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    My kid is in a private academic associated with U of T. She will get professors coming in to run workshops in physics or chemistry. An example of something you get in an elite school. Not that you don't have really smart kids in many schools and have intellectual discourse, it is the opportunities. She was in an "elite" science program at amnh. I had ask a billionaire on the board to get her in. She was dissecting a cow's heart at age 6 with her father. They had a private viewing of the software astrophysists use to view the universe in the planetarium with Tyson when she was 8. Just like she will be 15 and have gone to all the continents and over 35 countries. Because I can take her to antarctica this year. Going to antarctica doesn't make you smarter, but it is just an experience that most don't do or get to do. It is just the experiences you are willing to put energy into and pay for. That is how I view elite schools.

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    Originally Posted by Wren
    She was in an "elite" science program at amnh. I had ask a billionaire on the board to get her in. ... It is just the experiences you are willing to put energy into and pay for. That is how I view elite schools.

    Well, I guess that’s a big part of the problem: elite schools are most accessible to those with connections to billionaires or who are extremely wealthy themselves.

    How different is getting a favor from an extremely wealthy person from bribing the crew coach? IMO, it’s only a matter of degree.

    I think it’s great that you take your daughter to see new places and give her enriching experiences. I don’t think it’s great that you used a connection to get her admitted to a school. When someone did you a favor to admit your daughter, some other child was denied admission. The child may have been more qualified than yours. This is just, well, wrong.

    As I’ve said before, I think that purely merit-based admissions are the only way out of our education mess. But they have to be accompanied by improved schools for everyone. While I do think it’s wonderful for children of wealthy parents to have enriching experiences, I do think that less fortunate kids should also have opportunities, which are denied them under the current system.

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    I think that she is talking about a museum science program? I could be wrong, but my child has participated in a similar program at the california academy of sciences (I have no friendships with billionaires, it was just a science program for interested kids. and my child also participated in several behind-the-scenes program with marine biologists at the monterey bay aquarium and went scuba diving in the ocean with the biologist guides - no special treatment for that opportunity either). Such programs are available in a lot of places and are accessible to everyone (in my neck of the woods).

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    Quote
    The problem with pure merit based is that there are too many kids at the top. Too many perfect SAT scores and perfect GPAs. "Anybody" (not really anybody) who tries hard enough can get perfect scores and perfect grades. Then the schools have to do "holistic" admissions which aren't really holistic because it's only after you pass the bar for test scores and GPA that your other activities are looked at.

    That is what the media want you to think happens but were that true then average SAT scores at US colleges ex(Caltech and MIT) would be a lot higher than they actually are.

    The official line seems to be ‘with so many perfect scores we need to practice holistic admissions to get the creme de la creme’ but the actual scores of undergraduates admitted are sometimes far from perfect which leaves me unconvinced that they are telling the truth.



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    Originally Posted by madeinuk
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    The problem with pure merit based is that there are too many kids at the top. Too many perfect SAT scores and perfect GPAs. "Anybody" (not really anybody) who tries hard enough can get perfect scores and perfect grades. Then the schools have to do "holistic" admissions which aren't really holistic because it's only after you pass the bar for test scores and GPA that your other activities are looked at.

    That is what the media want you to think happens but were that true then average SAT scores at US colleges ex(Caltech and MIT) would be a lot higher than they actually are.

    The official line seems to be ‘with so many perfect scores we need to practice holistic admissions to get the creme de la creme’ but the actual scores of undergraduates admitted are sometimes far from perfect which leaves me unconvinced that they are telling the truth.

    But they are.

    First, the number of SAT/ACT takers has steadily risen. Second, the average scores on the SAT has increased since the 1970s. This naturally means an increase in the small number of kids with perfect scores and near perfect. And it is a small number of kids, the SAT says only 5% score above 1400 but with the amount of test prep out there plus the increased number of applicants, there are more high scoring kids in the absolute sense.

    Up to about ten years ago, there was a steady increase in college applicants, including that steady increase of students with perfect scores.

    Since then there appears to be an increase in applications per applicant. So, the kid with the perfect SAT who applied to 8 schools 20 years ago is now applying to 20-30 schools (there are kids applying to 40+ schools apparently). So instead of applying to Harvard and handful other schools, these kids are applying to all of the Ivies, the alternate Ivies plus 10 safety schools.

    Spread that out across the applicant pool and schools (the elite schools at least) are getting more applications from perfect students without there being a corresponding increase in the actual number of perfect students.

    The rejection rate for schools like Harvard have increased but the entry class sizes haven't shrunk. More applicants for the same amount of the seats.

    This puts schools in a tough place, they know that many of the applicants aren't diehard about going to their institutions because they've applied to so many other schools at the same level. So they can't just take the top scores and call it a day. If they do that, they'll all be admitting the same kids and many of those admittees kids aren't going to attend because they'll be going to the other elite schools that also admitted them.

    So schools have to try and tease out which of the increased number of perfect score kids are actually serious about their school over their competitor's school. And that also means that they have to make sure they admit enough kids with less than top scores who are serious about attending.

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    Originally Posted by madeinuk
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    The problem with pure merit based is that there are too many kids at the top. Too many perfect SAT scores and perfect GPAs. "Anybody" (not really anybody) who tries hard enough can get perfect scores and perfect grades. Then the schools have to do "holistic" admissions which aren't really holistic because it's only after you pass the bar for test scores and GPA that your other activities are looked at.

    That is what the media want you to think happens but were that true then average SAT scores at US colleges ex(Caltech and MIT) would be a lot higher than they actually are.

    The official line seems to be ‘with so many perfect scores we need to practice holistic admissions to get the creme de la creme’ but the actual scores of undergraduates admitted are sometimes far from perfect which leaves me unconvinced that they are telling the truth.

    The media? The media wants us to think this? Really? Perhaps, if this actually accurate, which I am not agreeing it is, it's the actual universities and/or institutions themselves.

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    Originally Posted by philly103
    Originally Posted by madeinuk
    Quote
    The problem with pure merit based is that there are too many kids at the top. Too many perfect SAT scores and perfect GPAs. "Anybody" (not really anybody) who tries hard enough can get perfect scores and perfect grades. Then the schools have to do "holistic" admissions which aren't really holistic because it's only after you pass the bar for test scores and GPA that your other activities are looked at.

    That is what the media want you to think happens but were that true then average SAT scores at US colleges ex(Caltech and MIT) would be a lot higher than they actually are.

    The official line seems to be ‘with so many perfect scores we need to practice holistic admissions to get the creme de la creme’ but the actual scores of undergraduates admitted are sometimes far from perfect which leaves me unconvinced that they are telling the truth.

    But they are.

    First, the number of SAT/ACT takers has steadily risen. Second, the average scores on the SAT has increased since the 1970s. This naturally means an increase in the small number of kids with perfect scores and near perfect. And it is a small number of kids, the SAT says only 5% score above 1400 but with the amount of test prep out there plus the increased number of applicants, there are more high scoring kids in the absolute sense.

    Up to about ten years ago, there was a steady increase in college applicants, including that steady increase of students with perfect scores.

    Since then there appears to be an increase in applications per applicant. So, the kid with the perfect SAT who applied to 8 schools 20 years ago is now applying to 20-30 schools (there are kids applying to 40+ schools apparently). So instead of applying to Harvard and handful other schools, these kids are applying to all of the Ivies, the alternate Ivies plus 10 safety schools.

    Spread that out across the applicant pool and schools (the elite schools at least) are getting more applications from perfect students without there being a corresponding increase in the actual number of perfect students.

    The rejection rate for schools like Harvard have increased but the entry class sizes haven't shrunk. More applicants for the same amount of the seats.

    This puts schools in a tough place, they know that many of the applicants aren't diehard about going to their institutions because they've applied to so many other schools at the same level. So they can't just take the top scores and call it a day. If they do that, they'll all be admitting the same kids and many of those admittees kids aren't going to attend because they'll be going to the other elite schools that also admitted them.

    So schools have to try and tease out which of the increased number of perfect score kids are actually serious about their school over their competitor's school. And that also means that they have to make sure they admit enough kids with less than top scores who are serious about attending.

    I remain unconvinced - I cannot believe that there are that many perfect/near perfect scorers to believe what the admissions depts are saying.

    Assuming, for a moment, that these schools are prioritizing academics/high test scorers for admissions AND they really, really, really cannot separate the wheat from the chaff then why not insist that the tests have higher ceilings or have their own entrance exams like the Oxbridge colleges do?


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    Back to the question of why I asked for the favor because if you didn't get your child in by age 3, then you couldn't unless you were a large donor. I was not a large donor. They made a space because the billionaire asked. They interviewed my kid, who was 5 at the time, to make sure she would fit in. So it was not a case that she took someone's spot. They just added a spot. It was just that competitive in NYC. Friends, both top researchers at Sloan Kettering, couldn't get their 3 year old into the program. So some programs are more difficult to get into. Did some large donor kids take spots from other kids, yes. I was not a donor period. Do some professor kids get into an IVY school because they are professors, taking spots away from other kids, yes. Is that different than paying a sport coach to lie and say they do the sport, yes. My kid is really smart, interested in science. No lie. She did not take a spot away from someone else.

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    Originally Posted by madeinuk
    I remain unconvinced - I cannot believe that there are that many perfect/near perfect scorers to believe what the admissions depts are saying.

    Assuming, for a moment, that these schools are prioritizing academics/high test scorers for admissions AND they really, really, really cannot separate the wheat from the chaff then why not insist that the tests have higher ceilings or have their own entrance exams like the Oxbridge colleges do?


    The SAT people say that 5% of the students score above 1400. More than 2 million kids take the SAT in 2018. That would mean 100,000 kids above 1400. 2% score above 1500, so 40,000. above 1500.

    Harvard, for instance, has a freshman class of ~2000. 40,000 kids above 1500. 2000 freshman seats.

    That's before you think about the kids taking the ACT.

    Further, it's before you start filling in the various majors. Because Harvard has to admit people for English majors, history majors, math majors, biology majors, etc. So, unless the highest scoring kids are evenly distributed across majors, they're going to end up having to take some lower scores to fill out the various programs.

    There's no reason to create their own tests because the current tests provide them with the information they need. They get a pool of applicants with stellar test scores, they don't need a class full of the best test scores so long as their confident that the kids they do get are smart enough (for what it's worth, a 1340 puts a kid in the top 10%).

    We, as adults, are score-centric because our kids score higher than other people's kids and a score specific criteria helps us. If our kids are in the 99% then naturally we want the schools to prioritize that over some other rubric where scores in the 93% are treated as the same as the 99%.

    But long term, there's no real upside to the schools being that exclusive. While IQ is a very strong predictor of future success, it's not exclusively so (as we know, many extremely gifted kids are also classic underachievers). So, if you're looking for kids who will be successful as adults, you want high test scores, within reason, but you definitely want to look beyond that for your very limited number of admission seats. Why pass up some kid who has shown real life accomplishments for a kid who hasn't just because he's in the 92% and the other kid is in the 98%? One has demonstrated achievement, the other has only demonstrated potential.

    Not an easy call to make, imo.

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    I thought I posted the stats. but cannot find it. 3.6 million high school students graduate. .4 mil from private schools.
    So although they post about 600=700 get perfect scores, they also say 1%. all 400K students from private schools are taking the SAT. So the math indicates there are more perfect scores if it is 1%. Even if it is 0.1% And 1 million kids take the SAT. And they say that kids apply to 40+ schools. So you could have 5000 kids with perfect scores all applying to the same schools. And Caltech would care if math scores are perfect. I know someone who got into MIT last year. Perfect math scores, female African american. She got into every school she applied to. Not perfect Reading/writing score.

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