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The mess that is elite college admissions, explained by a former dean

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Replies to: The mess that is elite college admissions, explained by a former dean

  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 Registered User Posts: 1,043 Senior Member
    edited May 15
    ^^^^@PurpleTitan Not sure where the disconnect is here but let me put it simply:

    Point 1 - High school success is not just being able to just graduate from high school which is the "prize" (as was suggested), but it's helping the student prepare for college (and for some, "elite" colleges).

    Point 2 - I disagree with the sentiment that "it doesn't matter which college you go to as long as you are making the same amount of money upon graduation and throughout your career". Some colleges by their vary nature give a more enriched, immersed academic experience than others. To me it's not all about the earning potential of the graduate but the actual education one receives. We can agree to disagree....
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,608 Senior Member
    @socaldad2002: "Some colleges by their vary nature give a more enriched, immersed academic experience than others."

    I disagree only somewhat. I can buy, say, living on campus being a more enriching immersive experience than commuting.

    But when you are comparing research U's (let's say that LACs are the ultimate in faculty attention), how are you determining "by their very nature" that "elite private A" is providing a more enriching immersive experience than an honors college at "public U B"?
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 2,626 Senior Member
    Evidently, students' motivation, ambition, and desire to learn have a much stronger effect on their subsequent success than the average academic ability of their classmates.

    Except, the researchers didn’t measure motivation, ambition, or desire to learn. They measured where you applied. Maybe, applying to Harvard, even when you have zero chance of being admitted, signifies greater ambition and motivation, but that’s a large leap.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,608 Senior Member
    @roethlisburger:
    "Maybe, applying to Harvard, even when you have zero chance of being admitted, signifies greater ambition and motivation, but that’s a large leap."

    I find it believable.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 2,626 Senior Member
    ^Possibly, or it could mean the kid was too ignorant of the college admissions process to realize he had little chance of acceptance.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,608 Senior Member
    @roethlisburger, which might be a blessing. In life, belief in yourself is a powerful strength, even when it is wholly misplaced.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,161 Senior Member
    Johnny523 wrote:
    I went to UIUC 30 years ago (from NJ) and I knew people who might have been able to get into Northwestern or Chicago, but they didn't even apply because they felt they would have just as good an experience at UIUC, if not better, for a much lower price. Meanwhile, I don't think anyone in the top 20% or so of my HS class even considered Rutgers or any other NJ state school.

    Disdain for Rutgers among NJ high school students seems to be strong today in college search and selection posts in these forums by NJ students.
  • DeepBlue86DeepBlue86 Registered User Posts: 1,027 Senior Member
    I think if you apply to Harvard you by definition have one or more of “motivation, ambition and desire to learn”. You have to write essays, solicit recommendations, pay a fee, etc. The pre-Common App time period covered by the original Dale-Krueger analysis meant that the applications were typed or handwritten, so the effort to apply was non-trivial. Also, Harvard wasn’t ginning up apps from no-hopers to anything like the extent it does today.
  • TheBigChefTheBigChef Registered User Posts: 482 Member
    “A private college education is a luxury good, which people are willing to purchase because they believe it improves the quality of their kid's life. Given the choice on how to spend $300k, some people will buy a second home, others a Ferrari. DJ Khaled has a $300,000 Patek Philippe Nautilus”

    One major difference, anyone with $300K to burn can buy a second home, Ferrari, or Patek Philippe watch. Your kid has to get into Harvard before it will take your money.
  • gwnorthgwnorth Registered User Posts: 323 Member
    edited May 16
    I think if you apply to Harvard you by definition have one or more of “motivation, ambition and desire to learn”. You have to write essays, solicit recommendations, pay a fee, etc. The pre-Common App time period covered by the original Dale-Krueger analysis meant that the applications were typed or handwritten, so the effort to apply was non-trivial. Also, Harvard wasn’t ginning up apps from no-hopers to anything like the extent it does today.

    DS19 tested as gifted in elementary school but initially wasn't particularly high achieving as he found school unchallenging and boring. He was fortunate to be placed in a small in-school program for gifted/high achievers for middle school. There he was fortunate to develop a small tight knit peer group with whom he really bonded. The majority are Chinese-Canadian girls (mostly first generation) with strong work ethics and are universally high achieving. I believe that this peer group is in large part responsible for his successes to date. They all applied and were accepted into a competitive admissions regional magnet program for high school and continued to work together and support one another. Many of DS19's EC achievements in high school are a result of the encouragement, coaching, and modelling of behaviours by this peer group and academically he has been working much more to his potential since meeting them. Fast forward to this year and they all applied to university programs. The majority of them applied to highly competitive admissions programs requiring supplemental applications and interviews. They were universally successful in achieving admittance. One particularly ambitious friend, a med school hopeful, applied to Harvard (waitlisted), Stanford (denied), UCLA (accepted), UCB (accepted), and a very selective program at McMaster University here in Ontario (accepted). Of the programs DS19 applied to 2 were reaches: one moderate and the other one a very high reach. Both required supplemental applications. He received 4 early offers to his match programs at selective schools, but he was denied by the super reach program and is still pending to hear from his other reach. When it came to the supplemental applications he chose not to let me review them before he submitted them. I have since seen them and they really weren't of the caliber that would be necessary to be competitive, but he chose not to seek my assistance even though I offered. I think this demonstrates the inherent difference between him and his friends. His ship has risen because of his association with them but in terms of ambition and drive there is only so much that that association can do to overcome his intrinsic personality. Modelling and mentorship have certainly helped him but he requires much more handholding and encouragement then they do. They are motivated and ambitious. DS19 is as well to a point but not to the same extent as they are despite probably having more innate intelligence. These girls will go far whatever path they chose to follow. I worry that DS19 won't achieve as highly without continuing to have a similar peer group and work colleagues.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,608 Senior Member
    Fundamentally, LACs and research U's are obviously different environments.

    Why not compare apples with apples instead of apples with oranges?
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 27,507 Senior Member
    UIUC is a great school that my dear friends swore by. They did very well there. One got a Harvard MBA there. They saw absolutely no reason to send their kids anywhere else when they moved back to Illinois.

    And so was a wonderful school for their DD who turned down WU-SL and Northwestern for UIUC without a regret. Had a sterling academic experience there and is doing as well anyone these days. UIUC, by the way, has a tremendous rep on the international circuit. Right up there on those lists.

    But when it came to one of the kids, suddenly UIUC didn’t look so good. He was one of those kids that left things to the last minute. Needed some pushing, prodding and attention. The things that sharpened the other kids’ and my friends’ acumens Looked like it could lead to a very short stay, (or a too long stay) at the big state schools. If he coukd even get in, but then he did.

    So they doled out the money for a small private LAC. It wasn’t easy going there but he got through. As strong of advocates as they are for state schools, there are times when they are not the way to go.
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