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Ivy League admissions for NHRPs

waitlistmanwaitlistman Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
edited March 2011 in Hispanic Students
Hi,
obviously being and NHRP is just another resume booster for your admission to schools but I was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Ivies. There is a book called A is for Admission by Michelle Hernandez who worked in admissions in Dartmouth. On pp. 204 she discusses a student of Puerto Rican descent who has SAT scores cumulative of 1900 with SAT subject tests that are pretty poor, like 550 in SPANISH subject test! Yeesh 550 for a Hispanic student? Free tutoring at home?
I had my daughter take Latin as I figured it would look like a freebee for a Hispanic student, even though we speak English at home, to take Spanish--she goes on to list a 640 on math level 1 and a 490 in Physics. I would have given them no chance if they chanced here on CC. But Ms. Hernandez said she found in spite of evidence that the entrant had little lack of assimilation etc. that the student would be admitted. Now of course, as a person who feels that affirmative action is a fair policy as an equalizer for the many disadvantages many Hispanic students face I did not think that they lowered the bar that considerably. Now rather than start a contentious debate on AAction, I simply was curious what any applicants to Ivies that were NHRPs had found in their experience. Without necessarily giving things away totally, what do you think a typical admission to some of the Ivies would require.

I have been figuring D needs to get at least 2150 give or take 50 points to have a shot at schools like Brown, Dartmouth etc. as although these may be the average SATs the real average is a lot higher counting for sport, legacies etc. I have been thinking that an NHRP still would need at least a 2100, a weighted GPA of 4.0 at least, and a couple of APs. Her HS makes it hard to get APs before spring of senior year due to the type of scheduling they do, only 4 classes are allowed per semester and its very aggravating. Makes it nearly impossible to double on languages or to take many electives and then get APs in by fall of Senior year.

So, a long question but just a short reply from anyone willing to divulge the type of variation seen on hispanic admissions. I do have a feeling that Ms. Hernandez book may be overly stating the breaks given but I guess in a seflish way I am hoping that she is right. Course, for 5-10k you can hire her as a consultant to help guide you into the Ivies and top schools.....yeah, that is a lot of money so I am not endorsing that idea...I think most kids can get in on their own steam with the right hard work...
thanks...
Post edited by waitlistman on
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Replies to: Ivy League admissions for NHRPs

  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    Great question and one that is hard to answer with concrete information. What I say is from gathering bits and pieces along the way for the past six plus years (posts from other URMs, lots of results threads for URMs, etc.). In college admissions, I don't think that all Hispanics (or other URMs for that matter) are created equal. Once an applicant is put in the Hispanic 'pile', other factors come into play such as, but not limited to: SES, parent's educational level, place of origin (MA & PR are the most underrepresented groups), overcoming adversity, HS attended (eg. private or suburban public vs. underserved HS), and commitment to Hispanic community.

    So, for a disadvantaged applicant (eg. MA student who is first gen, lower income and has overcome obstacles), about a 600 is what I've seen as the minimum for SAT sections or Subject tests. Colleges don't want to accept kids if they won't be able to handle the academics, I don't think they're cynical enough to take a kid on the basis of AA and then have them fail. I'm actually not too surprised at the 550 Spanish score, because many native Spanish speakers, while fluent, do not understand the grammar and other written aspects that are tested. The Physics test might not have been counted since D requires only 2 Subject tests. So yes, Ms. Hernandez's example is believable, but is the extreme case IMO. Which is what people like her do, cite a case that while possible, is in no way common, but gives people hope that they will be "the one".

    Now, for a Hispanic applicant who is far from disadvantaged (eg. upper middle class with college educated parents, attending a well supported HS), I think the standard is higher and is essentially what it is for any other applicant because the pool of URMs in general has risen greatly in the past 5-10 years. My rule of thumb for this group is that 700+ in each section or Subject test is good and makes them a competitive candidate and 750+ is great.

    I think that if a Hispanic applicant has high scores & gpa with rigorous courses and everything else is reasonable, they do very well and likely get into more of their reach schools than would a similar unhooked candidate. They both bring diversity to the campus and are likely to succeed, so they are a valued asset.

    The number of APs that need to be taken for selective school is highly variable and depends on: 1) how many your school offers; and 2) their policy as far as when you can take them. What's important for the most selective schools is that your GC can mark at least 'very' and hopefully 'most' demanding coursework.

    That's my take, but as I stated before, it comes from case studies and observations, not from strict data from a designed study.
  • waitlistmanwaitlistman Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    I think most of your reply makes sense. The feeling I have since my D does not fall into the unsupported school, low income etc. category etc. is exactly why I was feeling that about at least a 2150 would put her in the consideration pile, along with of course a couple of 700s on the SAT 2 subject tests. She has hit a 2200 on some sample tests but the fluctuation has been weird, from 680 to 790 on the CR. How is that possible? I guess a good night sleep is key and maybe send her for a massage the day before! LOL.
    Anyway, June 5, procrastination, we shall see, then has to wake to take subject tests til fall but she is a wiz in math and chem so I do not suspect any issues just doubt she will get any ED packets ready. In any case, you have been a very helpful resource to this board and I thank you for your eloquent handling of a subject that not all people may agree on but knowing what my spouse went through to learn English and finally finish college, I still feel that my daughter is not the same as a kid who is from an affluent 2 college parent family even if the Adcom may think so. Things are much tougher from the inside than the outside.I wish all aspirants to the ivies and top schools the best and be sure to have a safe school. Name schools are great but they are not the only path to a successful career. Regards,
    Waitlistman
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Registered User Posts: 19,008 Senior Member
    FYI, sometimes Michelle posts on here.

    I meant cc in general, not this forum in particular.
  • sunnyonesunnyone Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    I was a first generation URM and completely unaware of my options in high school. Fortunatley I made my way to a UC school but always felt URM was a disadvantage, a glass ceiling issue for minorities. I witnessed it at home as my father ascended the ladder - there was only so far that a mexican male could climb in the '70's-'80's.

    My children excell in school and are blessed with inate math/analytial talents. I find the comments of my non-URM aquaintances regarding the 'minority card " or using AA for a college admissiion hook offensive. I never want my children to question their ability, place or whether they earned the opportunity to attend whatever university they choose.

    My oldest is a rising senior and his stats are listed below. How will an admissions committee view the application given the URM but advantaged upbringing?

    URM, hispanic (mexican american, pacific islander), "far from disadvantaged" upbringing
    *PSAT 220 (will be at least NMSF and NHRP )
    *SAT 2180 (700R, 800 M, 680 Wr)
    *ACT 35
    *SAT II: Physics 800, Math II 800, Chem 790, US History 770
    *AP:
    5's: Calc BC, US Hist, Chem, Physics C: mech and E & M, Macroeconomics, Comp Sci, English Lang & Lit. 4 - Microeconomics
    *1st in class
    *very rigorous curriclum
    *varisty athlete - Crew
    lots of EC's, US Chem Olympiad 150 honor list, SET member(identified by Johns Hopkins CTY in 6th grade with SAT math score of 710)
    etc
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    Now, for a Hispanic applicant who is far from disadvantaged (eg. upper middle class with college educated parents, attending a well supported HS), I think the standard is higher and is essentially what it is for any other applicant because the pool of URMs in general has risen greatly in the past 5-10 years. My rule of thumb for this group is that 700+ in each section or Subject test is good and makes them a competitive candidate and 750+ is great.

    I think that if a Hispanic applicant has high scores & gpa with rigorous courses and everything else is reasonable, they do very well and likely get into more of their reach schools than would a similar unhooked candidate. They both bring diversity to the campus and are likely to succeed, so they are a valued asset.

    IMO, your S is in this category based on his:

    GPA/rank: assuming high gpa since 1st in class
    coursework: very rigorous, particularly in math & science
    testing: 35 ACT; all SAT IIs above 750 and in a good range of disciplines; many APs w/almost all 5s
    ECs: solid

    The two questions that remain are volunteering and essays. The reason I bring up volunteering is because there was a student last year who was URM and had great everything but absolutely zero volunteering, by his own admission. Maybe his essays weren't great either, that's something that we'll never know. But as long as your S has some volunteer work, like with honor society or something, I'd think he'd be fine.

    My recommendation for the essay is that he try to bring out things about himself that aren't readily available on the application, intangibles about how he thinks and looks at the world.

    I absolutely understand what you are saying about not wanting your children to ever question their ability or whether they earned an opportunity. Believe me, your S shouldn't, his accomplishments are well within any metric one wants to use for admission to the most selective colleges in this country. From what I have seen here on CC, he may get into more of his high reach schools than an unhooked student might, but he should never doubt his qualifications which are excellent.
  • sunnyonesunnyone Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    Thanks entomom.
    His volunteering is weak but is working on it this summer and senior year (mentor, etc) . He is away at the Ross Math Program this summer - 8 weeks - which leaves little time for summer jobs or volunteering. Also, we moved to our current home at the beginning of his junior year and the focus was coursework ,making new friends and Crew.
    Essays should not be a problem.
    He is shooting for the top 10 - what do you think?
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    Absolutely. Just be sure he has a reasonable list that includes some match schools and a safety or two. If he is applying anywhere early or rolling and is accepted by early Dec, these can supplant safeties to some degree.

    He should be in a good position if you are looking for merit scholarships too.

    Let me know if you want any school suggestions or thoughts on application strategies.
  • waitlistmanwaitlistman Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    With the stats you list for your son, nobody would ever question his deserving to get into an Ivy League or top school. I understand how you feel about the lack of insight some people show into the AA process. For what its worth the admissions books I have read on Ivies do indicate that in fact they do practice a form of AA for caucasians as well as other non-URMs, like parents not having been to college, low income etc. although I guess technically they do not get "tagged" as a URM I think they do try to be fairer. Furthermore, the tagging of athletes and legacies seems to me to be even more questionable other than building the endowments, but I do not hear a lot of grumbling from non-URMs about athletes or legacies getting in. So I would not let that thinking even enter your mind....not always easy to do...
    I agree with entomom, the scores, and all are right there, the SAT II stuff is major as I am fairly sure they count those with almost as much weight as the SATs as they tend to validate that your son did not get "inflated" grades, especially if they do not know the school as well. If your son has decent ECs, like maybe a sport, music, and decent volunteer effort they should put him in solid contention. Good luck. I also went through a lot of the accepted's for Brown, Dartmouth etc. and it seems that its gotten harder each year for some URar doing the hard work, the SAT 2s, and the Applications and Essays..No stress! Yeah right.... -:^0)
  • waitlistmanwaitlistman Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    Last sentence typo--meant to state, now I will let my D do the hard work, (essays, applications and SAT 2s) now that I have an idea if the schools she wants to apply to are within grasp....and yes, she also plans to have at least 2 very safe schools and one medium safe school besides these reach schools. I mean they are always a "reach" for anyone with the acceptance rates at these schools so you can never count on getting into any of the ivies for sure...but fingers crossed.
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    A note on my comments about volunteering...I know that the student in question was not accepted to Y, but it seems like he MIGHT have been accepted H or P, I can't quite remember and have been unable to recall their member name or successfully search for the information. Sorry, I remember this being discussed somewhere but can't locate the exact details.
  • sunnyonesunnyone Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    Thank you for pointing out the other non-URM AA policies used - legacy, athletes, etc.
    Good luck to your daughter waitlistman and I may be PMing you entomom later about schools for my son.
  • waitlistmanwaitlistman Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    Thanks sunnyone,
    I need to change my handle to proudDad or something from waitlistman! That handle was left over from some frustration over the hitting the wait list in the prep adcom process. There, I found they defined diversity as being from another state to be more important than your ethnicity. But it all worked out for the best anyway, just don't like the ID anymore....want to seem positive..lol!
  • PioneerJonesPioneerJones Registered User Posts: 1,575 Senior Member
    Since ethnicity is self-reported on the Common App, how do colleges verify whether or not you are telling the truth? Personally, I never reported myself as Hispanic (my dad is 100% Honduran) on either of the PSATs I took, and only began doing so this past year when I found out the advantages of being a minority. If AA truly plays such a large role in the admissions process, how do colleges single out students who have falsified their ethnic information to exploit a loophole?
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    Ethnicity is not very different from many things that a candidate can lie about on their application: ECs, work & volunteer history, essays, etc.

    Hispanic status is not verified by colleges. NA is the only URM status that colleges ask for verification on. As far as I know, colleges do not actively 'single out' students who have lied on their applications, they just don't have the time or ability. However, if they smell a rat, I'd assume they would follow-up on inconsistencies in an application.

    Have you checked to see if you qualify for NHRP based on your PSAT score? Even if you didn't mark Hispanic when taking the test, you could still be recognized this fall if your score and gpa qualify.
  • waitlistmanwaitlistman Registered User Posts: 224 Junior Member
    My Ds GC was told to request verification of ethnicity at the HS which was provided in the fotm of my wife's (Colombian) and D's (US) birth certificates.....leaves no doubt and better to be sure we read things right!
    50 percent hispanic qualifies for nhrp (even 25% does)...

    Good luck pioneer and as entomom said, aplly and call them and they may give it to you before the fall.
    W
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