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College admissions are a "crapshoot"?


Replies to: College admissions are a "crapshoot"?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,182 Senior Member
    The main reason admission to super-selective schools looks like a crapshoot from the outside is that students (and parents, teachers, and counselors) tend not to know the competitiveness of the entire applicant pools of such schools, particularly in the subjectively graded criteria like essays, extracurriculars, recommendations (which also introduce the recommenders' recommendation writing qualities into the application), etc.. So the top student in his/her high school may know that his/her 4.0 and top-end test scores are in the general pool, but has little knowledge of how his/her other application characteristics compare to all of the other applicants with 4.0 and top-end test scores.
  • AmherstClass2020AmherstClass2020 Registered User Posts: 87 Junior Member
    edited October 2016
    College admissions are completely (okay...MOSTLY) a crapshoot. I got accepted early write into Amherst, but got waitlisted at Carleton. I got rejected from Dartmouth, and waitlisted at Harvard. Seems random to me; each college is very idiosyncratic. (I didn't have legacy or was a recruit for either, and I'd judge all my essays to be very similar in terms of effectiveness.)
  • millie210millie210 Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    "Crapshoot" implies a lottery like level of randomness. Or, you know, like throwing craps. That you can't discern the reasons for your various results doesn't mean that there weren't reasons.

    When I was applying to college, many years ago, the joke about admissions at the most competitive schools was that the dean of admissions stood at the top of a staircase and tossed all the applications down the stairs. The ones that landed face up? Rejected. The ones that landed face down? Rejected. The ones that landed balanced on their edges were the ones that got accepted.

    It feels that way very often from the applicants' point of view, but it's just not that random.
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