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8FillTheHeart

Perspective: the highly accomplished student rejections

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I agree! Like your DS, my DD would have too.  It borders on offensive to make these assumptions sometimes.  There are actually kids who get perfect scores and don't reside on the East Coast or the West Coast.  I have several :)

 

 

I think the point about being rural is that it's much much harder to excel in an average situation, so if those kids *do* have the scores, then they have way more drive than someone from major city who is in an environment where the same achievement is expected as the norm and the resources are available whether the kid wants them or not.  

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Finally read through the entire thread here.  Seems to me that there are two problems, first that the SATs and ACTs are not distinguishing better in the top 10%ile.  If someone has a 34 on the ACTs (isn't 36 the max?) and can't get into top schools, can you really blame them for thinking they were "great" or  is it that the ACTs are not doing what they need to to convey that this person is *not* near the top of the pack?  Shouldn't the top 10 %ile points be separated into a number of their own maybe...(Does that make sense? 90%ile =34, 91%ile=35, ... 99%ile=45)

 

Second, if there's this much demand for great schools from truly great students these second rate schools should start becoming "ivy's"  or put another way, if Yale is rejecting 90% of qualified students, why not create a second Yale somewhere else in the country?

 

So either, grades are inflated and SATs and ACT scores are inflated OR, there should be more top-notch schools opening up to fill in the gap to pick up these brilliant kids.  

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like Stanford is  one of those schools that used to be average and has been able to push itself into Ivy status by virtue of the Bay Area growing up around it and giving them the visibility and population to become choosy about their students.  Why aren't there other schools doing the same?

In my opinion, we already do have a lot of other "top-notch" schools in this country.  They may not have the "brand-name" of an Ivy, but they all offer an amazing education and are well-known in industry. 

 

My senior turned down the Ivy league to attend a school that practically no one in our area has ever heard of.  There are a lot of great college out there. 

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Second, if there's this much demand for great schools from truly great students these second rate schools should start becoming "ivy's"  or put another way, if Yale is rejecting 90% of qualified students, why not create a second Yale somewhere else in the country?

 

 

Some people are too focused on school rank. Only 10 schools can be top-10 schools. Of course, you could have 50 schools that are all at about the same level as the best school out there... but 40 of them would be in the top 50 and not in the top 10. 

 

I agree that the SAT could have a higher ceiling. OTOH though, these top schools use SAT scores as a minimum, and look at other things once applicants have reached that minimum. And I don't think a higher ceiling would improve the situation - it would just make people obsess more about a test that you take once or twice, instead of on other things. I think it'd be more useful to provide an adequate math education to everyone, so people will understand what percentiles are, and that 99th percentile isn't that awesome in the context of top-10 schools in a country with hundreds of millions of people... that being in the top few percent is a minimum prereq, and that the rest of your application is what will help make the decision, and that it is going to be a lottery to some degree even if you're perfect. 

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Finally read through the entire thread here.  Seems to me that there are two problems, first that the SATs and ACTs are not distinguishing better in the top 10%ile.  If someone has a 34 on the ACTs (isn't 36 the max?) and can't get into top schools, can you really blame them for thinking they were "great" or  is it that the ACTs are not doing what they need to to convey that this person is *not* near the top of the pack?  Shouldn't the top 10 %ile points be separated into a number of their own maybe...(Does that make sense? 90%ile =34, 91%ile=35, ... 99%ile=45)

 

The 90th % is about a 28, not a 34. A 33 is 99th% — the differences between 33-36 are tenths of one percentile. There is no genuine, functional difference between a student who scored in the 99.65th % and one who scored in the 99.95%. Do you really believe that top schools need, or even want, to distinguish between students who score in the 99.65th% and ones who score in the 99.99th%? Because if that's what they really wanted to do they could simply refuse to accept anyone with less than a perfect 36 or 1600. Fortunately, that's not what they're looking for.

 

In fact I read somewhere recently (on CC?) that MIT rejected a student who got 1590 on the SAT twice before finally getting a perfect 1600 on his third try. They felt he was too obsessed with test scores and perfection. Top schools are looking for human beings, not just a number.

 

 

Second, if there's this much demand for great schools from truly great students these second rate schools should start becoming "ivy's"  or put another way, if Yale is rejecting 90% of qualified students, why not create a second Yale somewhere else in the country?

 

So either, grades are inflated and SATs and ACT scores are inflated OR, there should be more top-notch schools opening up to fill in the gap to pick up these brilliant kids.  

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like Stanford is  one of those schools that used to be average and has been able to push itself into Ivy status by virtue of the Bay Area growing up around it and giving them the visibility and population to become choosy about their students.  Why aren't there other schools doing the same?

 

Many Universities have greatly increased in ranking and selectivity in recent years. U Chicago is probably the best example; they are now ranked (by USNWR) 3rd, behind Princeton and Harvard and ahead of the other Ivies. Universities that were practically open admission 20 years ago are becoming seriously selective. Schools that used to be considered safeties by students with top scores are no longer guarantees. There was an essay that went viral a couple of years ago by a girl who assumed her stats would get her into an Ivy and who was bummed that she had to settle for her safety — Ohio State. This year she might not have even gotten in to OSU — from the stats I've seen so far, it looks like OSU accepted about 42% of the 52K students who applied this year, and there were students with 34s and 4.4+ GPAs and tons of APs wailing about being waitlisted or even outright rejected this year. And there were also students with 27 ACTs and 3.8 GPAs who were celebrating their acceptances — because most schools are, in fact, NOT just looking for the students with the highest test scores and the most APs.

 

IMO that's a very good thing, not something that needs to be "fixed" by making the ACT and SAT harder and longer so it can distinguish between the 99.5th% and the 99.9th%. The lesson from this application season isn't "try harder to get perfect test scores," it's make sure you look like an interesting person who is engaged in the world and will contribute to the schools you're applying to. And be sure to include a few genuine safeties on the list — schools where you will definitely be accepted, can definitely afford, and would be happy to attend.

 

Edited by Corraleno
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Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like Stanford is  one of those schools that used to be average and has been able to push itself into Ivy status by virtue of the Bay Area growing up around it and giving them the visibility and population to become choosy about their students.  Why aren't there other schools doing the same?

 

Stanford's admission rate in the 70s was around 30% — that's hardly average. MIT's admission rate in the 70s was about the same, while Harvard's and Princeton's were only slightly lower (high 20s). U Penn's was much higher — around 70%. As recently as 1997, U Chicago accepted 71% of applicants; last year it was around 8%. 

 

Stanford has always been pretty selective, and their increase in selectivity is actually not as great as a lot of other schools like U Penn and U Chicago — and you really can't attribute the increase in selectivity at Penn and UC to population growth in Philly and Chicago.

Edited by Corraleno
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And be sure to include a few genuine safeties on the list — schools where you will definitely be accepted, can definitely afford, and would be happy to attend.

Safety is kind of ambiguous too I think.

 

Take for example of a local commuter safety state university, my 7th grader is above the 75th percentile (quoted below) which could mean the college may think he won't go there. So he might get rejected in the future due to having "higher" scores. There is a much more expensive safety private commuter college for us.

 

"75th Percentile Score

SAT Composite 1250

SAT Reading 620

SAT Math 630

ACT Composite 26

ACT English 25

ACT Math 27"

Edited by Arcadia
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Take for example of a local commuter safety state university, my 7th grader is above the 75th percentile (quoted below) which could mean the college may think he won't go there. So he might get rejected in the future due to having "higher" scores.

 

Why would a local commuter university reject for yield protection? That seems like the type of school least likely to play the "get a higher USNews ranking" game since they don't receuit nationally.
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A fair number of URMs attend schools like Harker on scholarship, though.

 

My kids are a long way off from college, but like Lewelma, I am glad that we have a non-US college system to fall back on (my husband is French-Canadian, so the kids would get in-province tuition rates at McGill). The Canadian system seems so old-fashioned compared to the complexity of the competitive US college admissions game. Not that McGill/U Toronto/U British Columbia are a sure thing, but they harken back to how college admissions were 30 years ago, before our kids had to become superhuman machines to break the top 10.

 

Yeah, if your marks are reasonably good, you can probably get into any Canadian university.  I don't think they care much about extra-curriculars, and don't require tests like SATs, just the high school marks.  And they aren't leveled like they seem to be in the US, if you go to McGill, it really isn't a big deal compared to going tp, say, Concordia.

 

Heck, my friend who went to my university, which has one of the highest entering GPAs in the country, got kicked out of high school and never did graduate.

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Why would a local commuter university reject for yield protection? That seems like the type of school least likely to play the "get a higher USNews ranking" game since they don't recruit nationally.

I don't know if the state universities would play the ranking game but they do boost about their USNews regional universities west ranking. They do recruit international students. Comparing two state universities popular for engineering in the same California state university (CSU) system which is more affordable than the U of California (UC) system,

 

CSU (1, 75th percentile score profile quoted above) acceptance 55% yield 21%

CSU (2, with higher sat and act cutoff) acceptance 31% yield 34%

 

ETA:

I meant commuter relative to my home. It is 8 miles away. I don't think it is officially classified as a commuter university.

Edited by Arcadia

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I think yield protection is probably a small part of why some students get rejected from what they thought were safeties, but from reading CC it seems like many of the students who were upset and angry about being rejected from schools where their stats were in the top 25% did not understand that some majors are a lot more selective than others.

 

For example there were students with top scores who were surprised and upset at the "unfairness" of being rejected from schools like OSU/PSU, who simply did not take into account that the admission rates for some majors (like business and engineering) were much lower than the overall rates, and the average student stats were higher. For example, someone on CC said that only 11% of undergrad applicants were directly admitted to the business school at PSU, versus the 50% or so overall admission rate. A future business major who was aiming for Ivies and using PSU as their safety, based on a 50% admission rate, could end up very disappointed. 

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Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like Stanford is one of those schools that used to be average and has been able to push itself into Ivy status by virtue of the Bay Area growing up around it and giving them the visibility and population to become choosy about their students. Why aren't there other schools doing the same?

Interestingly, Stanford was ranked #1 the first year US News did their rankings back in 1983. UChicago was 6th in that first year. So, while both schools have become more selective in terms of admission percentages, their rankings (for those who care about rankings) have always been high.

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I think the point about being rural is that it's much much harder to excel in an average situation, so if those kids *do* have the scores, then they have way more drive than someone from major city who is in an environment where the same achievement is expected as the norm and the resources are available whether the kid wants them or not.

I'm not sure how you are defining "rural," "average situation," or "expected as the norm."

 

I do understand that within rural areas of some states, there can be fewer opportunities for taking AP classes or participating in local youth orchestras, etc. So, yes, there can be fewer resources in truly rural areas.

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For example there were students with top scores who were surprised and upset at the "unfairness" of being rejected from schools like OSU/PSU, who simply did not take into account that the admission rates for some majors (like business and engineering) were much lower than the overall rates, and the average student stats were higher. For example, someone on CC said that only 11% of undergrad applicants were directly admitted to the business school at PSU, versus the 50% or so overall admission rate. A future business major who was aiming for Ivies and using PSU as their safety, based on a 50% admission rate, could end up very disappointed. 

 

 

While I get your point, only 7% of PSU admits have an SAT reading score of 700+, and 15% have a math score of 700+. I don't know the stats for the business major admits, but if you're really good enough for the Ivy League (and not engaging in wishful thinking), I'm having a hard time imagining that PSU is not a safety. 

Edited by luuknam
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Another thing that I can think lead to high-stats students being rejected is lack of information about the major department. A lot of students who are aiming for "top" colleges seem to just go down the list at USNWR and send applications to the top 10 or 15 and then throw in a few state schools as safeties, without even thinking about the actual departments they will be working with.

 

For example, if someone applying to all the Ivies writes an essay about her plan to get a degree in linguistics, then the adcoms at Princeton and Brown will know that student is probably just applying because it's an Ivy — Princeton doesn't have a linguistics major (except as a design-your-own thing) and at Brown the degree is Cognitive Science. OTOH, since Harvard and UPenn are top 10 schools in that subject, those schools may be less inclined to accept a future "linguistics major" whose transcript and ECs don't really reflect that interest, even if the student has a 36 ACT and a bunch of APs and is student body president.

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Another thing that I can think lead to high-stats students being rejected is lack of information about the major department. A lot of students who are aiming for "top" colleges seem to just go down the list at USNWR and send applications to the top 10 or 15 and then throw in a few state schools as safeties, without even thinking about the actual departments they will be working with.

 

For example, if someone applying to all the Ivies writes an essay about her plan to get a degree in linguistics, then the adcoms at Princeton and Brown will know that student is probably just applying because it's an Ivy — Princeton doesn't have a linguistics major (except as a design-your-own thing) and at Brown the degree is Cognitive Science. OTOH, since Harvard and UPenn are top 10 schools in that subject, those schools may be less inclined to accept a future "linguistics major" whose transcript and ECs don't really reflect that interest, even if the student has a 36 ACT and a bunch of APs and is student body president.

Just curious, how would one know whether a school is ranked high for a particular major? A lot can be discovered by the amount of upper level classes in a given subject, I gather, and that actually eliminates many schools. But are there credible rankings by major?

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Just curious, how would one know whether a school is ranked high for a particular major? A lot can be discovered by the amount of upper level classes in a given subject, I gather, and that actually eliminates many schools. But are there credible rankings by major?

 

When I applied there was a list of the top public admin schools/foreign service (vs. poly sci) in the country and only a handful had undergraduate programs. I think it was US News. That's how I narrowed my list. ETA: Yep, the list is still available... https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-public-affairs-schools/public-management-administration-rankings

Edited by Sneezyone

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While I get your point, only 7% of PSU admits have an SAT reading score of 700+, and 15% have a math score of 700+. I don't know the stats for the business major admits, but if you're really good enough for the Ivy League (and not engaging wishful thinking), I'm having a hard time imagining that PSU is not a safety. Actually, I looked it up, and it looks like the average SAT score at Penn's undergrad business program is about 1220:

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20160424224338/http://poetsandquantsforundergrads.com/2014/07/03/sat-scores-at-the-top-50-undergraduate-business-programs/2/

 

 

Well, those scores are from 2010-2013 and are "old SAT" scores — the current stats for the middle 50% accepted at PSU last year was 1230-1410. And that's just the 50% that were accepted overall, not the 11% that were direct admits to the business school.

 

Also, accepting 11% of applicants =/= accepting top 11% of test scores. A student from a wealthy family with highly educated parents and a 34 ACT/4+ GPA, but no significant ECs or volunteer work, may be rejected in favor of a student with a 28 ACT and a 3.5 GPA from a poor family, first to attend college, who has lots of volunteer hours as well as paid employment throughout HS. 

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Well, those scores are from 2010-2013 and are "old SAT" scores — the current stats for the middle 50% accepted at PSU last year was 1230-1410. And that's just the 50% that were accepted overall, not the 11% that were direct admits to the business school.

 

Also, accepting 11% of applicants =/= accepting top 11% of test scores. A student from a wealthy family with highly educated parents and a 34 ACT/4+ GPA, but no significant ECs or volunteer work, may be rejected in favor of a student with a 28 ACT and a 3.5 GPA from a poor family, first to attend college, who has lots of volunteer hours as well as paid employment throughout HS. 

 

 

Yes, I edited out that link because even though it seemed like they were claiming to be scores for the business program, it seemed like they weren't. And I didn't say anything about them accepting the top 11% of test scores. If someone has a genuine reason to believe they can get into the Ivy League, then they are going to have significant ECs and/or volunteer work, etc, yada yada. If your test scores are in the top 1%, your GPA is (whatever a competitive Ivy League GPA is - just imagine lots of APs and DEs), you have significant ECs and/or volunteer work, write kick-ass essays, etc, then I would think that PSU is a valid safety. I just don't know how low you'd expect someone to go. 

Edited by luuknam

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When I applied there was a list of the top public admin schools/foreign service (vs. poly sci) in the country and only a handful had undergraduate programs. I think it was US News. That's how I narrowed my list. ETA: Yep, the list is still available... https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-public-affairs-schools/public-management-administration-rankings

That makes sense. Thank you.

Too bad what I'm looking for isn't really ranked anywhere 😂

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Just curious, how would one know whether a school is ranked high for a particular major? A lot can be discovered by the amount of upper level classes in a given subject, I gather, and that actually eliminates many schools. But are there credible rankings by major?

 

It depends on the major. USNWR ranks some majors. For majors that aren't covered, you can look at the QS World Rankings by subject and filter by location to see US universities. The QS rankings are based on grad departments and only cover major universities, so it won't tell you anything about LACs, but at least it provides a starting place and then you can look up individual departments and check out the faculty, see what their interests are, what courses are offered, etc. There's also the NRC rankings, but those are controversial and difficult to read.

 

For LACs, the best thing to do is just check out the individual departments, ask where the students go to grad school, etc. For example, Swarthmore has an excellent linguistics program headed by David Harrison, who is a leader in the area of endangered languages, and Swat has agreements with Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and U Penn to take classes there, so it would be a good choice for someone who wanted a linguistics major at a LAC. A lot of LACs that offer linguistics majors only offer a handful of "pure" linguistics courses, and the rest of the major requirements are met by taking related classes in psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and foreign language departments. For a student who really wants to study the subject in depth and plans on graduate work, those schools are probably not a good choice — regardless of ranking.

 

Another way to tell which undergrad departments are good is to look at faculty CVs in the departments at top schools and see where they got both their undergrad and grad degrees. There are also forums like grad cafe where you can get a lot of information about where people are applying to grad school, where they got their undergrad degrees, etc. 

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I just don't know how low you'd expect someone to go. 

 

 

And by that I mean, if you'd expect someone who's truly Ivy League caliber to use even weaker schools as their safety, I think you'd run into some serious trouble with the whole "love thy safety" that some people here are talking about. I mean, why not take a gap year and reapply at that point? 

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Just curious, how would one know whether a school is ranked high for a particular major? A lot can be discovered by the amount of upper level classes in a given subject, I gather, and that actually eliminates many schools. But are there credible rankings by major?

 

One question would be how many people graduate with that major each year, and what percentage of the faculty are that major compared to other majors.  The smaller the percentage, the less likely it's going to be competitive--not impossible, but if you only have 10-15 people majoring in it, and other majors have 400 you can be pretty certain the other major is probably getting more of the university's attention.  

 

Also, is there a graduate program--if so, it should mean the faculty are more likely doing research and will want to attract bright graduate students.  (Just my guess.)   

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For the record, I'm assuming that an 11% admit rate to the PSU's undergraduate business program is different than a 11% admit rate at an Ivy. At PSU, I'd assume that a lot of the rejects are kids whose scores are within the middle 50% for PSU, and who either didn't realize the business program was more competitive, or realized it but decided to give it a try anyway. IOW, kids with for example a 1250 SAT. Those same kids would probably never have attempted to apply to an Ivy. So I don't think those admit rates are comparable as far as whether to consider it to be a safety.

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Yes, I edited out that link because even though it seemed like they were claiming to be scores for the business program, it seemed like they weren't. And I didn't say anything about them accepting the top 11% of test scores. If someone has a genuine reason to believe they can get into the Ivy League, then they are going to have significant ECs and/or volunteer work, etc, yada yada. If your test scores are in the top 1%, your GPA is (whatever a competitive Ivy League GPA is - just imagine lots of APs and DEs), you have significant ECs and/or volunteer work, write kick-ass essays, etc, then I would think that PSU is a valid safety. I just don't know how low you'd expect someone to go. 

 

But this is exactly the (incorrect) assumption that many very disappointed students have made. Having top 1% test scores and a 4+ GPA just means you can join the 30,000 or so other students who also have top 1% test scores who are applying to the same schools. Add in the students whose test scores are "merely" top 10%, but who have various other strengths and hooks, and you are looking at literally hundreds of thousands of well-qualified students applying for a small number of slots.

 

At a school where the top 25% overall have scores in the 97th%, assuming that being in the 99th% somehow guarantees admission to a selective program with an 11% admission rate, is naive. 

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In my opinion, we already do have a lot of other "top-notch" schools in this country. They may not have the "brand-name" of an Ivy, but they all offer an amazing education and are well-known in industry.

 

My senior turned down the Ivy league to attend a school that practically no one in our area has ever heard of. There are a lot of great college out there.

I agree with this.

 

Here's the thing: only 10 schools can be "top 10", only 50 schools can be "top 50"--so as long as we are obsessed with rankings we are going to maintain at least an illusion of scarcity when it comes to top tier educational institutions.

 

But I don't believe the actual number of slots for a Really Good college education is as limited as that ranking system would incline us to think.

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But this is exactly the (incorrect) assumption that many very disappointed students have made. Having top 1% test scores and a 4+ GPA just means you can join the 30,000 or so other students who also have top 1% test scores who are applying to the same schools. Add in the students whose test scores are "merely" top 10%, but who have various other strengths and hooks, and you are looking at literally hundreds of thousands of well-qualified students applying for a small number of slots.

 

 

Indeed.  It would be interesting to see the distribution of ACT/SAT scores at the Ivies (and other schools) for rejected students.  I think students get confused by statistics here -- just because a potential student has an ACT score that is in the top 75% of students who were admitted, does not mean that student has a 75% chance of admissions.  We've heard stories of students with perfect test scores who get rejected by the like of Harvard/MIT, but I'd love to know what percentage do.  I suspect it is higher than many applicants would think.

Edited by GGardner
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At a school where the top 25% overall have scores in the 97th%, assuming that being in the 99th% somehow guarantees admission to a selective program with an 11% admission rate, is naive. 

 

 

I have no idea where you're getting those numbers from. The middle 50% is 1160-1360:

 

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-university-search/penn-state-university-park

 

1360 is 89th percentile. So, the top 25% have scores in the 89th percentile and up, not the 97th percentile and up. 

 

There is no "guaranteed" admission anywhere other than your local CC (and maybe your state U if they have some thing about guaranteeing admission for kids in the top something or other). There's no guarantee that you'll be admitted in a school that admits 50%, and there's no guarantee that you'll be admitted in a school that admits 95%.  So, I don't know what you're saying. Love thy CC because it's your safety? Even though you've already got 60+ credit hours from APs and DEs? 

 

Maybe I'm not getting the concept of a safety school. It's not a safety if it's not something you're willing to attend. 

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For the record, I'm assuming that an 11% admit rate to the PSU's undergraduate business program is different than a 11% admit rate at an Ivy. At PSU, I'd assume that a lot of the rejects are kids whose scores are within the middle 50% for PSU, and who either didn't realize the business program was more competitive, or realized it but decided to give it a try anyway. IOW, kids with for example a 1250 SAT. Those same kids would probably never have attempted to apply to an Ivy. So I don't think those admit rates are comparable as far as whether to consider it to be a safety.

 

Of course the stats for admission to Harvard are not the same as for admission to the business school at PSU — no one is arguing that.  :confused1:

 

My initial point was that one reason students may incorrectly presume that a school with a 50% admit rate, where they are in the top 25%, are guaranteed safeties, is that they don't take into account that some majors are a lot more selective than others. 

 

Even for students who are not applying for selective majors, assuming that being in the top 25% for test scores = guaranteed admission is not wise. For one thing, the "average" test scores, especially at schools like PSU/OSU which many high stats kids seem to use as safeties, include a whole lot of recruited athletes and others whose test scores and GPAs may be largely irrelevant. Subtract those students' scores, and the range will be higher. Subtract all the other students who have various hooks, and the range for unhooked kids will be higher still. What actually counts as "top 25%" stats for unhooked kids applying for selective majors is going to look very different from what the common data set shows for that school overall.

 

The idea that if someone is a candidate for a top 10 school, then any school in the 40-50 range is a solid safety is just not true anymore. 

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The idea that if someone is a candidate for a top 10 school, then any school in the 40-50 range is a solid safety is just not true anymore. 

 

 

It's actually ranked 56th*, but I had no clue - based on its stats, I'd assumed it'd be ranked outside of the top 100. Like, UTD's stats are higher, but it's tied for 231 (its middle 50% for SAT scores is 1210-1430). So, okay, based on it somehow ranking so much higher than I thought it would, I'll retract my comment about it being a reasonable safety. 

 

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/rankings?page=6

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Looking at this some more, I've attended universities ranked anywhere from 80-something to 600-something, and the differences I've encountered are negligible - I think the ranking system is just about completely worthless. 

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I have no idea where you're getting those numbers from. The middle 50% is 1160-1360:

 

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-university-search/penn-state-university-park

 

Those are old scores. Last admission season the top 25% was 1410, which is 97th%.

 

For OSU the top 25% is 96th% for both the ACT and SAT, and that was last year. They had nearly 8000 more students apply this year, and they accepted 1300 fewer students compared to last year, so the stats are probably even higher now.

 

Also, the scores reported on the common data set are for students who actually enrolled; stats for the students who were admitted will presumably be higher, since OSU's yield is about 30-35% and many of the higher stats students would have had higher ranked options. Ditto for PSU.

 

ETA: looked up the stats for admitted (versus enrolled) students at OSU last year (not the current admissions): top 25% was 32 ACT, 1430 SAT, which are both 97th%.  

Edited by Corraleno

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It's actually ranked 56th*, but I had no clue - based on its stats, I'd assumed it'd be ranked outside of the top 100. Like, UTD's stats are higher, but it's tied for 231 (its middle 50% for SAT scores is 1210-1430). So, okay, based on it somehow ranking so much higher than I thought it would, I'll retract my comment about it being a reasonable safety. 

 

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/rankings?page=6

Looking at this some more, I've attended universities ranked anywhere from 80-something to 600-something, and the differences I've encountered are negligible - I think the ranking system is just about completely worthless. 

 

 

Selectivity and student test scores account for a fairly small percentage of the rankings. Academic reputation, financial resources, graduation rates, student retention, and a bunch of other factors are also considered. 

 

I agree that far too many students put too much weight on the rankings and not enough on other factors.

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It's actually ranked 56th*, but I had no clue - based on its stats, I'd assumed it'd be ranked outside of the top 100. Like, UTD's stats are higher, but it's tied for 231 (its middle 50% for SAT scores is 1210-1430). So, okay, based on it somehow ranking so much higher than I thought it would, I'll retract my comment about it being a reasonable safety. 

 

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/rankings?page=6

 

FYI that link is to global rankings, not national. In the US rankings, PSU is 50th and UTDallas is 146.

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Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like Stanford is  one of those schools that used to be average and has been able to push itself into Ivy status by virtue of the Bay Area growing up around it and giving them the visibility and population to become choosy about their students.  Why aren't there other schools doing the same?

 

I think you are wrong. I knew about Stanford and its reputation back in the 1970s, and I grew up across the country, in a very non-college-oriented environment. In 1980, nearly 30 years ago, their admit rate was much higher than it is now, but roughly equivalent to Princeton's, and noticeably more selective than Yale's. 

 

The internet, imo, had a tremendous impact on college search and admissions. Back in my day, it was much more difficult to obtain information about schools. You had to put pen to paper and buy a stamp to request those brochures, lol. Information is at our fingertips now, and it's much easier to search and preview campuses from your living room. 

 

And, of course, the rankings probably had an equal impact. Once schools starting getting an increase in applications due to internet and such, they realized they could game the rankings by recruiting hard, and recruiting to reject.  

 

It's very interesting to look at the historical rates of admittance. People who regard a low admit rate as proof greatness would be sneering at the Ivies of yesteryear, lol. 

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Safety is kind of ambiguous too I think.

 

Take for example of a local commuter safety state university, my 7th grader is above the 75th percentile (quoted below) which could mean the college may think he won't go there. So he might get rejected in the future due to having "higher" scores.  

 

That guessing game is played by selective schools, you don't really have to worry about it for that type of safety school. Indeed, many non-flagship state schools have guaranteed admittance for certain stats. I have never, ever heard of a qualified person being rejected by this type of school. 

 

Now, when you start talking competitive scholarships for a full ride or full tuition, then you may have to clearly show some interest. This can be as simple as attending campus tours and preview days, and having ready answers for the interview portion (your XYZ department is actually ranked very highly, etc). 

 

And there are undistinguished, non-ranked schools that have excellent departments in all kinds of majors. You may have to search for them, but they are there. 

 

In my opinion, we already do have a lot of other "top-notch" schools in this country.   

 

Agreed. 

 

 

Second, if there's this much demand for great schools from truly great students these second rate schools should start becoming "ivy's"  or put another way, if Yale is rejecting 90% of qualified students, why not create a second Yale somewhere else in the country?

 

 

As Snowbeltmom noted, there are numerous top-notch schools across the country already. They aren't going to have the aura of an Ivy or UChicago, or at least not for a long time. They aren't going to have the ranking of them either, most likely. A full 35% of the US News ranking is based on faculty resources, financial resources, and alumni giving, and Yale, Princeton, et al, have endowments that are tough to match. There are obvious advantages to that, lol, but one can get an excellent education at a school that doesn't sit on a hill of money. 

 

Another 22.5% is based on retention and graduation rate, which are always going to be higher at schools where students have more money.  I do think this category is worth a close look, but you can expect a commuter school, which often caters to low-income and/or non-traditional students, to automatically have a lower rate. 

 

As an aside, I do think the rankings are worth perusing, simply because they often get you to look at schools you have never heard of or thought about. I was surprised to see how many Alabama schools were ranked, we took a second look, and dd is now very happy at one of those schools (that we had never heard of before). I do think it's worth paying for a subscription if you're going to use it, because you really want to drill down and see the specifics of why they are ranked that way. 

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Yeah, if your marks are reasonably good, you can probably get into any Canadian university.  I don't think they care much about extra-curriculars, and don't require tests like SATs, just the high school marks.  And they aren't leveled like they seem to be in the US, if you go to McGill, it really isn't a big deal compared to going tp, say, Concordia.

 

Heck, my friend who went to my university, which has one of the highest entering GPAs in the country, got kicked out of high school and never did graduate.

 

Why is that?  What's the difference between the Canadian system and the U.S. one?  Does it not matter in Canada where you get your degree from as much?  Just curious why it would be so different.

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The internet, imo, had a tremendous impact on college search and admissions. Back in my day, it was much more difficult to obtain information about schools. You had to put pen to paper and buy a stamp to request those brochures, lol. Information is at our fingertips now, and it's much easier to search and preview campuses from your living room. 

 

:iagree:

 

And with the Common App, it's easy to apply to 10 or even 20 colleges with a click, versus filling out all those paper applications by hand and mailing them in. The more schools students apply to, the larger the applicant pools and the lower the admission rates. And as admission rates shrink, students try to cover their bases by applying to even larger numbers of schools, in the hope that they'll at least get in somewhere, and then universities start trying to protect their yield by guessing who really wants to attend and who's just using them as a last resort backup.

 

If I were going to overhaul the college application system in this country, I would set up a sort of modified Early Decision program. Students could apply to 3 schools at a time, and the first deadline would be October 1. Notification of admissions AND financial & merit aid by November 15. Students who like their results accept one and they're done. Students who didn't get the acceptances or aid they want can apply to three more schools by December 1. Notification of acceptance and aid by January 15. Same deal — accept one or apply to three more schools on February 1, with notification by March 15. By then every student would have had a shot at at least 9 schools, and in each case, the schools would know that the students were genuinely interested. Anyone who doesn't have an acceptance by then can apply for whatever places are leftover (and there would be plenty of places left at less selective schools, although probably not a lot of aid at that point.) More students would get into their first choice colleges and would have their decisions sooner, and yields would be higher and more predictable for colleges. Unfortunately I am not queen of the universe and that is not going to happen any time soon.  :tongue_smilie:

Edited by Corraleno
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Why is that?  What's the difference between the Canadian system and the U.S. one?  Does it not matter in Canada where you get your degree from as much?  Just curious why it would be so different.

 

 

I don't know anything about Canada, but in NL, if you get your high school diploma from the pre-university track (which is pretty much the equivalent of an all AP track), you have pretty much automatic admission to any Dutch university and any major, with the exception of med school and dental school*, which have a graduated lottery (last I heard, if your GPA is greater than or equal to 8 (out of 10), it's automatic admission, and then between 7.5 and 8 your odds are higher than between 7.0 and 7.5, which are higher than between 6.5 and 7.0, which is higher than between 6.0 and 6.5 - and yes, you can go to evening school after you graduate and try to improve your scores in one or more subjects, so if you really want to go to medical or dental school, it should be doable). The universities are seen as all being about the same caliber - people don't pick a university based on how it's ranked at all... ranking is not on people's radars, and presumably not on employer's radars either. Apparently they're ranked 59, 63, 75, 77, 86, 86 (yes, it's a tie), 97, 102, 160, 177, 297, 337, and 486, so apparently there is quite a spread. 

 

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/netherlands

 

*Medical and dental school are both 6 year programs right after high school. Regular bachelor's degrees are 3 years right after high school and do not have a general education component - that's what high school is for. In fact, it used to be that you'd do a 4 or 5 year program right out after high school and get a master's degree, but due to some sort of European standardization, they now break it up into 3 years for a bachelor's and then another 1-2 for a masters, but practically everybody in a university will continue on for their master's, because that's what universities are for - if you only wanted a bachelor's degree you'd go to a 4-year college (for which you'd only need the pre-college high school track, which is a year shorter than the pre-university high school track), not a university.

Edited by luuknam
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FWIW, for talking about stats and percentiles, not only are there some differences in the stats each year, but last year, many state schools were going by the College Board's concordance tables to relate their familiar, Old SAT middle 50 stats to the New SAT scores.

For example, for the latest PSU stats available (for last year's admission season, not the one that just ended), on its website PSU lists separate stats for the New SAT taken from the College Board's concordance tables:

 

Summer/Fall 2016 Middle 50% SAT Statistics

Scores computed based on a 1600-point scale  University Park
Pre-March 2016 SAT*   Critical Reading + Math 1170-1350
New SAT (debuted March 2016)**   Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math 1240-1410
ACT 26-30
 
Note that the accurate of CB's concordance tables is controversial and at least a few selective schools appear not to have used them, recently reporting (for the admission season just ending) middle 50 stats for the New SAT that are similar to their Old SAT stats rather than so much higher.  It'll be interesting to find out what really happened in admissions offices this past year.
Edited by wapiti

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Why is that?  What's the difference between the Canadian system and the U.S. one?  Does it not matter in Canada where you get your degree from as much?  Just curious why it would be so different.

 

No, not really.  Some schools don't have some majors, or don't offer grad studies in some, but even the latter isn't a big deal - a good student in those programs won't usually have trouble getting into a grad program.

 

The vast majority of schools here are publicly funded, and pretty much they all give a good undergrad education in the subjects they offer. My dh has a chemistry degree, for example.  Outsiders might think that a school like McGill would be the most prestigious place to try and get into for that, or the big research university in our city, but he went to a smaller university in our city, one more well known for a business school and international development.  He liked the atmosphere and that he could take astrophysics as an elective because they had a big telescope.  Worries about going to grad school were just really not in the picture, much less some kind of hiring preference.  I even knew kids who chose because the bus route was better. 

 

So, people don't tend to be very worried about getting into a "good" place.  They go where they like the atmosphere or clases or philosophy of education.  And actually, they don't tend to worry about not going to university and going into a trade or the military or whatever either.  I mean, some families do have strong opinions, but the overall culture doesn't have the sense that it's way better to have a degree than some other qualification.  My parents, who are a sort of important medical family in town, don't go to parties at the home of the really posh family that donates to everything and has lots of buildings named after them. But, their contractor does.  And makes more money than they do too.  And my mom's hairdresser ran for mayor and did pretty well.  And is richer.

 

It's just really different.

Edited by Bluegoat
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I don't know anything about Canada, but in NL, if you get your high school diploma from the pre-university track (which is pretty much the equivalent of an all AP track), you have pretty much automatic admission to any Dutch university and any major, with the exception of med school and dental school*, which have a graduated lottery (last I heard, if your GPA is greater than or equal to 8 (out of 10), it's automatic admission, and then between 7.5 and 8 your odds are higher than between 7.0 and 7.5, which are higher than between 6.5 and 7.0, which is higher than between 6.0 and 6.5 - and yes, you can go to evening school after you graduate and try to improve your scores in one or more subjects, so if you really want to go to medical or dental school, it should be doable). The universities are seen as all being about the same caliber - people don't pick a university based on how it's ranked at all... ranking is not on people's radars, and presumably not on employer's radars either. Apparently they're ranked 59, 63, 75, 77, 86, 86 (yes, it's a tie), 97, 102, 160, 177, 297, 337, and 486, so apparently there is quite a spread. 

 

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/netherlands

 

*Medical and dental school are both 6 year programs right after high school. Regular bachelor's degrees are 3 years right after high school and do not have a general education component - that's what high school is for. In fact, it used to be that you'd do a 4 or 5 year program right out after high school and get a master's degree, but due to some sort of European standardization, they now break it up into 3 years for a bachelor's and then another 1-2 for a masters, but practically everybody in a university will continue on for their master's, because that's what universities are for - if you only wanted a bachelor's degree you'd go to a 4-year college (for which you'd only need the pre-college high school track, which is a year shorter than the pre-university high school track), not a university.

 

Yes, we have a similar system, as what you describe in the first paragraph.

Edited by Bluegoat

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The vast majority of schools here are publicly funded, and pretty much they all give a good undergrad education in the subjects they offer. My dh has a chemistry degree, for example. Outsiders might think that a school like McGill would be the most prestigious place to try and get into for that,

For international (non-Canadian) applicants, it is also about familiarity of Canadian universities with employees or even the govt. in their home country. My niece's husband is an Australian with a degree from an Australian public university. No problem getting a job in Australia but he couldn't get a job when he went with my niece to her home country. So they end up moving back to Australia so both can be employed.

 

What we do like about Canadian universities is the direct admission to the major and also less subjects required for applying. 6 core subjects in 11th and 12th grade isn't as academically spread wide as 5 subjects per year of high school for my easily distracted child to achieve.

Edited by Arcadia

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Indeed.  It would be interesting to see the distribution of ACT/SAT scores at the Ivies (and other schools) for rejected students.  I think students get confused by statistics here -- just because a potential student has an ACT score that is in the top 75% of students who were admitted, does not mean that student has a 75% chance of admissions.  We've heard stories of students with perfect test scores who get rejected by the like of Harvard/MIT, but I'd love to know what percentage do.  I suspect it is higher than many applicants would think.

 

I remember reading somewhere (but can't remember where) that roughly 75% of students with perfect scores are rejected.

 

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Looking at this some more, I've attended universities ranked anywhere from 80-something to 600-something, and the differences I've encountered are negligible - I think the ranking system is just about completely worthless. 

 

Interesting.  In my experience,  there was a night and day difference between Ivy level colleges and state university.  The students in Ivy-level took their studies much more seriously than the state U.   I remember my friends at the state U making fun of a fellow student who studied a lot including on occasional Friday nights.    Ivy-level everyone assumed that you needed to study all the time.  If you said "I can't go to the party, I have a lab due" no one blinked an eye.  It was just "Oh bummer.  See ya later."

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Interesting.  In my experience,  there was a night and day difference between Ivy level colleges and state university.  The students in Ivy-level took their studies much more seriously than the state U.   I remember my friends at the state U making fun of a fellow student who studied a lot including on occasional Friday nights.    Ivy-level everyone assumed that you needed to study all the time.  If you said "I can't go to the party, I have a lab due" no one blinked an eye.  It was just "Oh bummer.  See ya later."

 

This completely depends on the students involved.  DH and I have a friend who partied all the time at Harvard. The world is a big place and you have serious students and party students at most schools. Some students work hard and party hard.  There's a lot of diversity out there. :)

 

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Interesting.  In my experience,  there was a night and day difference between Ivy level colleges and state university.  

 

 

80-something isn't Ivy level though - it was a state university. 

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It goes the other way as well. As one admin from MIT said to me three years ago, "We are not interested in some 4H kid from a Podunk agricultural area no one has ever heard of before." I had called to ask some general admission questions for one of our boys, and the admin asked for our zip code. Clearly he typed it into Google maps or some demographic tracking program or something. It was obvious the conversation was over at that point.

 

 

What??  They actually said that?  Wow, that is crazy.  What were you calling about?

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Also, the scores reported on the common data set are for students who actually enrolled; stats for the students who were admitted will presumably be higher, since OSU's yield is about 30-35% and many of the higher stats students would have had higher ranked options. Ditto for PSU.

ETA: looked up the stats for admitted (versus enrolled) students at OSU last year (not the current admissions): top 25% was 32 ACT, 1430 SAT, which are both 97th%.  

 

What is meant by yield of 30-35%?  Does that mean the percentage of admitted students that actually accept and enroll?

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What is meant by yield of 30-35%? Does that mean the percentage of admitted students that actually accept and enroll?

Yes.

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Interesting. In my experience, there was a night and day difference between Ivy level colleges and state university. The students in Ivy-level took their studies much more seriously than the state U. I remember my friends at the state U making fun of a fellow student who studied a lot including on occasional Friday nights. Ivy-level everyone assumed that you needed to study all the time. If you said "I can't go to the party, I have a lab due" no one blinked an eye. It was just "Oh bummer. See ya later."

I did graduate work and was a TA at both a state university and an Ivy and didn't find this to be true of the undergrads at all. There were hard working, serious students at both places, as well as complete slackers. The biggest difference was that at the Ivy the students complained much, much more about their grades. Also, coming from a small rural high school in the Midwest followed by a small LAC, I was shocked at the poor basic algebra skills of some of the Ivy undergrads.
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