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Parents Moving School Districts to Help with Admissions

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Replies to: Parents Moving School Districts to Help with Admissions

  • HannaHanna 14863 replies42 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 14,905 Senior Member
    I have had clients in Texas discussing this issue with me. They weren't looking at moving; they were deciding between private schools that did not rank and OK public schools where their children were likely to be in the top 7%.

    It's rational.
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  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 110 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    edited May 2016
    I know an upper middle class Caucasian family with an MD and JD mother and father who send their children to a title 1 inner-city high school. D1 is at Princeton. No doubt D2 is going to be valedictorian and go somewhere equally elite.

    No doubt their inner city high school is a MASSIVE admissions hook.
    edited May 2016
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  • piesquaredpiesquared 175 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    Just one more anecdotal (non data) point to add to this discussion. At my sons' high school, this year's graduating class has a healthy number (10% of the graduates) going to UT-Austin. Of those attending (not accepted; that number would be a lot higher), none are in the top 5% (those kids are going Ivy or other highly selective schools): only two are ranked in the top 8% (this year's auto admit cut-off, next year it will be 7%). The others going to UT are outside that magic ranking and are review admits.

    There were kids who really wanted to go to UT who were not admitted, but I was interested to see how many were admitted through the review process (majors varied in competitiveness).
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 21930 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,944 Senior Member
    How many families are really in the position that their kids are going to miss the top 7% at an excellent public school but would be in the top of the under performing school? And if the family had several children, would they all benefit from the move?

    Say you are in a top school and estimate you will be in the 10-15% range but you really want to go to UT. If you transfer to a lower performing school, you probably would get into the top 7% of that school. But say you aren't in the top 10%, but more like 40%. Is it still a sure thing you'd get to the top 7% of the other school? How about if you have a sibling in the top 5%, should that sibling have to move too?

    There are always going to be people who game the system, but really I don't think that many. I wouldn't think it was worth it to give up the other benefits of the more elite high school (AP classes, ECs, leadership opportunities, top sports teams, excellent GCs and facilities, to maybe have a chance at UT. In my area there would be no need to move, students can elect to go to the inner city schools from the urban areas. Very few do it. They could be top dogs at some of the city schools, but most remain in the suburbs. Now, there are a lot of people who move to the suburbs for the schools and are happy to be in the 50% range when they could be in the top 10% in the city, but there is no auto admit to our flagship and they probably have the same chance of getting in from either the city school or the suburban one.
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  • gettingschooledgettingschooled 1917 replies34 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,951 Senior Member
    Choosing a non-ranking school is a gamble. It takes your student out of the auto-admissions group and moves them to the 25 percent holistic pool. That pool is very competitive especially for engineering, business and computer science. Of course, if you know they aren't going to be top 7 percent in their current school, it may be worth the risk.

    The only kids I have seen leave our district are those who had other issues with our school. I'd characterize our district as one of the top 10 in the state. For the most part, they don't like the size and competitiveness so they aren't interested in more of the same at UT or A&M.

    Since number of students in the top 10 percent of their high school class is a factor in USNews, I don't expect McRaven/ the legislature to drop too far below that with any change they make chasing rankings. People who think their top quarter kid from a competitive school will have a shot are probably going to remain disappointed. Due to financial aid constraints and population growth, UT has way more demand than it can handle.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12656 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,685 Senior Member
    Personally, I don't see it as unfortunate.

    Some kids actually do better in a less competitive environment.

    And could someone who's top quarter in one of the best districts in the state be top 7% somewhere else? Certainly yes.
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  • OldFashioned1OldFashioned1 110 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    edited May 2016
    Top quarter at a premier district is a valedictorian or salutatorian at an average school, let alone urban low-achieving. Achievement gaps are huge, see: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/29/upshot/money-race-and-success-how-your-school-district-compares.html
    edited May 2016
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  • MarianMarian 13158 replies83 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,241 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    How many families are really in the position that their kids are going to miss the top 7% at an excellent public school but would be in the top of the under performing school? And if the family had several children, would they all benefit from the move?

    It doesn't have to be a matter of excellent versus underperforming schools. It could simply be a matter of a school that hosts an academic magnet program versus one that does not.

    For example, my daughter attended a high school that hosted a selective admissions IB program (which she was part of). The IB students, drawn from neighborhoods all over the county, accounted for 1/4 of the graduating class. Their presence had a devastating effect on the class rank of the other students. (Theoretically, our district doesn't rank. But in fact, rank exists, as you will see in a moment.) At the awards assembly at the end of senior year, they announced the names of the kids in the top 5% of the class (so much for rank not existing, right?). Every kid in the top 5% was from the IB program. No non-IB kids from the school's own neighborhood were included.

    Now imagine that they called the names of the top 5% of the class in one of the high schools in our district that does not host a magnet program. Not only would all of them be neighborhood kids, their chances of ranking so high would actually have been enhanced by the fact that most of the academic superstars who live in that neighborhood wouldn't go to the neighborhood school -- they would be at one of the magnets. Having the most academic kids in a neighborhood skimmed off the top and sent elsewhere is an advantage (from the class rank point of view) for those who remain.

    If I found out that the high school my kids were destined to attend was going to host an academic magnet program and if I had kids who were reasonably academic but unlikely to qualify for any of our district's magnets (such as my son, who was just a little below magnet level, academically), I would definitely consider moving to a neighborhood served by a different high school.

    (By the way, class rank exists everywhere, even if it isn't made public. You can't be considered for admission to any of the service academies without a class rank. Have you ever heard of a school district whose kids are ineligible for the service academies for this reason? Me neither.)
    edited May 2016
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  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay 19078 replies454 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 19,532 Senior Member
    Earl has an interesting take. :|

    I always come on here when top 10% is brought up so people understand that it's the rural lawmakers who keep this law in place. They know their schools can't compete admissions-wise with suburban districts that offer oodles of AP courses.

    Additionally, the top 10% law applies to all state schools, UT System or not, except for UT-Austin. UT was allowed several years back to lower the Top Whatever percentage (sometimes 7%, sometimes 8%) of students it must accept because too much of the entering class was being taken up by the auto-admits and the university didn't feel like it had the ability to make the class it wanted. The Top Whatever percentage is because they are limiting the auto-admits to 75% of the entering class, so that they still have 25% of spots for things like, oh, football players. ;) From UT's website:

    Automatic Admission
    Texas law offers eligible freshman applicants automatic admission to public colleges and universities. The initial legislation, passed into law in 1997, offered automatic admission to eligible students in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

    In 2009, the law was modified for The University of Texas at Austin. Under the new law, the university must automatically admit enough students to fill 75 percent of available Texas resident spaces. Each fall, the university notifies Texas school officials of the class rank that current high school juniors need to attain by the end of their junior year in order to be automatically admitted.

    Summer/Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 applicants: Top 7%
    Summer/Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 applicants: Top 7%
    Summer/Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 applicants: Top 8%
    Summer/Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 applicants: Top 7%
    The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board establishes the rules that govern which students are eligible for automatic admission.

    Even applications from students who are automatically admissible are subject to holistic review to determine the major to which the applicant will be admitted.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26529 replies172 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,701 Senior Member
    On a more personal level, three generations of my family have been Longhorns - my grandmother attended graduate school at UT in the 1920s. But it looks as if none of my sister's three kids will be able to get in. The older two were not in the top 7% at their competitive high school. I don't think my younger nephew will make it, either. It's a shame, because they would done well at UT. My niece is graduating this year. She's in the top 10%, but not the top 7%. My older nephew appealed his rejection without success.

    Is UT seeking OOS money? The D of a good friend is attending UT (at OOS rates) after being being rejected by a couple of UC's.

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  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 6626 replies139 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,765 Senior Member
    The Top Whatever percentage is because they are limiting the auto-admits to 75% of the entering class, so that they still have 25% of spots for things like, oh, football players.
    In 2009, the law was modified for The University of Texas at Austin. Under the new law, the university must automatically admit enough students to fill 75 percent of available Texas resident spaces.
    l'm confused, is it 75% of the whole incoming freshman class or 75% of the "Texas resident" part of the class?
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  • gettingschooledgettingschooled 1917 replies34 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,951 Senior Member
    UT limits its enrollment to 10 percent OOS and international.
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  • gettingschooledgettingschooled 1917 replies34 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,951 Senior Member
    To be more specific, the special allowance to go from 10 percent to 7 percent came with a legislated maximum of 10 percent non-residents. The legislators were making sure that UT could not do what the UCs are now doing in denying qualified residents in favor of less qualified non-residents.
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