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"Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

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Replies to: "Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,161 Senior Member
    For the numbers experts here can you help calculate what is the true statistical probability of a student with no hooks or preferences, stats inside the 25 to 75 band and no national recognition or patents or books etc receiving admissions to all ivies or three including s and mit with different “mosaics” they tell is they are building ?

    Not enough information given. Since college admissions are not independent events, and outsiders do not have visibility into some important aspects of the application (essays, recommendations, etc.) or what things each college is looking for that are unique to the college or in common with other colleges, any such calculation is likely to be misleading.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,617 Senior Member
    Ok. Thanks UCB.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,492 Senior Member
    edited May 13
    @privatebanker
    All the advice we give here is potentially wrong

    That's my basic opinion of 90% of what I see posted on CC in a nutshell.
    It is a crapshoot or roll of the dice

    No. In general the colleges are looking for very similar qualities. The article about the Chen kid told a very compelling story. I can't imagine any ad com NOT being impressed by his essay and the LOR's he probably got from his teachers. He consistently sought out opportunities and went beyond what his school offered, which is what ad coms love to see.

    If his parents had been wealthier, if he had been enrolled in a path of high-end academic schools from kindergarten through high school, if he had been given everything and simply worked hard at it -- then he probably would not have stood out or impressed anyone in a particular way.... and perhaps not gotten anywhere. So in a way, he "won" the birth lottery by "losing" -- because that provided his own personal backdrop from which he could accomplish things that were objectively remarkable for anyone in his circumstances, but probably would not have seemed at all unusual for bright, hardworking kids born into more privileged circumstances.
    Was there any low ses or first gen hook
    Well, obviously the "Impoverished teen" was low ses:

    From the article:
    Chen grew up in dire poverty. His father left Chen’s mother, two sisters and a 1-year-old Lloyd penniless, shortly after his parents emigrated from South Korea to the U.S.

    His mother suffers from an autoimmune deficiency that makes her unable to work..
    .
    the true statistical probability of a student with no hooks or preferences, stats inside the 25 to 75 band and no national recognition or patents or books etc

    Again, I think you are making the mistake of projecting your own experience with the schools your kid attended with the overall college admission process. Most kids who get accepted to Ivies have something special that makes them appealing to the ad coms, but most do not have what would be seen as "hooks" or "preferences" by the CC community.

    50% of all college matriculants have stats inside the 25 to 75 band. And another quarter have stats below the 25th band. That's just how math works.

    And very few have national recognition or patents or books.

    And in my experience it is far more common for students to end up with multiple admissions than not --- but again, I'm coming from a different world view, putting my kids in different types of educational settings. Where most of the kids aren't even aspiring to attend Ivies -- so the ones who do really are the types of kids who clearly stand out.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,617 Senior Member
    edited May 13
    @calmom. It is a great story. And he sounds amazing! So happy he found this success. I’m all in for him.

    But as a practical matter it appears that he is both first gen, a definite hook and lower ses student which is a potential preference. Perhaps he was a Questbridge finalist. Lastly his backstory is not really duplicative. It’s so exceptional. So he is not the typical Asian applicant with educated parents and middle or higher ses.

    It’s seems to point at the power of hooks are incredibly important as he presented a compelling yet imperfect academic package.

  • ChangeTheGameChangeTheGame Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    edited May 13
    @privatebanker I think it kind of comes down to defining what one is looking for. If the definition is the number of cross-admits into Stanford, MIT, and Harvard without hooks, that list is very small (BUT that list is very small regardless). If you are just looking for students with 3 or more super-selective admits (at least 3 top 20 schools by USNWR) with no hooks, I see that yearly from a student or 2 a year from our moderately competitive suburban high school where no one has any national level accolades.

    The val at my kids school last year was a Chinese American student who got into 4 Ivys and a couple of other super-selective schools. But we also had an URM student who had even better results (although that student was also very very,qualified, they were not the val and had a slightly lower SAT) that had to deal with AA negativity because it overshadows even the most qualified URM students. I wish there were numbers for unhooked applicants with 3+ super-selective admits because I have always believed there are more unhooked applicants with that designation than URM students, but it is URM students with 8+ admits or an "Ivy Sweep" (a very small subsection of URM students) who get all of the publicity and dominate the conversation.

  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 2,626 Senior Member
    edited May 13
    What is the point of this detour? Most kids can only dream of getting admitted to one HYPMS school. If you cross that bar, does it matter who gets admitted to only one or all five, other than bragging rights?
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,617 Senior Member
    edited May 13
    @ChangeTheGame Thanks, Makes sense.
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,828 Senior Member
    edited May 13
    But if nothing else remains constant. All the advice we give here is potentially wrong. It is a crapshoot or roll of the dice. Because he must have crafted the “why here” essays for each school with the skill of a master manipulator. All these schools can’t possibly speak to his heart equally. And this is even crazier. It’s like 10 schools. Noting else makes sense. Was there any low ses or first gen hook. It doesn’t add up.
    It's not a crapshoot or random. Both the Arcidiacono and Card models were able to predict the vast majority of admission decisions correctly (0.8 to 0.9 correlation coefficients), without even considering +/- ratings or directly considering essays. That does not mean a why us type question has 0 influence. It only means that there are far more criteria than just having the best possible why here answer. Nobody does perfectly in every admissions criteria, but students who do very well in many of them compared to the applicant pool, tend to do well in admissions decisions.

    Looking at the Chen articles, he's obviously academically qualified; but that's not the main reason he had such success in admissions decisions. The article includes statements like the following. It's not surprising to me that a highly academically qualified student who meets the description in the article had multiple acceptances to highly selective colleges. What is more surprising to me is that after he was accepted SCEA to his apparently first choice school (dream school since he was 8 years school and happiest day of life when we was accepted), he applied to YPSM during RD. Maybe he was hoping for better FA than the presumed ~$0 expected cost to parents at Harvard combined with Gates Millennium scholarship? I'd expect most students who are accepted to their first choice school during SCEA/REA/ED do not keep applying, and certainly do not apply to unique combinations of schools, like both Yale and MIT.

    Quotes from Articles About Chen
    “I’ve never met anyone who’s had so many things going against them, who’s risen above them all,” said Alycia Sato, Chen’s high school counselor. “In over 20 years in education, I have met no student who is the match in dedication to his education and those around him,” Sato said. “He truly loves to learn.”

    "Chen grew up in dire poverty. His father left Chen’s mother, two sisters and a 1-year-old Lloyd penniless, shortly after his parents emigrated from South Korea to the U.S. His mother suffers from an autoimmune deficiency that makes her unable to work. For the past couple years, Chen assumed the role of her caretaker after his older sisters moved away to attend college."

    "Throughout my life, I’ve learned to grow up without luxuries,” he wrote in his college application essay. “I don’t need fancy clothes. I don’t need expensive SAT classes. I don’t even need a father. “I have something more valuable than luxuries: the foundation to grow and prosper,” he added. “My circumstances have not brought me down, but instead, have made me stronger.”

    "Chen has thrived in math classes, taking the most difficult ones at nearby Cosumnes River College. By the end of his junior year in high school, he had earned an A in calculus 3, linear algebra and differential equations at the community college, Sato said."

    "As vice president of the Key Club, he spearheaded the school’s involvement in the 100 Friends Project, which raised money to build a library for poverty-stricken children in Thailand. This school year, Chen was the California-Nevada-Hawaii Key Club District secretary, serving 46,000 members."
    For the numbers experts here can you help calculate what is the true statistical probability of a student with no hooks or preferences, stats inside the 25 to 75 band and no national recognition or patents or books etc receiving admissions to all ivies or three including s and mit with different “mosaics” they tell is they are building ?
    The Harvard analysis gives some information about rate of admission with different combination of ratings. Students who received the average in applicant pool rating of 3 in all categories only had a 0.1% rate of admission. I'd expect admission to be nearly impossible without recruited athlete type level of hooks. An applicant with 25 to 75% scores is probably more likely to receive a 2 academic than 3. However, with only a single 2 rating, admit rate was also abysmal for those without recruited athlete level of hooks.

    However, applicants who received a 1 rating or 2 ratings in three or more categories had a much higher rate of admission. For example, 68% of applicants with a 1 academic rating (1 academic requires more than just scores) and no other 1s were admitted. 68% of applicants who received 2 ratings in all four core categories were also admitted. I'd expect either of the latter students to be rated well at other holistic highly selective colleges, regardless of hooks. I wouldn't expect a 100% acceptance rate, as the admission process and applicant pools are not identical at different colleges, but I would expect a notable correlation in admission decisions, which is exactly what occurs.
    But as a practical matter it appears that he is both first gen, a definite hook and lower ses student which is a potential preference. Perhaps he was a Questbridge finalist. Lastly his backstory is not really duplicative. It’s so exceptional. So he is not the typical Asian applicant with educated parents and middle or higher ses.

    It’s seems to point at the power of hooks are incredibly important as he presented a compelling yet imperfect academic package.
    The Harvard lawsuit analysis found that being marked as "disadvantaged" (low SES) + first generation corresponded to a similar degree of preference as would occur if one of the four core ratings was increased from 3 (average applicant) to 2 (above average in applicant pool). The analysis found this degree of increase in preference is less than the preference given to more traditional hooks -- athlete, URM, special interest list, legacy, faculty/staff kid, etc. The analysis also suggests that if he did not specify his planned concentration (article mentions he was uncertain about planned concentration), then the unspecified concentration penalty would nearly cancel out the "disadvantaged" preference.

    In short, if you focus on stats + hooks, you miss a large portion of the admission criteria and reasons for admission decisions at highly selective colleges. It's not just that he had a low SES or first gen hook. It's how he excelled and overcame such a challenging situation, what character traits this shows and how it impacts likelyhood of future achievements both at and beyond college, how likely he is to take advantage of the far increased opportunities at HYPSM... compared to his background, how others describe him including his GC and teachers in LORs, etc. Different specific colleges emphasize different types of these criteria to different degrees, but I'd expect any of them would be impressed by Chen.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,617 Senior Member
    @Data10 Great info and analysis. It’s helpful. Thank you.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,161 Senior Member
    edited May 13
    Data10 wrote:
    What is more surprising to me is that after he was accepted SCEA to his apparently first choice school (dream school since he was 8 years school), he applied to YPSM during RD. Maybe he was hoping for better FA than the presumed ~$0 expected cost to parents at Harvard combined with Gates Millennium scholarship? I'd expect most students who are accepted to their first choice school during SCEA/REA/ED do not keep applying, and certainly do not apply to unique combinations of schools, like both Yale and MIT.

    Gates scholarship does not notify until April, so it is entirely possible that he was comparing FA offers until then (presuming that he got a net price of $4,600 from Harvard, before getting the Gates scholarship). While $4,600 may be a small difference to most (high SES) forum posters, it probably seems like a lot to someone from a low income background.
  • wisteria100wisteria100 Registered User Posts: 4,162 Senior Member
    @calmom makes a good point about people projecting their personal experience as the gospel for everyone else. As in my unhooked super smart, high stats kid didn’t get in, so that means your smart unhooked kid won’t either. You see that a lot on CC.
    @ChangeTheGame Agree with your point too- there are more unhooked kids with multiple top admits, than CC would have you believe.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 2,165 Senior Member
    "I understand hpy have overlap. But mit Stanford and Yale"

    I thought she got into Stanford, Yale, and Brown, not MIT, but I may have missed the MIT acceptance. Those three would make more sense for sure.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 2,165 Senior Member
    "I think the point that @privatebanker was trying to make is that without a hook, a student needs extraordinary accomplishments to get multiple HYPSM admits today."

    Or standard accomplishments in extraordinary circumstances.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,617 Senior Member
    edited May 14
    @theloniusmonk I like that description. Yes that’s a good thought too. And you are probably right about her situation.

    Unfortunately, so many kids have incredibly abusive and unloving homes but it looks good from the outside.

    They overcame a lot too despite the nice facilities, so to speak.

    My family was generationally poor. Grandad died at 36 and family sent to different relatives. And the story continued. The home we had was not much. But So much love. Attention to family. Clean clothes and food. Do you homework and respect women and your elders too.

    Who actually had it harder?

    The kid dumped off at boarding school and zero interaction with parents. The rich kid with the drug addled mom and abusive dad and the high school divorce. The shouting and the lack of warmth. Violence. Greed. Manipulation.

    Kids don’t pick their parents.

    Sometimes extraordinary circumstances are in the eye of the beholder.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 2,626 Senior Member
    @privatebanker So do you think that’s the right approach?

    If you are interested in the legal issues, read the Fisher II opinions, including the dissents.
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