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

i012575i012575 423 replies41 threads Member
https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/5/1/18311548/college-admissions-secrets-myths

Highlights
1) Recent headlines notwithstanding, the ways the wealthy game the system are remarkably mundane
2) When it comes to elite college admissions, private high schools reign supreme
3) Standardized testing is just as problematic as the vague concept of “preparedness” and as contingent on wealth
4) Men — especially white male athletes — have an unfair admissions advantage over women
5) Rankings are arbitrary, misleading, and poisonous
6) Deserve’s got nothing to do with it
7) Where you go to college doesn’t define you — or guarantee your future
8) The job isn’t easy, and admissions officers do a lot of thankless work

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

  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 3075 replies164 threads Senior Member
    my favorite
    Some private schools provided no grades at all, substituting platitudinous fluff for any measurable achievement.
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  • TheBigChefTheBigChef 710 replies6 threads Member
    "As for the white male athlete comment, I think that's in reference to white athletes being disproportionately represented in most sports (really, pretty much all outside of basketball and maybe football) at the DivIII level."

    He raises an interesting argument regarding giving a boost to kids applying to D3 schools as athletes. I'm inclined to agree with him that being a great lacrosse player shouldn't be an admission ticket to Williams or Wesleyan. However, he undercuts his argument by singling out males. Every been to a field hockey or girls lacrosse game? Those are white girl sports.
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8405 replies170 threads Senior Member
    This article is also being discussed in the "Feds uncover" thread in this same subforum.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13438 replies31 threads Senior Member
    BTW, England evidently is a Wesleyan grad (with high honors) and was dean of admissions there.
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8405 replies170 threads Senior Member
    Wesleyan is a school that especially values legacies in admission, as a policy. Their policy and practice are not identical with the policies and practices at all elite colleges and universities.
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3725 replies181 threads Senior Member
    Wesleyan is a school that especially values legacies in admission, as a policy. Their policy and practice are not identical with the policies and practices at all elite colleges and universities.

    I don't think that's true. Wesleyan's legacy admissions are at the low end of the pack, if by "elite colleges and universities", you mean the Ivy League":

    Penn - 25%
    Cornell - 22%
    Princeton - 17%
    Dartmouth - 16%
    WESLEYAN - 11%

    (Sources: https://www.thedp.com/article/2017/12/early-decision-ivy-league-philadelphia-upenn-admissions-legacy
    https://www.wesleyan.edu/admission/apply/classprofile.html)
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8405 replies170 threads Senior Member
    No, @circuitrider I mean elites in general, but thank you for pointing out Wesleyan is behind 4 Ivies in that regard. It may, however, be ahead of some other LAC's. I haven't compared numbers with regard to the latter.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6926 replies121 threads Super Moderator
    edited May 2019
    BTW, England evidently is a Wesleyan grad (with high honors) and was dean of admissions there.

    He was an Assistant Dean (essentially the lowest level of admissions staff) from 2003, the year he graduated, until 2006, during which time he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa.

    The staffing for Wesleyan admissions, with the number currently in each position is:
    Assistant Deans (5)->Senior Assistant Deans (2)->Associate Deans (5)->Director of Admission (1)-> Dean of Admission and Financial Aid (1)
    edited May 2019
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2228 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Wesleyan is a school that especially values legacies in admission, as a policy.
    No, @circuitrider I mean elites in general, but thank you for pointing out Wesleyan is behind 4 Ivies in that regard. It may, however, be ahead of some other LAC's. I haven't compared numbers with regard to the latter.

    Huh? Did you make the assertion with any comparison?
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  • CU123CU123 3697 replies76 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    Here's another interesting quote from the article:
    I hated early decision. Most students we accepted were not exceptional in the context of the regular pool, and they got in at a much higher rate. Early decision applicants tend to have savvy private high school counselors who understand this. These students also tend to be from wealthier families who got a head start on the college search: They could afford campus visits the previous summer; financial aid isn’t an issue, so they don’t have to wait for offers of assistance.

    Many here still deny these facts.

    @1NJParent Well because we had a different experience, my DD applied ED, went to a public high school, needed FA, and compared favorably to the average admit.....so there ya go.
    edited May 2019
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8405 replies170 threads Senior Member
    I'm going by "some other LAC's." For example, Williams two years ago had a 7% legacy admit rate. Amherst also has a 7% admissions rate for legacies, I think. Generally, I go by history of my students admitted. I'm not obsessive about stats.

    Have a nice day.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 4032 replies40 threads Senior Member
    I think the prior posters were confused and meant to say that Amherst and Williams classes were composed of 7 percent legacy students, not that there was a 7 percent legacy admit rate. It seems highly unlikely that legacies were tremendously under admitted compared to the general admit rate of close to 15% for Williams, for example
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  • epiphanyepiphany 8405 replies170 threads Senior Member
    I think the prior posters were confused and meant to say that Amherst and Williams classes were composed of 7 percent legacy students, not that there was a 7 percent legacy admit rate. It seems highly unlikely that legacies were tremendously under admitted compared to the general admit rate of close to 15% for Williams, for example
    Indeed. Thank you for the correction, which I realized right after I posted. *Just a second'' can't be accurate."

    In any case, the history of my students admitted is that Wesleyan has been slightly more interested in legacies than some similar small universities and LAC's. (It is technically Wesleyan University, for those who might have called it an LAC.) I think we often think of it as an LAC.
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