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College admissions are a "crapshoot"?


Replies to: College admissions are a "crapshoot"?

  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    @Alexandre - But how much better are the odds for a URM? Lets say a school has an overall acceptance ratio of 10 percent for students in the middle 50% of their SAT/ACT score range. How much of a boost would a URM get? How would the odds be between a black male compared to a Hispanic female?

    I am just trying to quantify the advantages, and there is precious little information out there on this issue. Going from a 10% chance of admission to a 20% change doubles ones chances, but the overall chances are still poor.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,636 Senior Member
    Are admissions actually this inconsistent?

    If you mean at super-selective colleges, admissions may appear to be "random" when looking at them from the outside. From the inside, the admissions people know what their criteria are, and have a view of the entire application pool, so that the selection process is likely far more consistent from their point of view.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,636 Senior Member
    One of my daughter's friends last year was accepted to UCLA under a very competitive major, yet wasn't accepted to USC. How could that be? If you look at the numbers UCLA has much higher stats.

    USC frosh had higher test scores, but probably lower HS GPA, than UCLA frosh. UCs tend to weight GPA more heavily than test scores (in comparison to the relative weighting at most other schools), so a GPA-heavy applicant may get into UCLA but not USC, while a test-score-heavy applicant may get into USC but not UCLA.
  • socalmom007socalmom007 Registered User Posts: 1,017 Senior Member
    I'm talking about an applicant that was over 2200 SAT and 4.6 gpa, top 10 at a very large and competitive high school. It may seem random, but it's not. Shchools just have different admissions criteria and ways of differentiating otherwise qualified applicants.

    As far as URM, it totally depends on the school. If one is applying to UCLA is will help them not at all, race blind admissions. At some schools it may be a significant advantage, at other shchools a very small advantage.
  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 Registered User Posts: 3,422 Senior Member
    Perhaps if one simply isolates GPA and SAT / ACT they might not understand admissions.

    If a school has 20+ applications for each seat in its freshman class, one might imagine many candidates will look similar in terms of GPA and test scores.

    So what makes for a winning applicant?

    Those who understand what specific colleges look for will comprehend why it is certainly not a crapshoot.

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,636 Senior Member
    Note that some divisions of USC may be more competitive than others (like at UCLA, though not necessarily the same divisions or the same relative level of competitiveness versus other divisions). In addition, the schools also consider and weight various subjective factors differently. For example, UCLA considers work experience more heavily, but does not consider legacy status, recommendations, or interview that USC considers.
  • traveler98traveler98 Registered User Posts: 1,146 Senior Member
    "USC is not race blind admissions, this student being an over represented minority and in a competitive major means less qualified applicants (lower tests scores and GPA) got in while she did not."

    @socalmom007, you don't know that she was displaced by "less qualified" applicants just because of her race. A holistic admissions school is looking at more than just stats. Maybe her essay didn't resonate or her ECs weren't what they were looking for that year or her application just caught an admissions officer on a bad day. Whatever. Trying to pin her rejection entirely on her being an over represented minority is not fair. I'm sure plenty of people in her over represented minority with her stats DID get in. Why them and not her? Who knows, except the handful of people at USC who evaluated her application?
  • socalmom007socalmom007 Registered User Posts: 1,017 Senior Member
    Fair, it's hard to say. A question was asked about URM and how big of a factor that is, my answer was more at some schools than others. USC seems to be a school where it's a considerable factor. For the record, I am not white or Asian, I have no dog in this hunt, nor is my child applying to USC. It is well known among guidance counselors that being an URM is a considerable hook at that particular school.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,636 Senior Member
    Those who understand what specific colleges look for will comprehend why it is certainly not a crapshoot.

    It is not a crapshoot, but it looks like a crapshoot from the outside.
  • traveler98traveler98 Registered User Posts: 1,146 Senior Member
    Exactly @ucbalumnus. S is thinking of applying to MIT as his one reach, with the rest of his applications going to matches and safeties. He knows that MIT has many more fully qualified applicants than spots, and that he will not know what the admissions office is looking for when he applies. So TO HIM it will look like a crapshoot because even though he knows MIT is carefully curating its freshman class, he doesn't have any inside knowledge about what they will want that year. Vanishingly few students can be confident that they will DEFINITELY be accepted to schools like HYPMS, no matter how well they match the previous accepted student profiles.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,615 Senior Member
    Zinhead, there are many variables to consider. But if you take a Native American student with a 3.8 GPA, 5s in 5 APs, a 1500/1600 on the SAT, I doubt his chances of getting into a university like Cornell or Duke or Penn would be 20%. More like 50%-75%. An African American or Hispanic American with similar creds would have lower odds of getting into such universities, but still better than 20% in my opinion. Close to 30%-40% (depending on the specifics of the applicant) if you ask me. But of course, there is no real data to support either one of our claims. ;)
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,598 Senior Member
    Knowing you'll get in means you're applying to a safety. A safety has to accept at least 30-40% applicants to be considered as such even if you're super qualified. Anything 20% admission or under has to be considered reach for everyone.
    Some universities admit based on stats, including state flagships (Iowa, Alabama USF and FIU...)

    Who remembers where Malala Yousafzai enrolled?
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,907 Senior Member
    Malala Yousafzai is Class of 2017 in high school.
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    @travler98 - @spayurpets did a yield ranking for Class of 2020 that broke out the RD yield for ED schools.

    Among the Ivies and MIT, MIT was by far the worst school to apply ED/EA.


    @Alexandre - Thank you.
  • traveler98traveler98 Registered User Posts: 1,146 Senior Member
    @Zinhead, yep, have read that. MIT isn't actually my S's top choice, so even without that info ED/EA was never on the table for him.
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