How much does being a URM (Under Represented Minority) help in getting into top boardingschools.

@prepedparent Regarding first gen, here’s a relevant quote from this article (which I found to be a very interesting read):** https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/education/edlife/first-generation-students-unite.html?_r=0

But I found a surprising flip-side to this story here:
https://theundefeated.com/features/gentrification-of-ncaa-division-1-college-basketball/

Finally, I found this relevant MIT Admissions blog post which even mentions conversations like this (“good and bad”) on College Confidential:

http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/diversity-or-merit

First gen with URM didn’t seem to factor in with us…but who knows…

@AppleNotFar You’re too smart (and academic) for me. I don’t follow. All I know is that more and more elite colleges want first gen, and ergo, the feeders to elite colleges (i.e. elite BSs) want first gen as well. Many are URM.

Not too smart after all @preppedparent as I didn’t do a very good job explaining why I thought these quotes and articles were relevant and interesting. Let me try again.

The notion of first gen as a desirable factor in admissions is something I’ve only been conscious of hearing about in the last couple of years. With you bringing it up again I thought I’d look around for more info on the topic and thought that the NYT article did a fairly good job with the topic. What’s particularly interesting to me is how first gen cuts across several other admissions buckets.

The second article about declining first gen admits among D1 recruited athletes was interesting to me because it helped me recall that it was probably in the pro athlete context that I first heard about first gen college students. And I was further interested to learn that despite a growing desire for first gen admits, the first group of first gen students many folks ever heard about is actually declining.

The last article resonated with me because of the way the author reconciled the merit vs. diversity discussions we’ve been having here on the forum.

@preppedparent yes. No one wants to acknowledge but there are lowers bars for certain pools, i,e recruited athletes and legacies, even full pay candidates and yes, URMs. Yes there is a substantially higher bar for Asians. This doesn’t mean that all legacies, athetes and URMs are unqualified or less qualified.

I disagree that the bar is lower for full pay candidates. Maybe for families donating large sums of money above being full pay. There are so many full pay students, they don’t need to lower any bar.

@nico.campbell My friend was a qualified full pay legacy URM from a URS and she got waitlisted! You honestly never know with schools…

I can only speak to one school but I know for a fact (I’ve seen the data) that in terms of legacies they are on average higher stat than the school population as a whole. Makes sense as many have had access to more advantages by virtue of being born to highly educated parents. And then there are less tangible attributes that make them attractive - they know the school and understand the culture as well as what boarding school life is like, they are most likely to accept helping yield, etc. And yes, the admit rate for legacies is higher than average but PLENTY of legacy students still get rejected each year.

I also agree that colleges have moved more towards favoring first generation students over just any old URM. They want diversity of all kinds.

Or maybe the “athleticism” bar is lower for more academic kids? Or the “overcoming hardship” bar is lower for kids whose parents are college graduates? Or the “willingness-to-step-out-of-comfort-zone” bar is lower for White applicants in White-majority colleges?

I still don’t get this notion that some students are unqualified or less qualified. How are you determining that you know more about what a school considers to be qualified than the school.? What makes someone qualified or less qualified? You for some reason have fixed in your head that test scores are the only qualification. They are not. There are several traits that the school is looking for not just test scores! I don’t know how many other ways to say this.

Who are you addressing your questions to?

Everyone who seems to think that unqualified or less qualified students are gaining admission to prep schools/BS. I do not believe schools are admitting students that they think are not qualified. What do they gain by admitting students who have no chance to succeed?

I agree with you, @queenmother. I think it’s a myth that gets too much traction. They don’t admit students who aren’t completely qualified.

@queenmother we know personally a number of kids with very low SSATS relative to the standard at two top schools Likewise with grades. Why would they admit these kids? Because their sport or URM status or legacy status or money will be a major factor in college admissions just as it is in BS. They can manage the work. Lots of choices for kids that aren’t the too 10% academically.

@Center: Sounds like you are saying that some of the academic kids with high SSATs and grades were much less qualified in other areas, say, athletic prowess, overcoming adversity, or willingness to live in a community where they are outnumbered? And yet, despite being less qualified in these other areas, some were admitted due to their academic scores?

Bottom line, once you are past a certain threshold in terms of academic chops, the schools care a lot less than many think about being high stat. You can sit there and think that some with hooks are getting preferential treatment but decisions aren’t made on maximizing SSAT scores. That’s not the acceptance philosophy being used. People like to focus on things like GPA (fungible anyway when comparing one middle school’s system to the next) and SSAT scores because it is quantifiable. It’s hard to quantify the many other attributes that factor into a Yes or a No.

@doschicos… Well said!

Referring to #33, I’m sure there are kids of all racial backgrounds (WASP included) that have lesser in one category or another.
For the original poster on this thread, I will stand behind my original answer. My DS was very qualified and had many boxes checked, so to speak - no need for specifics but I’ve seen lesser scores, sports, etc that got admitted where he didn’t. He is a URM. It didn’t seem to boost him over anyone else. I’ve learned in the short time of being in the process that it is about the complete fit. Just think of a jigsaw puzzle piece,with each indent and outjet being a different quality you have…it has to fit with what the school needs in their open slots. And all of the pieces they are looking for then have to fit together. Even if URM ends up being a plus at a school, the other facets of you have to be plusses in the school’s eyes as well.

@Center, you said the magic words. “They can manage the work”. That makes the qualified. Schools don’t intentionally admit students that cannot manage the work. They know some school inflate grades when some do not. You can’t compare GPA. They know some students are prepped for the test when others are not. You can’t compare SSAT scores. If they think you can manage the word then you are qualified. No more no less. It’s time to Let the SSAT and GPA scores as indication of qualification go.

It’s not about any one measurement of qualification. It’s about the competition within “subpools” one is categorized in. It’s about under or over representing.