UMass Amherst 2024 EA: High-Stats AND In-State AND Denied/Waitlisted

First, to all the hard-working, in-state students who did all the right things to earn a coveted spot at UMassA as a CS (or other) major… your earned it, and you should be “triggered” for the injustice I will opine on below.

To the parents of all those hard working, incredibly well-qualified, in-state, denied CS (and other) applicants, you were hosed and must now pay more $$ somewhere else for your child to go to college; despite the MA taxes you have paid for years and years.

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My son (denied, i.e. waitlisted), according to Niche had stronger stats that 84% of in-state accepted to CS, and 88% stronger than OOS accepted to CS at Umass Amherst

Of course, the obvious question is how could he have compared so favorably to past CS applicants, and be denied this year. What has changed?

The second question is how would he have compared to in-state (IS) and out-of-state (OOS) accepted students at other public flagships, with the same stats?

[Metric: “You rank higher than XX% of accepted students shown”. In each graph, one gets to select both Major and IS/OOS. Source: ■■■■■■■■■]

For Computer Science applicants with same stats:

College CS/IS CS/OOS Delta (positive favors IS)
UMassA 84% 88% -4%
Purdue 88% 69% +19%
Wisconsin 76% 67% +9%
UTexas 67% 54% +13%
Berkeley 34% 25% +9%

So, if a given applicant applies, as an OOS applicant, to Purdue (or any school other than UMassA from list above), he/she would have needed to have superior (on average) stats to be accepted, compared with an IS applicant. The exact opposite is true for UMass Amherst where OOS applicants for CS had weaker stats. Of course (!!!) stats are not the only thing, but how can UMassA be the only outlier here. Are the other “non-merit” factors so different for UMassA that it reverses the usual advantage the high-stat IS applicants.

So, another question might be, “is this just a CS thing?”. In order to answer, Below are the Niche data from the same schools for Engineering and Business

For Engineering applicants with same stats:

College ENG/IS ENG/OOS Delta (positive favors IS applicants)
UMassA 84% 88% -4%
Purdue 72% 65% +7%
Wisconsin 68% 59% +9%
UTexas 66% 54% +11%
Berkeley 32% 31% +1%

For Management applicants with same stats:

College MGT/IS MGT/OOS Delta (positive favors IS applicants)
UMassA 96% 98% -2%
Purdue 97% 93% +4%
Wisconsin 87% 67% +10%
UTexas 67% 54% +13%
Berkeley 61% 56% +5%

While reading the post, it may seem that just high-stat, in-state CS applicants were given the “stick in the eye” treatment, the scope is actually much broader than that. According to the data above, they (high-stat IS applicants) would have received unfavorable treatment at ONLY from UMass Amherst, and the unfair treatment was independent of the major to which they applied, CS/ENG/MGT. I urge any parents/students in the same boat to use Niche, with your S/D’s stats to verify the above. [please publish if you do]

I have been paying tax to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for over 35 years, and have supported every dollar of increased taxes for our public colleges over the years. While I never viewed a seat at UMass for my children as an entitlement, I now see the policies which leads to opposite, discrimination. I really think the administration have some spainin’ to do.

Note: It is nice to have social media to expose the nonsense that has occurred this year in Umass Amherst Admissions. In years gone by, no one would know that the most highly qualified in-state applicants to UMass Amherst are getting hosed. Thank you CC for the forum which affords the truth to be known.

To clarify the same trend is true for International students. Most accepted to CS are getting $16k scholarships thereby eliminating any difference between IS and International fees. This defeats both the rationale of “we need more revenue because we are underfunded” and also that “we accept the best students”. In addition why do all the news and hitech companies keep companies keep spreading the news that there is a shortage of local STEM talent when international students who need F1/H1B are accepted with lesser stats than IS students. All of this is swept away with the magic wand of “holistic admission process”.

BTW we did not apply to CS but the unfairness of the process for IS students is what motivated this post.

For those who are not clear on who is an international student, please find below per UMASS Website. So American citizens/PRs studying abroad are not international students.

"For the purpose of undergraduate admission, UMass Amherst defines “international applicants” as those who hold, or will need to obtain, a non-immigrant visa, including students who hold or who intend to hold F-1, J-1, H-1, H-4 etc. visa/status as well as those awaiting adjudication of their Permanent Resident status (i.e. pending Permanent Residents). Applicant classification as an international or domestic applicant for admissions purposes is independent of classification as “resident” or “non-resident” of Massachusetts for tuition purposes. However, international students will be considered out-of-state for tuition residency purposes. "

As per OP, our family has paid major taxes for the last 25 years in MA and for what?

Based on the statistics of the UMass Amherst class of 2023 (https://www.umass.edu/admissions/facts-and-figures/student-body-and-admissions-statistics), we have 75% in-state, 17% out-of-state, and 8% international.
If we compare those numbers against other FLAGSHIP campuses of national public universities, we still have a higher % of in-state students and a lower % of out-of-state and international.

@Portenio

At the same time, look at this State education system rankings. Everyone in MA sings to us that we have the best schools in the country. So by definition IS % in UMASS Amherst should be higher as they have so many qualified applicants. Other Univs admit OOS students to improve the quality of the matriculants. The issue is is UMASS focusing on other things besides the academic quality of the incoming class and if yes what are the reasons as the oft repeated reason of revenue doesn’t seem to bear sense in instances where they are giving $16k scholarships to OOS/International students with lower GPA/SAT than rejected IS students.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/education

I’d suggest posting your student stats to provide a frame of reference.

35 ACT (single test)
4.2GPA (top 20 HS)
Adams Scholarship
1 Sport
2 Audition-level bands
Robotics-Lead bot programmer
Two AP CS coursed
4 APs senior year
Great recommendation
Good essays

Also, accepted CS w Presidential Scholarships (merit, 15-30K) at other highly regarded public flagships and privates.

butnotgoodenoughforumass

As Amherst gets more competitive, the other UMass schools up their game too. UML used to be a schlock school now it has excellent programs and many people who used to only consider UMA look at UML as a great (if not better) alternative – certainly for all things Engineering including CS. I’m going to guess as competitiveness continues to increase, there will be similar trickle down impacts for UMD and ultimately UMB. Folks should consider the entire UMass systems and not just UMA.

following

It might be relevant to point out that admissions is “holistic” - so high stats are not a guarantee of admission at U-Mass.

I am a teacher in MA (public school) and plenty of our high stats kids got in, and some not-so-high stats. Could there be a red flag or attitude issue in the essays or recommendations?

We only have a very self-selected group of people with this issue coming to speak about it on CC.

Tell me, in what you call a “holistic review” should it be a positive or negative to be an in-state applicant to UMass Amherst?

https://www.wbur.org/edify/2018/05/29/out-of-state-admissions-to-umass

That isn’t necessarily part of the review but would likely be a positive.

Are you unwilling to concede that there could have been a problem in the essays or recommendations?

On the 2024 EA Results thread, there was an observable pattern; of many highly qualified in-state applicants being denied/waitlisted, and lower (quantitatively) qualualified OOS applicants were accepted and/or provided merit scholarships (primarily in CS).

It certainly piqued my interest. Analysis and reports clearly corroborates my hypothesis, based on my observation in the thread…

Since you asked (making it more personal, less general), I do NOT concede that bad components of his app caused him to be denied at UMass as acceptances and scholarships at more highly ranked colleges. He was denied only at one Ivy, but otherwise 100% acceptances (excluded UMass, obviously)

Stats for my CS-rejected son:
GPA: 4.5 out of 5, weighted
SAT: 1550 (1 sitting)
SAT2: 800 Math 2, 770 Chem
AP: Calc BC 5, CS A 5, Chem 4, USHist 5
EC: average

@swampyankee I see that UMassA keeps asserting the state only pays 21% of the budget. This is not true according to their own budget report. While the whole UMass system only get 21% out their budget from the state, UMassA actually gets 29%.

See their report here:

https://www.umass.edu/budget/sites/default/files/FY19%20Approved%20Budget.pdf

@swampyankee - I am not trying to make it “personal” - but rather to say, that a lot of us in the CC community, if our children don’t get in somewhere, refrain from blaming the system.

All admissions is more competitive than ever. High stats are no guarantee of admission at anyplace that uses holistic review of applications.

It might be reasonable to discuss funding (insufficient for our MA system IMO) and/or to discuss the need for in-state schools to support in-state students. However, this thread seems to veer away from that into some pretty entitled ideas of who deserves a spot.

A different poster was saying on the other U-MA thread that he didn’t get into his reach in spite of his high stats, and he didn’t get into U-MA because he figured it was yield-management. This is wishful thinking to my POV. There was something in all of the above applications that didn’t match the holistic review of the institutions. Or, perhaps an element of bad luck.

Exactly. If a school wanted only the students with the highest stats, they would do a rack and stack system (based solely on stats), rather than holistic admissions.

I live in Illinois where we have an even greater out flow of students than Mass. Although UIUC has high overall admit rate, CS and Engineering (and a few other programs) have very competitive admissions…with some majors under 20% acceptance rate and some probably under 10%. UIUC also has a sizable proportion of OOS and International students, but generally they do not receive institutional financial aid.

Yield management can be part of the reason for high stat deferrals…but publics tend to not play that game…but I don’t know about UMass Amherst’s practices wrt to this.

High stat denials at holistic admission public schools probably has more to do with building a class that specifically does not have only high stat students. They also need to fill athletic teams, band members, balance majors, increase diversity, increase access for low SES students, etc. It’s complicated.

I live in NH (kid applied to u mass Amherst but hasn’t heard yet) and this would royally piss me off. The stats I’m seeing are ivy-level and the kids are denied?? How?? Obviously an attempt to get more tuition and pad their stats so their ranking goes up. I’d bet somebody has a contract incentive to raise the school’s ranking.

I do think the very large number of top public and private high schools in the state complicates things. Maybe the people’s republic of Massachusetts’s could institute means testing for in-state tuition to steer wealthy in-states to other schools?

Maybe McGill and other Canadian schools have the right idea. They only look at grades and test scores, and specifically say not to send ec’s, essays, or letters of recommendation.

My kid doesn’t do sports and can’t do a bunch of ec’s because we live on a working farm. The “holistic” approach that American schools use isn’t going to do her any favors. Her grades and test scores, however, got her into McGill.

"High stat denials at holistic admission public schools probably has more to do with building a class that specifically does not have only high stat students. They also need to fill athletic teams, band members, balance majors, increase diversity, increase access for low SES students, etc. It’s complicated.
UMASS Incoming class size if ~6000. I don’t believe that they can’t fill bands and all other activities mentioned from such a large class. The issue is when IS students are getting denied and reasons such as tuition revenue are not due to scholarships given, it raises questions on what is the admission policy at hand.