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Isn't College Admission supposed to be Getting Less Competitive?

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Replies to: Isn't College Admission supposed to be Getting Less Competitive?

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,999 Senior Member
    @Lindagaf : Well, it's not puzzling in that both are small rural LACs in states that voted for Trump (in a year when many people in metropolitan areas, for the first time, realized that many people in rural areas hold different values and beliefs from them).

    But yes it does show how misguided it is to judge colleges by admission rate.
  • dfbdfbdfbdfb Registered User Posts: 3,077 Senior Member
    jzducol wrote:
    With one in five taxi drivers nowadays being college graduates more and more people are realizing that only college degrees from smaller number of schools matter.
    I strongly challenge the grounding in reality of the bit where I added emphasis.

    I also challenge, though less strongly, whether there's really such a perception, anyway. I'll agree, certainly, that such a perception exists among a certain part of the population, but I rather expect it's not actually a very widespread one.

    Also: I looked it up, and it isn't 1 in 5 taxi drivers who hold a college degree, it's 1 in 7—still more than one might expect, but a lot fewer. Interestingly, the taxi drivers with a college degree out-earn those who don't have a degree by more than 15%, so even there there's an advantage to college. (I couldn't find how many of those degrees are from unaccredited colleges or for-profits or such, though, which would have been useful information for this analysis.)
  • elguapo1elguapo1 Registered User Posts: 245 Junior Member
    @DadTwoGirls I hear you re scores. There is no question of grade inflation, but I also believe students are much more accomplished than they were in our generation. D1 sent me one of her graded essay's, it about knocked me out of my chair, the scholarship involved was mighty impressive with more reading for that one essay than I can remember doing in an entire semester. Second anecdote, good friends son attended one of the most prestigious east coast boarding schools, back in his fathers generation it was a question on pointing to the pennant of which Ivy league school they wished to attend and that was about it for college selection.
  • jzducoljzducol Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    edited July 3
    @dfbdfb "Also: I looked it up, and it isn't 1 in 5 taxi drivers who hold a college degree, it's 1 in 7—still more than one might expect, but a lot fewer. Interestingly, the taxi drivers with a college degree out-earn those who don't have a degree by more than 15%, so even there there's an advantage to college"

    15% was the number in 2010, before Uber age. I imagine if surveys were conducted today which count Uber drivers the number may be north of 20%. The point is the divergence between the top half and bottom half of colleges just like in the larger economy as better colleges are getting harder to get in and others are easier.
  • dfbdfbdfbdfb Registered User Posts: 3,077 Senior Member
    @jzducol, in defense of the numbers I offered, the 1 in 7 statistic came from a 2017 report based on numbers collected in late 2015 (which showed no net change in the proportion since 2010). Those are the most recent numbers I could find; "I imagine if" scenarios, even if reasonable, aren't nearly as reliable.

    I would argue, though, that even if the numbers are at 20% you don't have any basis on differences between outcomes at different "status levels" of colleges without information on where degreed taxi drivers went to college. As I said in my previous post, I was unable to find such information; if you have access to it, it'd be good to know where to find it.
  • IWannaHelpIWannaHelp Registered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
    Don't forget the internationals. At Northwestern, the percentage was 10% for the 2016-17 cycle as compared to 5% for the 2006-07 cycle.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,035 Senior Member
    @elguapo1 said: " I hear you re scores. There is no question of grade inflation, but I also believe students are much more accomplished than they were in our generation."

    Absolutely. Whether there is grade inflation might depend upon your definition of "grade inflation". Clearly there are more kids with straight A's than there used to be. However, I think that this is because there are more strong students. I think that the importance of education is more widely believed today and there are more kids who are determined to do well. There are also resources such as what we can all find over the Internet which weren't available when I was in school. The work that brings in an A or an A+ today also would have brought in an A or A+ when I was a kid. There are more kids doing this today.
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,277 Senior Member
    edited July 3
    Only if the quantity and quality of international applicants stays constant. At the high end (at any rate), we've seen both increase dramatically in recent years. With the Ivies/equivalents capping Internationals at 10-15% of the student body, that means that it has been increasingly more difficult for Internationals to get in to those schools.

    Granted, what you say may apply to those schools well outside the Ivy/equivalent tier.

    Not sure it's necessarily more difficult as even 2+ decades ago, international students were mostly expected to be full pay and held to higher admission standards than US citizen counterparts.


    Agree that the recent influx of internationals with questionable academic quality are mainly an issue for schools well outside the Ivy/peer elite tiers...or lower.
    Clearly there are more kids with straight A's than there used to be. However, I think that this is because there are more strong students.

    That's not what I've been hearing from Prof/TA friends who teach in universities...including Ivy/peer elites.

    One thing they did notice was a marked increase in higher SES students and sometimes even parents to increasingly dispute grades....sometimes even threatening to hire high priced attorneys to threaten lawsuits if their special snowflake didn't get the "A they deserved" even when the actual quality of work in question fell far short of quality meriting as such.
  • dfbdfbdfbdfb Registered User Posts: 3,077 Senior Member
    cobrat wrote:
    One thing they did notice was a marked increase in higher SES students and sometimes even parents to increasingly dispute grades....sometimes even threatening to hire high priced attorneys to threaten lawsuits if their special snowflake didn't get the "A they deserved" even when the actual quality of work in question fell far short of quality meriting as such.
    Can't speak for the Ivies, but the institutions I've worked at, they never lost such a case while I was there.

    Really, once you get to that point, you need clear evidence of capricious grading (which would easily be caught in the internal appeal process) or clear discriminatory intent (which is almost certain to be caught in the internal appeal process).
  • VANDEMORY1342VANDEMORY1342 Registered User Posts: 555 Member
    Internationals might be to blame, CMU is like 25% international if I remember correctly.
  • MomOf3DDsMomOf3DDs Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    What skews the number of taxi drivers is the fact that most are immigrants. Many immigrants come with a college degree, but its usefulness here is not always realized.
  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,339 Senior Member
    With one in five taxi drivers nowadays being college graduates more and more people are realizing that only college degrees from smaller number of schools matter. And therefore more intense competition each year to get into fewer and fewer selective colleges. Here is a Wall Street Journal article that explains such dynamics:

    @jzducol I would argue that it's more important to do well in college, not attend an elite college. I know a far greater number of folks who got degrees partly or fully online from regional schools. I can't point to research on where these underemployed college graduates come from but I doubt the top 25% at four year universities are part of it. The other factor is poor choices of majors without a plan. Psychology is a great major if you intend to go to grad school for any number of things from LCSW to Clinical Psychologist but too many think they can get a job related to their major with just an undergrad degree in psychology. (I'm an advocate of psychologist, it's just an easy example of a popular major that isn't always well thought out).
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,277 Senior Member
    What skews the number of taxi drivers is the fact that most are immigrants. Many immigrants come with a college degree, but its usefulness here is not always realized.

    Another thing to consider is the phenomenon of college graduates being underemployed in this manner is nothing new. Sometimes it could be due to a cyclical downturn in a particular field/industry/ies.

    According to older relatives and colleagues, there were plenty of ChemE majors driving taxis, waiting tables, and doing similar types of jobs back in the '70s and early '80s due to the dismal job market for ChemE grads.

    Things were so bad then that many parents who were engineers or knowledgeable about this situation made it a point to urge HS seniors and college first-years to avoid majoring in ChemE for that very reason.

    Similarly, I knew plenty of engineering/CS majors who worked with with me in startup environments or who were finishing up their undergrad/grad programs in those fields ending up driving taxis, waiting tables, or working as customer service assistants at computer/tech big box stores because they lost/ended up getting no-offered at the last minute due to the dotcom crash of 2001.

    In 2011, found one car rental customer service rep was a CS major who graduated right into the dotcom crash and ended up never working in the field and being underemployed for several years before picking up his customer service gig at a car rental chain several years after graduating.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 737 Member
    I do think unhooked applicants that were trying for the top schools. If you read the admitted threads, it looked like the same set of kids got admitted to the tops and most of them with hooks. But the flip side is there are more perceived top schools than when I was applying in the 80's (UCLA, NYU) that I think overall, it's easier to get into a top school today.
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