Top LACs and SAT scores discrepancy

<p>I'm looking at schools right now for my brother and I think I'd like for him to look into applying to LACs. I'm already in college and I go to a large state school. I personally LOVE my school atm. But I feel that what I especially love about my school are attributes that would be particularly exemplified in LACs. </p>

<p>For example, we have 'seminar' classes where undergrads get to take classes with professors that are no larger than 15 per section, the one I'm in right now only has 10 people. The seminars are extremely intensive. We read about 1-3 history books a week and are expected to write papers of 8, 15 and 25 pages in length. But I personally love the seminars because of the in depth discussions and the guidance that the professor gives you.</p>

<p>I'd like my brother to experience something like this. When I applied to college I just blanketed my state schools and went where ever I got in pretty much. I was stupid and lazy in high school so I didn't have very many choices when I applied to college.</p>

<p>The question I have is this: Why do the tippy-top LACs, like Amherst and Middlebury, have such low 25%tile and median SAT scores. For schools so prestigious and resource-rich I assumed that they would be more selective. I think both of the aforementioned schools have 25th% SATs in the mid 600s. The first time I ever even looked at an SAT exam, which was the score I sent in, I got about a 670 in all of my sections. So I really feel that even if my brother is way more stupid than I am, he could break 700 pretty easily.</p>

<p>Reasons I can come up with for this are that 1) Not many people know about the opportunities that LACs offer and so don't apply and 2) LACs' holistic attitude extends to their admission process so they tend to accept a lot of applicants with terrific life stories.</p>

<p>There are several reasons, but I'll highlight one of them. The scores you're talking about are for the bottom 25 percent of the class. Because LACs have such small classes (at Middlebury around 600 per class, Amherst closer to 425 per class), the effects of athletic recruitment, legacy admissions, and recruitment of minorities has a larger impact on the overall numbers than at much larger schools. Some athletes and URMs don't test as well, so their scores are lower. This brings down the numbers. I'd hazard to say that most of the lowest scorers were students who were recruited for one thing or another (sports, diversity, etc.), who have tremendous life stories, or who submitted scores for a different test (ACT or 3 SAT IIs) for use in admissions (Midd reports the SAT I scores of all accepted students who submit SAT II scores, regardless of whether they were used in admissions).</p>

<p>What arcadia says. If you don't have a "hook" such as URM, athletics, music/art genius, interesting life story etc., you want your SATs to be in the top 25% SATs. Even then, you may not have better than 50/50 chance at the elite LACs.</p>

<p>I see, thank you for the reply. I forgot to consider that tidbit about middlebury.</p>

<p>Is URM strictly defined as Black and Hispanic-non-White-excluding Cuba? I ask because we are Asian but are 3rd wave immigration Asians who fall into typical parameters of 3rd wave immigrants (very poor, uneducated parents,manual labor-type jobs, 1st gen). And I'm pretty sure the high school dropout rates for students of our ethnicity (Vietnamese) are comparable with a lot of the other URMs that are a bit more widely recognized as under represented.</p>

<p>Also, is there a LAC FAQ somewhere? I feel like I have a lot of questions about admissions, fit, traits and search/selection that seem a little basic. And most posts on CC seem to be directed towards the more national universities.</p>

<p>n.b., The most recent 75th percentiles of students admitted to Amherst were 800 (CR), 780 (M), and 780 (W).</p>

<p>LAC admission committees are able to pay closer attention to the individual candidate in order to diversify or round out their classes. The preferential treatment received by underrepresented Asian minorities does not match that received by Afro-American and Hispanic applicants, but it remains a considered plus factor in the application, especially when taken alongside socioeconomic and educational background.</p>

<p>"LACs' holistic attitude extends to their admission process so they tend to accept a lot of applicants with terrific life stories."</p>

<p>Yes, but "terrific life stories" without a confluence of other personal factors, and of course academic achievement and high testing, simply won't do.</p>

<p>For instance, I come from a humble background, can tell a story of my own, and had respectable SAT scores, but I hovered around the median of my elite high school, and my personal essays were iffy--that got me waitlisted.</p>

<p>So, all factors of admission remain important, as well as how the individual applicant expresses these factors through his or her writing.</p>

<p>
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n.b., The most recent 75th percentiles of students admitted to Amherst were 800 (CR), 780 (M), and 780 (W).

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</p>

<p>Do you have a reference link?</p>

<p>But aren't admitted numbers a little misleading? Because isn't Amherst's yield rate 30-40%?</p>

<p>"Do you have a reference link?"</p>

<p><a href="https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/182193/original/AmherstCollegeSSR_2013.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://www.amherst.edu/media/view/182193/original/AmherstCollegeSSR_2013.pdf&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>"But aren't admitted numbers a little misleading? Because isn't Amherst's yield rate 30-40%?"</p>

<p>Yeah, but you have to get in first before you can turn down their offer. If a significant proportion of admitted students are exceedingly well-qualified, you're going to want to fall in that proportion to have a fighting chance.</p>

<p>Thanks, kwu.</p>

<p>I can see that the admitted stats may be more useful than the enrolled stats because it tells you more about who you are competing for admissions.</p>

<p>The Amherst stats for ENROLLED students are almost as impressive at the 75%:</p>

<p>CR 760
M 780</p>

<p>Amherst</a> College Overview - CollegeData College Profile</p>

<p>Percentile scores dont give you much info. I think it would be better if they included aggregate scores, and maybe percentage of people who got certain scores. SOmeone could score highly on one portion and score lowly on another portion</p>

<p>It is interesting in this discussion to compare the 25% SAT of two highly regarded LACs: Pomona College and Amherst College.</p>

<p>Amhert's 25% is 1310, whereas Pomona's is 1390. Their 75% are idential very close, 1560 for Pomona and 1540 for Amherst.</p>

<p>What can we infer from this large divergence at the 25%? </p>

<p>Who are these Amherst lower statted applicants? I honestly don't know but I am going to proposed that Amherst takes more lower statted athletes, legacy, and social hardship applicants than does Pomona. The only thing I know for sure is that Pomona does not field a GOOD football team, and Amherst does :) (Pomona is winless this year thus far). Further, Pomona's football team is composed of players from both Pomona and Pitzer. I'll take long odds on a bet that the majority are from Pitzer. I'll further bet that the football coach at Pomona gets ZERO, ZILCH, BUPKIS, NADA in the way of back-door admits... instead getting them in through Pitzer.</p>

<p>It may also be worth noting that Pomona has more than double the number of Asian students than Amherst and Middlebury. Pomona is as diverse as Amherst, but a significant number of their minorities are Asians, who tend to fare better on standardized tests than other URMs.</p>

<p>One in five Pomona students is Asian compared to one in ten Amherst students (Midd has fewer Asian students than Amherst).</p>

<p>Have your brother take a look at the midwestern LACs. Asians are still URMs there and the financial aid/merit aid is more generous than at many of the top east coast LACs. Schools to consider: Grinnell, Carleton, Oberlin and Macalester. Slightly less competitive: Kenyon, Beloit, Lawrence, Rhodes </p>

<p>Note that Grinnell, in Iowa, which my S attends, has the smallest class size of all the top LACs in the country. Even the intro classes in psych, bio and chem are 25 or fewer students. And a huge endowment resulting in generous financial and merit aid, lovely new facilities, and lots of funding for student research and internships.</p>

<p>Thank you very much M's Mom. I will have my brother look into all of those. Btw, I used to have a friend named M (that's her full, legal name, M) and her mom was a character. Kind of a hippy woman but really nice to us. </p>

<p>If anyone else has got some suggestions, I'd also be very appreciative. </p>

<p>DunninLA,</p>

<p>That was really insightful. I did not know that. And given the small class sizes, I guess it would make sense that fielding just 1 football team would lower their 25th percentiles.</p>

<p>
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Percentile scores dont give you much info. I think it would be better if they included aggregate scores, and maybe percentage of people who got certain scores.

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</p>

<p>A school's Common Data Set document (section C) typically reports a fairly detailed profile of SAT score distributions for enrolled students. Usually it includes the percentage of entering students scoring in each 100-point band (per subtest, though, not by aggregates).</p>

<p>Here's a ranking of schools by 75th percentile M+CR:
Top</a> 500 Ranked Universities for Highest SAT 75th Percentile Scores
By this measure, the most selective LACs seem to stack up fairly well against the most selective universities. For example, Harvey Mudd's scores equal MIT's scores; Swarthmore equals Columbia; Pomona and Amherst equal Chicago ... etc.</p>

<p>^ I have seen the CDS b4, and it does provide interesting data, but I would prefer ones that gave a subtest version. This provides better data in a way. The LACs do compare favorably with National universities</p>

<p>Might look at some Patriot League schools-Lafayette, Holy Coss, Bucknell.</p>

<p>
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Is URM strictly defined as Black and Hispanic-non-White-excluding Cuba?

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In addition to what M'sMom says about midwestern LACs, I would add that the same applies to many eastcoast LACs in rural or non-urban locations -- like Williams, Skidmore, Middlebury, Hamilton, Colby, Bowdoin, Bates. Most high achieving Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics gravitate toward urban environments. Rural and remotely located LACs activity recruit diversity but often lose to colleges with greater critical mass. In that sense Asians do qualify as URMS at these schools.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Also, is there a LAC FAQ somewhere? I feel like I have a lot of questions about admissions, fit, traits and search/selection that seem a little basic.

[/quote]

Once you start investigating you'll find that there's actually quite a lot of information on LACs. Start with USNWR's list of LACs which will give you a general idea of the academic rigor and selectivity. Then look up the individual schools in a college guide. Once you find one or two that sounds like it suits your (or your brother's) desired ambience and learning style, you will find others in the same general personality type.</p>

<p>My son had a wonderful experience at an LAC. When he started his search he (and I) didn't even know they existed, but through a process of pursuing self-eduation, books, on-line information, visits the landscape became clear.</p>

<p>There're some very helpful moms on this thread. Thank you momrath I will make note of all of those. </p>

<p>I don't know how realistic Williams is for him but maybe with luck on the SATs and some kind of over-achieving Asian flu pandemic, his relative URM status will go a long way.</p>