Jobs, but most of them don't.


It is easy to assume that mathematicians, scientists, or engineers "don't really need" skills in the humanities or in communications. But that's profoundly untrue in the real world, where those skills open into a vast chasm between those who lack them and those who possess them.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 11:37 AM

And the levels attained for music and sports extracurriculars at places where admissions are focused on academic excellence are pretty [SPAM] amazing anyway. (About the only thing I disagree with in Pinker's text - no, you cannot find that level of excellence,that energy, that focus in extracurricular at tailgate uni. But it still shouldn't drive admissions - unless it is a to a music program, or a specialized school, such as juillard.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 12:06 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
a) student with top grades and test scores, with a set of three or four possible majors, interest in a wide variety of activities and skill at most of them, and who has leadership potential and clearly pro-social behavior beyond his/her years, versus...

b) student with top grades and test scores, a clear obsession for the stated major, and who has a competitive win-streak and is a bit of a social misfit and loner.

Hey smile. Speaking for the b's, being a very good chess player helped me get my first job in finance. A large fraction of Ivy League graduates go into finance, where employers value a "competitive win-streak". A big reason Harvard and Princeton can find families willing to pay $65K per year is the perceived inside track to finance and consulting jobs. The absence of engineering, accounting, nursing, and other pre-professional majors means that many Ivy league graduates are not qualified to do much else, except go to graduate school or Teach for America. Rich alumni in finance and other fields helped build those 11-figure endowments. And a reason the Ivies recruit athletes is that Wall Street likes them. With the exception of "leadership potential", I'm not sure that the most selective schools value (a) over (b).
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 01:18 PM

Why on earth would you waste time with Chess when you could have been picking stocks?

wink


Sincerely, Bostonian, I'm not so sure that you were the B type either. I'm not talking about the type of competitiveness that celebrates a big tennis win, or enjoys chess trophies so much as the kind that enjoys the defeat of one's opponents by ANY means necessary. It's not the process, it's the notches on the belt, if you see my point.


And really, one reason for the perceived preference of A over B there is that A-type students tend to be more "network" oriented due to extant pro-social tendencies, and also tend to (as a group) be more extroverted. They in turn become people who join alumni associations, etc. Eventually, they are people who turn into alumni donors, too. Loner types tend not to.

It's not that I'm being naive about this-- merely nuanced.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 01:26 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
It's not that I'm being naive about this-- merely nuanced.
Okay so do we pick the straw-man or the big wholesome teddy bear?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 01:50 PM

Pretending that soft skills don't matter, or aren't reflected well by extracurriculars, is also a problem. I don't expect that those soft skills can ever be effectively measured with standardized testing of any sort-- easy or difficult, for that matter. But they do matter-- both in higher ed, and beyond it.

EC's are a convenient means of filtering those students who likely possess some measure of desirability on that front-- who are well-rounded and socially mature enough to be good members of a learning community (inherently a social activity), and also to withstand the pressures inherent in an elite learning environment with positive coping methods.


The problem is that extracurriculars can be gamed so darned effectively with funding and parental assistance.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 01:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
A large fraction of Ivy League graduates go into finance, where employers value a "competitive win-streak". A big reason Harvard and Princeton can find families willing to pay $65K per year is the perceived inside track to finance and consulting jobs. The absence of engineering, accounting, nursing, and other pre-professional majors means that many Ivy league graduates are not qualified to do much else, except go to graduate school or Teach for America. Rich alumni in finance and other fields helped build those 11-figure endowments. And a reason the Ivies recruit athletes is that Wall Street likes them.


This sounds like schools like Harvard and Princeton are deliberately seeking out people who will end up on Wall St. or in other finance jobs. Which would mean that factors leading to this career path would be more important than anything else and that the colleges aren't interested in academic ability except as it applies to earning enough money to help add another zero to the endowment.

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I'm not talking about the type of competitiveness that celebrates a big tennis win, or enjoys chess trophies so much as the kind that enjoys the defeat of one's opponents by ANY means necessary. It's not the process, it's the notches on the belt, if you see my point.


Isn't that the whole point of many jobs in finance?
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 01:52 PM

HK, you haven't noticed that Wall St is made up "win at any cost" kind of people? Why they create problems like dot com bubble, mortgage securitization bubble, and going back, I remember when tax shelter documents got rewritten as high yield...
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 01:54 PM

Exactly, but then again-- that does sort of take some of the shine off of just what "elite" means in that educational context, then, doesn't it?
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 02:18 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Exactly, but then again-- that does sort of take some of the shine off of just what "elite" means in that educational context, then, doesn't it?


"Elite" means "rich," obviously. The worth of a human life is measured in dollars and asset values. Hence, Walt Disney was more elite than Albert Einstein.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 02:30 PM

Ah... Thank you, that clarifies things nicely.

So it is more fair to say that a transparent admissions process in such an elite institution would make yachting and jet-setting international travel "necessary, but insufficient" EC's along the route to admission.

I'm not seeing how higher difficulty on the SAT helps accomplish those goals.

I can see how for institutions with other kinds of goals, however, a more difficult/rigorous exam would be useful. I also see, though, how EC's will probably always be of significant value.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 02:37 PM

Quote:
EC's are a convenient means of filtering those students who likely possess some measure of desirability on that front-- who are well-rounded and socially mature enough to be good members of a learning community (inherently a social activity), and also to withstand the pressures inherent in an elite learning environment with positive coping methods.


Jeez, I don't know. I'm going to speak up for the loners myself. (I was not actually a loner in HS and managed to check some high-value EC boxes, though not nearly as many as some of my cohorts.) A lot of high school ECs are kind of...not so appealing to a very smart kid with a low level of tolerance for BS. Unless you are at a school which has the resources to have excellent music or arts (and that's your interest), or competitive this and that of very high quality (and you're competitive--I was and am not) or are in an areas with other great opportunities, perhaps you are spending your time drawing or coding or reading or whatever. Those can be positive coping methods, too. I don't think any of this means you are going to be a poorer student than Polly the Yearbook Editor.

This mode of thinking annoys my inner introvert. We can't all be president of Glee Club.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 02:40 PM

Also, you can be pro-social without being an extrovert or a leader. Lots of gifted people are introverts. This is really important to remember. (Note: both of my kids are extroverts)
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 03:17 PM

There are plenty of activities for introverts. My introvert was a top quiz bowl player, on the Robotics team, fenced, collected insects, went to Davidson THINK, created art that won awards, belonged to the creative writing club, and self-studied for the US Biology Olympiad. She got in to every college she applied to, including some top schools with no positions as team captain, editor, etc. When asked about leadership, she was able to talk about leadership by example, and being a quiet leader. Some of those activities were through her school, but some were just on her own. Worked for her... don't worry if your student is an introvert, just help them find activities where an introvert can thrive.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 03:30 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
If you are given the choice, having only ONE seat available, and you can choose:

a) student with top grades and test scores, with a set of three or four possible majors, interest in a wide variety of activities and skill at most of them, and who has leadership potential and clearly pro-social behavior beyond his/her years, versus...

b) student with top grades and test scores, a clear obsession for the stated major, and who has a competitive win-streak and is a bit of a social misfit and loner.

Which of those two applicants is the better choice, really?


You forgot to mention ...

a) ... sprinkles magic pixie dust

b) ... flies on broomstick, has evil cackle

I mean, if you want to have melodramatic stereotypes, you really need to drive the point home.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 03:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Exactly, but then again-- that does sort of take some of the shine off of just what "elite" means in that educational context, then, doesn't it?


"Elite" means "rich," obviously. The worth of a human life is measured in dollars and asset values. Hence, Walt Disney was more elite than Albert Einstein.


I prefer the term "relevant".

If you have more assets, you are necessarily more relevant because you are much more important to the continued smooth operation of the modern global hypereconomy than someone with no assets.

In fact, if you do not have any assets, you are probably serving as a drag on the modern global hypereconomy, and you are almost certainly ultimately reducing competitive profitability over longer timeframes. This may be what is causing global growth itself to slow.

If you are one of the most relevant institutions, such as the Ivy League, your primary institutional purpose is to maximize your continued relevance so that you become as close as possible to permanent and eternally relevant institution.

Remember, at any moment, *any* institution could fall into the dustbin of history and be lost forever. No one wants a world in which Princeton ceases to exist.

By attracting and retaining only the most relevant financial assets, the institution in question extends it's lifespan and survives so that it can continue to impart glory and profound meaning to all the generations yet to come.

The end.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 04:08 PM

HK, you have described things well. I think that some with the younger set, especially those who have not been through US college admissions themselves, have a tough time grasping what admissions officers are looking for. Heck, most of those who attended college in the US have a tough time understanding how admissions have changed in the last 30 years or so.

My eldest knows some kids of HK's "a" and "b". Now the "b" kid who won national math contests and had published work prior to HS graduation wasn't into much else, but that kid was a rare type - truly very, very few kids (or even adults) at this level. She knew more of the "a" type, including one with near perfect SAT scores, in student government, played a varsity sport, won a national writing award, did scientific research with a local professor, won a regional foreign language award...and is a really nice, social kid.

While the "b" type who is doing high level research while still in HS is great, there are very few "b" types at this high level in their chosen field. And my eldest really preferred hanging around with the "a" type...because the "b" type didn't even care about hanging around with other kids. Sorry, "a" type is more appealing in most cases.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 04:16 PM

Yes, but...isn't the larger point that the US college admissions system is broken? I kind of get the feeling that this thread has started debating the merits of blue vs. green bandages as a way of treating a bullet wound. Yes, you make it look better and things will be okay-ish for a while, but you won't change the fact that there's a serious problem beneath that bandage.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 04:24 PM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
Quote:
EC's are a convenient means of filtering those students who likely possess some measure of desirability on that front-- who are well-rounded and socially mature enough to be good members of a learning community (inherently a social activity), and also to withstand the pressures inherent in an elite learning environment with positive coping methods.


Jeez, I don't know. I'm going to speak up for the loners myself. (I was not actually a loner in HS and managed to check some high-value EC boxes, though not nearly as many as some of my cohorts.) A lot of high school ECs are kind of...not so appealing to a very smart kid with a low level of tolerance for BS. Unless you are at a school which has the resources to have excellent music or arts (and that's your interest), or competitive this and that of very high quality (and you're competitive--I was and am not) or are in an areas with other great opportunities, perhaps you are spending your time drawing or coding or reading or whatever. Those can be positive coping methods, too. I don't think any of this means you are going to be a poorer student than Polly the Yearbook Editor.

This mode of thinking annoys my inner introvert. We can't all be president of Glee Club.



I'm chuckling a bit here-- what probably isn't clear is that I don't actually think that extraverts ARE better-- just that the admissions process currently tends to be stacked against introverts for some clear reasons.

I'm about as introverted as human beings come. whistle

I can go DAYS without leaving my house, and happily spend that time completely silent and completely alone. I'm also pretty socially adept when I do venture forth, however.

I don't necessarily think either of my prototypes is a stereotype or-- as 22B is implying-- a caricature of a modern college applicant. The bottom line is that those two prototypes actually DO exist in fair abundance, and they are the two most common models of students applying to elite schools.

Val is right. I was just coming at this from the other end of things-- that is, WHAT is preferred may actually run counter to the (stated) mission of the institution, when you get right down to it, and as Bostonian and Wren pointed out, that isn't necessarily surprising, either.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 04:27 PM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
Also, you can be pro-social without being an extrovert or a leader. Lots of gifted people are introverts. This is really important to remember. (Note: both of my kids are extroverts)


Just so-- it's that some EC's are being used as proxies for desirable qualities, and those may be imperfect correlations to begin with, and even so, have gradually eroded so as to be even LESS useful as proxies given the current sucking chest wound in the process (hat tip to Val). Gaming those things has, over time, devalued them significantly as indicators.

It may be quite difficult to tease apart which kids are genuinely introverts who tend to lead from within/behind (as my DD also tends to do, btw), versus those students who are resume padding box-checkers who aren't taking on leadership roles which would eat up too much time (time to be spent on other boxes, of course!).

Type "b" students are always going to be rare. The problem here is that there are ways to resemble the type "a" ones without actually being that. Then there isn't a great way to tell the authentic ones from the ones being groomed like crazy to look like them.

So yeah-- harder tests solves that part of things.

Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 04:51 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I don't necessarily think either of my prototypes is a stereotype or-- as 22B is implying-- a caricature of a modern college applicant. The bottom line is that those two prototypes actually DO exist in fair abundance, and they are the two most common models of students applying to elite schools.

Each of your (a) and (b) were combinations of several characteristics. But you can mix and match some properties from each list in numerous combinations. There's no way that these two very specific types could be anything other than two out of many possible very specific types of people.

I don't really need to know anything about the actual population of students to conclude that. It's just common sense. Your classification was in the same vein as saying:

There are two types of people:

(A) People who wear white shoes, orange pants, blue shirts, and brown hats,

(B) People who wear yellow shoes, red pants, green shirts, and grey hats.

The lists are so specific and so arbitrary, and it's so easy to think of many other possible kinds of people.

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
If you are given the choice, having only ONE seat available, and you can choose:

a) student with top grades and test scores, with a set of three or four possible majors, interest in a wide variety of activities and skill at most of them, and who has leadership potential and clearly pro-social behavior beyond his/her years, versus...

b) student with top grades and test scores, a clear obsession for the stated major, and who has a competitive win-streak and is a bit of a social misfit and loner.

Which of those two applicants is the better choice, really?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 05:47 PM

Okay-- would you have preferred if I'd stated:

applicant I is "well-rounded, and possessed of a lot of varied EC's indicating soft skills" and applicant II is "pointy but no indication of soft skills" all other things being both equal and equally desirable?


That's really just two factors-- global ability versus singular, niche type ability, and the things that EC's are ostensibly about to begin with, that is, those elusive soft skills that matter outside of academia.

If those two applicants are equally capable on the SAT, then what?


Please note-- I didn't say (nor imply) that this is the only two types of students who DO apply. Merely that the archetypes are reasonably representative of at least some students applying to such institutions. Perfect test scores are nothing like an entry ticket to an elite institution these days.


I also know which I would argue for (and did)-- but I admit that there is an argument that can be made for candidate b, as well. Candidate b may well have greater potential as an outlier, all things considered. It's just that such people may or may not positively contribute to the educational environment for their peers at an institution. KWIM?
Posted by: DeeDee

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 06:19 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

I also know which I would argue for (and did)-- but I admit that there is an argument that can be made for candidate b, as well. Candidate b may well have greater potential as an outlier, all things considered. It's just that such people may or may not positively contribute to the educational environment for their peers at an institution. KWIM?


I don't think so.

College, IME, is where the "pointies" find others with similar interests and really take off as thinkers. They may not be the biggest ones on the party scene or in the alumni association, but they are contributing socially to each other's growth, and often egging one another on academically to boot.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 07:12 PM

I remain in the camp that says:-

a) a university is an academic institution
b) academics should take precedence when selecting applicants
c) if the SAT cannot adequately distinguish students with good academics from those with excellent academics its ceiling is too low

Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 08:41 PM

I don't think it is as broken as many of you seem to think, at least I don't think it is stacked against the HG kid and/or the introverted gifted kid. My introvert got into U of Chicago, Swarthmore, Harvey Mudd, Carleton, and some other schools with a lot of merit aid. Her Davidson THINK friends are at places like Stanford and MIT (and I met them, they are not social butterflies).
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/16/14 09:13 PM

intparent-- I agree that most of our kids are likely to land on their feet with this stuff-- but it probably matters a lot for the pointy type kids, and if the trends continue, those who have kids in middle school are going to be facing an even more challenging situation when the time comes.

Originally Posted By: madeinuk
I remain in the camp that says:-

a) a university is an academic institution
b) academics should take precedence when selecting applicants
c) if the SAT cannot adequately distinguish students with good academics from those with excellent academics its ceiling is too low



Agreed with respect to a and b.

My point is, though-- what is the difference between a student who is "near perfect" across the board, versus one that is "perfect in ONE area, and just very good in others"?

Because that is the difference when the tests are hard enough-- that is, the difference between my two archetypes. The pointy ones are stratospherically good in their thing, but only "pretty good" at other things. Then there are the global types, who are "really, really good" at almost everything, but nothing really stands out as spectacular.

I don't actually know the answer. I just know that my DD and I tend to be polymaths, and that we often feel a bit insecure in groups of pointy types, since we don't seem to have a "one thing" the way that they do.

Posted by: aeh

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 03:50 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

I don't actually know the answer. I just know that my DD and I tend to be polymaths, and that we often feel a bit insecure in groups of pointy types, since we don't seem to have a "one thing" the way that they do.


Yes. It took me a long time to find my level...absent the compelling storyline that most of my HG+ friends and family seemed to have. OTOH, making a wide range of people feel comfortable around me always came more easily to me.

And I would suspect that that quality has value in a diverse community of learners, even if it's pretty difficult to capture on a resume.
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 01:16 PM

I think the institution I'd want to go to,and the one that creates the most educational value overall, would be one that tries to find a good balance between the two types (and while there won't be many ideal types and most people will be on a spectrum blah blah! I think most people in the ability range were talking about will veer clearly towards one or the other).
I do not think that an institution who tries to limit type b to only 10 percent of candidates will create as much overall educational value as one that moves the percentage closer to 50. Having pointy types dominate might not be good for either type of student.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 01:53 PM

Indeed, Tigerle. And I'd add to that: why are colleges looking for leaders? Shouldn't they be looking for collaborators, too?

As said above, only one person can be the editor of the school paper, or the drum major of the marching band. Colleges have to fill those other positions, too.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 02:09 PM

Not that I disagree with you (I don't), but I suspect that JonLaw would answer that people who aren't Leaders (tm) aren't relevant, and so aren't worth considering. From the perspective of the colleges, Leaders (tm) are more likely to earn enough to make big donations someday. And donations are very, very relevant.
Posted by: intparent

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 03:24 PM

" I just know that my DD and I tend to be polymaths, and that we often feel a bit insecure in groups of pointy types, since we don't seem to have a "one thing" the way that they do."

Interesting comment... my D says she picked Harvey Mudd to attend because she felt it was the college that would feed her polymath tendencies more than any other. Note it was NOT the Ivies she felt this way about. Too many parents and students are asking the wrong question ("How do I get my kid into an Ivy?"). The right question is, what schools will allow me to achieve my goals and be a good fit for me?
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 04:42 PM

Quote:

Too many parents and students are asking the wrong question ("How do I get my kid into an Ivy?"


The question I am asking myself is how do I convince my DD not to even consider the Ivy option. If less than 10% of entrants are selected based on academics this isn't going to be a place where she will flower.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 04:49 PM

Originally Posted By: intparent
" I just know that my DD and I tend to be polymaths, and that we often feel a bit insecure in groups of pointy types, since we don't seem to have a "one thing" the way that they do."

Interesting comment... my D says she picked Harvey Mudd to attend because she felt it was the college that would feed her polymath tendencies more than any other. Note it was NOT the Ivies she felt this way about. Too many parents and students are asking the wrong question ("How do I get my kid into an Ivy?"). The right question is, what schools will allow me to achieve my goals and be a good fit for me?


Yes, but once you bathe in the shining relevance of the Ivy League, you may yourself become relevant.

At that point, the very relevance you now radiate may effortlessly sweep away obstacles in your path like dry leaves faced with the autumn winds.

However, if you choose a place like Harvey Mudd, the name itself tells you what you may gain.

Obstacles will cling to your feet, blocking your path, as your feet sink deeper into the mire...until at last you sink beneath the soil and join the mass of humanity who know that permanent irrelevance is their fate, and the fate of their children.

Woe to those upon the light of relevance will never shine.

The tragedy of our age is that there are so few places in the hallowed halls of truly profound and meaningful higher learning. And there are so many who cry out, begging to be given the Golden Ticket that will allow them to fit through those narrow gates to ascend the stairway to relevance.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 05:12 PM

WHEW-- after that, I can almost hear the strains of Led Zeppelin in my mind. Or maybe it was Pink Floyd. grin

Originally Posted By: madeinuk
Quote:

Too many parents and students are asking the wrong question ("How do I get my kid into an Ivy?"


The question I am asking myself is how do I convince my DD not to even consider the Ivy option. If less than 10% of entrants are selected based academics this isn't going to be a place where she will flower.


PG kiddos are pretty smart.

Mine figured out the same thing that intparent's DD did-- that the Ivy league was not for her anyway. So she knew better than to bother by the time application time rolled around. She was interested in large research institutions that provided a smaller instructional environment, and small highly selective STEM schools that supported cross-disciplinary learning.

HMC and MIT were on her short list, too. smile She chose based on a host of factors, only some of which were GT related. Free-- free is good, especially at the undergraduate level.

Posted by: GailP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 05:29 PM

Maybe I am being naive, but I don't think that the ivies are completely biased toward selecting students who will only go into finance and other business professions. Many, many students are selected without those interests, and many do NOT go into those fields.

And there are pre-professional fields at many of the ivies - Penn, Princeton, Brown and Cornell have engineering, Penn has nursing, etc.

Not trying to completely defend them, since I think the prestige factor is way out of proportion, but I do think they offer an amazing education for those who can get in.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 05:35 PM

I think the 10% admitted based on academics is misleading. Look at the College Board website and look up Harvard's 25th-75th percentile SAT scores. 75th percentile for CR, M and W is 800 - so I guess that others here are saying that only two-fifths of that 75th percentile and above, the kids with 800 on the section, are admitted on academics. Umm...that doesn't make sense.

If your school has Naviance, take a look at the SAT & GPA of kids admitted to Ivies from your HS. Hmmm...most of them look academically qualified.

And when others are counting only the "b" kids in that 10 percent, that isn't true at all. My eldest knows "a" kids who are not only very well rounded, interesting, social kids, but also the cream of the crop academically.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 05:56 PM

Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
I think the 10% admitted based on academics is misleading. Look at the College Board website and look up Harvard's 25th-75th percentile SAT scores. 75th percentile for CR, M and W is 800 - so I guess that others here are saying that only two-fifths of that 75th percentile and above, the kids with 800 on the section, are admitted on academics. Umm...that doesn't make sense.

There's a flaw in this logic. What about all the 800 scorers who don't get admitted? What are the criteria for choosing? When Pinker says "At the admissions end, it’s common knowledge that Harvard selects at most 10 percent (some say 5 percent) of its students on the basis of academic merit." he's not talking about mere SAT scores. He's talking about higher level rarer academic accomplishments. For applicants who don't have such higher level rarer academic accomplishments, even if they have high SAT/ACT scores, some non-academic criteria will be used, and they are not in Pinker's 10 (or 5) percent.

The real point is that it shouldn't be this way. All applicants should be taking tougher tests.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 06:03 PM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw

The tragedy of our age is that there are so few places in the hallowed halls of truly profound and meaningful higher learning. And there are so many who cry out, begging to be given the Golden Ticket that will allow them to fit through those narrow gates to ascend the stairway to relevance.


Verruca Salt got a golden ticket. shocked

Falling off the stairway to relevance (or rolling off it, in her case) must hurt.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 06:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Tigerle
I think the institution I'd want to go to,and the one that creates the most educational value overall, would be one that tries to find a good balance between the two types (and while there won't be many ideal types and most people will be on a spectrum blah blah! I think most people in the ability range were talking about will veer clearly towards one or the other).
I do not think that an institution who tries to limit type b to only 10 percent of candidates will create as much overall educational value as one that moves the percentage closer to 50. Having pointy types dominate might not be good for either type of student.

I really think this "two types" thing is a complete myth.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 06:05 PM

Quote:

The tragedy of our age is that there are so few places in the hallowed halls of truly profound and meaningful higher learning. And there are so many who cry out, begging to be given the Golden Ticket that will allow them to fit through those narrow gates to ascend the stairway to relevance.


You sound like a Calvinist over this LOL
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/17/14 06:27 PM

Originally Posted By: 22B
Originally Posted By: Tigerle
I think the institution I'd want to go to,and the one that creates the most educational value overall, would be one that tries to find a good balance between the two types (and while there won't be many ideal types and most people will be on a spectrum blah blah! I think most people in the ability range were talking about will veer clearly towards one or the other).
I do not think that an institution who tries to limit type b to only 10 percent of candidates will create as much overall educational value as one that moves the percentage closer to 50. Having pointy types dominate might not be good for either type of student.

I really think this "two types" thing is a complete myth.


Why?

Polymaths certainly exist, and those who excel at a single preferred domain also do. The two general groups of individuals do sort of form a mutually exclusive pair of sets. Granted, there are probably some people who trend one way or the other without being at either extreme, but among gifties, it doesn't seem to me to be a grossly controversial statement to note that most tend to be one or the other.

So there are children who take college coursework in one domain as quite young kids-- those would be the pointy ones. There are also children like my DD, who is entering college years before her peers (though she wouldn't have been ready quite as young as a "pointy" peer-- perhaps 12-13yo rather than 6 or 7), and is seemingly "very good" at everything she has ever done-- but doesn't yet for-sure-for-sure have a major picked out, and keenly feels that she isn't "extraordinary at any one thing."

She is right about that-- she isn't. She's very good at everything. But she is also a lot more comfortable to be around for most people than super-pointy types who are VERY good at a single domain and may only be "adequate" or even just "good" at other things.

It's not clear to me what the right proportion of the two basic tendencies is "right" for an institution of higher learning, but clearly such institutions have an unstated desire to produce "rounded" education in their graduates, else general education requirements for degrees would not exist. I have seen quite a few VERY brilliant students struggle with some elements of such general education requirements, for whatever that is worth-- the pointy ones sometimes can, in a relative weakness.

The bottom line is that BOTH types look identical via the imperfect and not-terribly-difficult testing that is currently used to winnow the field of applicants. Test them both at age 18 with the SAT, and on any given day, perfect scores are as likely as not.

By that measure, they are both "highly qualified" for elite institutions.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/18/14 05:19 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
The real point is that it shouldn't be this way. All applicants should be taking tougher tests.

A suboptimal alternative is for applicants to take those tests at an earlier age. The Study of Exceptional Talent (open to students scoring 700+ on math or verbal before age 13) newsletter mentions periodically that it will write letters of recommendation for members, mentioning that their high scores were achieved at a young age. The newsletter said some colleges find this to be useful information.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/18/14 06:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: 22B
The real point is that it shouldn't be this way. All applicants should be taking tougher tests.

A suboptimal alternative is for applicants to take those tests at an earlier age. The Study of Exceptional Talent (open to students scoring 700+ on math or verbal before age 13) newsletter mentions periodically that it will write letters of recommendation for members, mentioning that their high scores were achieved at a young age. The newsletter said some colleges find this to be useful information.

Great point, I absolutely agree. I'm always puzzled when people say they will discard scores taken at a young age. It seems like great information (though perhaps it helps to have followed through with later academic achievements as well). That also looks like an incentive to go for SET if colleges respect that achievement.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/18/14 08:44 AM

Another Stephen Hsu blog post
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/09/harvard-admissions-and-meritocracy.html
supports Steve Pinker's contention
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11932...ndardized-tests
that "At the admissions end, it’s common knowledge that Harvard selects at most 10 percent (some say 5 percent) of its students on the basis of academic merit."

Other recent blogs on this
Stephen Hsu (earlier)
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-is-best-for-harvard.html
Scott Aaronson
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2003

There's a lot of great points in these blogs and the comments.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/18/14 09:04 AM

I think the 10 percent was misinterpreted. Some folks here make it seem as though the other 90 percent admitted have the same IQ as my kid's pet goldfish.

I suspect the 10 percent comment means something along the lines of 10 percent have been Intel semifinalists, have published significant research, qualified for USAMO, etc. That doesn't mean that the other 90 percent are dumb jocks and clueless legacies. The 90 percent probably includes some very bright, gifted kids, but they haven't cured cancer (not yet at least).
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/18/14 09:24 AM

Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
I think the 10 percent was misinterpreted. Some folks here make it seem as though the other 90 percent admitted have the same IQ as my kid's pet goldfish.

I suspect the 10 percent comment means something along the lines of 10 percent have been Intel semifinalists, have published significant research, qualified for USAMO, etc. That doesn't mean that the other 90 percent are dumb jocks and clueless legacies. The 90 percent probably includes some very bright, gifted kids, but they haven't cured cancer (not yet at least).

It means that 5%-10% are selected on academic merit alone. The rest are selected on a combination of factors. They may (mostly) have quite high academic merit, but other factors are considered, and so the overall academic merit of the class, though high, is less than it would have been if academic merit played a larger role in admissions. Students are admitted who are less academically meritorious than some who are rejected.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/18/14 09:29 AM

Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
I think the 10 percent was misinterpreted. Some folks here make it seem as though the other 90 percent admitted have the same IQ as my kid's pet goldfish.

I suspect the 10 percent comment means something along the lines of 10 percent have been Intel semifinalists, have published significant research, qualified for USAMO, etc. That doesn't mean that the other 90 percent are dumb jocks and clueless legacies. The 90 percent probably includes some very bright, gifted kids, but they haven't cured cancer (not yet at least).

Exactly. The 10% statistic is bogus. The 25-75 percentile SAT score ranges for Harvard students are

SAT Critical Reading: 700 / 800
SAT Math: 710 / 800
SAT Writing: 710 / 800

Those 25th percentile scores would be much lower if Harvard admitted lots of students with no regard for academic achievement.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/18/14 09:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: NotSoGifted
I think the 10 percent was misinterpreted. Some folks here make it seem as though the other 90 percent admitted have the same IQ as my kid's pet goldfish.

I suspect the 10 percent comment means something along the lines of 10 percent have been Intel semifinalists, have published significant research, qualified for USAMO, etc. That doesn't mean that the other 90 percent are dumb jocks and clueless legacies. The 90 percent probably includes some very bright, gifted kids, but they haven't cured cancer (not yet at least).

Exactly. The 10% statistic is bogus. The 25-75 percentile SAT score ranges for Harvard students are

SAT Critical Reading: 700 / 800
SAT Math: 710 / 800
SAT Writing: 710 / 800

Those 25th percentile scores would be much lower if Harvard admitted lots of students with no regard for academic achievement.

Nonsense. It's your argument that is bogus, and I have already debunked it, and so have others, see here
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2014/09/harvard-admissions-and-meritocracy.html

An earlier blog
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2009/11/defining-merit.html
lists several categories of which "S First-rate scholar in Harvard departmental terms." is just one of many. Most SAT/ACT high scorers are not in this category.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/20/14 05:42 AM

Originally Posted By: 22B
When Pinker says "At the admissions end, it’s common knowledge that Harvard selects at most 10 percent (some say 5 percent) of its students on the basis of academic merit." he's not talking about mere SAT scores. He's talking about higher level rarer academic accomplishments.


You are quoting the guy who says Jews are intellectually superior? Even though the Asians have pushed out the Jews in the top NYC high schools?

Although Zuckerburg is a brilliant techie, pointy as this topic goes, he needed the well roundedness of the Windlevoss twins for the marketing plan. There was already myspace et all. The difference for Facebook was the marketing strategy of the eliteness of Harvard.

Mixing the pointy with the round, gives you optimal.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/20/14 01:31 PM

This topic, whether it is whether a top school is worth going to, the problem with admission process, what is more qualified student etc keeps getting debated. And then it turns into what is a more worthwhile human being, a chess master who went to Harvard and turned into a derivative trading master or someone who went to went to MIT and found a cure for childhood leukemia using stem cells. Both people I happen to know. I actually hold the latter in higher esteem. Happens to be a really nice guy also. But the former probably helped the Yale fund during the last decade and provided free education to a bunch of pointy kids from low income homes.
I have a feeling my kid is going to head towards the path of making money, so I am not going to say she doesn't deserve going to Harvard because she can't sit at a desk and do research. Either could I, though I love physics and could do the math in my sleep. I chose my profession because I really couldn't sit still and focus all day in a lab. Even if I sit and watch markets, the hours are not so bad and it is quick thinking and suits the ADHD like mind.
I do not know why this keeps debating. The world has changed. The competition is increasing and keeps increasing. That is part of the challenge of raising kids. I have been changing my parenting strategy by trying to figure out how to make DD raise to the challenge. I help a lot less, I raise the bar on what I expect her to do for herself. And when I see opportunity, I step back and make her figure it out and go for it. It is really interesting when I make her go for it. Push the envelope on taking the risk of making something happen for herself. That is not an easy talent to learn. Kids with comfortable lives rarely learn them. I think that is what the Ivy's are looking for, people willing to walk through that door, without knowing if it works or not.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/20/14 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Wren
I do not know why this keeps debating.


I keep debating this topic because I see where things will end up if the system continues in its current direction, and I don't like what I see.

We're creating a society of people who are taught to process information but not think about it. This is the difference between what the SAT asks for and what exams like the Leaving Cert and the A-Levels ask for.

We're teaching our kids to accept lies --- such as the one that college admissions are meritocratic when they aren't. And along the way, we teach them to work themselves to the point of exhaustion for a goal that someone else says is important.

Humans are social animals and may have trouble with independent thinking as a result, but lately we've been positively wringing his trait out of those who are most capable of it. frown

Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/20/14 04:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Val

We're teaching our kids to accept lies --- such as the one that college admissions are meritocratic when they aren't.

Whether admissions are meritocratic is not a binary question. Test scores and grades matter a lot, but sports, legacy status, and race also matter. I won't tell my children that admissions are a pure meritocracy, but I will tell them that their efforts matter.
Posted by: mithawk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 07:09 AM

Sorry to go back a few days, but I wanted to address something that HK wrote:

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
If you are given the choice, having only ONE seat available, and you can choose:

a) student with top grades and test scores, with a set of three or four possible majors, interest in a wide variety of activities and skill at most of them, and who has leadership potential and clearly pro-social behavior beyond his/her years, versus...

b) student with top grades and test scores, a clear obsession for the stated major, and who has a competitive win-streak and is a bit of a social misfit and loner.

Which of those two applicants is the better choice, really?

None of the kids that I know that attended the Ivies, MIT, Chicago, or Stanford fit category A. Most did not fit category B either. Almost every one was exceptional (i.e. nationally ranked) in at least one area, but with social skills that varied from excellent to almost non-existent.

Then again, none of these admits were athletes, poor, or from an under-represented minority, so perhaps my view is a bit skewed.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 10:07 AM

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.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 11:16 AM

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.
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 12:00 PM

"Soundness, roundness, and a gimmick." Except that's the advice for PhD candidates going on the job market.
Posted by: mithawk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 01:10 PM

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.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 05:20 PM

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.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 05:46 PM

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!
Posted by: mithawk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 06:49 PM

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.

Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 07:13 PM

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.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 07:28 PM

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?
Posted by: mithawk

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/21/14 08:03 PM

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.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 11:18 AM

Originally Posted By: mithawk
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.

There was actually a thread about that article here.
http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...html#Post200440

There are two different things that need to be distinguished: "need-blind" and "meets full need".

"Meets full need" means that a student is charged what they can affford based on parent/student assets/income, or to be concrete, pays the FAFSA-EFC (where it is completely and universally understood that if you borrow $X then you are paying that $X (plus interest)). In fact, places like Harvard are even more generous than this to the poorest ninety percent of households. It is definitely true that there are several colleges that genuinely try to be affordable to almost everyone (if you can get in).

"Need-blind" means that financial status is not a factor in admissions. This is what I am skeptical about. Even if the admissions people don't see the financial info, the applications will be full of signals of ability to pay, and the universities have a very obvious financial incentive to consider that. Of course there will be a correlation between academic ability and SES, so a statistical bias towards higher SES consistent with that correlation is completely justified, but if the statistical bias towards higher SES is even higher than that, then the "need-blind" claim should be called into question.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 11:34 AM

Maybe it isn't about a harder test. Let's say that current perfect scores get you a group at a top school with IQs of 135+. Maybe it is 140+. With a different test, do you get 150+. But do you get a group that you want? Do they have the social skills to have a good mix, good clubs? There are factors that you want to have a certain type of school whether you are Harvard or Penn State. Harvard doesn't want a whole school that could pursue graduate work in Physics. They want fencing teams and rowing and a football team to play Yale. So for those of you wishing for a harder test, what does that mean to the student body, the college experience if you don't take into account all the other things. Because how much does it change if your roommate has an IQ of 175 in math, but 125 in ELA or 145 overall? I can see MIT wanting the 175 in math but Ivy's? Do you really want your kid going to a school where they just sit and have deep discussions about theories with other students?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 12:18 PM

But that assumes that those people are only interested in their peculiar "pointy" things. And that PG people lack social skills. Which is where my A versus B archetypes came from to begin with. Assume that they are BOTH HG+.

HG+ people come in a lot of different varieties there.

Just because someone has a FSIQ of 150+ doesn't mean that s/he is necessarily passionate about particle physics. It might mean that s/he is capable of learning it, but even that probably depends on the individual.
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 12:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Wren
I can see MIT wanting the 175 in math but Ivy's? Do you really want your kid going to a school where they just sit and have deep discussions about theories with other students?


Yes. Whether it is a pick-up conversation at a coffee house about Nietzche, or a heated debated about string theory whilst raiding a dungeon, or quoting Shakespeare in the bleachers of some random sport. What would be a better alternative?
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 01:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Wren
Because how much does it change if your roommate has an IQ of 175 in math, but 125 in ELA or 145 overall? I can see MIT wanting the 175 in math but Ivy's? Do you really want your kid going to a school where they just sit and have deep discussions about theories with other students?

Lots of IQ > 145 kids go to graduate school. If my children are that smart, I want them to meet even smarter kids, so as to discourage them from this endeavor, as happened to Jeff Bezos at Princeton (and Bill Gates when studying math at Harvard):

Bezos on the big brains
Quote:
Jeff Bezos: Yeah. So, I went to Princeton primarily because I wanted to study physics, and it's such a fantastic place to study physics. Things went fairly well until I got to quantum mechanics and there were about 30 people in the class by that point and it was so hard for me. I just remember there was a point in this where I realized I'm never going to be a great physicist. There were three or four people in the class whose brains were so clearly wired differently to process these highly abstract concepts, so much more. I was doing well in terms of the grades I was getting, but for me it was laborious, hard work. And, for some of these truly gifted folks -- it was awe-inspiring for me to watch them because in a very easy, almost casual way, they could absorb concepts and solve problems that I would work 12 hours on, and it was a wonderful thing to behold. At the same time, I had been studying computer science, and was really finding that that was something I was drawn toward. I was drawn to that more and more and that turned out to be a great thing. So I found -- one of the great things Princeton taught me is that I'm not smart enough to be a physicist.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 01:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Wren
Do you really want your kid going to a school where they just sit and have deep discussions about theories with other students?


Where they just talk about big ideas? No. But I suspect that no one talks about nothing but big ideas, so the question is exaggerated.

As for a place where talking about big ideas is a normal part of the culture, yes, absolutely. Isn't that supposed to be the point about being at a place that calls itself a top-tier university --- that the people there are very bright and interested in big ideas in science, philosophy, history, and so on?
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 02:07 PM

I put in "just" for a reason. All the other stuff about fencing and rowing and clubs got ignored. And, if the test were harder, maybe Jeff Bezos wouldn't have made it into Princeton. Maybe the guys were on the Harvard Lampoon wouldn't have made it in and wouldn't have been on the writing team of the Simpsons.
I think the variety counts a lot.
Posted by: 22B

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/22/14 09:05 PM

‘A National Admissions Office’ for Low-Income Strivers
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/16/upshot/a-national-admissions-office-for-low-income-strivers.html
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/01/14 05:19 AM

Standardized tests are often criticized for favoring the children of the wealthy, but I think wealthy parents are better able to boost the extracurricular profiles (both real and on paper) of their children than their SAT scores.

School spending by affluent is widening wealth gap
By Josh Boak
Associated Press
September 30, 2014

Quote:
Wealthier parents have been stepping up education spending so aggressively that they're widening the nation's wealth gap. When the Great Recession struck in late 2007 and squeezed most family budgets, the top 10 percent of earners — with incomes averaging $253,146 — went in a different direction: They doubled down on their kids' futures.

Their average education spending per child jumped 35 percent to $5,210 a year during the recession compared with the two preceding years — and they sustained that faster pace through the recovery. For the remaining 90 percent of households, such spending averaged around a flat $1,000, according to research by Emory University sociologist Sabino Kornrich.

"People at the top just have so much income now that they're easily able to spend more on their kids," Kornrich said.

The sums being spent by wealthier parents amount to a kind of calculated investment in their children. Research has linked the additional dollars to increased SAT scores, a greater likelihood of graduating from college and the prospect of future job security and high salaries.

The trend emerged gradually over the past three decades but accelerated during the worst economic slump since the 1930s. Now, enrollments at pricier private schools are climbing. Parents are bidding up home prices in top public school districts. Pay is surging for SAT tutors, who now average twice the median U.S. hourly wage of $24.45. The patterns suggest that the wealth gap could widen in coming years, analysts say.
Posted by: thx1138

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/01/14 06:23 AM

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and...school_and.html

Quote:
...The second popular anti-SAT argument is that, if the test measures anything at all, it’s not cognitive skill but socioeconomic status. In other words, some kids do better than others on the SAT not because they’re smarter, but because their parents are rich. Boylan argued in her Times article that the SAT “favors the rich, who can afford preparatory crash courses” like those offered by Kaplan and the Princeton Review. Leon Botstein claimed in his Time article that “the only persistent statistical result from the SAT is the correlation between high income and high test scores.” And according to a Washington Post Wonkblog infographic (which is really more of a disinfographic) “your SAT score says more about your parents than about you.”

It’s true that economic background correlates with SAT scores. Kids from well-off families tend to do better on the SAT. However, the correlation is far from perfect. In the University of Minnesota study of nearly 150,000 students, the correlation between socioeconomic status, or SES, and SAT was not trivial but not huge. (A perfect correlation has a value of 1; this one was .25.) What this means is that there are plenty of low-income students who get good scores on the SAT; there are even likely to be low-income students among those who achieve a perfect score on the SAT.

Thus, just as it was originally designed to do, the SAT in fact goes a long way toward leveling the playing field, giving students an opportunity to distinguish themselves regardless of their background. Scoring well on the SAT may in fact be the only such opportunity for students who graduate from public high schools that are regarded by college admissions offices as academically weak.

...

Given everything that social scientists have learned about IQ and its broad predictive validity, it is reasonable to make it a factor in decisions such as whom to hire for a particular job or admit to a particular college or university. In fact, disregarding IQ—by admitting students to colleges or hiring people for jobs in which they are very likely to fail—is harmful both to individuals and to society. For example, in occupations where safety is paramount, employers could be incentivized to incorporate measures of cognitive ability into the recruitment process. Above all, the policies of public and private organizations should be based on evidence rather than ideology or wishful thinking.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/09/14 06:46 AM

Some students in some states, including California, are finding it more difficult to get into the state flagships than the Ivies.

Colleges’ Wider Search for Applicants Crowds Out Local Students
By ERICA E. PHILLIPS and DOUGLAS BELKIN
Wall Street Journal
October 8, 2014

Quote:
Last spring, Nicholas Anthony graduated as co-valedictorian of Malibu High School with a résumé that included straight A’s, top marks on nine advanced placement exams, varsity quarterback and baritone horn in the wind ensemble.

But Mr. Anthony didn’t get into the top two public schools in his home state: the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Los Angeles. Instead, he is going to Brown University, an Ivy League school which will cost over $100,000 more during four years.

Mr. Anthony’s experience is an example of an aftershock still reverberating across higher education in the wake of the recession: Qualified residents are getting crowded out of their state universities by students paying higher tuition from out-of-state and foreign countries.

“If I had been born five years earlier, I would have gotten in,” said Mr. Anthony.

...

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 559 public four-year colleges and universities showed that between the fall of 2008—the last year before school budgets were affected by the recession—and the fall of 2012, 54 schools decreased enrollment of freshman in-state students by 10% or more, while increasing enrollment of nonresident freshmen by 10% or more. An additional 35 showed swings of at least 5%.

The phenomenon was most prevalent at flagship universities. Nearly 600 fewer Californians enrolled as freshmen at Berkeley last year than in 2008. At the same time, the number of out-of-state and foreign students each climbed by about 500.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/20/14 07:37 AM

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).

I came across this book "The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton" by Jerome Karabel
http://www.amazon.com/The-Chosen-Admission-Exclusion-Princeton/dp/061877355X
I won't read this 738 page book, but the reviews give a good idea of the history.

Can anyone suggest anything more succinct to read about this baffling topic?

Harvard and UNC Chapel Hill have been sued for discriminating against Asian applicants http://www.businessweek.com/articles/201...-against-asians . The legal brief against Harvard has a critical history of its admissions policies. I think the discussion of the lawsuit by Stephen Hsu is interesting.
Posted by: Quantum2003

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/20/14 08:16 AM

Glad to see that someone finally filed a lawsuit! As far as I am aware, different standards have applied to Asian American admissions since the 1980's if not before. Of course, if you mention these stats, then you can be labeled racist, even if you support consideration of socioeconomic factors in admissions.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/20/14 09:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Some students in some states, including California, are finding it more difficult to get into the state flagships than the Ivies.

Colleges’ Wider Search for Applicants Crowds Out Local Students
By ERICA E. PHILLIPS and DOUGLAS BELKIN
Wall Street Journal
October 8, 2014

Quote:
Last spring, Nicholas Anthony graduated as co-valedictorian of Malibu High School with a résumé that included straight A’s, top marks on nine advanced placement exams, varsity quarterback and baritone horn in the wind ensemble.

But Mr. Anthony didn’t get into the top two public schools in his home state: the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Los Angeles. Instead, he is going to Brown University, an Ivy League school which will cost over $100,000 more during four years.

Mr. Anthony’s experience is an example of an aftershock still reverberating across higher education in the wake of the recession: Qualified residents are getting crowded out of their state universities by students paying higher tuition from out-of-state and foreign countries.

“If I had been born five years earlier, I would have gotten in,” said Mr. Anthony.

...

A Wall Street Journal analysis of 559 public four-year colleges and universities showed that between the fall of 2008—the last year before school budgets were affected by the recession—and the fall of 2012, 54 schools decreased enrollment of freshman in-state students by 10% or more, while increasing enrollment of nonresident freshmen by 10% or more. An additional 35 showed swings of at least 5%.

The phenomenon was most prevalent at flagship universities. Nearly 600 fewer Californians enrolled as freshmen at Berkeley last year than in 2008. At the same time, the number of out-of-state and foreign students each climbed by about 500.


Honestly, this problem is one that disproportionately impacts West Coast students. Why?

Well, think about it-- the preponderance of elite LAC's and private colleges are not on the West Coast. Scripps-Pomona-HM, Stanford, Reed, etc. are the exceptions here. So not only are out-of-state students crowding out highly qualified applicants from IN-state, they are forcing those kids to go very far from home in order to attend a more suitable institution elsewhere. Many kids from more modest means simply will not do that-- particularly first generation college students, or those who have disabilities or age (e.g. accelerated students) as a factor.

The other thing that I've mentioned before which is even MORE lucrative for West Coast institutions than out-of-STATE students? International ones. Basically, this is a huge cash cow for the entire UC system and also for the flagships in Oregon and Washington. Of course, it crowds out the in-state students, sure... but WOW, does it ever work to replace state funding which has been gutted by the respective state legislatures over the past two decades. University presidents and governing boards, when queried on this point, have largely shrugged and said "Well, what did you expect us to do? We have to make the money work somehow."

Frankly, I find this a touch disingenuous when I see new buildings sprouting like toadstools, and fundraising campaigns as often as not include the plural "BILLIONS" these days, but perhaps I'm just cynical. smirk
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/20/14 10:31 AM

Let us also not forget that "they're cutting our funding" isn't the sole reason for tuition increases.

Originally Posted By: Administrators ate my tuition
Between 1975 and 2005, total spending by American higher educational institutions, stated in constant dollars, tripled, to more than $325 billion per year. Over the same period, the faculty-to-student ratio has remained fairly constant, at ~15-16 students per instructor.

One thing that has changed, dramatically, is the administrator-per-student ratio. In 1975, colleges employed one administrator for every 84 students and one professional staffer—admissions officers, information technology specialists, and the like—for every 50 students. By 2005, the administrator-to-student ratio had dropped to one administrator for every 68 students while the ratio of professional staffers had dropped to one for every 21 students.

Apparently, as colleges and universities have had more money to spend, they have not chosen to spend it on expanding their instructional resources—that is, on paying faculty. They have chosen, instead, to enhance their administrative and staff resources. A comprehensive study published by the Delta Cost Project in 2010 reported that between 1998 and 2008, America’s private colleges increased spending on instruction by 22% while increasing spending on administration and staff support by 36%. Parents who wonder why college tuition is so high and why it increases so much each year may be less than pleased to learn that their sons and daughters will have an opportunity to interact with more administrators and staffers— but not more professors.


We need a Vice-Chancellor for Data Acquisition in Binary Systems! We need an Office for Tracking Outcomes of the Campus Sustainable Grounds Campaign!

We can compensate by cutting three tenure-track positions/adding adjuncts, and by cutting the spring section of ENG 356 (senior course required for majors); the ones who don't get into the fall section can wait a year.

:-P
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/20/14 10:44 AM

Exactly. Which begs the question, doesn't it-- why on earth do you need five new classroom buildings for classes that students cannot, apparently, get INTO in the first place?

Oh, right. That's because they are sooooooo impoverished that they can't afford to TEACH those classes. The new buildings are for the administrators. To solve the problem, see, and figure out how to staff more classes. Now that they have the space for them, of course. (The administrators, I mean.) AHEM.

It has been a bit of a rude awakening for me to see how very LITTLE in the way of day-to-day work faculty seem to be doing these days. Not to trash my daughter's professors, but, um-- they don't actually assign and grade much of anything themselves. Other than one or two midterms and the TA's who grade the lab reports, I mean. Everything else now is automated and run through Pearson webportals. Y'all can guess how lovely THAT is:

It isn't; there are errors galore, and this means that formatting inputs takes up a lot more bandwidth than learning the material at hand, and in some cases, even the faculty teaching the courses can't get the "right" answer for the system to accept it. Oh yes, this is much more "efficient" for students. Immediate feedback! New! Shiny! Always-on, and other buzzwords... except that instead of learning physics, they are learning that sometimes the speed of light should have 2 significant figures, and sometimes four, and you just have to guess to know which one to use for which problems. So if you get it wrong, check everything over and try different values for the constants, or try rounding differently and keep plugging in answers until something sticks. Good luck with that. It should be obvious to everyone on this board why this is TOXIC for a top-down gifted student, who learns best in a conceptual flow-state.

This is the basis of a course "homework" grade in the contemporary incarnation of higher education at a flagship institution. In honors coursework, no less-- that is, this IS the 'personal touch' that is lacking in the larger population of students. (WOW-- if that is true, I quail to consider what the general freshman coursework is truly like. Holy Toledo.)

So this is what astronomical college tuition is paying for these days, apparently. I'm underwhelmed, to be blunt. There are an awful lot of spa-like amenities on college campuses, and they have NOTHING to do with educating students. It irritates the hell out of me.
Posted by: GailP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/29/14 08:41 AM

I have been following this thread with interest, having launched two kids into college, and am very aware of the pitfalls and minefields in college admissions.

Very aware of how gifted high school students and their parents are often unprepared for the admissions game (and I'm not referring to pricey volunteer trips overseas), and wrote a blog post about this, if any are interested: http://giftedchallenges.blogspot.com/2014/11/ten-essential-tips-to-help-your-gifted.html
Posted by: stemfun

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/29/14 01:15 PM

A different perspective on elite college admission rates

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/upshot...-that-hard.html
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/01/14 05:32 AM

Originally Posted By: loubalou
A different perspective on elite college admission rates

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/upshot...-that-hard.html

Interesting article, which I will excerpt:

For Accomplished Students, Reaching a Good College Isn’t as Hard as It Seems
by Kevin Carey
New York Times
November 29, 2014
Quote:
Parchment began by identifying a subset of students with combined SAT scores (or an ACT equivalent) of at least 1300. Then it identified high-scoring students who had applied to at least one of the 113 schools identified by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges as the most selective. The average overall admission rate among those schools was about 32 percent. Yet 51 percent of the applications submitted by top Parchment students to the same colleges were accepted. Why? Because top schools receive a substantial number of applications from underqualified students who are almost always summarily rejected. Once the wheat and chaff are separated, the success rate for the wheat looks much better.

And the real odds of success were even higher than 51 percent. The top students in the Parchment database applied to 2.6 elite colleges, on average. Flip a coin twice and, according to probability theory, you’ll get heads at least once 75 percent of the time. Sure enough, 80 percent of top students were accepted to at least one elite school.

OTOH, it is difficult to read the threads on College Confidential where students post their stats and their admissions decisions from elite schools and not conclude that getting into certain schools has become very difficult and not predictable solely from academic achievement. So it may be better to stay away from CC smile.
Posted by: GailP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/01/14 07:56 PM

Really interesting article, Bostonian. The author makes some valid points, and I would certainly agree that the ivies and ivy-caliber schools attract a lot of applicants who are throwing out their money since they don't stand a chance. This clearly affects the admissions stats.

Yet, the fact remains that many of these selective schools expect much more than just stellar grades and SATs, and many gifted children and their families are unprepared for the hoops they have to jump through to be accepted.

And I also agree that CC can certainly contribute to a lot of anxiety!
Posted by: Tigerle

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 05:44 AM

Someone mentioned up thread that one of the problems is that for the very top students in the US, there might be 10 or 20 institutions to choose between and apply or not as the Case may be, and the need to finds compelling reason just why you and Yale rather than you and Princeton are a perfect fit, whereas in a country like the UK, you'd mostly choose between oxford and Cambridge (and you can't apply to both), maybe wonder a bit about UCL or LSE. Without even going into the nitty gritty of holistic admission versus exam driven admission, it makes the whole process so much more arcane and stressful. You might be accepted by all ivies by a fluke, but just as well rejected By all ivies by a fluke.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 10:08 AM

for the very top students in the US, there might be 10 or 20 institutions to choose between

I do think that this is a fallacy, honestly.

Yes, there are choices to be made regarding what environment is most desirable for any student-- PG ones included-- but to assume that a suitable education may only be obtained at the most prestigious of brand-name institutions is wrong, I think.

For some students, an elite school with similar classmates is a good idea. For others, if it means waiting until one is 17-18 and chronologically aligned with an age-cohort, that's not going to work.

Would many parents truly send a 12-16yo student off to live in a dorm at MIT or Harvard?

I think probably not-- not when push comes to shove, they won't. The institutions themselves are not so keen on it either, because they have none of the authority (can't act in loco parentis even if everyone wishes they could) but all of the culpability if something goes WRONG.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 10:24 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The institutions themselves are not so keen on it either, because they have none of the authority (can't act in loco parentis even if everyone wishes they could) but all of the culpability if something goes WRONG.

Many universities used to have separate dorms for males and females and had restrictions on visiting hours. There are probably some with religious affiliations that still do. Changes in dorm rules reflect changes in the social views of the institutions and their students.
Posted by: raptor_dad

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 11:25 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

Would many parents truly send a 12-16yo student off to live in a dorm at MIT or Harvard?



I can't find a reference right now but I remember reading in a Julian Stanley/CTY book in the 90's that Harvard had a de facto age limit of 16 after the Norbert Weiner/James Sidis issues earlier in the century? Based on this I believe most ivies have a lower age limit of 16?? Does anyone have better info?
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 12:00 PM

Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
I can't find a reference right now but I remember reading in a Julian Stanley/CTY book in the 90's that Harvard had a de facto age limit of 16 after the Norbert Weiner/James Sidis issues earlier in the century? Based on this I believe most ivies have a lower age limit of 16?? Does anyone have better info?


According to this article Harvard has no lower age limit.

Young Students Grow, Adapt to Life at Harvard
Harvard Crimson
By CYNTHIA W. SHIH
Harvard Crimson
December 12, 2011

Quote:
While most Harvard freshman are 17 or 18 years old when they arrive on campus, every year Harvard also admits much younger students. Though these young students prove their academic prowess in the admissions process, their age can pose challenges. Some of these are legal hurdles: none of the students in this story will be of legal drinking age while in college. None were able to apply for internships, vote for their preferred political candidates, or even buy cold medicine at the local CVS during their freshman year. Perhaps more importantly, some young students say they face social obstacles when they arrive on campus.

But for the most part, these students learned how to be the youngest person in the room before they ever got to Harvard.

...

Harvard does not consider age as a factor when admitting students to the incoming freshmen class, administrators say.

“We have no age limits. We’re really looking at individuals on the basis of individual achievement and personal characteristics,” said Marlyn E. McGrath ’70, the Harvard College director of admissions. “Certainly, maturity and self-direction and the capacity to thrive and benefit at Harvard is always a factor, but none of those qualities are associated in any way that we know with chronological age.”
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 12:05 PM

The thing is, by making it not an "official" hard limit, it permits age to be used as a factor in "holistic" admissions instead.

I cannot personally believe that it IS NOT used that way-- and anything under 16 or 17 is not going to work in the student's favor, no matter how ready the child is for the college campus.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 01:55 PM

Not technically an Ivy, but I know that MIT admits a handful of radically accelerated (two to four years) freshman every year.
Posted by: raptor_dad

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 02:24 PM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The thing is, by making it not an "official" hard limit, it permits age to be used as a factor in "holistic" admissions instead.



As I said de facto... if MIT has a few 14yo freshmen since ~1950 and Harvard has none under 16 at enrollment that suggests a unwritten rule.

That isn't a problem; just something parents with accelerated kids should be aware of...

PS. I have searched around extensively and can't source my original information. I've never seen it online and can't find it on google books.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 03:08 PM

Originally Posted By: raptor_dad
Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
The thing is, by making it not an "official" hard limit, it permits age to be used as a factor in "holistic" admissions instead.



As I said de facto... if MIT has a few 14yo freshmen since ~1950 and Harvard has none under 16 at enrollment that suggests a unwritten rule.

Harvard has recently admitted someone below age 16, according to the article I cited:

Quote:
Martin A. Camacho ’14 said he felt apprehensive about fitting in socially; he was not sure if he’d be accepted because he was a couple years younger than everyone else. He entered the fifth grade at age five and matriculated to Harvard at 15.

High school had been difficult, he said, but fortunately his social experience here at Harvard has been a positive one.

“I think people are much more respectful,” Camacho said. “High school was very hard to fit in socially for the first couple of years. Everyone would recognize that I was younger than them.”

Parents who worry about sending a young student to college should note that the high school environment may be worse.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 04:24 PM

Agreed.

But then again, almost none of my DD's 18-19yo classmates know that she is 15, and she certainly isn't bringing it up if they don't.
Posted by: Quantum2003

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 05:43 PM

The "normal" age at entry seems to be 17 to 18, at least among those who start immediately upon graduation. Although with the gradual adoption of later birthday cut-offs by one state after another in the last 5 to 10 years, we should be seeing more 19 year-old freshmen in a few years. Although not common by any means,I seem to recall quite a few 16 year-old freshmen at many elite colleges. That seems pretty well accepted and nobody fusses. Although I have read about some over the years, 15 and under is still rather rare and might raise questions, particularly if it is a male, who often tends to look obviously younger.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 05:47 PM

18-19 is quite typical, according to DD, and this makes complete sense to me in light of her peer cohort's birthdays over the years-- she is a full 3 years (and in some cases 4) behind the "typical" students.

Late kindergarten entry becoming the norm is to blame, I suspect.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/04/14 05:50 PM

Quote:
Parents who worry about sending a young student to college should note that the high school environment may be worse.
Agreed.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/05/14 06:13 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
18-19 is quite typical, according to DD, and this makes complete sense to me in light of her peer cohort's birthdays over the years-- she is a full 3 years (and in some cases 4) behind the "typical" students.

Late kindergarten entry becoming the norm is to blame, I suspect.

Not according to Study: Kindergarten ‘redshirting’ less common than previously reported
Quote:
The practice of “redshirting” kindergarten students by delaying their school entrance for a year is not as widespread as previously reported, according to a recent study from the University of Virginia and Stanford University.

About 4 percent of children delay kindergarten, the study found, based on an analysis of national longitudinal data that tracked more than 10,000 infants from birth in 2001 through school entry.

Earlier studies and news reports have estimated national rates between 5 percent and 19 percent or even higher.

The redshirting rate is higher for boys (5 percent compared with 2.5 percent for girls), for white children (6 percent compared with less than 1 percent for black children), and for those from wealthy families (6.4 percent for the wealthiest quintile compared with 2.3 percent for the poorest quintile).
Posted by: DeeDee

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/05/14 06:22 AM

Where I am, the numbers for redshirting are much higher. My young-for-grade kids routinely have classmates up to two years older than they are.

It's not surprising that these phenomena are different from place to place.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/05/14 07:26 AM

Originally Posted By: DeeDee
Where I am, the numbers for redshirting are much higher. My young-for-grade kids routinely have classmates up to two years older than they are.
Agreed. This may be fueled, in part, by having many measures reported by "grade level" rather than by "age". Having measures also reported by "age" or only reported by "age" may tend to discourage red-shirting.

Meanwhile, college admissions may be evaluating the accomplishments of 20-year-old applicants as compared with those of students who are 15 or 16 and who therefore may have been too young to qualify for certain internships and experiences (but in some cases may have looked beyond the mainstream to ferret out or create unique opportunities).
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/05/14 12:44 PM

I grumble about Ivies, but they (and other universities) do provide smart and intellectually curious students the ability to learn about many different fields, as exemplified by the likely next Secretary of Defense:

Faculty Career Profile of Ashton Carter

Quote:
Therefore when I rather unexpectedly was accepted into a good college, Yale, I was determined to make the most of it. I disdained the “preppies” and other privileged students who seemed to regard college as an opportunity to enjoy freedom at long last. I was an intensely serious student, what would probably be called today a “grind.”
At Yale I ended up pursuing two entirely different majors – physics and medieval history. There was no relationship between them in my mind except that both fascinated me. I liked dusty archives, learning to decipher manuscripts in medieval script, and learning all the languages necessary to read the primary and secondary historical literature, especially Latin. I wrote a senior thesis on the use of Latin by contemporary monastic writers to describe the vibrant world of 12th century Flanders in which they lived. I also enjoyed English legal history and the foundations of the Common Law as established in the 11th through 13th centuries. I also did a lot of work on the hagiography of Saint Denis, patron saint of the French monarchy during its formative period in the 9th century.
Physics was entirely different: clean and modern, logical and mathematical. I was lucky enough to be asked by a professor to assist him on an experiment in elementary particle physics at the then-new Fermilab outside of Chicago, home of the world’s largest particle accelerator. I would fly back and forth from New Haven to Chicago, feeling very serious and very important. We were involved in the search for the quark, a sub-atomic particle then only theorized. I eventually wrote my senior thesis, which was later published, on the “charmed quark.”
As far as course choice was concerned, I had no interest in between the extremes of medieval history (history, language, philosophy) on the one hand, and science (physics, chemistry, mathematics) on the other. It may sound shocking to Kennedy School students, but I have taken exactly zero social science courses in my entire life. My arrogant view at the time was that life would eventually teach me political science, sociology, psychology, and even economics, but it would never teach me linear algebra or Latin. It seemed best to get my tuition’s worth from the other topics and get my social science for free!
The end of college brought the usual crisis of what to do next. Such a bimodal distribution of training and interests made the problem more acute. The default solution was to go to medical school, since my father was a physician and I had worked in hospitals back in Philadelphia.
Fortunately, I was rescued from this dilemma by the awarding of a Rhodes scholarship, entitling me to free study at Oxford University.
...
Posted by: GailP

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/06/14 07:26 AM

I read the excerpt about Ashton Carter with interest, especially since he graduated from my high school, a run of the mill, suburban public school. Of course, he obviously must have been a very different type of student than I was smile.

But, Bostonian, I would agree that the ivies and ivy caliber schools really do have a lot to offer. The rap they get as nothing more than a Wall Street cattle chute is unfair. Students get tremendous intellectual stimulation, not only from top-notch professors, but from (finally) being in classes with like-minded peers. They also offer unparalleled financial aid.

One of my kids is in an ivy right now and is having an amazing time - finally challenged intellectually, taking a range of interesting classes, and meeting interesting people. He is as far from preppie as you could get.
Posted by: 75west

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/08/14 05:47 PM

I don't know if this has been commented on up thread, but some local g/t kids are taking courses at Harvard Extension around age 14/15. Also, it looks like kids outside of the Boston area are potentially able to enroll in courses, or even in a MA program, at Harvard Extension online.

Eugenie de Silva completed a MA through Harvard Extension online (http://eugeniedesilva.com/eugenie-carys-de-silva). I don't know how common that method, but notice Eugenie is enrolled now in a PhD program through Leicester U (UK) online too.

Yes, Harvard Extension isn't Harvard. That's a given. However, it might provide some challenge that so many of us are searching for with our kids and be doable for some needing a more non-traditional path. From what I've heard, many of the faculty at Harvard or nearby colleges/universities teach at Harvard Extension and it's a small pittance of the tuition too.
Posted by: Tallulah

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/09/14 10:47 AM

And you can score some easy As!

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/12/3/grade-inflation-mode-a/
Posted by: 75west

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/09/14 02:52 PM

Not surprising. I don't recall seeing a comparable point made about Brown or Dartmouth - not that there isn't grade inflation there too. Grade inflation is ubiquitous, I think.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/09/14 03:28 PM

Originally Posted By: cdfox
Grade inflation is ubiquitous, I think.
Evidently some lesser-well-known colleges and universities still grade rather stringently, considering this to be a positive means of demonstrating their institution's academic rigor.
Posted by: bluemagic

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/09/14 07:15 PM

Originally Posted By: cdfox
I don't know if this has been commented on up thread, but some local g/t kids are taking courses at Harvard Extension around age 14/15. Also, it looks like kids outside of the Boston area are potentially able to enroll in courses, or even in a MA program, at Harvard Extension online.

Eugenie de Silva completed a MA through Harvard Extension online (http://eugeniedesilva.com/eugenie-carys-de-silva). I don't know how common that method, but notice Eugenie is enrolled now in a PhD program through Leicester U (UK) online too.

Yes, Harvard Extension isn't Harvard. That's a given. However, it might provide some challenge that so many of us are searching for with our kids and be doable for some needing a more non-traditional path. From what I've heard, many of the faculty at Harvard or nearby colleges/universities teach at Harvard Extension and it's a small pittance of the tuition too.
While I do know people who have said that Harvard Extension is quite a good way to go. And more than a few that have taken classes from them. I really doubt that many of their classes are taught by Harvard full faculty. Most extension classes at our local university are taught by adjunts, lectures and graduate students, and only occasionally faculty but usually younger who are looking for extra money. I have taken classes through it, on & off and I never had a class from a tenure professor. Full faculty usually have their hands full teaching their classes and getting their research done.

And yes.. someone posted a while back about a Thanksgiving program for high school kids at MIT. (fairly sure it was MIT not Harvard.) I don't have a link close to hand, but I think they have programs at other times of the year as well. Looked really interesting and in high demand. I gave it a good look. But I wasn't going to pay to fly my kid cross-country to attend them. I do have Boston relatives and my older daughter is in university in the Boston area, so it's not as crazy an idea as it initially seems.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/09/14 07:20 PM

Originally Posted By: bluemagic
Thanksgiving program for high school kids at MIT.
MIT Splash!
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/10/14 07:29 AM

(bump)
Posted by: 75west

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/10/14 08:54 AM

From what I've heard, MIT Splash is very stringent with the age requirement/grade level. I've heard that will NOT accept any un/homeschoolers who are younger and doing 7/8th or 9/12th grade regardless.

From a parental perspective, it's very annoying and frustrating to have a pg/2e child who is denied from these programs (and others) based on age.

Locally, MIT also has workshops for kids - http://edgerton.mit.edu/. Again, they're very stringent with ages and grades. A couple of years ago, I was told that they want to see "physical years on the planet" and not how many grades ahead they may be.

This brings me back to Eugenie. I've yet to see many other prodigies who are doing their ba/bs or ma/ms online. I could be wrong, but am I correct -
that 1) most wait until their a bit older to enroll in such a program;
2) enroll in a physical brick-and-mortar setting;
3) there's only a handful of schools who will actually accept kids under age 14 as it is.

I keep getting a lot of closed doors in my face with my pg/2e son and we're in MA! The fact that Harvard Extension actually accepted Eugenie into a master's program was a bright light. Notice, too, that she looked to the UK for the PhD and ultimately enrolled in a program at Leicester U. Yahoo, I say.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/10/14 09:21 AM

Originally Posted By: cdfox
Not surprising. I don't recall seeing a comparable point made about Brown or Dartmouth - not that there isn't grade inflation there too. Grade inflation is ubiquitous, I think.

At Brown, grades are not only inflated, F's are invisible -- they don't appear on the transcript. One professor calls this “almost academic fraud."

Fighting grade inflation: a cause without a rebel
By Joseph Zappa
The Brown Daily Herald
March 12, 2014

Quote:
Data provided by the Office of Institutional Research show that 53.4 percent of grades given at the University during the 2012-2013 academic year were As, a 36 percent increase from the 1992-1993 school year, in which As composed 39.1 percent of all grades.

This percentage would be even higher if the data did not include courses taken on a Satisfactory/No Credit scale.

...

Grade inflation is a “part of a change in culture on the high end of the academy that goes along with students being more and more credentialed,” said Provost Mark Schlissel P’15, adding that students have come to see any grade below an A as unacceptable.

Students have developed a “sense of entitlement,” said Karen Newman, professor of comparative literature and chair of the department. “They all expect that they will continue to achieve at the high level at which they were achieving in secondary school.”

But Schlissel said an increasingly talented and prepared student body does not necessarily justify a commensurate rise in As.

Several faculty members suggested establishing higher expectations for students.

“Everyone’s coming in within six inches of the ceiling instead of four feet under. Well, let’s raise the ceiling,” said Stephen Nelson, higher education expert and senior scholar in the Leadership Alliance at Brown.

Though Brown students may be more talented than the average student, “it is still possible to distinguish between performance levels at Brown, and that is what we should be doing to give accurate feedback,” said Luther Spoehr, senior lecturer in education.

...

Several faculty members, as well as Schlissel, cited students’ permission to drop courses until the final exam period as a factor that drives up the percentage of As.

Another explanation for the lack of Cs and comparatively high number of As is the erasure of failures from a student’s transcript, said David Lindstrom, professor of sociology and chair of the department, calling this policy “almost academic fraud.”

Lindstrom said students have asked him to fail them rather than give them Cs.

...

“Not being more rigorous in grading doesn’t allow room for the truly and unusually gifted student(s) to distinguish themselves,” Schlissel said.

Grades have “lost meaning, and that’s a detriment to our students,” he added, noting that “it’s an illusion that grades help you when everybody gets high grades.”

Grade inflation underprepares students for the harsher evaluation they will encounter in the world beyond Brown, Schlissel said.

High grades may mislead students into pursuing fields for which they are not well-suited, Nelson added.

Several people also expressed worry that grade inflation reduces student work ethic.
Posted by: 75west

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/10/14 09:44 AM

Thanks Bostonian. I know my grandfather would be livid and turning in his grave if he read it but then he use to quahog (clam digging to those outside the MA/RI area) before the Depression to help pay for his tuition at Brown. And he used to take the bus to attend classes at Brown too. We used to joke with him that he'd had to own a whole fleet of seafood companies to pay for Brown before he died, now nearly ten yrs ago.

Since grade inflation is rampant and pervasive today, then why, oh why, are these colleges and universities so hostile and opposed to enrolling those under age 14-16? Perhaps those under 14-16 would make those who need their grades inflated look bad? Why, really why, wouldn't you let younger kids in who are more than capable of performing without the grade inflation? Maybe I'm missing something?

I think the key here is on performance. Brown has even admitted that "grades have lost meaning." Well, change the system then. It's no longer a motivation factor for real learning - which un/homeschoolers already know. Duh.
Posted by: gabalyn

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/10/14 09:57 AM

When I was at Brown, the policy of dropping F's from the transcript was celebrated as a means of encouraging experimentation, which is exactly the way the policy worked for me. I was a very motivated student, as was everyone else I knew there. We all worked really hard. There was a fascinating course about human evolution I wanted to take, but it required a lot of advanced math. I was a history major. The professor encouraged me to try it anyway. Well you know what? I failed that class. But I still love that I had the courage to try it. I actually learned a lot from it. I never would have taken it if I were just obsessed with my GPA and the grade really counted. I was there because I was excited about learning, not because I cared so much about grades. Isn't that what we want for our kids?
Posted by: 75west

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/10/14 10:09 AM

Thanks Gabalyn for restoring my hope!!!

As for HES, yes, as far as I'm aware - many of the same faculty at Harvard teach at HES. I'm not saying every class that's the case, but they same faculty do teach at both. HES also has a number of faculty from neighboring colleges and universities teach their as well. It's part of the 'community' concept of HES. Anyone can scroll through the course offerings and see who's teaching a course.

Two articles from The Atlantic and Washington Monthly on HES (look at the comments please) - http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/blog/the_other_harvard.php
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/arc...classes/279644/

One point about HES is that it seems to be more receptive to non-traditional students (ie. pg 14/16-yr-olds or younger) than other colleges and universities and, as a result, it may be an option for some. Perhaps, there might be less grade inflation there as well.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/07/15 06:49 AM

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!
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/10/15 05:45 AM

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
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/02/16 06:54 AM

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).
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 04:27 AM

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.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 04:37 AM

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.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 06:45 AM

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?
Posted by: Thomas Percy

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 07:33 AM

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.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 08:35 AM

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.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 09:40 AM

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”
Posted by: philly103

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 01:59 PM

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.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 02:33 PM

Originally Posted By: philly103
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.
...
fixation on admission to a small handful of schools is distorting secondary school behavior.
Well said.
Posted by: Kai

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/15/18 06:59 PM

I think you should be allowed to submit grades *or* test scores. I'm a homeschooler, but both of my kids have taken classes at public and private high schools as well as the local community college and a selective four year engineering school. It never ceases to astound me how teacher dependent grades are. For example, there are certain teachers that seem to have no clue that if you give lots of 5 point assignments and then take a point off for every minor thing, the student gets into the F category awfully fast.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/16/18 04:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Kai
I think you should be allowed to submit grades *or* test scores. I'm a homeschooler, but both of my kids have taken classes at public and private high schools as well as the local community college and a selective four year engineering school. It never ceases to astound me how teacher dependent grades are. For example, there are certain teachers that seem to have no clue that if you give lots of 5 point assignments and then take a point off for every minor thing, the student gets into the F category awfully fast.

On a report card, you typically see for each class a percentage grade and the associated letter grade. I think the median, mean, and standard deviation of percentage grades of all students in the class should also be shown, so that someone reading the transcript can adjust for easy or difficult grading. Ideally, statistics on associated test scores for a class would also be shown. If the average grade in an AP US history class is an 85 but the average APUSH exam score is 4.5, that teacher is grading more harshly than in a class where the average grade is 90 and average exam score is 3.0.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/16/18 05:11 AM

I think Tyler Cowen, prolific blogger and economics professor, has a good theory for what Harvard and other very selective schools are doing:

Asian-American admissions at Harvard
June 16, 2018
Quote:
My take is simple. Harvard is risk-averse with respect to the stream of future donations, as are many other schools. Asian-American admissions don’t have the same donating track record as the white students traditionally cultivated by Harvard and other top universities. Either Asian-Americans may seek out “diaspora philanthropy,” or they simply may have a more cynical attitude toward top institutions that they basically have never had any control over.

Furthermore, there is a common fear — repugnant to me I should add — that if a student body becomes “too Asian,” many white students will be less interested in going there. I taught at UC Irvine for several years and found it to be a delightful experience, but this is exactly what many schools are afraid of (the UCI student body is disproportionately Asian, and the honors class I taught in my first year had only one non-Asian student in it).

And so they come up with every excuse possible — sometimes cemented in by self-deception — for maintaining a “balanced” student body.

It is incorrect to call it “racism,” but it is non-meritocratic and we should move away from those attitudes as quickly as possible.

In related news, the University of Chicago is moving away from the use of SAT scores in admissions. The cynical might suggest this is so they are more insulated from potential lawsuits and also so they have more discretion in admissions. If Chicago feels the need to do this, perhaps the system really is buckling under the strain of all these outside pressures.

Nonetheless, I predict ultimately the status quo will not change very much. I just don’t see a strong enough popular or judicial constituency for righting the wrongs done to Asian-Americans. Some kind of partial concession will be made, various terms and standards will be somewhat redefined, and we’ll be back to “rinse and repeat.” Meritocracy: can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 06/16/18 03:24 PM

The problem is a lot bigger than Ivy League Admissions. After the war until the 80s-ish, there was no admissions arms race because back then, people could get a decent job with a high school diploma and it was generally true that your job wouldn't be outsourced by managers giving you an unceremonious boot out the door and little else. I'm not saying that employers were paragons of virtue back then. I'm just saying that the outsourcing, the gig economy, and other factors have made almost everyone insecure today, and that much of the upper middle class tends to look at IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS as a vaccine for that problem. IMO, this is wishful thinking.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/02/18 04:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
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

The War on Admissions Testing
What’s behind the move to drop ACT and SAT scores for college entry?
Wall Street Journal
July 1, 2018

Quote:
The “test optional” movement has won its most high-profile convert in the University of Chicago, which announced last month that applicants to the school would no longer need to submit ACT or SAT scores.

The University of Chicago has become known in recent years for its commitment to academic rigor and resistance to coddling and group think. But in this decision it has increased the momentum of a fashionable but damaging ideology overtaking elite education: That standardized metrics of any kind are discriminatory and elitist, and that each student is so special that he or she can only be evaluated according to uniquely personal traits.

No test is perfect, but the ACT and SAT are powerful predictors of college performance. As psychology professors Nathan Kuncel and Paul Sackett wrote in The Wall Street Journal in March: “Longitudinal research demonstrates that standardized tests predict not just grades all the way through college but also the level of courses a student is likely to take.”

Standardized tests are especially important in a time of severe grade inflation, especially in more affluent high schools. That doesn’t mean students who don’t test well can’t succeed, or that students with high scores are guaranteed to graduate summa cum laude. But it’s clear scores are at least as valid a predictor of college performance as a students’ roster of carefully selected extracurricular activities or “personal essays,” which may be rewritten by tutors.

So what’s behind the campaign against standardized assessments? A University of Chicago spokeswoman says the test “may not reflect the full accomplishments and academic promise of a student.” This is true but could be said of any single part of a college application, including high school grades.

Grades may be the next metric to fall out of fashion. Last year a coalition of private high schools, including Phillips Academy, joined a campaign to eliminate grades on grounds that “a GPA shaves off a lot of humanity,” in the words of one prep-school principal. One wonders if the aim isn’t really to shield well-off students from rigorous assessments so they can skate by on testimonials and extracurriculars alone.

The University of Chicago also says eliminating testing requirements “levels the playing field” for “under-resourced and first-generation students,” who may not have access to test-preparation courses. But contrary to myth, most such courses produce only modest gains. And last year Khan Academy and the College Board unveiled a free course they say boosts SAT scores for students at all income levels. By contrast, low-income students are unlikely to have access to exotic summer internships or other activities that impress admissions offices.

...

The article cited is

The Truth About the SAT and ACT
Myths abound about standardized tests, but the research is clear: They provide an invaluable measure of how students are likely to perform in college and beyond
By Nathan Kuncel and Paul Sackett
Wall Street Journal
March 8, 2018
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/04/18 02:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Quote:
No test is perfect, but the ACT and SAT are powerful predictors of college performance. As psychology professors Nathan Kuncel and Paul Sackett wrote in The Wall Street Journal in March: “Longitudinal research demonstrates that standardized tests predict not just grades all the way through college but also the level of courses a student is likely to take.”

Standardized tests are especially important in a time of severe grade inflation, especially in more affluent high schools.
...
The University of Chicago also says eliminating testing requirements “levels the playing field” for “under-resourced and first-generation students,” who may not have access to test-preparation courses. But contrary to myth, most such courses produce only modest gains. And last year Khan Academy and the College Board unveiled a free course they say boosts SAT scores for students at all income levels. By contrast, low-income students are unlikely to have access to exotic summer internships or other activities that impress admissions offices.
...

The Truth About the SAT and ACT
Myths abound about standardized tests, but the research is clear: They provide an invaluable measure of how students are likely to perform in college and beyond
...
Agreed. Some may say this was even more accurate for past versions of the tests, before recent changes.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/09/18 04:42 AM

Legacy Preferences Complicate Colleges’ Diversity Push
By Melissa Korn
Wall Street Journal
July 9, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET
Quote:
Top colleges have pledged to become more socioeconomically diverse, but the admissions edge many give to children of alumni may make that goal harder to achieve.

At the University of Notre Dame, the University of Virginia and Georgetown University, the admission rate for legacies is about double the rate for the overall applicant pool, according to data from the schools. At Princeton University, legacies are admitted at four times the general rate, or roughly 30% compared with about 7% overall over the past five years, the school says.

Legacy applicants at Harvard University were five times as likely to be admitted as non-legacies, according to an analysis of admissions data from 2010 through 2015. The numbers—33.6% for legacies and 5.9% for those without parental ties—were submitted in a June court filing for a case claiming Asian students are being discriminated against in the name of greater diversity at the school.

All of those schools have signed on to or plan to join the American Talent Initiative, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-backed effort to enroll 50,000 more low- and moderate-income students by 2025.

Concerns over the legacy advantage reflect broader unease about competing priorities in admissions. Diversity initiatives have led to complaints by white students that minority students have a leg up. Meanwhile, highly qualified Asian students say they should get more slots based on academics. Both say long-standing traditions like legacy admissions soak up coveted spots.

Advocates for considering legacy status argue that favoring the children—and, in some cases, grandchildren—of graduates helps maintain an engaged and generous alumni base and lets students serve as ambassadors to new campus arrivals.

Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack has said legacy admissions help perpetuate “a Cornell family that goes on for generations.” In an interview with the student newspaper in May, she said the practice isn’t about giving preference or an advantage to legacies, but such a designation is one of many “balancing factors.”

Colleges should be honest about what they are doing. I don't see how Cornell can use legacy status as a "balancing factor" without giving legacies some preference.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/18 08:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian

Another NYT article on this case, based on court filings:

‘Lopping,’ ‘Tips’ and the ‘Z-List’: Bias Lawsuit Explores Harvard’s Admissions Secrets

You are not supposed to receive anything of substantial value in return for a tax-deductible donation. Some Americans, rationally or not, value admissions for their children at some universities at more than $1 million. Non-profits must provide receipts for large donations. For Harvard and the "donor" to exchange a million dollar "donation" for an admissions spot, which can reduce Federal income taxes by about $400K (using a marginal income tax rate of 40%), is a big tax fraud. The honest thing to do would be to simply auction off a limited number of spots and do away with the pretense of charity.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/30/18 04:28 PM

I actually agree with Bostonian’s comment. If there’s a subset of Ivy admissions that relies on infusions of endowments for enrolment, call a spade a spade. The reason such honesty doesn’t exist is because those wealthy families who so strongly identify with Ivy status that they’re willing to buy it lack the self awareness to openly accept their progeny’s lack of genuine ability at face value, and the implications that carries about themselves. The value they get is plausible deniability to themselves. A rich, deluded idiot will, apparently, part with a lot of money to avoid reality.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/31/18 07:00 AM

Originally Posted By: aquinas
I actually agree with Bostonian’s comment. If there’s a subset of Ivy admissions that relies on infusions of endowments for enrolment, call a spade a spade. The reason such honesty doesn’t exist is because those wealthy families who so strongly identify with Ivy status that they’re willing to buy it lack the self awareness to openly accept their progeny’s lack of genuine ability at face value, and the implications that carries about themselves. The value they get is plausible deniability to themselves. A rich, deluded idiot will, apparently, part with a lot of money to avoid reality.

"Delusion" may not play a large role. Some rich people may rationally believe that if they can buy their offspring a place at Harvard, the connections their children will make there will boost their careers or help them marry well. If you have say $100 million, are you deluded to prefer to have $99 million and a kid at a Harvard or Princeton, rather than State U?
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 07/31/18 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: aquinas
I actually agree with Bostonian’s comment. If there’s a subset of Ivy admissions that relies on infusions of endowments for enrolment, call a spade a spade. The reason such honesty doesn’t exist is because those wealthy families who so strongly identify with Ivy status that they’re willing to buy it lack the self awareness to openly accept their progeny’s lack of genuine ability at face value, and the implications that carries about themselves. The value they get is plausible deniability to themselves. A rich, deluded idiot will, apparently, part with a lot of money to avoid reality.

"Delusion" may not play a large role. Some rich people may rationally believe that if they can buy their offspring a place at Harvard, the connections their children will make there will boost their careers or help them marry well. If you have say $100 million, are you deluded to prefer to have $99 million and a kid at a Harvard or Princeton, rather than State U?


Marry well? What does that even mean outside a gauche, mercenary lens? Do these schools offer weekenders on maximizing the ROI on your dowry, too? Good grief. Who thinks like that?!

In a word, yes, delusion factors in. Your statement encapsulates that nicely. A family with $100 million to its name has no business stepping on the throats of legitimate candidates to secure further privilege. Delusion? Of the highest order. Most good families who have earned their fortunes legitimately would be mortified to engage in such desperate, grasping antics. How humiliating.

Also, who are these socially unconnected families with wealth in the hundreds of millions? That doesn’t compute.

In case the case for delusion isn’t clear, here are further comments. The parent can’t produce a capable enough child to earn admission, so he/she greases the wheels to personally save face and supplants a more valuable candidate. Why? Because the adult child is still an extension of the parental ego, as is the child’s future “success”. If the parent is incapable of producing offspring that can earn the best fairly, what does that say about the parent, from the lens of a blighted ego...? Hence, the prestige premium, and the complicity of the school in not conspicuously outing rich parents for buying spaces for their uncompetitive children.

I still agree with you that they should be openly called bought seats.
Posted by: mckinley

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/01/18 06:01 AM

What if those donations are providing scholarships for qualified students that would be financially unable to attend? Depending on how the funds are managed, the loss of one spot in one year, could provide spots to underprivileged students in perpetuity.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/01/18 02:11 PM

Originally Posted By: mckinley
What if those donations are providing scholarships for qualified students that would be financially unable to attend? Depending on how the funds are managed, the loss of one spot in one year, could provide spots to underprivileged students in perpetuity.


And this is likely what is happening-- intellectual patronage by accident! smile
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/01/18 02:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Portia
Sorry for the shock, Aquinas. But yes, "marry well" is a thing. Networking connections are very much a thing and is economically based to a surprising extent. So many jobs and experiences are based on who you know. People in our area pay big money to private schools and actively work the future networking opportunities for their children as a huge bonus.



It happens everywhere. Doesn't make it less distasteful or mercenary. (And in no way am I suggesting that's the approach you're taking, Portia. We've corresponded at length, and I have tremendous respect for how you're raising your DS.)

Maybe I'm just showing my own fatigue at being hit up for handouts by useless social climbers. You can practically see the dollar signs in their eyes as they shake your hand. Ugh.

There's also the implied misogyny in the idea that offends, because it suggests that women's highest value is still...landing a man.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 08/01/18 04:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Portia
Originally Posted By: aquinas


Maybe I'm just showing my own fatigue at being hit up for handouts by useless social climbers. You can practically see the dollar signs in their eyes as they shake your hand. Ugh.

There's also the implied misogyny in the idea that offends, because it suggests that women's highest value is still...landing a man.


Yes. We have found the social climbers are not so prevalent in the homeschool community. Much nicer environment in which to teach values. I see it less within the hg+ community as well. Every now and again I encounter it, but for the most part, the journey is so odd, others are welcomed.



That’s been my experience, as well. At the risk of over-generalizing, it seems like parents of the bright to MG are still a bit preoccupied with status, while the HG+ are just thrilled to meet someone who “gets” them and shares their curiosity, and challenges!

Aside- I’ve made some adult friends through this forum. I can only liken the experience to drinking through a fire hose and loving every second of it. Finding kindred spirits is one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer!

Maybe that explains my aversion to traditional ideas of marrying “well”. Monetary value be damned! In the eternal words of Cake, I like a man “with a mind like a diamond, who is fast, thorough, and sharp as a tack.” THAT’S appealing. wink
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/09/18 04:41 AM

Totally out of touch if you think 1 million buys you a spot at Harvard. A dozen years ago, when DH was doing fundraising from his class, one woman gave 1 mm and her husband kicked in a few more millions and their son got rejected with double legacy.

100 million would probably buy you a spot. But even the Kennedys were told not to let John Jr. apply. hence he went to brown.
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/09/18 05:01 AM

I think a few million can secure a spot at Harvard, if the student is borderline - say SAT and HS GPA in bottom 25% for Harvard, but not completely outside the range of admitted students. A 2.0 GPA and sub-1000 SAT is not getting in, no matter what you donate.

I know Ivy League athletes with SATs way too low to be admitted for academics (though GPA was good), and they got in. They were big impact players in their sports, and did graduate in four years. Colleges will admit kids with "low" SATs or GPA, but there is a limit, as they want students who can pass courses and graduate. A good guide to admissibility to an Ivy is calculating a student's Academic Index.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 09/09/18 12:01 PM

They post their minimum SAT scores. So they have to be within that range. And going through the college blogs, there was a bunch of minorities that had low end SAT, non athletes that got in.

It was a weird year looking through the posts.
Posted by: Cranberry

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/06/18 08:19 PM

Can you provide a link to where these minimum SAT scores are posted? Having been through the admissions process, "we have no minimum scores, everyone is considered holistically" is what I heard/read 100% of the time.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/06/18 08:23 PM

Try the College Board search site. They list (if I recall correctly), the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles of accepted scores. Not true minima, but it does give you a pretty good idea of the range.
Posted by: Cranberry

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/06/18 08:25 PM

If you look at the lawsuit that forced Harvard to pubnlicize their admission process, you see that athletics is one of 6 key categories for evaluation. If you can be near the top at 2 of the categories, you're in decent shape. So anyone being recruited as a top/starter athlete is already 50% of the way there. No, an all-state QB with a 3.0 and 1300 SAT won't get in. But if you're at the 25th percentile, you have about the same chance as a non-athlete at 505h percentile in 2 other areas.

And iirc, the "top" of the categories was something like 100-200 of the 40,000 applications, and earning a 2 (of 6 levels) was still top 10% of all applicants.

With a $37B endowment, I'd be surprised if they risked their reputation for a few million dollars (0.1% of their endowment).

In fact, I suspect they'd proudly state they rejected the application, as they like to subtly mention how many 800/1600/2400 applicants they reject.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/07/18 06:04 AM

Originally Posted By: aeh
Try the College Board search site. They list (if I recall correctly), the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles of accepted scores. Not true minima, but it does give you a pretty good idea of the range.

If you are white or Asian, and your parents are highly educated, and you attend a school with high average scores, and you are not a recruited athlete, and you are not a legacy, I think the effective minimum SAT and ACT scores are higher -- the question is by how much.

It would be interesting to fit a logistic regression model of admissions decisions using GPA, test scores, and the above variables. The schools could do such analyses, and maybe they have, but they will certainly not publish them.
Posted by: cricket3

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 10/07/18 06:52 AM

If your school uses the naviance program you can get some idea, though there is still a lot of guesswork involved. The program produces (among lots of other questionably meaningful data) “scattergram” graphs, where you can see data for all the kids from your school who have applied to the specific college you are researching. I believe it is limited to SAT, ACT and GPA, the data covers the previous 5-6 years, and it tells you whether the applicant was accepted, waitlisted, rejected, and whether they eventually matriculated. Of course it’s limited to what data students provide (at least in our district, perhaps there are districts where the counselors provide the data, but I don’t know.)

Being in a not-enormous school district, we found it to be relatively easy to make educated guesses about the data points (and could sometimes even tell which specific kid was represented). For us, it was pretty obvious when a kid was admitted as a recruited athlete- the data points were clearly outliers, significantly outside the cluster of points where most admitted kids fell. Just another dose of reality for those going through the process.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/30/18 05:23 AM

Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here’s the Reality.
By Erica L. Green and Katie Benner
New York Times
November 30, 2018

BREAUX BRIDGE, La. — Bryson Sassau’s application would inspire any college admissions officer.

A founder of T.M. Landry College Preparatory School described him as a “bright, energetic, compassionate and genuinely well-rounded” student whose alcoholic father had beaten him and his mother and had denied them money for food and shelter. His transcript “speaks for itself,” the founder, Tracey Landry, wrote, but Mr. Sassau should also be lauded for founding a community service program, the Dry House, to help the children of abusive and alcoholic parents. He took four years of honors English, the application said, was a baseball M.V.P. and earned high honors in the “Mathematics Olympiad.”

The narrative earned Mr. Sassau acceptance to St. John’s University in New York. There was one problem: None of it was true.

“I was just a small piece in a whole fathom of lies,” Mr. Sassau said.

T.M. Landry has become a viral Cinderella story, a small school run by Michael Landry, a teacher and former salesman, and his wife, Ms. Landry, a nurse, whose predominantly black, working-class students have escaped the rural South for the nation’s most elite colleges. A video of a 16-year-old student opening his Harvard acceptance letter last year has been viewed more than eight million times. Other Landry students went on to Yale, Brown, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell and Wesleyan.

Landry success stories have been splashed in the past two years on the “Today” show, “Ellen” and the “CBS Morning News.” Education professionals extol T.M. Landry and its 100 or so kindergarten-through-12th-grade students as an example for other Louisiana schools. Wealthy supporters have pushed the Landrys, who have little educational training, to expand to other cities. Small donors, heartened by the web videos, send in a steady stream of cash.

In reality, the school falsified transcripts, made up student accomplishments and mined the worst stereotypes of black America to manufacture up-from-hardship tales that it sold to Ivy League schools hungry for diversity. The Landrys also fostered a culture of fear with physical and emotional abuse, students and teachers said. Students were forced to kneel on rice, rocks and hot pavement, and were choked, yelled at and berated.

The Landrys’ deception has tainted nearly everyone the school has touched, including students, parents and college admissions officers convinced of a myth.

The colleges “want to be able to get behind the black kids going off and succeeding, and going to all of these schools,” said Raymond Smith Jr., who graduated from T.M. Landry in 2017 and enrolled at N.Y.U. He said that Mr. Landry forced him to exaggerate his father’s absence from his life on his N.Y.U. application.

“It’s a good look,” these colleges “getting these bright, high-flying, came-from-nothing-turned-into-something students,” Mr. Smith said.

...
Posted by: Val

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 11/30/18 02:01 PM

The above is irrelevant to gifted education. I don't know what kind of point you're trying to make here, though there's an implication that's likely based more in pseudoscience or biased interpretations of science than in actual reality. So the leaders of a school were making stuff up. Sure that's wrong, but they aren't the first ones to do that by a wide margin. How many students sign up for 10 school clubs and show up only for pictures in 8 or 9 of them? How many students go on voluntourism trips where they do nothing meaningful for the local people, but instead use the trips to burnish their college apps?

Many people on this board believe in equality of academic opportunity for all students. Doing so would help our brightest students achieve their own potentials. Ideally, their discoveries would help fight disease, help us understand the universe, etc.

Your messages here make it clear that you aren't interested in equality of opportunity based solely on merit, but rather in perpetuating the privilege of wealthy students who may or may not be gifted, to the detriment of pretty much everyone else:

Originally Posted By: Val
You’re trying to avoid the point.

Say a college decides to admit a less qualified candidate because mommy or daddy is a graduate/famous/a donor. The college does this because it sees the admission as benefiting the college in some way.

The college has the same opinion about admitting a less qualified student from North Dakota or from a given racial/ethnic group. There is no difference.

If one discriminatory practice (“racial boxes”) is unfair and must be ended, then they all are (alumni boxes, donor boxes, fame boxes), and they must all be ended. Admissions have to be fair, for everyone.

Discrimination in all its forms undermines society as a whole. Discrimination in favor of the wealthy is simply another form of discrimination, albeit with more serious consequences than discrimination in favor of the underprivileged.
Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Harvard charges $70K a year and has a $37 billion endowment. I favor treating it like other businesses. Businesses are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, but they do discriminate on the basis of willingness and ability to pay. That's how a market economy works.


So please, spare us your one-sided writings complaining about the injustice of "racial boxes" in admissions while you continue to support "money boxes," or, as you note, willingness and ability to pay. Your preferred form of discrimination isn't okay just because you prefer it. Everyone feels the same way about their pet forms of discrimination, which is why they all need to go. Really: we don't have to turn everything into a bare-toothed competition, and if some among us would stop trying to grab more and more and more, everyone would be a lot better off. Even the ones who'd end up with less, because they had too much to begin with. It's a gluttony thing.

For the record, I don't like admissions that focus on anything but merit, but I also think that the diversity-based initiatives should be the last things to go --- and only once we've finally addressed the economic and social stresses that savage cognitive achievement.


Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 12/16/18 11:25 AM

‘They’re Not Fact-Checking’: How Lies on College Applications Can Slip Through the Net
By Anemona Hartocollis
New York Times
December 16, 2018

...

As college admissions become ever more competitive, with the most elite schools admitting only 4 percent or 5 percent of applicants, the pressure to exaggerate, embellish, lie and cheat on college applications has intensified, admissions officials say. The high-stakes process remains largely based on trust: Very little is done in the way of fact-checking, and on the few occasions officials do catch outright lies, they often do so by chance.

A recent New York Times investigation found that the leaders of T.M. Landry College Preparatory School, a private high school in Louisiana, doctored transcripts and fabricated up-from-hardship stories on college applications in a systematic effort to land students at selective universities. The revelations have highlighted critical vulnerabilities in the admissions process and cast doubts on a system that some officials and consultants say inadvertently invites exploitation.

In the Landry case, school officials made up tales drawn from racial stereotypes, with the aim of enhancing a student’s chances of admission. But universities that encourage students to write such hard-luck stories, experts say, share the blame.

“There is an alignment of incentives to work the system,” said Christopher Hunt, who runs College Essay Mentor, a consulting service. “Landry is an extreme. Much more common is students, parents and school college counselors trying to figure out what admissions officers ‘want’ and molding students’ lives and applications to the vision of success.”

...

Mainly, officials and counselors said, they look for inconsistencies. Do standardized test scores and grades match? Do certain words and phrases in an essay jump out as being in the vocabulary of an adult rather than a teenager? Are a student’s extracurricular activities too good to be true?

********************************************************

The IRS audits some tax returns at random. If accepted students knew there were a chance of their applications being audited, that would reduce fraud.

The article mentions looking at whether standardized test scores and grades match. But Harvard and other selective schools have made SAT subject tests optional, reducing their ability to do this. Some schools do not require either the SAT or ACT or SAT subject tests.

High schools know who has played on their sports teams. They could make rosters easily available to admissions officers. They could also provide lists of who has had leadership positions in clubs.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 03/13/19 07:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
The IRS audits some tax returns at random. If accepted students knew there were a chance of their applications being audited, that would reduce fraud.

The article mentions looking at whether standardized test scores and grades match. But Harvard and other selective schools have made SAT subject tests optional, reducing their ability to do this. Some schools do not require either the SAT or ACT or SAT subject tests.

High schools know who has played on their sports teams. They could make rosters easily available to admissions officers. They could also provide lists of who has had leadership positions in clubs.

My suggestions above, (1) auditing some applications, (2) requiring more tests than just the SAT or ACT, and (3) getting sports information from high schools, would have deterred some of the recently reported fraud. Economics professor Tyler Cowen has a good column about it at Bloomberg. Parents don't pay bribes to get their children into Caltech.

Quote:
The College Admissions Scandal Is About More Than Just Bribery

...

First, these bribes only mattered because college itself has become too easy, with a few exceptions. If the bribes allowed for the admission of unqualified students, then those students would find it difficult to finish their degrees. Yet most top schools tolerate rampant grade inflation and gently shepherd their students toward graduation. That’s because they realize that today’s students (and their parents) are future donors (and potential complainers on social media). It is easier for professors and administrators not to rock the boat. What does that say about standards at these august institutions of higher learning?

...


Related thread: xtra time on tests: alleged college admission scam
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 03/13/19 02:57 PM

Originally Posted By: spaghetti
"My suggestions above, (1) auditing some applications, (2) requiring more tests than just the SAT or ACT, and (3) getting sports information from high schools, would have deterred some of the recently reported fraud. Economics professor Tyler Cowen has a good column about it at Bloomberg. Parents don't pay bribes to get their children into Caltech."


How would you audit applications? Choose your class and the audit from those chosen?

Yes, and the accepted students with serious fraud have their admissions revoked.

Quote:
More tests? No thanks! Unless the school wants to offer a test that the students can take at a testing center. But it might reduce applications if students need to jump through more hoops.

SAT subject tests are offered at the same places the SAT is offered.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 03/13/19 04:28 PM

I guess I would tend to be in favor of some form of an audit, a fresh set of eyes, transparency.
But the details of the audit process and procedure would sway my vote Yay or Nay.

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
They could also provide lists of who has had leadership positions in clubs.
I'm aware of a few ways in which high schools, both public and private/independent, have been less than truthful in painting a rosy picture of their chosen golden child(ren)... generally offspring of large donors.

Example 1: Due to drug infraction, child could not participate in competitive sports, but despite non-athlete status was given team leadership role. Coach claimed all students on team voted on slips of paper, but vote was tallied in private and totals for each student were not shared.

Example 2: Child enrolled in 2nd year of a world language, actually attended 3rd year classes in the world language, received award in national competition for 2nd year students in that world language.

Example 3: "Mentor" acknowledged one child's original idea. Rather than support that child as promised, shared the idea with a different child and supported that 2nd child to receive a scholarship, using 1st child's original idea.

Example 4: Grading practices to create illusion of equal outcomes despite vastly different performance levels.

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Economics professor Tyler Cowen has a good column about it at Bloomberg.
I agree, this article is well worth reading. smile
Posted by: Wren

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 03/14/19 03:51 AM

I think it shows up in the kid not being able to do the school work. DD is in a HG school like Hunter, 7-12. And there are no lower math credits. It is all accelerated. And there are some kids that struggle. We have a friend who's DD was in Hunter and dropped out after 8th grade because it was too hard. She goes to a regular HS now and gets top grades. If you get into Harvard without having the ability to keep up, you won't. There was that book about kids that are MG and top of their school and then get into IVY schools and it is a whole different level and have a breakdown. There is one in our extended family. Had done all AP courses, perfect SAT and went to Princeton and failed physics. Not for a lack of trying, but it was at a whole different level than she was used to. Took a year off and went back and did political science. Nothing against political science, but just saying that if you cannot do the work, it will show. The peer group is mostly what you are going to get at top schools.
Posted by: mckinley

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 03/14/19 07:45 AM

Originally Posted By: indigo
there may be a noticeable trend toward "grade inflation"


This economist argues that grade inflation probably doesn't exist and backs his argument up with some research, and is not afraid to mention research that disagrees with that hypothesis.

Is grade inflation a real problem?
Posted by: indigo

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 03/14/19 08:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: indigo
As an example from recent news of a student who may have graduated without gaining the knowledge and insight that the populace might expect from one holding such credentials ...

Criticizing particular politicians will divert this thread from the topic of Ivy League Admissions.
Thank you, Bostonian. I would shudder to think that any forum member would choose to utilize my post as a jumping-off point to divert the thread. I related a potential example of grade inflation at an elite international powerhouse without mentioning any person's name, party, or ideological views.

As just one of 4 points made in the post, I remained on topic: The OP anticipated quite wide ranging discussion, and recent posts have addressed whether some students who gained entrance to elite colleges may ultimately be weeded out by rigorous curriculum and find themselves unable to graduate.

ETA:
Originally Posted By: mckinley
Originally Posted By: indigo
there may be a noticeable trend toward "grade inflation"


This economist argues that grade inflation probably doesn't exist and backs his argument up with some research, and is not afraid to mention research that disagrees with that hypothesis.

Is grade inflation a real problem?
If no one objects, I will mention this post on an old thread about grade inflation... possibly conversation could continue there, or on a new thread, to avoid veering off-topic on this thread. smile
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Ivy League Admissions. - 03/21/19 06:29 AM

College Coaching Doesn’t Hurt the Poor
By Hafeez Lakhani
Wall Street Journal
March 20, 2019

...

There is a misconception circulating that advantages bought by the rich result in spots being stolen from the poor.