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Getting in to a good college isn't as hard as it seems

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Replies to: Getting in to a good college isn't as hard as it seems

  • FallGirlFallGirl 8045 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    M+CR SAT can't be over 1600.

    Yes, I know that. I was thinking M+CR+W score. (maximum 2400)
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  • FallGirlFallGirl 8045 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ agreed, Sally
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  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang 18319 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    When we talk about the top 113 schools, what schools are we talking about here? What are the bottom 20 schools on that list?
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  • mcat2mcat2 5871 replies115 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    Also agreed, Sally.

    Assuming that the incoming class to each of the tippy top ones (one of HYPS) is 1500, the admission slots for these four are only 6000 a year. What makes it harder is that you can never figure out how these 4 colleges select their students so that they will have a "buzzing" and active campus. They may not value those students who alway curl up in the library once they set their foot on campus. This is why they put so much emphasis on ECs (It does not hurt that many of the students with the astonishing achievements on major ECs come from a full pay family which may also have a soccer dad or mom who are very committed to the development of their offsprings.)
    edited November 2014
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78242 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    When we talk about the top 113 schools, what schools are we talking about here? What are the bottom 20 schools on that list?

    This lists the schools by Barron's selectivity ranking (those listed with '1' are the most selective). Note that this is from 2009, so it may vary somewhat from the list used in the article.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/04/04/business/economy/economix-selectivity-table.html
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  • mathmommathmom 32379 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ucbalumnus has probably answered the question, but if you look at US News lists which separate out universities and LACs - in the 40's and 50's for uni's you have things like Boston U, RPI, U of Miami, Northeastern, U of Wisc (Madison), GW, Pepperdine, Tulane. For LACs - Union, Occidental, Bard, Sewanee, Denison,Rhodes, St. Olaf's, St.John (Annapolis).
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I dunno what ranking these people used, but the Forbes ranking has all colleges and universities listed together:
    http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/

    Numbers 111-113 are Kalamazoo, Pepperdine, and UC-Davis there (right above them are Lawrence, Indiana, UMinny-TC, St. Olaf, and Hampshire).


    BTW, 1750 isn't very impressive for M+CR+W SAT.
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  • Much2learnMuch2learn 4610 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    To me this is an odd discussion. It is clear that elite colleges are more difficult to get into today.

    1. There are more people in the country.

    2. A higher percentage of students want to attend college.

    3. Students apply to more distant colleges than in the past. Ivies get more applicants from California, for example.

    4. Elite schools admit more international students.

    5. Top 10 or 20 schools rarely increase the number of places available.

    6. More students apply to top 20 schools because the financial aid is often better.

    Sure you can always add more schools to the top group and say that it is no harder to get into the expanded group, but that is really not apples to apples. The NYT article should be titled "Getting into a good college isn't as hard as it seems, as long as you have a broad definition of what a good college is"
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  • Bappy1Bappy1 62 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Or 'Students in the top n% of the applicant pool have a good chance of getting accepted into one of the top n% of colleges'.
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  • celesterobertscelesteroberts 2307 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I looked at the list @ucbalumnus linked when I read the article, but if you count, there are only 82 colleges ranked '1' To get to 113 need to include the '2' ranked schools. There are 36 of those, so 118 total. I'm assuming the more recent list that is actually used for the article has 113 of the 1+2 schools. '2' schools include UCB and UMichigan, but also Hillsdale and Knox, so a pretty broad range. It's a strange list as it is based solely on admissions selectivity.

    As others have said, the article is VERY misleading as author pretends that the kids vying for admission to 'top' schools are targeting approximately those 113 schools. That's so far off base it must be deliberate deception.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78242 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    While the use of words like "top" college can be misleading, perhaps the point of the article still stands -- a good student should be able to get admitted to a good college, if "good" college is allowed to include more than just the super-selective ones. Indeed, how many students (or parents) posting here seem to think that any school that could possibly be a safety is beneath them?
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  • peppermintloungepeppermintlounge 76 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Article did not consider the rise of a global applicant pool. Many more applicants and full pay ones from foreign lands.
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  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope 2066 replies209 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This article drove me crazy when i saw it in the Times....well, of course a top student is going to get into a "top 113" college...geez, the University of Florida is in the 70s...the university of deleware is in the 80s....and the University of South Carolina is 113.
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  • HuntHunt 26787 replies131 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Despite all the reservations folks above have correctly stated, I do think it is much more true than many people realize that it's not as difficult as it may seem for highly qualified students to get into at least one highly selective college. I've spent (or wasted) a lot of time perusing the results threads for HYP here on CC, and it's my observation that the vast majority of rejected students obtain admission to highly selective schools. While this is a self-selected group, obviously, this is also my observation from "real life" at a high school with a lot of high-stats kids. Indeed, I think if a kid with the stats to make HYP plausible doesn't get in to any highly selective school, then it's because the list wasn't well-constructed. If you apply to HYP and the University of Maryland, you may very well end up at Maryland--but you might have been able to go to Cornell, or Tufts, or Hopkins, or Georgetown.

    So maybe the math isn't right, but I think the idea is pretty true. Whether it's harder than it was in the past, I can't say.
    edited December 2014
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78242 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hunt wrote:
    Indeed, I think if a kid with the stats to make HYP plausible doesn't get in to any highly selective school, then it's because the list wasn't well-constructed. If you apply to HYP and the University of Maryland, you may very well end up at Maryland--but you might have been able to go to Cornell, or Tufts, or Hopkins, or Georgetown.

    Of course, some of these types of students may think that Maryland, Cornell, Tufts, Hopkins, and Georgetown are "beneath" them.

    Then there is also the infamous case of andi's son. He applied to mostly reaches, and a "safety" that was not an actual safety, and got shut out. He took a hastily arranged gap year (seems that starting at community college was not even considered) and made the same mistake again by applying to a list with no safeties, but got lucky and did not get shut out.
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  • HuntHunt 26787 replies131 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think one thing the article gets right is that you have to play the game as it's being played now, not twenty years in the past. For a kid who wants a highly selective college, that means (in my opinion) more reaches. I don't think the old idea of three reaches, three matches, and three safeties makes sense if the three reaches are HYP, and you really want a school that is like HYP.

    Of course, you also have to be realistic about what is a possible reach for you. If you are an unhooked student with a B average, SAT scores of 1800, and middling ECs, it doesn't matter how many Ivies and similar schools you apply to. But you still might want to apply to more than three schools that are plausible reaches for you.
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  • JHSJHS 18410 replies72 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, however unsatisfying the article is, the message is dead on: You can get accepted into an excellent college if you expand your definition of what an excellent college is. And, further, the definition of what an excellent college is deserves expanding. The differences among the top x colleges in terms of educational opportunity and general personal growth potential are rarely significant at the level of an individual student, and all of the factors mentioned here (plus the difficulty of finding faculty positions) means that student quality and faculty quality are far more evenly diffused than was true a generation ago.
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  • celesterobertscelesteroberts 2307 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The author intermixes the word 'good' with liberal sprinkles of 'elite' and 'top' and frequent name drops-Harvard, Stanford to muddy the waters of what schools he is talking about.
    "They don’t, however, represent the true odds of a well-qualified student’s being admitted to a top school"
    "It turns out that four out of five well-qualified students who apply to elite schools are accepted by at least one."

    His premise is that students are unduly and unnecessarily worried about their ability to get into the colleges they are targeting, making them out to be clueless and so here rides the better informed author to straighten matters out. That is what is most annoying. Most of these students/families have a pretty good notion of chances. The actual large scale ignorance that he could more usefully spend his time addressing is regarding the financial aspects of college attendance.

    My S has already been accepted to at least one school on that list, UW-Madison. There was zero anxiety applying there. It is a safety, albeit a very possible choice. We knew he was basically an a-admit. The school doesn't have actual guidelines for that, but in-state kids at least have a good idea of chances. We also know beyond doubt that S's stats and this dumb article notwithstanding, the really top schools would be a crapshoot. The author has set up a straw man if you read closely enough to push past the thicket of top-Harvard-Stanford-elite to see that he is really saying "Don't be worried about getting into schools like UW-Madison." Well, duhhh.

    And this, not just misleading, patently false, assuming his audience is American students, as others have noted:
    "the slots themselves aren’t becoming more scarce"
    Internationals are taking more of those slots, for one thing.

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