My family is very education oriented and ever since I have been accepted into UMichigan, I have been getting into heated debates with my family members about how good of a school UMichigan is.
My Argument: U Michigan is a top ranked school and is renowned for its academic excellence.
My Family's Argument: U Michigan's acceptance rate is near 50% meaning its easy to get into. Other colleges like UVA (30%) and Havard (<10%) Are harder to get into therefore a better school. Better school therefore harder to get into, weaker school, easier to get into.
How do I fight that logic?
My main argument so far has been that U Michigan's size allows them to house many students therefore their acceptance rate is higher.
Michigan is one of the best public university in US and maybe in the world. i agree with your argument. and to logically counter your parents argument based on the information provided. A school with a low acceptance rate isn't better than those with a high accpetance rate. i would say that Purdue is a pretty good university, engineering is awesome and the rest is pretty good. but are you willing to say that Purdue is not as good at Mississppi valley state university who only acceptes 24% of the students. or CUNY Baruch.
better school is harder to get into, because of their reputation, and demand. and most ivy school are small and cannot accomedate the demand of a large institution. Harvard accept about 1200 new student each year and yet they have a application pool of 23000 almost equal to the size of Michigan's application pool. but Michigan is expected to recieve 6500 new student equal to harvard and most ivy leagues's total UG student size. it's unfair to compare Univeristy just base on their accpetance rate. it should be judged on the educational value that is recieve. when you go to harvard, you probably have a better chance of getting a job than an MIchigan grad, but taht is just the reputation that comes with the name. is harvard better than michigan at everything...maybe probably, but maybe not, there is no way of knowing. it's all based on what other people think.
in conclusion, i think you're parent's argument is wrong and that you are more correct.
Michigan is not an easy school to get into, it is not as hard as ivies just because those school are more competitive. it is easy if you are comparing yourself on CC. those that do get into ivies are usually the top students in the country and around the world. very often those that does apply to ivy also apply to michigan just because they know that the educational value is there and it's equal to those that you would recieve at an ivy league school.
1. did your family goto college? because i have relatives that just went to some fifth tier school and this is pretty much how they view colleges. They don't think about the academic value, but they think about how tough it is to get in, because they got an english degree from some no name school and they think the hardest part is getting in.
2. Michigan isn't as selective as Harvard, but I mean... I don't think you are picking between Michigan and Harvard. You still have to be smart to be considered. Top 10% and 3.5/4.0 is REQUIRED, even instate. Obviously Michigan's average stats are higher, but it's not like anyone can get in.
3. Michigan isn't in the best location, to receive massive applications, if Michigan were in California, you can count on 20% acceptance rate. Now, you also have to look into the future. (41% acceptance rate for last year's frosh class) Michigan has one of the largest endowments in the nation, it's just beginning to tap into the largest alumni base in the world for donations, and will proabably continue to increase that effort. We haven't yet gone to the common application.
Michigan's main selling points are (in my opinion, or at least some of the reasons I chose to make it my alma mater)
1. Global Brand
2. Top 10, and in most cases top 5 in everything, this means best faculty, best TAs, and the best peers.
3. Located in Ann Arbor, a very liberal and diverse city, able to accomodate any personality.
4. Athletics, both in spectator sports and participation.
5. Endless research opportunities as an undergraduate with the best people. (look into UROP)
I would tell your parents that the admission rate and selection criteria are moot since the best life decisions are based on FIT and that (if true) every bone in your body says U of M is the FIT for You...And since they're not the ones who will be living the rest of your life out for you...they should humor you and allow you to be responsible for the consequences of the decision you make. If I were feeling snarky, I might add that they should be well-educated enough to know the old saw about the use of "statistics" in sophist arguments : ) (And I'm a parent. And if my kid said that to me (which he sorta has in the past : ) I'd hug him for being so self-possessed!)
Michigan accepts 40%, not 50% of its applicants. And acceptance rate isn't everything. Until a couple of years ago, the University of Chicago had a 40% acceptance rate. Just because Michigan has a higher acceptance rate does not mean it is not good academically.
As for your family, first of all, it is unfortunate that they are critical. A family should be proud to have their child admitted into a university of Michigan's calibre. I would just take them through the Peer Assessment rating. Thousands of university professors and deans of undergraduate admissions cannot be wrong after all...and they certainly are far more knowledgeable about universities than any of us on CC, or than your family for that matter.
According to those university Presidents and deans of undergraduate admissions, Michigan is in the same league as Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Penn and UVa. Here's a look at universities ranked according to prestige in academic circles:
#1 Harvard University 4.9/5.0
#1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4.9/5.0
#1 Stanford University 4.9/5.0
#4 Princeton University 4.8/5.0
#4 Yale University 4.8/5.0
#6 University of California-Berkeley 4.7/5.0
#7 California Institute of Technology 4.6/5.0
#7 University of Chicago 4.6/5.0
#9 Columbia University 4.5/5.0
#9 Cornell University 4.5/5.0
#9 Johns Hopkins University 4.5/5.0
#9 University of Pennsylvania 4.5/5.0
#13 Duke University 4.4/5.0
#13 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 4.4/5.0
#15 Brown University 4.3/5.0
#15 Dartmouth College 4.3/5.0
#15 University of Virginia 4.3/5.0
#18 University of California-Los Angeles 4.2/5.0
#19 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 4.1/5.0
#19 Washington University-St Louis 4.1/5.0
Only in the CC world is a university like Michigan not given its due.
"UVA is way overrated" ~completely false, but whatevs
I say go to Michigan and show 'em up! lol but really, it's a great school; I go to UCLA and it's very highly regarded by both students and professors here. It's not uncommon to have textbooks written by UMich professors, or to see people walking around in Michigan apparel.
If you're smart enough to get into Michigan, you're smart enough to make the choice that's right for YOU.
Your parents like to use numbers to assess schools. The problem with using acceptance rates to assess the quality of a school is that there are a few degrees of separation between the two (you need to make a lot of assumptions to bridge that gap).
The best way to prove them wrong is just to point to the figures more closely related to academic quality -- like what Alexandre posted. Figures showing how well represented Michigan is at top grad schools and companies could also be useful. Speaking of grad schools, tell them to check out where all of Michigan's rank on USNews.
Excellent point jnpn. Results are always more telling than acceptance rates.
For example, according to a 2003 survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, Michigan's placement rate into top 5 professional (Medical, Law and Business schools) graduate program was 18th (1st among Public universities, ahead of UVa and Cal) best among research universities. I am talking about rate, not absolute numbers mind you. In terms of absolute numbers, Michigan was actually ranked 5th in the nation. Now having the 18th highest placement rate among research institution is impressive as it is, but if you disect the rating further, Michigan's elevated rate is even more impressive. Consider the following:
1) The Wall Street Journal only surveyed placement rates into the top 5 MBA programs, the top 5 Law Schools and the top 5 Medical Schools. Of those 15 programs, 12 belonged to East Coast universities. As such, Midwestern and Western universities were at a distinct disadventage.
2) Only 80% of Michigan's undergraduate student body belong to colleges that actually produce students who would apply to such professional programs. 20% of Michigan students major in untraditional fields, such as Art, Kinesiology, Music, Nursing etc... Such undergraduate majors enroll and produce students who are neither inclined or able to apply to Medical, Law or Business school. Most schools with a higher placement rate have close to 100% of their undergrads majoring in traditional field in the Arts and Sciences, Business or Engineering.
Another telling number is the production of Fulbright scholars. Rhodes, Marshall etc... are great scholarships, but with only 15-30 winners annually, they aren't very telling. Roughyl 1,000 students win the Fulbright award each year, and as such, the statistical accuracy of the data is more convincing. 4 of the last 6 years, Michigan has led the nation in Fulbright awardees. In the past 7 years, Michigan has produced over 160 Fulbright scholars. Harvar dand Yale are second with fewer than 140 each. Only 7 (Brown, Cal, Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern, UCLA, UT-Austin) other universities have produced more than 100 in that span of time.
There are plenty of signs pointing to Michigan's academic excellent and output. Acceptance rate is clearly not a metric worth focusing on.
"I'd put more wieght on what the former Stanford President said."
Below is the comment made by Gerhard Casper, Stanford's President from 1990-2000, that Barrons was referring to:
"I am extremely skeptical that the quality of a university - any more than the quality of a magazine - can be measured statistically. However, even if it can, the producers of the U.S. News rankings remain far from discovering the method. Let me offer as prima facie evidence two great public universities: the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and the University of California-Berkeley. These clearly are among the very best universities in America - one could make a strong argument for either in the top half-dozen. Yet, in the last three years, the U.S. News formula has assigned them ranks that lead many readers to infer that they are second rate: Michigan 21-24-24, and Berkeley 23-26-27."
Dr. Casper is a well respected, Yale educated, Legal Scholar who really has incredible insight on American universities. For the complete story, below is his link criticising the US News and Worlkd report.
So concretepencil, you now have a lot to counter your parents' rather crude view of Michigan.
1) The Peer Assessment Score (tied at #13 in the nation along with Duke University)
2) Placement rate into graduate school (#18 in the nation among research universities)
3) Production of Fulbright scholars (#1 in the nation)
4) Gerhard Casper's comment (which is pretty much shared with most of academe)