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    Joined: Apr 2012
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    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).

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Originally Posted by 22B
    When Pinker says "At the admissions end, itís 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.

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    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.

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    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


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    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.

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    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.

    Last edited by mithawk; 09/21/14 07:09 AM.
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    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.


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