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Accepted to Only 2 Out of 17 Schools - and What I Learned

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Replies to: Accepted to Only 2 Out of 17 Schools - and What I Learned

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78644 replies697 threads Senior Member
    Admissions cannot be done just by numbers alone.

    Actually, it is done by numbers alone at moderately and less selective universities, such as the California State Universities (CSUs).
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  • turtle17turtle17 183 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Second the "it is done by numbers alone" when numbers provide a clear distinction.

    Beyond the X school doesn't just want future math professors, I think when people see AIME or similar things they forget how many people qualify nationally. I checked and saw two different numbers for AIME, one 5000 and one more like 15000-20000. In either case, if you rewrite AIME qualified as one of the top 10000 in the country on a national math exam, it helps put it in context. If you are truly a top university, why not take the top 100? This can be replicated for all sorts of things, from sciences through music and other activities. I had a parent complain bitterly to me that his son didn't get into HYPSM, even though his professed love was math, and he made the AIME, but no comment about where he was on that scale. I kept quiet in person, but the arguments annoy me enough to rant on college confidential!
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  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3356 replies77 threads Senior Member
    so that's interesting @ucbalumnus -- are you saying that regardless of other characteristics, if you have the numbers, you get into those schools?

    What if the student has a felony-sex-crime record or shows symptoms of a severe psychiatric disorder? The school is forced to accept that person?

    It might be the case that numbers must and should dictate all in admissions, but I'm thinking that there's good reason to exclude some people.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78644 replies697 threads Senior Member
    The CSU application (see https://www.calstate.edu/sas/documents/applicationform-undergraduate.pdf ) does not ask about criminal records or psychiatric issues.

    CSUs calculate an eligibility index of HS_GPA * 800 + SAT_R + SAT_M. Applicants are rank-ordered for their campuses and majors, with provisions based on state and local area residency, for admission. CPSLO is an exception, adding additional points for other characteristics before doing the rank-ordering.
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  • jzducoljzducol 747 replies12 threads Member
    edited November 2017
    ^^ "Harvard, as a private institute, has all the rights to..." but they are private in name only because they take billions of dollars of federal funding.
    If Harvard is a private golf club like Trump International then perhaps it can be do whatever...
    edited November 2017
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2686 replies38 threads Senior Member
    Admissions cannot be done just by numbers alone.
    Actually, it is done by numbers alone at moderately and less selective universities, such as the California State Universities (CSUs).
    My understanding is that most of the top universities outside the US admit predominantly on merit, including places like McGill in Canada, Oxford in the UK, Tokyo University in Japan ...
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @VickiSoCal You keep making my point. UCs can't discriminate based on race, so based on merit alone, they have a huge percent of Asians. If the ivies didn't discriminate, they would too.
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  • hannuhyluhannuhylu 323 replies2 threads Member
    @AJLimom agree 100% this URM hookup is ridiculous.

    It is racism!!
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  • turtle17turtle17 183 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited November 2017
    I think there is the question of which stats - the wide ranging US system has no national high school curriculum and produces many different stats. In most circles I am the one defending the use of stats and not Harvard, but in context. To repeat myself, when international math olympiad (or chemistry or physics or national instrument award winners etc) with good stats across the board get turned down, then capricious is right.

    I also think it might be the case that the ratio of Asian undergraduates at top UCs compared to the California college age population might be similar to the ratio of Asian undergrads at Ivies compared to the US college age population.
    edited November 2017
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    The UCs don't use just stats either. The top colleges all want the same thing, both Harvard and Berkeley--the next leaders. But Harvard has a quota for Asians, UCs don't.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78644 replies697 threads Senior Member
    The top colleges all want the same thing, both Harvard and Berkeley--the next leaders.

    The UCs' admission policy goals are different from those at Harvard etc. in many ways (beyond anything about race and ethnicity). Extending opportunity for those from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds (1G, LI) is a much more prominent factor for UCs, and it shows in how their admission policies and practices differ from those of Harvard etc.. Examples include:

    * Support from the high school (recommendations, transcripts) not required at application (final transcript is required at matriculation to verify self-reported courses and grades).
    * SAT subject tests not required (recommended only for specific majors at some campuses).
    * FAFSA only.
    * Emphasis on courses/grades/GPA over test scores.
    * No legacy preference.

    The result is that the UCs have a significantly higher percentage of Pell grant students than most other similarly selective universities.
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  • Zion101Zion101 49 replies14 threads Junior Member
    edited November 2017
    *edited never mind, my post was inaccurate

    This is always an interesting debate to read though.

    edited November 2017
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  • YaleGradandDadYaleGradandDad 1058 replies5 threads Senior Member
    2+ for @itsgettingreal17 above. Harvard is crafting a class and not just choosing individuals. There are probably 18,000 kids a year rejected who were superstars qualified to do the academic work. It only seems like a crapshoot because applicants don’t see the institutional needs and the behind the scenes crafting of the class. Surely the higher stat kid from NJ needs to understands that a kid from Wyoming didn’t take their spot. Rather, the school wants to say it got kids from all 50 states so there are a couple of spots held for the top applicants from that state.
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  • AJLimomAJLimom 11 replies1 threads New Member
    IF you put OP's stats on any other demographic group, he would be an outstanding candidate good enough for many top schools, but OP was rejected from all top schools he applied to: MIT, Stanford, Caltech, USC, UC Davis, Duke, Dartmouth, Harvard, UChicago, and UPenn.

    So it's not just Harvard, it's the whole college system. When they hold a higher standard on a specific demographic, it's unfair to say the least for candidates like OP. We have to treat each person as a unique individual, not lump them together as 'Asian Male STEM'.

    UC can't apply AA legally, thus OP rightfully got into UCB and UCSD. If UC takes the same approach, which schools can smart asian boys like OP go? So they only deserve to go to second tier schools even though they have perfect test scores and outstanding ECs because they are ASIAN? BTW, California law makers are trying very hard to do so.
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  • Data10Data10 3055 replies8 threads Senior Member
    IF you put OP's stats on any other demographic group, he would be an outstanding candidate good enough for many top schools, but OP was rejected from all top schools he applied to: MIT, Stanford, Caltech, USC, UC Davis, Duke, Dartmouth, Harvard, UChicago, and UPenn.
    ...
    UC can't apply AA legally, thus OP rightfully got into UCB and UCSD. If UC takes the same approach, which schools can smart asian boys like OP go? So they only deserve to go to second tier schools even though they have perfect test scores and outstanding ECs because they are ASIAN?
    The top USNWR ranking type colleges tend to have holistic admission that depend on far more than just stats. The OP's stats would no doubt be good enough to be academically qualified, but that is different from saying he would be admitted. Such schools also have different policies towards over-represented ethnic groups. For example, the fall enrollment data for Caltech at https://www.registrar.caltech.edu/academics/enrollment suggests the undergrad population is ~47% Asian, while MIT claims to be ~31% Asian (including international from Asia in both). MIT likely focuses more on increased ethnic diversity than Caltech, but there are still many "smart Asian boys" at both colleges. Different colleges also emphasize/demphasize stats to different degrees. There are also plenty of excellent colleges that focus more on stats than HYPSM... Vanderbilt is a good example, although that may fall under your "second tier school" description.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2486 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "It only seems like a crapshoot because applicants don’t see the institutional needs and the behind the scenes crafting of the class."

    What do you think this institutional needs are? One for sure is having students from wealthy families. The average income at places like Harvard is $200K, it is essentially a place for upper middle class and upper class students from all fifty states and the countries the international students come from.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2486 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "To repeat myself, when international math olympiad (or chemistry or physics or national instrument award winners etc) with good stats across the board get turned down, then capricious is right."

    They definitely have, now is it a lot, I'm not sure, but for sure I can provide a counter example to your generalization. There are Asians that got into MIT and Cal Tech early and did't get into HYPS, actually to be accurate, I think a few got wait listed but don't think they got in off the w/l.
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  • turtle17turtle17 183 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I did include M in my original post HYPSM - the people I interact with most would have been fine with M. At least for my anecdata, truly national level accomplishments with a good overall application get you in (counting M which in my experience cares about STEM national level accomplishments).

    My point isn't that the system is not based solely on ACT/SAT plus AP scores - it clearly isn't. But it also is reasonably predictable. If what you've done is similar to what thousands of other kids like you have done (e.g. AIME and its science equivalents), or going into double-digit APs when most schools are clear it isn't a contest to see who can take the most AP tests, your odds haven't been substantially increased over the main pool of applicants.

    Put differently, I've been aware of which local kids have gone to HYPSM for somewhere between about 5-10 years now. Small numbers, but there really have been no surprises. You can argue about whether elite universities should change the way they do things (e.g. I personally like subject tests and not essays, and think the role of athletics is questionable), but it isn't all that capricious. My favorite way to think about it is X elite school will probably enroll say Y kids from our state, based on population, that's maybe 1 from our HS and neighboring HSs, is kid Z that special kid counting all the ways elite universities view special.
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