Category Archives: Trends
A bad football league commands a disporptionate amount of interest in college admission (No, I am not Ivy bashing, just stating a fact: “Ivies represented on active NFL rosters are Harvard, Brown and Cornell, with Yale represented on practice squads. Of the 10 total players, Harvard leads the pack with four, and Yale, Brown, and Cornell each have two.”) The Ivies collectively received about 268,000 applications–mind you many students applied to more than one Ivy; one not only applied to, but got into all 8. The Ivy League has room for almost none. With a collective admission rate of 8%, students are well advised to have some alternatives in mind when applying to college. But that is purely a statistically smart thing to do. William Deresiewicz argues that you should not let them go to an Ivy League School because they “are turning our kids into zombies.” His tirade really is about the elite education conveybelt that propells students to succeed without really investing in theselves; sure these students try, and try very hard, but they do not feel. His evidence: Ivy League graduates go to Wall street finance numbers in droves. At least that is what he would have you believe. Yes, finance is the number one career after college at Harvard, Yale and Princton (Harvard at 17 percent, Yale, finance accounted for 14 percent oand at Princeton, 35.9 percent of those who had jobs at graduation were headed into finance). It is a safe bet argues Ezra Klein. Well only two Ivy League schools (Cornell and UPenn) make it into the top 20 of Peace Corp volunteers, but several other elite institutions do as well (Rice, Tufts, Chicago, Georgetown, Duke, Emory). But they show up in droves at Teach for America:
- Cornell 55
- Harvard 45
- UPENN 40
- Columbia 35
- Dartmouth 33
- Brown 31
- Princeton 30
- Yale 30
Harvard graduates about 1600 students a year. About 2.8% went to Teach for America. Yeah, that is anot a lot. But a total of 11.5% are working in education. 7.5% in Non-profit work. Sure 31% are heading into Finance and Consulting, but that means 62% are not.
Deresiewicz makes and then bungles two essential claims. The first is that the American college system’s admissions process is reductive and occasionally brutal. The second is that far too many students at our nation’s most selective institutions are going into finance.
Both authors miss the key point: Elite Education does not guarantee success. Sure it will most likely give you a big leg up, especially if you go to the top 4, but it is what you do when you are there that matters. Indeed recent research from Gallup showcased the exact sort of experiences students should be cultivating at college if they want to enjoy a successful career.
Ironically, both articles are published in the New Republic, which apparently really likes Ivy Leagure graduates: “46 out of 91 staffers hold undergraduate or graduate degrees (or both) from an Ivy League institution.”
The New York Times profiles the new dimensions in college admissions that see colleges and students shopping AFTER May 1 for space:
“We called about 15 colleges, and we found that about half still had openings for this fall and were willing to consider them, which really surprised me,” he said. “These are not Tufts, M.I.T., Harvard, schools like that, that will never have trouble filling up.”
They focus on Loyola in New Orleans and ST. Mary’s College in Maryland.
Jeffrey Selingo knows a thing or two about colleges. He should. He lives and breaths it as editor of the the Chronical of higher education. So when he published a book about the future of higher education, people will read it. Listen to his interview at NPR. Killer quote:
While I have not had a chance to read the book yet (it has been just released), I have learned that he singles out 19 colleges which comprise “a short list of forward-thinking universities to keep an eye on…These are just a sampling of colleges that have adopted strategies and programs that will help prove the value of their degree in the years ahead.”
- Ball State University
- City University of New York
- Cornell University
- Drexel University
- Georgia State University
- Goucher College
- Lynn University
- Northeastern University
- St Mary’s College of California
- Susquehana University
- Tulane University
- University of Iowa
- University of Minnesota Rochester
- University of Texas at Austin
- Wake Forest University
- Wake Tech Community College
- Westminister College (Utah)
- Worchester Polytechnic University
My list is not quite complete and lacks the detailed analysis and anecdotes Jeff infuses to help capture the spirity of innovation. Check out More of Jeff in this talk
Early number coming in:
Applications for early admission to Harvard College’s class of 2017 numbered 4,856, marking a nearly 15 percent surge from last year’s figure, the University announced on Thursday.
Yale received a total of 4,514 early applications, a 4.4 percent increase from the previous year, and Princeton received 3,791, a 10 percent increase. The University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Brown received 4,780, 3,126, and 2,957 early applications this year, up 5.6 percent, 1.3 percent, and 1 percent respectively from last year. Dartmouth, on the other hand, saw a 12.5 percent decrease in early applicants.
Penn also is up (See the lovely graph)
Outtside the Ivy League, applications to Duke University’s early decision program declined by 2.6 percent, and the University of Chicago broke its early action application record for the fourth straight year, topping 10,000 applicants for an increase of 18.6 percent.
The University received 2,586 applications compared to 2,656 received last year, said Dean of Admissions Christoph Guttentag. This decrease—less than 3 percent—comes after a 100 percent increase in early decision applications over the last five years, Guttentag said.
Georgetown offers this lovely graphic:
This year, 6,736 students applied for early action admission to the class of 2017, marking a slight increase over the 6,699 applicants who applied last year. Most notably, the School of Nursing and Health Studies saw a 20 percent jump in applications.
The University reported an all-time high number of early decision applicants last week, with 2,625 students vying for a sport in the class of 2017 — a 7 percent increase from last year.
Applications designated early decision rose from 916 in 2011 to 1,007 this fall, a 10 percent increase, university officials said.
ED1 applications to ECAS are up 10 percent and stood at a record high of 959 as of Nov. 19 compared to 871 at the same time last year.
The Hopkins Office of Undergraduate Admissions has begun reviewing the Early Decision applications submitted by prospective members of the Class of 2016. With 1,467 applications received, this year’s number of applications marks a slight increase over last year’s Early Decision pool of 1,445 aspirational students.
The University (of Virginia) saw 13,879 early action applications this year, up from 11,681 last year. Dean of Admissions Greg Roberts attributed the rise to increased knowledge about the early action program.
The Admission Office received a record number of 2,957 early decision applications for spots in the class of 2017, Miller said. Last year, the University received 2,919 early decision applications.
3,791 students applied for early admission to the University, about a 10-percent increase over the 3,443 who applied last year.
According to a press release, UGA received a record 11,300 early action (EA) applications. As is usually the case, the EA pool is academically strong, boasting of an average GPA of almost 3.8, mean SAT scores of 1286 (with a mean writing score of 620), and an average ACT of 29.
Boston University received over 40 percent more applications for early decision in 2012 than it did in 2011, BU officials said.
Colin Riley, BU spokesman, said 1,505 people applied for early decision admission to BU for the fall 2013 semester, while only 1,069 applied for early admission for the fall 2012 semester.
Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science received 3,126 early decision applications for the class of 2017, an increase of 1.3 percent from last year’s 3,086.
Another installment of this year’s trends in college admission series with Trend #6: Early Applications & Early Admission You can check out previous posts here:
- Trend # 1: Rigor Rules
- Trend #2: Merit Merits Merit
- Trend #3: The Gender Gap
- Trend #4: Admitted! Sort of…
- Trend #5: The Quest for Geographic Diversity!
Early decision plans are binding — a student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college. Early action plans are nonbinding — students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1. Counselors need to make sure that students understand this key distinction between the two plans.
Approximately 450 colleges have early decision or early action plans, and some have both. Some colleges offer a nonbinding option called single-choice early action, under which applicants may not apply ED or EA to any other college. [Source: Collegeboard]
- Early decision is like Marriage
- Early action is like Dating
Applying to an ED or EA plan is most appropriate for a student who:
- Has researched colleges extensively.
- Is absolutely sure that the college is the first choice.
- Has found a college that is a strong match academically, socially and geographically.
- Meets or exceeds the admission profile for the college for SAT® scores, GPA and class rank.
- Has an academic record that has been consistently solid over time.
Applying to an ED or EA plan is not appropriate for a student who:
- Has not thoroughly researched colleges.
- Is applying early just to avoid stress and paperwork.
- Is not fully committed to attending the college.
- Is applying early only because friends are.
- Needs a strong senior fall semester to bring grades up.
|College||State||Percent of early applicants who are admitted early*||Percent of regular applicants admitted||Difference in acceptance rates|
|2||University of Arkansas||AR||91%||35%||56%|
|3||Agnes Scott College||GA||82%||31%||51%|
|4||St. Lawrence University||NY||87%||36%||51%|
|5||University of North Florida||FL||100%||49%||51%|
|6||Illinois Wesleyan University||IL||93%||46%||47%|
|7||Central Christian College||KS||100%||55%||45%|
|8||High Point University||NC||89%||47%||42%|
|10||College of the Holy Cross||MA||73%||33%||40%|
- Alumni legacies
- and other institutional priorities
Continual Review Early Decision is a concept of providing students a choice to apply Early Decision at any time up to the Regular Decision deadline of February 1. In the past, if a student did not decide on Early Decision by the published deadline (this year November 1) the earliest he or she would know the decision was the middle of March.
At St. Lawrence, many students visit campus after November 1 and decide SLU is their first choice. Instead of making them wait to hear from us until the middle of March, we developed a plan that allows students to apply Early Decision at any time up until our Regular Decision deadline of February 1. Students declare their Early Decision intentions by completing and submitting the Early Decision contract, and, once that is received and the admissions application is complete, the application is evaluated and the student is notified, usually within a couple of weeks of completion.
CRED takes away some of the pressure for students having to make decisions before they are fully informed. Many students hear earlier than they would have in the past, and some — those offered Early Decision admission — no longer need file applications elsewhere.
The Immediate Decision Plan (IDP) is recommended for the accomplished student for whom Bard is a top choice. The IDP is designed to help students develop a more informed opinion of the College and to accelerate the admission process during a daylong session [at Bard in late November].
“In reading through an application, an admissions officer may come upon a weak record and tentatively conclude that this is a `non-accept,”’ says Stuart Levine, Bard’s dean and a co-editor of the Immediate Decision Plan syllabus. “The interview allows students to turn it around if they look like a risk on paper. And in the case of gray-area students, where the admissions people have a hard time making up their minds, the interview helps to decide one way or another.”
Lewis & Clark
Franklin & Marshall
Washington & Lee
Another installment of this year’s trends in college admission series with Trend #5: The Quest for Geographic Diversity! You can check out previous posts here:
- Trend # 1: Rigor Rules
- Trend #2: Merit Merits Merit
- Trend #3: The Gender Gap
- Trend #4: Admitted! Sort of…
- Geographic Diversity
- Academic Diversity
- Extracurricular Diversity
- Ethnic/Racial Diversity
- Socioeconomic and Geographic Diversity
- Age Diversity
1. Diversity expands worldliness. College might be the first time you have had the opportunity to have real interaction with people from diverse groups. Whether we like it or not, many times we find ourselves segregated from other groups in schools, churches, and our own neighborhoods. A college campus is like opening the door to the entire world without traveling anywhere else.
2. Diversity enhances social development. Interacting with people from a variety of groups widens your social circle by expanding the pool of people with whom you can associate and develop relationships. Consider how boring your conversations would be if you only had friends who had everything in common with you.
3. Diversity prepares students for future career success. Successful performance in today’s diverse workforce requires sensitivity to human differences and the ability to relate to people from different cultural backgrounds. America’s workforce is more diverse than at any time in the nation’s history, and the percentage of America’s working-age population comprised of members of minority groups is expected to increase from 34 percent to 55 percent by 2050.
4. Diversity prepares students for work in a global society. No matter what profession you enter, you’ll find yourself working with employers, employees, coworkers, customers and clients from diverse backgrounds—worldwide. By experiencing diversity in college, you are laying the groundwork to be comfortable working and interacting with a variety of individuals of all nationalities.
5. Interactions with people different from ourselves increase our knowledge base. Research consistently shows that we learn more from people who are different from us than we do from people who are similar to us. Just as you “think harder” when you encounter new material in a college course, you will do the same when you interact with a diverse group of people.
6. Diversity promotes creative thinking. Diversity expands your capacity for viewing issues or problems from multiple perspectives, angles, and vantage points. These diverse vantage points work to your advantage when you encounter new problems in different contexts and situations. Rather than viewing the world through a single-focus lens, you are able to expand your views and consider multiple options when making decisions and weighing issues of, for example, morality and ethics.
7. Diversity enhances self-awareness. Learning from people whose backgrounds and experiences differ from your own sharpens your self-knowledge and self-insight by allowing you to compare and contrast your life experiences with others whose life experiences differ sharply from your own. By being more self-aware, you are more capable of making informed decisions about your academic and professional future.
8. Diversity enriches the multiple perspectives developed by a liberal arts education. Diversity magnifies the power of a general education by helping to liberate you from the tunnel vision of an ethnocentric and egocentric viewpoint. By moving beyond yourself, you gain a panoramic perspective of the world around you and a more complete view of your place in it.
Of course diversity has come with some backlash. But the reality for universities is that international students bring more than just diversity. Many are counted on for being full fee payers, as this graph from Arizona so clearly illustrates:
To be fair, many students can impact the bottom line of the financial health of a college, but the key international students can get a huge leg up, in places like Scotland during clearing, after a record number of EU students planned to come to Scotland for free.
Research by this newspaper found 72 law courses across Scotland were taking applications from foreigners yesterday even though just 42 had vacancies for domestic school leavers.
Almost 149 maths courses were available for international students compared with just 47 for home students, while 76 chemistry courses had foreign vacancies against 30 taking Scottish candidates.
Sadly, England seems to be missing the point of international students as it effectively booted out 2000 students for a universities lack of organization and policing. Moreover, International students ARE the economic impact: “Going beyond creative writing, a recent Oxford Economics case-study of Exeter University showed that every 10 international students support six British jobs.”
According to a study by Foreign Affairs and International Canada, international students spent about $8-billion on tuition, accommodations, discretionary spending and associated tourism in 2010. This spending is greater than Canada’s export of unwrought aluminum, helicopters, airplanes or spacecraft. The educational services and programs Canada provides abroad form our 11th-largest national export and our single-largest export to China.
The Globe and Mail has an excellent video discussion on the impact of international students:
LEADING THINKERS VIDEO: THE BATTLE FOR BRAINS
LEADING THINKERS VIDEO: THE BATTLE FOR BRAINS
LEADING THINKERS VIDEO: THE BATTLE FOR BRAINS
Moving forward on the series of trends impacted admission decisions with Trend #4: Admitted! Sort of…
You can check out previous posts here:
- Claremonth McKenna had 600 students on the wiatlist but only took 25 off
- Tufts put a rediciulous 1800 on and took none off
- Santa Clara took 100 of the 700 off their wait list.
- American University,
- Brandeis University,
- Colby College,
- Middlebury College,
- Northeastern University,
- Pepperdine University,
- University of Southern California
- UC Berkeley,
- UC Los Angeles,
- UC San Diego and
- University of Maryland.
Others get creative: “Five years ago, Northeastern University developed a program to offer spring admits. Through N.U.in, spring admits study at colleges in Australia, Costa Rica, England, Greece and Ireland before attending Northeastern second semester.”
Meanwhile, NYU has for years offered Freshman Year abroad at their sat alit campuses in Florence, London and Paris (apparently this year is the last for Shanghai option). Oddly, this program has been kept stealth via their Liberal Studies Programs, a two year general education program that provides guaranteed transfer into the student’s original faculty choice. Barbara Leung does a wonderful job reflecting on her experiences in Paris, while. Charlie Eiseenwood explains the program in detail here. I collated a list of colleges also offering freshman year abroad here.
Another interesting variation is the Guaranteed transfer pioneered by Cornell University: Go to any accredited university and transfer for second year to Cornell. The New York times took a long hard look at the practice last year, presenting viewpoints that it is “borderline unethical” as Cornell (and other colleges, such as SUNy Greensboro, Middlebury etc.) are essentially poaching from other institutions.
Harvard does not guarantee transfer but rather guarantees freshman enrollment as a freshman a year later for 30 to 50 students every year in their now famous Z-List. Essentially it means a student is forced to take a GAP year. Poor kids (just kidding). As the map illustrates, they go big:
According to the Crimson, it looks like the Z list is used to
1) Asuage Legacies (72% vs 14%) and
2) get full fee payers (only 14% receive aid vs 70% in regular admissions)
The Crimson obtained information about the legacy status of 36 of the approximately 80 Z-list students at Harvard in 2001-02. Though McGrath Lewis insists the Z-list is “not a legacy list,” 26—or 72 percent of the 36-student sample—were legacies, compared with 12 to 14 percent of the class as a whole.
What else will be affecting admission decisions this year? Merit…merit and money.
If you can pay full fare to the college of your choice, you are likely to find colleges a lot more friendly to you. According to the The New York Times, 464 colleges decreased merit scholarships since 2007–the year before the collapse of civilization as we know it. Oddly, the average merit award is up 23% in the same time. What to make of this trend? While colleges are scared of going broke, they are more scared of not having students, especially good students. Christopher Drew notes that the percentage of students receiving merit aid grew rapidly from 1995 to 2008, so much so that “it rivaled the number of students receiving need-based aid.”
Basically there are two categories of colleges:
Rather than lose bright students to less-expensive public colleges, universities like Tulane offer sizable amounts of aid based mainly on academic promise.
So the up and coming throw money at highly qualified and desirable students:
- Bryn Mawr increase merit money over 7000 percent (yeah I was a little surprised about that too).
- Bard college is up 68%
- Bowdoin college 58%
- Bucknell 55%
- George Washington U 30%
- Loyola Marymount is up 125%
- Macalester is up a modest 10%
- Providence 168%
- University of Chicago 19%
Another article painted a clearer illustration of how elite colleges compete with the super selectives:
The University of Southern California offers 100 full-tuition scholarships, more than 200 half-tuition scholarships and more than 250 awards equal to one-quarter of its tuition to freshmen each year. The University of Chicago, which often competes with the Ivies for students, gives scholarships that average $10,600 to 16 percent of its freshmen.
More trends coming
Yet, everyone is getting in on it: “The average freshman tuition discount rate in 2011 is estimated to have reached 42.8 percent.”