Just a little tidbit to emerge from the Harvard Asian discrimination documents that runs counter to the seemingly prevailing wisdom on CC that tippy-top elite schools could "fill their classes" with perfect stats kids: for the class of 2019, which is the only data I have been able to find so far, in the entire admit pool, there were fewer than 1000 applicants at most
who could have presented even the first component of "perfect stats":
SAT 1600 - 361 applicants (~1.0% of applicants)
ACT 36C - 625 applicants (~1.7% of applicants)
I assume that some portion of these are overlaps (maybe 10%, maybe a little more?), but even assuming each score in uniquely assigned to an applicant, Harvard couldn't even fill half of its admits with perfect scoring kids.
Adding constraints of perfect GPA will whittle that number down further, although perfect scaled GPAs are much more common (by a factor of at least 8x), and as high school grading is so inflated on average it can be assumed that a sizable percentage of perfect scorers also present perfect GPA (maybe 50-60%, maybe more?).
There's no need to get to perfect SAT subject test scores or APs, it's pretty clear that if we add those conditions there are not enough applicants in the entire pool to even fill a small size lecture class (that's just math), even if Harvard took every one of them.
No need to go into the whole "it's holistic" shtick/spiel - I get it, believe me
, and probably a lot better than most people who tout it - I'm just offering this score tidbit for discussion.
As noted above, I assume the scores are single sitting. But Harvard says it only codes the "superscore." If these 986 scores in fact represent superscores, the actual number of single sitting perfect kids will be lower.
If these are (as I believe) single sitting scores, why is Harvard tracking these
? Hmmm. I wonder if in its elusively mysterious criteria for Academic 1s on their effectively 1-4 rating scale (of which there are only about 100 applicants a year iirc), perfect single sitting scores are a component?
A lot more goes into admissions decisions than scores ("it's holistic" - again, I get it). But it's worth noting that admit rates for perfect score kids (SAT or ACT, not even including GPA) appear to hover somewhere above 30%, more than twice
the admit rate of kids with scores even 50 SAT points lower (or equivalent ACT points - so much for the "threshold" idea?), and of course very far above average admit rates. No doubt perfect GPA+ACT/SAT rates are substantially higher than 30% - probably at least 40-50% I'd guess.
(Scores in themselves of course are not that important; the high admit rates for perfect scorers reflect the group's much higher average intelligence, which will be positively correlated with all the other factors that are important to schools; so, it's not that the scores get the kids in, it's more that the scores evidence their underlying excellence on many other important dimensions as well, again on average for the group.)
Data on number of perfect GPA, SAT and ACT applicants on p.12 here: https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/files/diverse-education/files/expert_report_rebuttal_as_filed_d._mass._14-cv-14176_dckt_000419_037_filed_2018-06-15.pdf
Data on admit rates by score on p.7 here: http://samv91khoyt2i553a2t1s05i-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Doc-421-145-Admissions-Part-II-Report.pdf
Note that these numbers come directly from Harvard sources
, so they are as accurate as the competence of the adcoms will allow.