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What percentage of seats do you think unhooked kids compete for at elite schools?

surelyhumansurelyhuman Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
Someone told me that once you take legacy, URM, athletes etc, you really have only 50% general, open category seats that unhooked kids are really competing for.

So if a school has 60%+ yield and has 1,600 slots, they probably will extend 1,300 offers for the 800 or so open unhooked slots out of a possible 35k+ unhooked applications which makes it very hard to get in. I've heard the odds may be worse actually. I feel that this may be accurate but am not sure

Is this correct or just idle speculation?

Replies to: What percentage of seats do you think unhooked kids compete for at elite schools?

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,763 Senior Member
    This is a good question. Not college, but we discovered after the fact that in applying to an elite private kindergarten for one of our kids, they essentially had 4 slots out of 30 left after taking many legacy and a few URM candidates. (We weren’t particularly disappointed, and we’re glad in retrospect that our kid didn’t get in, but that is another story.).

    I’d say you can count on the bottom
    25% of the class being hooked somehow for sure. So the general idea is that if your stats are below the 25% mark and you are unhooked, your chances of getting in are slim indeed. And I think a percentage of the rest of the class is hooked, too, but it is harder to nail down the percentage. Maybe another 10-15%? So that gets to around 35-40%.

    I don’t know that the actual odds matter a lot. Toss your best application into the ring, and make sure you have matches and safeties you like. Then go eat ice cream and wait.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,920 Senior Member
    edited January 13
    Among schools that field the usual set of sports teams, smaller schools will have a larger percentage of the seats consumed by "hooked" applicants, specifically athletes, since the size of college sports teams varies much less than the number of students at schools that field the usual set of sports teams.

    So the percentage of seats available for the "unhooked" is nearly all at Arizona State University, which enrolls about 20,000 new frosh per year (so all of its athletes make only a tiny percentage of them) and considers neither legacy nor race/ethnicity.

    But the percentage of seats available for the "unhooked" may be smaller than most assume at Williams College, which enrolls about 550 new frosh per year (of whom nearly 100 (18%) are athletes with "tips" or "protects" in admissions according to http://ephblog.com/2017/10/10/athletic-admissions-details/ ), and which considers both legacy and race/ethnicity to be "important". Legacy is reportedly about 14%, and URM is reportedly about 21%.

    In-between, there is Cornell University, which enrolls about 6,000 new frosh per year (of whom about 200 (3%) are recruited athletes), and lists both legacy and race/ethnicity as "considered". Legacy is reportedly about 15%, and URM is reportedly about 22%.

    Note that legacy, URM, and athlete are not necessarily mutually exclusive (although legacies and athletes in most sports are more likely to be non-URM), and some may have been strong enough applicants to be admitted if there were no such "hook" for them.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,007 Senior Member
    edited January 13
    Full pay applicants may represent another favored class at colleges that weight this factor in admission decisions.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 3,478 Senior Member
    @merc81 Most of the top 30 universities and LACs are need blind so the full pay thing doesn’t help.
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    Full pay applicants may represent another favored class at colleges that weight this factor in admission decisions

    I tend to agree with @merc81, based on my limited experience. I have had several private conversations with CC'ers about this, as well, but when going thru the athletic recruiting process with D19, every elite D3 coach asked us if we would be applying for fin aid. When we said no, the answer was always something along the lines of 'that's good'.

    I don't know why D3 coaches (at schools that meet 100% need, and none offer merit aid) would need to know this in a need blind situation. I am sure we can all speculate as to the reasons, but I just don't know.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 3,478 Senior Member
    @Mwfan1921 Well, that would help us but all of the LACs that S19 applied to are supposedly need blind except Carleton. Maybe it's different for recruited athletes going ED.
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    @homerdog I personally (with no evidence except for the fact that coaches asked our fin aid plans) do believe that these schools find out the financial status of the 70-90 or so recruited athletes ahead of time (and most of those do go thru the ED round). I also owe you a PM, which I will send this am.
  • yearstogoyearstogo Registered User Posts: 556 Member
    I read a post recently where it was mentioned that a high percentage of the students at MIT were athletes and there was a large advantage if the applicant is a recruited athlete. I was very surprised to read that but not sure how true it is...
  • yucca10yucca10 Registered User Posts: 816 Member
    @yearstogo Out of four kids that were admitted to MIT EA this year that my son knows personally, two are athletes, with good credentials but noticeably inferior to the other two academically. Anecdotal data, but I was very surprised. We'll see what RD brings.
  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 Registered User Posts: 1,026 Senior Member
    Fewer slots available then you think esp when you factor in soft things like colleges accepting more candidates from a particular set of schools ( which they have familiarity with).

    @yucca10 @yearstogo MIT's web site explicitly states that they are looking at academic credentials first and foremost. All of their athletes are accepted on the basis that they can perform in the classroom and balance sports with academics. Perhaps, the students you heard of have that capacity. It's likely they are high level academic applicants who also are perform well in sports. Actually this is pretty common among elite kids. Being able to balance a difficult course load with sports is rigorous and kids need to be very focused. MIT is NOT accepting good athletes over better academic candidates, they are just factoring in, what can the kid do in the community when he gets there. It's pretty rare for MIT kids not to be overachievers in multiple areas. They aren't looking for the kids who grinds his way to A+, but the kids for whom academics and doing other things comes pretty easily. They can tell. And BTW, athletes aren't recruited at MIT.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,752 Senior Member
    I'm quoting a passage from the book, "The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Colleges and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates," by Daniel Golden:

    "At least one-third of the students at elite universities, and at least half at liberal arts colleges, are flagged for preferential treatment in the admission process. While minorities make up 10 to 15 percent of a typical student body, affluent whites dominate other preferred groups: recruited athletes (10 to 25 percent of students); alumni children, also known as legacies (10 to 25 percent); development cases (2 to 5 percent); children of celebrities and politicians (1 to 2 percent); and children of faculty members (1 to 3 percent). Some applicants benefit from multiple preferences, that is, a legacy may also be an athlete. These estimates might be conservative. Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, told me that he once calculate the proportion of admissions spaces open to 'regular students' at one Ivy League university, which he declined to name. His startling conclusion: students without any nonacademic preference are vying for only 40 percent of the slots. Birgeneau added that Ivy League schools typically understate the number of students whose alumni ties facilitated their admissions."

    This book was written 12 or 13 years ago. Golden thought these percentages "might be conservative" then. Well, I'd say the estimates are much higher now. For one, the admission percentage of URM's has grown lot more at the elite schools since. Minorities make up lot more than "10 to 15 percent of a typical student body" at these schools today. Back then, too, FLI (First-gen, low-income) wasn't considered a hook as it's now become with the elite schools actively recruiting them onto their campus and the admission percentage of FLI is increasing each year at these schools. Add a conservative figure of 10 percent there.

    What about "spike"? Not technically a "hook" but those applicants who possesses an extraordinary talent in, say, arts (future Yo-Yo Ma's), science, politics (David Hogg, remember?), etc.? Add another 2 to 5 percent or so.

    My own conclusion is that those non-hooked, non-spiky applicants, who are otherwise competitive (GPA, SAT/ACT, EC's) are, realistically, vying for only about 20 percent remaining seats at any of these elite schools.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 3,478 Senior Member
    @TiggerDad I agree. And, on top of all of the categories you mentioned, schools try to keep the male/female ratio around 50 percent if they can. So cut that 20% in half.

    I tried to figure out S19’s chances of getting into Williams and, after I took out all of the above categories and allowed for a little overlap between them, I think he’s still vying for something like 100 spots for unhooked males!
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 674 Member
    In addition to the reasons cited above, there're also fewer yardsticks that can be used to differentiate applicants. GPAs are inflated. Standardized tests are made too easy and inadequate to discriminate among good applicants. ECs are easily manipulated. LoRs lack uniformity. The colleges have to look elsewhere. The large number of applicants is also an issue. Other than in arts, very few colleges involve faculty in admission because the sheer number of applications. Faculty would be best positioned to ascertain applicants' academic capabilities.
  • CT1417CT1417 Registered User Posts: 4,274 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus -- I still have not figured out how to quote, but wanted to point out that Cornell enrolls approximately 3300 freshmen each fall. 5448 admitted for the current class, but 6000 were admitted in prior classes.

    Athletic recruit figure is correct, but percentage is twice that due to corrected class size. Legacy % seems to be trending up. Now at 16.8% but had been below 15% four years ago.

    I agree with your post, but just wanted to correct the figures. The Ivies all have a similar # of recruited athletes, so the # of ED spots for unhooked applicants will be lower at Dartmouth than at Cornell.

  • yucca10yucca10 Registered User Posts: 816 Member
    @Happytimes2001 Sure, they can perform in the classroom. What I mean is suppose two kid have equally awesome grades and scores, but one of them is a state-level athlete and another is a multiple state-level science fair/math contests winner. Will MIT prefer the first one? It seems so to me, but I may be wrong of course.
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