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College Admissions Statistics Class of 2021: Early and Regular Decision Acceptance Rates

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Replies to: College Admissions Statistics Class of 2021: Early and Regular Decision Acceptance Rates

  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 749 Member
    Yes, I have noticed that at a lot of schools. I think what happened is that even though the new SAT calibrates lower when compared with the old SAT, I think that because there were less test preparation materials, students weren't as able to prepare as they were with the old SAT. I also think that many of the over-achieving types that gave their testing strategy a lot of thought planned to take the old SAT because of the uncertainty of the new SAT.

    My daughter started her tutoring during sophomore year because she did well on the PSAT and wanted to be able to take the old SAT and new she had to be done by January of junior year. And she never took the NEW SAT.

    I also just think that even though the new SAT is supposed to be "easier" (but I'm not sure it is), it's a new test and students and their tutors are still figuring it out.

    The bigger question in my mind is now that we are seeing at many top schools that the average scores for accepted students that took the OLD SAT are actually HIGHER than the students that took the NEW SAT, does it mean that the schools didn't actually use the concordance tables the way college board intended them to? So is a 1500 on the NEW SAT just as good as a 1500 on the OLD SAT? Or even better?

    This is maybe the only year this is even a relevant question, but since we gave it so much thought in my house, it is something we are interested in understanding better.

    I also would love to hear what some others think.
  • Akqj10Akqj10 Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    collegemomjam, Yes, after I wrote my initial question I noticed the University of Georgia numbers for New vs. Old Sat had higher scores for the Old SAT as well.

    Maybe kids who took both test did the same or just a little better on the new test, and used the concordance table and only submitted the old score.

    Also, in Williams case, maybe so many were recruited athletes and a majority took the old SAT to get pre-reads from the coaches, and there just wasn't a large enough of cross sampling to make a valued comparison.

    Yes, I think this is the only year it's relevant, so like you I have spent so much thought trying to figure it out. Wouldn't it be funny if in the end the scores end up being virtually the same. I'm going to start a new thread on this so we don't hijack all the good work from this thread.
  • TestRektTestRekt Registered User Posts: 117 Junior Member
    @collegemomjam
    Colleges seeing scores that don't seem to match with the concordance has become a large enough issue that College Board felt the need to have a conference call about it with admission officers this week. As you and @akqj10 point out, in many cases there is self-selection bias. A lot of high-scoring students decided to do one of two things this year: 1) switch to the ACT or 2) fit in the old SAT and then decide whether or not to take the new SAT. These decisions would tend to lower the average new SAT scores at competitive colleges and increase the new SAT scores. The data College Board presented fit with this shift. Also, the type of student who takes the old SAT in fall/winter of junior year is not identical to those taking the test later in junior year or in senior year.

    Williams is a good example of why things are not entirely comparable. For example, if you look back at the figures for the class of 2020, the old SAT scores (the only kind at that point) were 713 CR and 716 M. It doesn't look like Williams saw a significant change in the applicant pool, and yet the old SAT scores for ED 2021 were 731 CR and 727 M. So it appears that the old SAT takers this year were definitely "strong test takers." The new SAT takers may have had other attributes to compensate for lower scores (if we are prepared to call 1464 low).

    So we can't say from average scores that the concordance was wrong or that colleges didn't use the concordance (most did) or that the same students taking different tests on the same day would not have done 40-50 points better on the new SAT (what a concordance supposedly tells us). Obviously College Board made a pitch that the numbers so far are right in line with what they were expecting. A lot of factors come into play, many of which you have mentioned. I think it would be a leap, though, to say that a 1500 on the new SAT is just as good as a 1500 on the old SAT (although, let's face it, they are not all that different). It's a crazy year for students and for admission offices.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 749 Member
    Wow! I'm so glad I'm not the only person who has been trying to make sense of all of this. Glad to hear that College Board has been on it...not that I would expect otherwise.

    Is there a new thread on this topic?? I would follow it if set up.

    Thanks for all of the replies and analysis. Very interesting and helpful making sense of it all.
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 1,613 Senior Member
    @Akqj10 "I found it interesting that in the Williams news release that it stated the averages for early decision
    Old SAT averages of: 731 CR 727M 725 W
    Redesigned average: 724 R&W 720 M"

    Yes, it means that Williams (and many other top schools that have holistic admissions) are NOT using the concordance tables. For example, UVA has stated that there is not enough historical evidence to be able to compare results on the Old SAT with the New SAT. Rather they are using their holistic admissions evaluations and then of the kids who were admitted then disclosing that the average new SAT, old SAT and ACT scores were for those admitted students.

    I believe that this is the fairest way to do it. My daughter never took the ACT or new SAT, so why should her new SAT scores be compared to the scores of those who took different tests?
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 1,613 Senior Member
    @TestRekt "So we can't say from average scores that the concordance was wrong or that colleges didn't use the concordance (most did) or that the same students taking different tests on the same day would not have done 40-50 points better on the new SAT (what a concordance supposedly tells us). "

    Do you really think that most schools are using the concordance tables? Here we have UVA and Williams not using them. I also heard from a few other top schools this summer on our tours that they are not concording SAT scores.
    I am sure that many state schools are using it as many do not use holistic admissions but I am not sure if the top schools are.
  • IN4655IN4655 Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    I think it would be fairly easy for any elite universities to see if the concordance tables were wrong. All they would have to do is use the concordance tables to transfer new SAT scores to old SAT scores and look at their class. Say they move from 3,000 applicants with 2,300+ to 3,000 applicants with a 2,270+ and across the board their total number/percent of applicants with each score drops like 20-30 points. I'd assume that they would think that something is up.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 749 Member
    This is such an apples to oranges situation there really is no clear answer. However, I do think as some of you have agreed, the type of student that ended up exclusively taking the NEW SAT vs. the type that only took the OLD SAT might be different, too. Not saying that the better students took the old one (but maybe the ones that were looking ahead more??? Maybe it mattered more them, or at least to their parents?), but I do wonder about that. In my daughter's above average north east public HS, the "top" students either took the OLD SAT or the ACT and didn't go near the new SAT. And I know from a neighbor of mine whose children attend one of the top PRIVATE HS's in the country that very few kids took the NEW SAT (class of 2017).

    I am on a lot of different accepted students threads and I did notice one thing on a FEW people worth noting. Some students took both and reported both on the thread. I don't think I saw anyone that took both that did BETTER on the NEW SAT. Not sure if that was a coincidence (and I saw like 3 so not really statistically valid), but it was something I noted because this topic interests me!!!

    I wonder how it will impact the RD decisions at the top schools. I guess we will know around April 1. I'm sure the colleges are struggling with trying to keep things as fair as possible. I do think they use holistic admissions, but my hunch is it does sometimes come down to some kind of objective measurement at some point and there is no more objective measure than the standardized test score. I think when comparing two otherwise equally holistic applicants coming from the SAME demographic, they would end up going with the kid with the higher score. So if one submitted the New SAT and one the OLD, it may be a difficult decision.

  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 1,613 Senior Member
    @collegemomjam " In my daughter's above average north east public HS, the "top" students either took the OLD SAT or the ACT and didn't go near the new SAT. And I know from a neighbor of mine whose children attend one of the top PRIVATE HS's in the country that very few kids took the NEW SAT (class of 2017)."

    I have heard the exact same thing from my US-based friends and my American friends whose kids go to American curriculum high schools. The general view was to avoid the new SAT as no one knew how the scoring would end up.

    Also, on your main point, I think that some schools who have holistic admissions are making the SATs probably the lowest ranking of the 5 main holistic criteria that they are looking at, (I heard one LAC state this explicitly last summer). I would also guess that these schools might use the scores as a tool for making the first cut of students to take to committee than as a final tiebreaker but again this is only conjecture.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 749 Member
    @londondad good point. I do believe that colleges are relying less and less each year on standardized tests for a variety of reasons, many centered around the concept of "fairness" (access to expensive tutors, differences in education opportunities, etc.)...and I agree that they might be used as a "first cut" data point rather than a tie breaker in some cases, especially when comparing students with similar backgrounds. I just wonder if when they are trying to make final decisions if they revisit the scores, too. I spoke with a Lehigh admissions officer once who said that sometimes they revert to the SECOND highest SAT score submitted when trying to decide between students (could you imagine?). My point is sometimes they just need something to base a decision on and they MAY look at the scores again. But we will never know, and I'm sure every school does it differently...and even different counselors within the same schools may do it differently. I would love to be a fly on the wall....
  • ahrb1512ahrb1512 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Anything from UMiami ED?
  • LadyMeowMeowLadyMeowMeow Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    @londondad @collegemomjam I have a kid who never took the old SAT, took the new SAT once, and thought she did fine (1550.) Then she started hearing about how "easy" it was. In my dark moments, I allow myself to worry that so many of the well-resourced folks -- the ones who plan way ahead, take tests multiple times, use tutoring services -- have such a keen interest in making sure their old SAT scores look as good as possible against the new SAT. I'll be glad when this is over.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 749 Member
    @LadyMeowMeow I'm not sure I understand what you mean? I can only speak for my daughter, but her prep to take the old SAT began early only because the test was going away January of Junior year and she just wanted to be done. Yes, she wanted her score to look good relative to others, but relative to anyone else applying to the same schools as her, regardless of what test she took.There was just so much uncertainty with the new SAT because it's the first year, she didn't preferred dealing with the devil we knew.

    Congrats to your daughter for getting such a great score the first time! I think that score should help her along in the admissions process! Good luck to her.
  • LadyMeowMeowLadyMeowMeow Registered User Posts: 121 Junior Member
    @collegemomjam Thank you & good luck to your daughter, too. I was partially giving a data point -- an academically serious kid in the pool of test-takers for new SAT -- and partially sharing the pain of uncertainty with you & everyone else (about how decisions are going to be made this year.) As for the question of which version of the SAT is "harder," I have no idea and can only hope that colleges are being smart about this situation.
  • hebegebehebegebe Registered User Posts: 1,357 Senior Member
    The idea that any college admissions staff can properly concord the old version of the SAT with the new version is rather laughable.

    This is not a trivial thing to do--you need enough data for the results to be statistically significant and the expertise to do the analysis properly. Only the College Board has the data to do this right, whether they did so or not is up for discussion.
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