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Common app abandons Holistic admissions?

I put a question mark as a courtesy, because the process started when they got rid of the short answer to what activity is most important to you and why. The Common App has succumbed to market pressures (we are looking at you universal app) and seeks to own every application (like those Canadians and Australians) as it quietly unveiled some astonishing changes that do not even get mentioned on their facebook page. In fact, these changes are not even on their blog. Amazingly, I did not learn of these changes by the official counselor newsletter, but from  Nancy Griesemer column (an early version attributed the article to Valerie Strauss–sorry, Nancy). In fairness, the Common App dropped holistic admissions from their mission statement last fall. Now it reads:

“The Common Application is a not-for-profit member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college application process.”

 

So, the new improved  common app (which reminds of a new improved coke) now further builds on abandoning holistic review by

1) Not requiring an essay. Yep, colleges will have the option of not having a writing sample. This will be happy news for Canadians and Australians who found they could figure out qualified students without any writing sample. Besides, who wants to read ghost written essays anyways? No word on who will drop the writing requirements. Looks like they still have not solved the problem of what are the supplementary  essays for each colleges. 

2) Not requiring any recommendations. Presently, colleges had to have at least one reference–either teacher or counselor–but now just the student’s name and credit card information is sufficient to apply. Maybe the SAT or ACT. Maybe not. I guess they still require a transcript, unless you don’t

Most college discussion board focused on the changes to the essay prompts, but these are minor compared with the complete about face on holistic admissions. The Common App claims I have it wrong: “We understand that many institutions practice holistic review and selection in various ways.  By moving away from the very prescribed definition, we support our Members in evaluating applicants through the admissions process that works best for them – be it a resume, a video essay, an interview, or other as yet untapped approaches,” said Eric J. Furda, Board of Directors Chair and Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. But, no essay, no references, no reflection on the reason behind an activity is the opposite of holistic. Students are reduced to GPA and test scores…and of course income if they do not apply for financial aid. 

The other note of worth, especially if you work for a college, is the change in pricing plans, removing the incentive for exclusivity. 

For students, they fixed the silly print preview function. And they now allow students to revise their now optional essay as many times as they wish. 

Get your Bachelor’s degree in English and on the cheap

Rick Nocak does a nice job outline 7 countries where you can study at university in English for free (or nearly free). These include:

While other countries such as Hong Kong, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland all offer robust offerings in English, the above do so at a very modest price point.

Financial aid for international students

Cost of attending college in America keeps getting higher. For many international students the dream can only happen if they can get some support from the institution itself. For years, OACAC would put out a spreadsheet detailing financial aid available for international students. Unfrtunately the last one came out in 2013. Fortunately, Jennie Kent and Jeff Levy have provided an updated list. Actually, the list offers more insight by detailing who offers need and merrit aid. As you can see, many public universities offer none. Some like Washington State, offer modest amounts. Other like Stanford and Yale appear to go to full ride. 

Currently, only six us colleges identify themselves as Need blind, meaning they evaulate yoru application without regard to your ability to pay:

 

  • Amherst College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University

 

Keep in mind that some people see any claim of need blind as dubious.  Jon Boeckenstedt, an associate vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University in Chicago, asserts that There is no such thing as need blind admissions. 

Financial aid for international students

Cost of attending college in America keeps getting higher. For many international students the dream can only happen if they can get some support from the institution itself. For years, OACAC would put out a spreadsheet detailing financial aid available for international students. Unfrtunately the last one came out in 2013. Fortunately, Jennie Kent and Jeff Levy have provided an updated list. Actually, the list offers more insight by detailing who offers need and merrit aid. As you can see, many public universities offer none. Some like Washington State, offer modest amounts. Other like Stanford and Yale appear to go to full ride. 

Currently, only six us colleges identify themselves as Need blind, meaning they evaulate yoru application without regard to your ability to pay:

  • Amherst College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University

Keep in mind that some people see any claim of need blind as dubious.  Jon Boeckenstedt, an associate vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University in Chicago, asserts that There is no such thing as need blind admissions. 

Still looking for a home?

Hundereds of universities and colleges are still accepting students: Check out NACAC’s space availability website. The Universal Application also hosts a page with openings. 

admission numbers update

A few more Colleges have released their admission data. 

 

College

Overall

American University

35.1%

Amherst College:

13.7

Barnard

19.5%

Bates

21.4

Boston College

28%

Boston University

32%

Bowdoin

14.9%

Brown University 

8.49%

California Institute of Technology:

 

Carleton College:

 

Claremont McKenna College

9.8%

Colgate University:

 

College of William and Mary

33%

Columbia University 

6.1%

Cornell University’s 

14.9%

Dartmouth College 

10.3%

Davidson College:

 

Duke

9.4%

Emory University:

23%

Emory (oxford)

38%

George Washington University

45.5%

Georgetown

16.4%

Grinnell

24.6

Hamilton College:

23.9

Harvard

5.3%

Harvey Mudd

13%

Johns Hopkins

12.4

Kenyon

23.8%

Macalester

34%

University of Maryland

44.1%

Middlebury

17%

MIT

8.01%

UNC

18.9%

University of Notre Dame:

19.70%

Northwestern

13%

The University of Pennsylvania 

9.9%

Pitzer

12.9%

Pomona

9.76 %

Princeton University 

6.99%

Rice University:

14.7%

USC

17.5%

Scripps

28%

Stanford

5.05 

Smith College:

 

Swarthmore College

12.2%

Tufts

16%

University of Chicago

7.8%

UVA

28.5%

Vanderbilt

11.29%

Vassar College:

 

Yale University’s 

6.49%.

Washington University in St. Louis:

 

Wellesley College:

 

Wesleyan University

21.9%

Williams

16.8%

 

“just Google Supreme Court justices, recent presidents, Matt Damon, or CEOs of big-name companies and see where they graduated from.”

In an op-ed, a high school senior lamenting his rejections from Brown and other colleges conisders his gloomy future as he asserts this well repeated truth:

An education at an Ivy League or other top 20 schools appears to be an important ingredient for future success—just Google Supreme Court justices, recent presidents, Matt Damon, or CEOs of big-name companies and see where they graduated from.

Challenge accepted. So where did the supreme court justices go to college? According to Supreme court’s own website, virtually all went to an elite school. They followed this up by attending an equally elite law school. Of the 12, 10 list high pedigre colleges-Harvard, Stanford, Georgetwon etc. One has another proivate school, Holy Cross. The last list no college. Wikipedia cleared up any doubt: Princeton. So pretty clearly if you want one of the 12 highest seats in the land, go to an elite school. 

Recent presidents are equally elitest:

  • Obama graduate from Columbia (but started at liberal arts college Occidental)
  • Bush went to Yale
  • Clinton Georgetown
  • Papa Bush went to Yale

Reagen is the last presenident to attend a non-lite school: Eureka college. Continue back and the most eliet college on the list until Kennedy’s Harvard is Ford’s Michigan. 34% have advanced degrees. Indeed, that seems as important as an elite school these days. But 11 Presidents did not graduate and in several cases did not even go to college. So, it looks like William Pang is on track with his lamentings. 

Matt Damon did go to Harvard, but did not graduate. According to Box Office Mojo, Matt ranks twenty-second in Box office revenue. To compare: 

  • Ben Stiller (20) dropped out of UCLA. 
  • Bruce Willis (10) dropped out of Montclair State University
  • Johnny Depp (9) dropped out of high school
  • Robbin Williams (7) dropped out Claremont to pursue the study of acting at the college of Marin and then Julliard, where he also dropped out. 
  • Tom Cruise (6) did not go to college, but did drop out of seminary
  • Eddie Murphy (5) also did not go to college. 
  • Harrison Ford (4) graduated from Rippon College.
  • Samuel Jackson (3) actually graduated with an acting degree from Morehouse College
  • Morgan Freeman (2) turned down a scholarship to join the ariforce. 
  • Tom Hanks (1) graduated from Cal State Sacremento with a degree in drama. 

So clearly, if you want to be an actor, drop out of college or study acting pretty much anywhere. 

Finally for CEOs. Do you need to go to an elite school to become one? No. But it may help. Johnathon Wai notes 38% of Fortune 500 CEOs attended elite schools. Indeed, if you want to join the power elite, attending an elite school clearly ahs a corelation:

But correlation does not equal causation. 

Admission number update (April 9)

A few more schools have released data that is now incorperated in the table below. 

 

College

Overall

Amherst College:

13.7

Barnard

19.5%

Bates

21.4

Boston College

28%

Boston University

32%

Bowdoin

14.9%

Brown University 

8.49%

California Institute of Technology:

 

Carleton College:

 

Claremont McKenna College

 

Colgate University:

 

Columbia University 

6.1%

Cornell University’s 

14.9%

Dartmouth College 

10.3%

Davidson College:

 

Duke

9.4%

Emory University:

23%

George Washington University

45.5%

Georgetown

16.4%

Grinnell

24.6

Hamilton College:

 

Harvard

5.3%

Harvey Mudd

13%

Johns Hopkins

10.22

Middlebury

17%

MIT

8.01%

UNC

18.9%

University of Notre Dame:

19.70%

Northwestern

13%

The University of Pennsylvania 

9.9%

Pomona

9.76 %

Princeton University 

6.99%

Rice University:

14.7%

USC

17.5%

Stanford

5.05 %

Smith College:

 

Swarthmore College

12

Tufts

16%

 

 

UVA

28.5%

Vanderbilt

11.29%

Vassar College:

 

Yale University’s 

6.49%.

Washington University in St. Louis:

 

Wellesley College:

 

Wesleyan University

 

Williams

16.8%

 

who knew?

Sure BU and Chicago are well known examples of massive application growth, but BU can barely hold a candle to some on this list:

Only Chicago and Vandy have triple digit application growth in the US news top 25 list:

numbers update


College

Overall

Boston College

28%

Boston University

32%

Bowdoin

14.9%

Brown University 

8.49%

Columbia University 

6.1%

Cornell University’s 

14.9%

Dartmouth College 

10.3%

Duke

9.4%

George Washington University

 

Georgetown

16.4%

Harvey Mudd4

13%

Johns Hopkins

10.22

Middlebury

17%

MIT

8.01%

Northwestern

13%

The University of Pennsylvania 

9.9%

Pomona

9.76 %

Princeton University 

6.99%

USC

17.5%

Stanford

5.05 

 

Tufts

16%

UVA

28.5%

Vanderbilt

11.29%

Yale University’s 

6.49%.

 

 

Williams

16.8%