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Changes in the college admissions process may not help applicants

Dave_BerryDave_Berry 492 replies2801 threadsCC Admissions Expert CC Admissions Expert
"... Add, too, the litany of other administrative burdens that drag down the application process. Writing a personal statement, for example, takes a significant investment of time and opens up advantages for wealthy applicants who may have parents, tutors and essay coaches to help in its composition. Supplemental essay prompts require still more personal resources, and the most common prompt -- “Why Us?” -- leverages applicants with the means to visit campus and to use that experience in the essay. Even the sheer variety of due dates makes meeting deadlines an administrative maze.

I haven’t even touched on how the steps for receiving financial aid intensify the administrative burdens of applying. A bipartisan bill released last December promises to ease the financial aid application process. We should be hopeful, but given how recent beneficial changes to the college application process have also resulted in unintended complications, we have reason to be a bit skeptical at the same time ...

... The longer I work in the admissions space, the more I think students would benefit from a uniform application process. There are too many distinct due dates, too many supplemental essay prompts, too many separate requirements for individual colleges. I know that a post-CEPP world means that colleges need to be careful about coordinating with other institutions, but a truly common application would lessen the administrative burdens on applicants and likely send more students to college."

Opinion.

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/views/2020/02/03/changes-college-application-process-designed-help-students-may-not-do-so
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Replies to: Changes in the college admissions process may not help applicants

  • ASKMotherASKMother 222 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited February 3
    Curious... how many institutions actually have essay requirements that are college specific? Meaning the prompt is unique to that school. Seems like most of the prompts my D18 had were pretty much all the same (for example U of Richmond typically has as a choice prompt about spiders... but you can choose others).
    edited February 3
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80199 replies720 threads Senior Member
    edited February 3
    Lindagaf wrote: »
    I can’t see that colleges will one day admit students based on grades alone.

    Whether or not you consider that desirable, it is already common:

    Texas public universities admit many of their frosh based on class rank alone if high school course requirements are met.

    CSUs in California admit transfer students by ranking them by prior college GPA (within majors applied to).

    Arizona public universities have automatic frosh admission by GPA alone if high school course requirements are met.
    edited February 3
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  • MCRISTOFMCRISTOF 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I think these colleges need to justify the cost of the application that adds up every time you apply. Do we think they are really reading the essays, personal statements, evaluating grades and other factors of thousand of students? They created this impression that your 'creative writing" should be different from other students to distinguish you and give a better chance. This is the "business of the application" even before you get to the admission and expensive tuition.
    There is no fairness or equal opportunity. It is sad that education has reached this level of degradation in the US.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35238 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited February 4
    It's not "creative writing."

    And just saying, it's pretty clear to me that @lindagaf noted "selective colleges" and that not *all* colleges will move to admitting based on stats alone.

    One of the primary reasons for supplemental questions IS to distinguish among applicants. It's not another set of hs writing prompts, not meant to just fill space. How you answer reflects what you know of that college and what it wants, how you match. If it's too much for you, sure, apply to those that look at stats primarily.

    And blaming rich families as if they all produce better apps? You really think so? Based on what? Or is it more assuming? Try to know what does matter.
    edited February 4
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  • Noah001Noah001 2 replies0 threads New Member
    nice!
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9910 replies538 threads Senior Member
    I’m referring to selective colleges.

    In some ways, stats driven admission is more fair, but again, disadvantaged students will get the short end of the stick if admissions are based only on stats.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80199 replies720 threads Senior Member
    Lindagaf wrote: »
    I’m referring to selective colleges.

    Do you really mean super selective colleges? The TX, CA, AZ publics mentioned above are (mostly moderately) selective.
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  • SammoJSammoJ 139 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited February 4
    ASKMother wrote: »
    Curious... how many institutions actually have essay requirements that are college specific? Meaning the prompt is unique to that school.

    Even both of our state schools had an essay prompt - "Why us?" - unique to the school. And both of their honors programs/colleges had 2/3 unique essay prompts, along the lines of, "If you could create a new course at this college, what would it be and why would it be a good fit for the students here?"

    S19 wrote 17 essays, 5 long paragraph responses, and 2 lists for 9 schools. He could borrow bits and pieces from one to another, but they required careful editing to make sure the final essays were coherent and school specific.
    edited February 4
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35238 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited February 4
    Yup.
    Money doesnt buy smarts or the right accomplishments, thinking skills, etc. Imo, you overestimate.

    For truly selective colleges and up, the privates kids agonize over.

    Not worrying about fin aid is a different issue. But just being wealthy isn't it.
    edited February 4
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  • SammoJSammoJ 139 replies2 threads Junior Member
    PrdMomto1 wrote: »
    Rice even has "the box" where you have to upload a photo of something that "appeals to you" with no explanation.

    That reminds of of one of Wake Forest's prompts - create a list of 10 things. What ten things? Any ten things, just a list with no title, leave it to the app reader to decide how they tie together. S19 made a list of his 10 favorite pieces to play on the piano, a friend made a list of her 10 favorite lipstick shades. (For what it's worth, he got in, she didn't.)

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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 1199 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Short of moving to admissions by random draw (actually proposed by some on CC) students from wealthier families will always have and edge: better schools, test prep, money for apps etc.

    Many of the changes discussed in the article, to me, seem to make things more difficult. Self-reported test scores or grades eventually need to be validated (I assume).

    And, if we value the distinct cultures fostered by different schools, w need to ensure that colleges have the tools they need to build their classes. If this means supplemental essays, students just need to invest the time they need to craft them.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3317 replies62 threads Senior Member
    1NJParent wrote: »

    At the other of the day, the current complex admission processes don't even produce student bodies that necessarily correlate that well with smarts, certainly not compared to some UK schools.

    'Smarts' is much more than GPA and test scores.

    I do agree that the US admission process is complex, and is another way that low SES and/or some URMs are disadvantaged.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1569 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    1NJParent wrote: »

    At the other of the day, the current complex admission processes don't even produce student bodies that necessarily correlate that well with smarts, certainly not compared to some UK schools.

    'Smarts' is much more than GPA and test scores.

    Of course.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35238 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited February 4
    Ucb, you assume. I don't know your experience with kids this age, but money doesn't create better individuals. Nor instill sense. They may have some privileges but nothing says their choices, output, and achievements are miraculous. Are you thinking they get better stats, understand leadership better, think/act on a deeper level, write a better app, because they have money and pay for help? Or go to away sports camps? And so on. Not.

    And what I object to is the term "preference," as if colleges "prefer" to load up on legacies and hardly vet them.. This is my view. Clearly, others disagree. Arguing is pointless.

    One needs to look at the kids, as represented in their apps. Founding something, holding fundraisers among their parents' friends, going to pricey summer programs, etc, are not what tips kids in.

    Meanwhile, savvy lower SES kids are advancing in legit ways.

    I won't argue further if this goes off track or into debate.

    As for the UK, our system is what it is.
    edited February 4
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