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.