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College admissions are a "crapshoot"?

WashUH0pefulWashUH0peful Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
edited September 2016 in College Search & Selection
Like many, I've been lurking this site for quite a while. I've been looking at chance me's for many selective schools and often I'll see people claiming college admissions to be a crapshoot. I had a few questions regarding this:

Are admissions actually this inconsistent?
Can you give an example that illustrates it being a crapshoot?
Are there ways to avoid this uncertainty?
Particular colleges infamous for being inconsistent?
If you can answer any of this question or add any general remarks that'd be much appreciated.

In a time where you have no certainty with your college admissions experience, it's very comforting to see some sense mad out of this randomness. Thank you in advance!
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Replies to: College admissions are a "crapshoot"?

  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,617 Senior Member
    I would say belonging to an URM or URN qualifies as well. A highly qualified Native American, Latin American or African American applicant, or an equally appealing citizen from a country like Belize, Tibet, Senegal etc...The grades and test scores obviously have to be there, but assuming that they are, the odds of admission are pretty good.
  • ProudpatriotProudpatriot Registered User Posts: 1,543 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    @Zinhead If you are being fair the person you are responding to did write "The grades and test scores obviously have to be there..." Nobody is denying that the pool of URMs is competitive. However, an URM with a 35 ACT and 3.9 GPA has a much better chance at acceptance than a white or asian with the same stats. Being a URM brings much more certainty to college admissions assuming that the grades/scores are great. Certainty is what the OP was seeking.
  • twicearoundtwicearound Registered User Posts: 208 Junior Member
    It's schools with extremely low acceptance rates that can be a "crapshoot". Duke, for example, boasts that it rejects more 75% of valedictorians. When schools have that many people applying with similarly solid applications then it makes sense it becomes harder for them to distinguish between applicants and harder for applicants to determine what will help distinguish them. Agree that in those cases, "super" hooks may provide more certainty. URM is a hook that can tip things in an applicants favor depending on the school and the application, not a "super" hook that provides certainty in the most competitive schools.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 56,356 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    Its annoying to call admissions , especially in smaller, uber competitive schools that craft/build a class on interesting and unique students, a "crapshoot". Just because the applicant doesnt know what transpires around the admissions table doesn't mean its a "crapshoot".
  • Wje9164beWje9164be Registered User Posts: 1,258 Senior Member
    We went through selective admissions process a couple years ago. D had a 36 ACT her GPA was "only" 3.83 UW good not great ECs. In looking back at things, the admissions decisions were not random. There are a lot of very talented students applying and I think many students don't realize how nuanced admissions are at the very top colleges. Your application needs to tell a story and it needs to be interesting
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 56,356 Senior Member
    Typo above-- should say craft a class OF interesting and unique students. Agree with @Wje9164be. Be interesting, be likable, make the school want you, not the other way around.
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    @Proudpatriot - The part I took objection to was "the odds of admission are pretty good." Being a URM applicant at a top school might increase the odds from say 5% to 15%, but those are still lousy odds. Of course, if they raise the odds to 50%, then I am incorrect, but I doubt they provide such an increase.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,617 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    I agree Zinhead, which is why I clearly stated that the student must have strong grades and test scores. But I stand by my statement, a highly qualified URM or URN applicant faced significantly better odds of admission into selective colleges and universities.
  • moscottmoscott Registered User Posts: 990 Member
    Add recruited athlete to the list of super hooks.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,135 Senior Member
    Are there ways to avoid this uncertainty?

    Fully qualified appicants have a pretty good chance of admission (~50% or higher) at even highly selective colleges at which the acceptance rate ranges from about 25-30%. At the about two dozen schools nationally that are significantly more competitive than this, the chances for similar applicants may appear to have a more random aspect.
  • socalmom007socalmom007 Registered User Posts: 1,017 Senior Member
    At very competitive schools, under 10-15% acceptance rates, they are trying to choose between nearly perfect applicants and other nearly perfect applicants. For the student who's done absolutely everything they could have done and still doesn't get in,it can feel like a crapshoot. Schools choose on different admission criteria so it's difficult to understand outcomes. 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. Well, UC's are race blind admissions, the decisions are made on GPA, scores, and essays. 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. Our guidance counselor says no student should count on a top 25 schools, have back up plans you'll be happy with.
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