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Ethics of "Chancing" students

OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
I thought immediately of the CC forum parents love to hate :)

The article discusses the tension between encouraging students to follow their dreams and realistically advising them that they are not likely to get into their first choice(s).

This was the most interesting part, to me:
I know colleagues who work at schools where they are not allowed to comment on a student’s chances for admission for fear that the student will not feel supported.


Replies to: Ethics of "Chancing" students

  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 Registered User Posts: 1,185 Senior Member
    I'm not a fan of the "chance me" threads just because of the subjectivity of the answers from non-qualified people. However, if a student doesn't feel "supported" based on such an answer, then that is a whole 'nother can of worms.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,492 Forum Champion
    I am not a fan of the chance me threads -- but in the rare instances when I reply I do feel that honesty is best. I would never dissuade people from applying to one or two huge reach schools but I also try to bring posters down to earth by suggesting that developing a well rounded list of reach, match, and safety schools that appear affordable and that they would be happy to attend should be the goal.
  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 Registered User Posts: 3,769 Senior Member
    I’m not sure how I feel about the “reach for the stars” philosophy. The number of applications that schools receive from unqualified applicants is out of control and is driving down the acceptance #s. At some level, it isn’t worth “reaching for the stars” and such applications should be discouraged. If a student has a shot, then they should apply. I think there’s enough information out there to reasonably gauge whether an applicant has a chance or not based on all admissions factors and Hail Mary applications, especially more than 1 per student, makes no sense.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,831 Senior Member
    But all students have a shot. This girl is at UCLA, and was also accepted to Washington, USC, Wisconsin, and a number of other elite schools. Stanford (and Harvard and Yale) should set minimums if they have minimum - no one without a 1500 and a gpa of 3.8. They'd still get 10 applications for every spot. She might have still met those requirements, but she didn't have that 'extra' that those schools seem to need and that we all 'know' they need to have a real shot. She thought she had it.

    She would have been miserable if she hadn't taken the chance and had to live with 'what if...'
  • evergreen5evergreen5 Registered User Posts: 1,408 Senior Member
    @TheGreyKing And I hate it when someone tells a student they have no chance if they are not within the top 25% of applicants; don’t they understand how percentages work, and that 75% of students don’t meet their criteria?
    This has been bugging me lately, the idea that one should be in the top 25%. Naturally anyone would prefer to be in that quartile, and it's much more important when merit scholarships are an imperative, but I don't understand the mentality, explicit or implicit, that one has almost no chance if their stats don't approach the 75th percentile. On the low end, the 25th percentile mark seems to be the designated point at which hooks become necessary, but what about the 50th or even 40th percentiles? Stats at those levels would seem to me to be matches, at which point the evaluation presumably moves on to other features of the app (with the caveat that at some level of low acceptance rates, all schools are reaches regardless). Or maybe I'm having difficulty visualizing a typical distribution within the middle 50.
  • tucsonmomtucsonmom Registered User Posts: 455 Member
    I think that the "Chance me" threads are stupid and a total waste of time.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,614 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    I don't understand the utility of the "chance me" posts. If it's a question of academic record, anyone can get the stats for the schools' incoming classes and compare themselves. You don't need a bunch of strangers on CC to tell you whether your GPA or SAT or ACT is in line with the numbers at any particular school.

    In theory, many of the GPA (or rank) and test score stats are readily available. However, it also looks like some of the "chance me" posters have not bothered to look for them, or were not able to find them if they did look.

    But some colleges are less than transparent about their GPA (or rank) and test score stats. Those which have significantly different selectivity by major often give little or no information on that, so that we see applicants thinking that (for example) CS at UIUC or Washington is a match or safety instead of a reach, based on overall school admission stats. Other examples include in-state versus out-of-state admission stats at many public universities, or Texas public universities' auto-admit versus non-auto-admit selectivity.

    Obviously, it would be desirable if at least public universities were more transparent about admission stats based on majors, residency, etc. so that applicants can be more realistic about applying and assessing reach/match/safety.
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,872 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    The number of applications that schools receive from unqualified applicants is out of control and is driving down the acceptance #s.
    HYPSM... type colleges typically claim that 80-90% of applicants are academically qualified. For example, in the article at https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=66225 , the director of admissions at Stanford estimated that 80% of applicants are academically qualified to handle Stanford. Of course this doesn't mean all of that large 80% group has a good chance of admission.

    It would be nice if we could estimate chance of admission well, then it would be straightforward to determine whether that chance of success is worth the time, effort, and cost required to apply. Some students would feel a long shot is worth the time/effort/cost. Other students would not. Both would be acceptable decisions, depending on personal values and situation.

    However, the reality is that highly selective colleges tend to have very holistic admissions decisions. You can estimate if your scores are in/above the median range for the entering class, maybe GPA too to a lesser extent; but the admissions decision depends on far more than scores and GPA. On the forums, this seems to lead to overemphasizing the importance of the criteria that can be measured well, at the cost of underestimating the influence of other criteria that cannot be measured and compared as easily. For example, students A, B, and C are applying from my school and have a top 1% class rank and 34+ ACT; so no point in me applying with a top 3% class rank and 33 ACT. Or a student with a top 8% class rank and 32 ACT is academically unqualified and has no chance. It may turn out that students A, B, and C's ECs/talents/awards/backgrounds/... are all typical HS level, while the other two are more impressive on a national level; resulting in students A, B. C having little chance of admission, while the other two have greater chance.

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 5,192 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    To me one of the main points of "chance me" threads is to try to get students thinking more seriously about what schools actually make sense for them.

    Too many kids think that they want to go to an Ivy League school but actually have almost no clue what it means to wake up and find yourself in an Ivy League school, with an Ivy League sized list of homework to do and Ivy League paced classes to attend. Also, you see kids who say pretty much "I have great stats" (which is true) and "therefore I want to go to the very best computer science program, therefore I want an Ivy League school", or "I have a 3.0 unweighted and once took at AP class and got a C so I want to go to MIT".

    Hopefully in some of these cases we can at least try to aim the kids back in the general direction of reality.
This discussion has been closed.