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Can political involvement hurt admissions chances?

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Replies to: Can political involvement hurt admissions chances?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 60,225 Senior Member
    As I have said before I would stay away from this issue if I were the OP. Here are some mainstream conservative positions that wouldn't play out well with admissions. Providing meals to the elderly is a waste of money. Providing money for the arts is a waste of money. Climate change is a hoax(imagine a student writing an essay on the climax change hoax). Providing government paid medical care for the poor is a waste of money. The mentally ill should be allowed to carry guns.

    The biggest hot button may be the travel ban executive orders, which various polls have found close to half of the respondents in favor of (depending on the poll, support was higher or lower than opposition -- support ranged from 42% to 52% according to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/polls-trump-executive-order-travel-ban_us_589479a4e4b0c1284f255570 ). With that much support, support for the travel ban executive orders is presumably within the "mainstream" somewhere (presumably among conservatives).
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 5,731 Senior Member
    I think this whole discussion about how college admissions people would view this is a ridiculous question completely putting the cart before the horse.

    I think that kids should aim to be the person that they want to be. For EC stuff, they should do what they want to do. They should live their life and learn how to be happy. By late junior year, the kids will have "stats", some academic record, and some genuine interests. At that point, your kid is the consumer. They need to find schools that resonate with them, and need to find at least two safeties so that they can reject and disappoint at least one college.

    This whole attitude that these admissions officers are "higher powers" that will decide your kids fate is self-defeating and leaves way too much to chance. Most admissions officers are alumni who couldn't get a better job. I tell kids to plan a dream life, and that college is just a stepping stone to that dream life, and that there are many ways to get there.

    What kind of message does it send to kids that they should shy away from being too political because they might get shunned.

    Coming from liberal Massachusetts, I thought there was great value in having my Ds meet serious intelligent people from the other side of the political spectrum who they could respect, but who would also respect them in discussions. For the most part they have met such people. My Ds haven't changed their views, but are perhaps more moderate because they have engaged in rational civil discussions. I suspect some of their more conservative friends are more moderated too after meeting them. For example, there has definitely been a move toward accepting people on the LGBT spectrum as they are and the younger generation overwhelmingly has gotten used to it. My kids have diverse groups of friends and like it that way.

    Bottom line, I wish your D the best of luck and tell her not to live in fear.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 11,899 Senior Member
    Bottom line, I wish your D the best of luck and tell her not to live in fear.

    Indeed.

    Advice here to act on such fears by concealing memberships/avoid pursuing it IS self-defeating as most respectable/elite colleges DON'T want students who are afraid to stand up and make a good case for their beliefs whatever they may be.

    And it wouldn't have worked on folks I know who are passionate about activism in political/religious areas.....most IME would feel such advice would be asking them to go contrary to their own personality and character....to be shrinking violets when they're actually more like proud thoughtful roaring lions, bears, and tigers as IMO, they should be with pride.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,240 Senior Member
    edited March 20
    Here goes my methodology soapbox. If anyone wanted a serious study of how conservatism or any other factor affects college admission, they would run a logistic regression or some similar statistical technique. In the absence of peer reviewed research or the relevant data, which colleges don't make public, that's not possible, so you end up with a lot of speculation. If you want to know what percent of the student body shares any particular characteristic, surveys and polls are almost always going to be far more reliable than anecdotes. Surveys and polls may not tell you why a particular group is over or underrepresented. However, they're likely to yield a far more accurate estimate of whether a group is over or underrepresented than anecdotes of the variety: I knew some redheads who got admitted to an Ivy, and they were loud and obnoxious about being redheads, therefore I can assure you redheads aren't underrepresented on campus.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,240 Senior Member
    @mathmom

    Your 2012 source shows Romney receiving support of 17% of the students, with 6% of the students picking a third party or undecided, and 77% favoring Obama.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 29,046 Senior Member
    Ok. Stand corrected! The point is more than 4 times as many as supported Trump. It's a sizable chuck of the class.
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,363 Senior Member
    edited March 20
    @lookingforward -
    Ha, you mean where Zin asks me if I'm sure work study kids aren't making admit decisions? I am sure. Or an anecdote or two, in *Daily Beast,* about how some adult once worked as a receptionist? You never had an incidental job?

    Ask yourself what that proves. Many could learn a whole lot more about all this by examining the colleges, not clinging to anecdotes, hearsay, and "I think."

    Every admissions officer I have dealt with says they got involved in the field as an undergraduate working in the admissions office or giving tours, and then staying on after graduation as a paid employee. These are the traveling adcoms that visit schools or college fairs recruiting kids to apply, and the various adcoms you meet while touring campuses. They are also the level of adcom that does the first reads and first weeds of applicants.

    If you can provide some evidence that the primary method that admissions officers enter the field is not as I have described, please do so.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 29,286 Senior Member
    You guys seem to have forgotten how admissions work.
    1° Activities need to make an impact. The activity can be liberal or conservative, or anything. But if it had no positive impact on anything, it is pointless as far as elite admissions go.
    Note: "conservative" is not a euphemism for "racist". Writing about your involvement in the KKK is not recommended because it's not welcome on elite campuses (or any college that requires "speak about a meaningful EC" or even looks at EC's). Same thing for any violent group (ELF was quoted at the beginning of the thread).
    2° Your essay must not be about "cutting meals from poor old people is doing them a favor" or "the arts are a waste". Your essay must be about YOU and how YOU helped old people. A college application essay is about your growth and your actions. It is not an academic essay about an issue.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 31,469 Senior Member
    Not ivy league but I teach a class CURRENTLY at university of Michigan that is necessarily political.

    There are conservatives. They are not shy about their opinions.

    I know current ivy students who are moderate to conservative. They exist and they are engaged.

    But what do I know.
  • eiholieiholi Registered User Posts: 312 Member
    Recently I heard a state lawmaker on radio voicing opposition to some routine medical screening because brain scanning may reveal who conservatives are. I thought he’s weird but then realized that fMRI might be powerful enough to do just that. Who knows, if college applications are scanning of sort, top colleges might know what kind of future beings they are getting. Can we parents tell what might be in store for each of our kids, sort of? We are often blind by love.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 273 Junior Member
    Yes Romano, there are also Jewish students enrolled currently in the Catholic University of America, where they too are active and engaged, though CUA gives preference to Catholic applicants. The presence of some doesn't negate the issue of possible discrimination. And as a giant state flagship, Michigan's admissions process really doesn't resemble that of the Ivy League. Yes,both take statistically strong applicants but state university is less holistic, more transparent, and more legally defensible to state lawmakers.
  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy Registered User Posts: 2,350 Senior Member
    Your daughter should be who she is.

    Just please don't assume that her involvement in or founding of a conservative club will be *the* reason she is admitted or denied at any college. Don't come back to CC in a couple of years and state: "My D was denied admission because of her involvement in a conservative club." or the opposite.

    It won't be the deciding factor in a denial, unless, as was stared above, she is espousing far alt-right views. Founding or leading *a* club that actually accomplishes something is what might make a difference in admissions, not whether or not the club has a conservative slant.

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