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OVERLAP SCHOOLS as compiled by the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 Edition

PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
One of the most interesting and most valuable insights offered by the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 Edition is the section on "overlap schools".

The Fiske Guide explains its overlaps section as follows:

"Most colleges and universities operate within fairly defined "niche markets". That is, they compete for students against other institutions with whom they share important characteristics, such as academic quality, size, geographic location, and the overall tone and style of campus life." Students who apply to a particular school also tend to apply to its peer institutions.

The Fiske Guide To College staff asked each school included in the guide to give "the names of the colleges or universities that they consider to be their closest peer institutions and those with which they share the most...applications [in common], and these are listed in the "Overlaps" section at the end of each write-up".
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Replies to: OVERLAP SCHOOLS as compiled by the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 Edition

  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Vassar College overlaps = Brown, Wesleyan, Pomona, Swarthmore, Amherst, Tufts, Yale, & Columbia.

    Brown University overlaps = Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell & UCal-Berkeley. (But not Vassar College.)
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  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Southern Methodist University overlaps = Vanderbilt, Texas Christian, USC, Wake Forest, Univ. of Miami, Univ. of Texas-Austin, Texas A&M, & Baylor.

    Vanderbilt University overlaps = Duke, Harvard, Yale, Penn, Cornell, Stanford, WashUStL, & Princeton. (But not SMU.)
    edited December 2019
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  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Assuming that the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 edition lists the overlaps starting with the most common, the above posts suggest that Vassar College may be a back-up school for Brown applicants and that SMU may be a back-up school for applicants to Vanderbilt University.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2964 replies49 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    EconPop wrote: »
    During our search, my son and I, like most parents and students, have come across many books and websites. After seeing most others, different sources bubbled up as the top choice for a few weeks before another appeared better, then another.

    Once we discovered it, months into our search, the Fiske guide became our favorite and has remained our favorite. All may be flawed in some way, but Fiske is our best of the bunch.

    And part of the reason (of several reasons) is the overlap list. We both love it. It gives us a chance to discover schools we hadn't thought of. Or to investigate more deeply schools we had discarded, only to decide we should have looked deeper in the first place.

    Postmodern gave Fiske's Guide an A in their excellent college admissions book summary!
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/admissions-hindsight-lessons-learned/2121403-postmodern-s-guide-to-the-college-guides-p1.html
    I give 4 pens to the overlap list.

    😆

    Agreed, I do think it's helpful, especially to parents and students as they start and research the admissions process
    edited December 2019
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  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Wesleyan University overlaps = Brown, Tufts, Vassar, Yale, Univ. of Chicago, Swarthmore, UCal-Berkeley, & NYU.

    NYU overlaps = USC, Cornell, Boston University, Northeastern, Carnegie Mellon (CMU), UCal-Berkeley, Columbia, and Harvard.
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  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 edition encourages "...students who know they are interested in a particular school to check out its peer institutions--and perhaps then check out the "overlaps of the overlaps". This method of systematic browsing should yield a list of 15 or 20 schools that, based on the behavior of thousands of past applicants, would constitute a good starting point for the college search."
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  • EconPopEconPop 418 replies7 threads Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    Seems like finding "hidden gems" (i.e. lesser known or less selective colleges that may have similar characteristics) would be easier to do with a reversed list -- i.e. what other colleges consider this college a peer. (For graph-theory/math/CS people, if the Fiske peer list survey were a graph with each node being a college and each directed edge A->B meaning that A considers B to be its peer, reverse the direction of edges.) So, if you like Vanderbilt, but want to find others like it that may not be as hard to get into, you want to known what other colleges consider Vanderbilt to be their peer (e.g. SMU), not what Vanderbilt considers to be its peer (e.g. Harvard).

    Excellent! That would be a great resource.

    Can we expect that on our desks in the morning?
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  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    I view the list of overlap schools to be both aspirational and realistic.

    Aspirational, possibly, from the viewpoibnt of the particular school, and realistic from the list showing schools with which a particular school shares the most applications in common.

    Although not clear, it appears that the first schools listed are those with which share the most applications in common. But this is just a guess based on the fact that the overlaps are not listed in alphabetical order. It would be helpful if the Fiske Guide further clarified their listing of overlap schools.
    edited December 2019
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3473 replies173 threads Senior Member
    Suffice it to say. no self respecting research university is going to list a LAC as an overlap no matter what the popular consensus is.😁
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3473 replies173 threads Senior Member
    ^LOL.
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  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Notre Dame overlaps = Vanderbilt, Boston College, Northwestern, Harvard, Duke, Holy Cross, & Villanova.

    Northwestern University overlaps = Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Michigan, Penn, Princeton, WashUStL, & Duke. (But not Cornell.)

    Cornell University overlaps = Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, & Yale.

    Harvard University overlaps = MIT, Princeton, Stanford, & Yale.
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  • PublisherPublisher 9040 replies110 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Somewhat surprising:

    University of Washington overlaps: UCal-Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Washington State, Univ. of Illinois, Boston University, Michigan, & NYU.

    University of Vermont overlaps = Ithaca College, Univ. of Colorado-Boulder, Univ. of New Hampshire, UMass-Amherst, Syracuse, Coll. of Wm. & Mary, Boston University, & UConn.
    edited December 2019
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4308 replies48 threads Senior Member
    How do the schools know what other schools applicants are applying to? I don’t recall a question like that on any of the school’s applications.

    And while we liked and used the Fisk’s guide very much, we found the school descriptions in The Hidden Ivies to be more expansive, went deeper and perhaps rang truer. Downside of that book is that it only includes about 65 schools.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2964 replies49 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    It would be good if this study where colleges self-selected their peers were updated (it's from 2012). The visualization of the data is good:

    https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/peers-network

    and the accompanying article:
    https://www.chronicle.com/article/in-selecting-peers-for/134228

    The schools have to report this data each year to Dept of Education, but I don't readily see it in IPEDS.
    edited December 2019
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 248 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    And while we liked and used the Fisk’s guide very much, we found the school descriptions in The Hidden Ivies to be more expansive, went deeper and perhaps rang truer. Downside of that book is that it only includes about 65 schools.

    Another downside is it focuses on LAS schools. Which is great if that's what you're looking for. Not so useful if you're a STEM kid.

    EDIT: Just saw the list of schools included in the book. While the description says they cover LAS schools, there are definitely schools included that are not traditional LAS schools and are strong in other areas (i.e. Duke, Rice, Northwestern, WUSTL).

    edited December 2019
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  • havenoideahavenoidea 275 replies15 threads Junior Member
    How does each college/university know where else its applicants have applied?
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