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Ethics of "Chancing" students

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Replies to: Ethics of "Chancing" students

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76107 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,770 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    Kayak24 wrote:
    Specifically, if chancing a student, how much does a 35-36 ACT or 1550+ SAT raise that student’s chances for top 20 colleges in YOUR mind versus similar students assuming these students have acceptable EC, ample rigor, and a high GPA (say 4.0 UW) but no hooks.

    35-36 ACT versus what other ACT? (i.e. versus 33, 30, 27, etc. ACT)
    Kayak24 wrote:
    I acknowledge that some schools value high stats more than others,

    Within the realm of academic stats, some colleges are also more or less sensitive to test scores relative to HS GPA. E.g. UCLA and USC appear to be of similar selectivity from a cursory view, but the priority that they place on HS GPA versus test scores is different, as their frosh profiles suggest (UCLA frosh had higher unweighted HS GPA, while USC frosh had higher test scores).
    edited December 2017
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  • blossomblossom 9591 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,600 Senior Member
    Kayak- if you were to ask me about a high stat kids with solid but not distinctive EC's and everything else, I think i could be reasonably accurate if we're talking about Vanderbilt, Emory, Brandeis. Being in the high end of the 90th percentile at those college IS a hook. All things being equal, an unhooked kid (assuming we're talking about a suburban kid with college educated parents, good school system, etc.) isn't going to squeak into Yale or Princeton on the basis of a 35 ACT-- again, assuming nothing extraordinary about the kid/application.

    Is that your question?
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  • Kayak24Kayak24 471 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 480 Member
    edited December 2017
    @ucbalumnus Good question. Okay, assume 32-33 ACT and all other things held constant.

    @blossom , yes, exactly my question. Thank you - very informative. Vanderbilt scatterpolot did seem very stat-heavy.

    Care to answer the same question for Brown and Johns Hopkins in your opinion?
    edited December 2017
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32214 replies336 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,550 Senior Member
    UCB, I meant the best we can predict for solid applicants is 50-50. Sorry my wording confused.

    @Kayak24 , it helps to try to wrap your head around day after day of top stats kids with rigor and some "good" ECs. This is one reason I advocate understanding the rest the tops look for. The scores need to hit a mark, but that's not 35-36. This "rest" is often the reason so many top stats kids don't get the nod, when you look at, eg, the inner admit details S shows.

    When chance-me kids say they have strong ECs, I usually wonder what those are. (It's not just about leader titles or "passions") When they claim a good personal statement, I wonder how on target. Adcoms at top colleges aren't just looking at composite, subs matter, depending on possible major. And on CC, we can't guess how the LoRs will read (and if from the relevant teachers.) Or the interview summary.

    It's ridiculous. If they're looking for a type, after academic prep, that either comes through in the ECs, writing, and LoRs or not. Including the deadly "Why Us?"

    Hence., my position on trying to understand match.



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  • labegglabegg 2519 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,567 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    Specifically in reference to chancing here on CC...

    Does any (sensible) OP ever walk away from a Chance Me thred thinking "Oh, randomstranger43 on CC says I am a shoe-in at X University, must be true! I will sleep better tonight!". Maybe, if the OP takes then time to notice that the responder is a mega senior poster, like ucbalumnus or lookingforward, who through experience have a bit more credibility, the OP can walk away with a bit more confidence at the response being, marginally, more accurate.

    But, IMO, Chance Me's are rarely about assessing the true potential and more often about the OP looking for:

    1) a pat on the back/ reassurance that "Ya done good kid"
    2) an opportunity to brag
    3) a lame attempt to scare the competition.

    and for the responder it is indulging in:

    1) idle curiosity or a chance to stroke their own ego in comparison
    2) a chance to flex their "muscle" and show off just how much the responder thinks they know about the admissions process (essentially bragging)
    3) and a pat on the back/reassurance "Awww, ya done good responder you helped someone out".

    I am not saying that Chance Me threds are always about those things, sometimes, OPs are seeking genuine advice and responders are looking to be genuinely helpful. Certainly, reminders to be sure the OP has real, tangible, options or that their choices are financially feasible etc. are valuable. But, if you boil things down to the essence, Chance Me threds are not usually so altruistic and I am not sure that it is necessary to hold the responses to them to some hypothetical ethics bar.I

    When chancing someone professionally there definitely is an ethics bar and in my mind the professional has a responsibility to be as realistic as possible.

    ucbalumnus has a good point...most responders can, in good faith, say a kids with a 2.5 GPA and a 22 ACT is not going to get into Harvard (most likely, lol) There are more gray areas when you are talking about bubble kids/mid stat kids at mid tier schools. And I know from experience that some senior CC members were dead wrong about my own kiddo's shot at certain schools.
    edited December 2017
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  • blossomblossom 9591 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9,600 Senior Member
    Kayak, Brown has posted pretty granular breakdowns of their admissions results (maybe not for last year but certainly within the last few years) and the best way to read them is to flip them- note the percentage of Vals who get rejected. That's how to focus. The difference of 20 points on the SAT or a point or two on the ACT at Brown is relatively meaningless once you have cleared the bar on stats. That's just not what they're focused on. In all my years of interviewing at Brown I had exactly one kid who I knew was going to be admitted-- just one- that's how outstanding he was in every possible way (and first generation college, had taken a Greyhound bus and then two other forms of public transportation to get to me because he didn't want to "inconvenience me" by suggesting a better interview location). An outstanding young man- I badgered admissions for weeks until someone told me that he was on the admit list and I could stop hounding them!

    But the dozens and dozens of others? I always knew who was getting rejected. I had a few surprises on admissions but not many. And the stats were never the issue.

    Hopkins is harder and more subtle from what I have seen. I think a true scholar (extremely intellectual, the kind of kid where teacher's write "this is the most curious student I have taught in 20 years) without any of the other stuff can get admitted and find a home at Hopkins. I've seen some of them. I think that's less true at Brown. But I wouldn't be encouraging a kid to demonstrate that extreme intellectualism in the way that kids think-- i.e. better grades, higher scores on standardized tests. It's an intangible and definitely NOT captured in scores (but a kid with a 550 math score who allegedly a math prodigy is going to face a credibility gap for sure).

    Are you asking with a particular kid in mind? Start a new thread- if the kid loves Brown, tell me why and maybe I can suggest some other places with more predictable admissions? I wrote a letter last year for a kid in my neighborhood who loved Brown (I knew he wasn't getting in but he's a nice kid so why not) but I suggested CMU, where he did get in, and which he LOVES.
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  • Data10Data10 2895 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,901 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    .
    What is not clear to me is whether taking post-AP courses in a focused interest area or two at a university is regarded as "just taking courses," or whether it carries any actual credit with regard to admissions (I know it can carry college credit, depending on the college and the courses).
    I was accepted unhooked to Stanford, MIT and Ivies in spite of having a HS GPA/rank and combined SAT well below the median for HYPSM... type colleges and having ECs that were nothing impressive beyond a regional level (placing well in some regional math contests, math and quiz bowl type competitions between schools, etc.), unless you count video game related accomplishments, which I don't recall whether I mentioned on the application. I think the biggest reason for the selective college admissions involved taking post-AP courses at a university, much like you described. However, it was more than just the act of taking DE classes. I think the reasons were also relevant, such as demonstrating intellectual vitality, taking advantage of available academic resources in area, what was accomplished in those classes, etc.

    I was in the unique situation of being at advanced level because one of my 9th (might have been 8th) grade teachers recognized that I'd do better with independent study at my own pace than going at the class pace. I worked the teacher and my GC to support this, and did quite well while studying textbooks + other material independently instead of going to class, and going at double or triple standard class pace. I also worked with the GC and a nearby university (parents were minimally involved in all of this) to help setup a half-time type schedule between the HS and university where I'd take morning classes in HS, then drive to the university for afternoon classes. As far as I know, nobody form my HS had done anything like this before. The classes I selected at the university weren't just the usual continuing math sequence to multi-variable calculus and linear algebra. Instead I took several classes in electives for no reason other than they seemed fascination to me. For example, I particularly enjoyed a class called biopsychology and behavioral neuroscience. I also received A's in all university classes taken during HS. One of my professors mentioned that he was quite surprised and impressed that I was a HS student when I asked him for a LOR and seemed quite enthusiastic to write it.
    edited December 2017
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32214 replies336 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,550 Senior Member
    Lol, Data, that's the first time I, personally, have seen you note this extra info. Pretty neat. It isn't just in doing DE, but the way you pursued it, at a time (place?) where it was apparently not heard of. And then the teacher and GC enthusiasm. Nice.

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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76107 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,770 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    labegg wrote:
    But, IMO, Chance Me's are rarely about assessing the true potential and more often about the OP looking for:

    1) a pat on the back/ reassurance that "Ya done good kid"
    2) an opportunity to brag
    3) a lame attempt to scare the competition.

    Some posters of the chance threads do need reality checks when they have no obvious safeties in their lists. Some need financial reality checks (e.g. those who need a lot of financial aid but whose lists are mostly out-of-state public universities that do not give much or any out-of-state financial aid or scholarships, or private schools known for poor financial aid).
    edited December 2017
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  • skieuropeskieurope 37361 replies6486 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 43,847 Super Moderator
    edited December 2017
    Some of us treasure our real time intro to the Jane comment and remember what it mocked.
    One of the things I've learned in preparing presentations is know your audience. i originally typed Point/Counterpoint, but worried it might have been too obscure a reference, since the Dan Akroyd/Jane Curtin versions far outnumber the James J. Kilpatrick/Shana Alexander ones on YouTube. Skidad had to explain the origins to me back when i was in shorty skis. @lookingforward
    edited December 2017
    Post edited by skieurope on
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  • QuantMechQuantMech 7909 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,944 Senior Member
    Data10's experience was similar to the experience that a colleague's son had, where a teacher recognized that he was "operating on a different level" and arranged for him to be greatly accelerated. He wound up taking a graduate math class as his first math class in college. When this sort of thing happens, the student inspires the teacher to take action. But the teacher has to be oriented in this way to begin with. The local school was on record in the newsletter to the parents as opposing acceleration in math, because then the student would need to take college courses in high school, and would "miss out on the social experiences" in both high school and college. I could not make up something like this! In my high school, the teachers actually liked smart students. This is not universal.

    In this geographical area, a student who takes university courses in math will be taught almost exclusively by non-English speakers (going very deep--up to senior-level college courses), which adds a complication to letters of recommendation. Also, since rather advanced mathematics is taught in their countries of origin, a high school student in their classes (up through sophomore or junior level in college) will be studying what they studied in high school, and therefore not looking very unusual to them (just not held back, like most American students).

    I knew a graduate student from Taiwan who needed to take an electricity and magnetism course at the university. To help her out, I showed her the texts for various E&M courses. When I showed her the senior-level E&M text, she started to laugh, and said, "Oh, I think this is easy. I learned this in high school." She took the graduate-level course and did fine (A/B), with only one minor blip that was directly due to a language problem.

    In terms of chances overall, I have posted on other threads that I have seen an element of randomness in admissions. This is not to say that they are totally random, just that an admissions outsider (me) can have pretty good knowledge of the whole picture for a few top students, and yet find the outcomes impossible to predict (which probably makes chancing pointless for me to do).

    When a student I know pretty well is admitted to some "top" schools but not others, or not admitted to any as sometimes happens depending on where one draws the cut line for "top," I always wonder whether the relative (competitive) weaknesses that the admissions staffers saw in the applications were 1) real, 2) due to omissions from the application that the student might have filled in, but failed to fill in, 3) due to inaccurate impressions that the recommenders or GCs created inadvertently, or 4) based on misinterpretation of statements in the application that might have been interpreted correctly by another reader. ("Not enough beds," "can't admit 15,000 more students," etc., I get that.)
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  • QuantMechQuantMech 7909 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,944 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    I draw on specifics (as you may have noticed). In my daughter's case, part of her acceleration in mathematics was based on a conscious decision that she made at the 7th grade level--and not of the category that you might think. She was in the group that ucbalumnus would call one year ahead. The school did not accelerate beyond that. So, taking 8th-grade honors math in 7th grade, she found herself in a class that was 80% male. So far, fine. However, 7th grade boys are not particularly mature, and a few of the other students were below the normal maturity level of 7th grade boys. The teacher was often elsewhere when the students entered the classroom. A few of the boys frequently made crude remarks (extending to explicitly mentioning rape--I am editing this to indicate that no one was actually raped!) before the teacher came in. The girls took to hiding out in the teacher's office until the teacher got there. It was just a few minutes, but it was enough to create a decidedly hostile environment for the girls. My daughter decided that not only did she like math quite a lot, but she also thought that she could qualify for acceleration at the local university that the more troublesome boys could not qualify for. With some trepidation, my spouse and I agreed to that. Of course, this explanation of her acceleration did not go into any of the application materials. It might have looked like a case of pushy parents, or a student just hoping for admissions advantage; but it was something very different, unpredictable and undetectable to admissions. She was admitted to 7 of the 8 places where she applied, and chose a great fit from among those. (But one wonders from time to time about the big fish that got away.)
    edited December 2017
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  • QuantMechQuantMech 7909 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,944 Senior Member
    Just to add to the previous post: My daughter was very effective at standing up for other students who were being bullied, because then she felt that she had the clear moral authority to do that--just not so good at effectively standing up for herself when she was in the group being bullied. One young man was part of my daughter's middle-school group of friends (all girls aside from him). Students in the year ahead teased the young man pretty badly about being "gay" because of he was part of their group, and not a male group. My daughter and her friends told the people who were teasing her male friend to stop, quite unequivocally. They didn't stop. My daughter and a few of her friends spoke with someone in the school administration, who arranged to have two teachers on hand, near the lunch room where they could observe the teasing. It stopped after that. My spouse and I did not hear about this until it was over. My daughter and her friends were pretty egalitarian, so I won't say that she was the "leader" in this set of actions; rather the leadership was shared equally among a few of the girls. I thought they handled the situation pretty well.
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  • QuantMechQuantMech 7909 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,944 Senior Member
    #281--I mean non-native English speakers, among the math profs! Not non-English speakers!
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  • skieuropeskieurope 37361 replies6486 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 43,847 Super Moderator
    MODERATOR'S NOTE:
    Looking back to my earlier notes, I can't help but wonder what bullying, non-native TA's, math curriculum, etc. have to do with this topic? Can we get back on track please?
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