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Speaking of UC admissions a week ago...


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I always love this sort of article about how my high achiever didn’t get into a school to which she was entitled to admission. I want the parent to have to sit down with a stack of admissions packe

I did read another interview about Yale admissions (not UC, but still useful), the director said that they could get rid of their entire freshman class and fill it with the rejected applicants and hav

A few years ago a woman who had worked in admissions at Stanford did a series of videos where she reviewed the applications of 3 students (with no identifying info). There was one kid with very high s

There are so many flaws in that article. :blink:

 

The fact that GPA and test scores continue to rise does NOT prove that they are "ignoring all the other factors," as the author claims. Stats are going up, and admissions rates are going down, at every highly-ranked college in the country. As acceptance rates go down, kids do whatever they can to increase their competitiveness — take more APs, spend more time and money on test prep, hire consultants to help with essays, cram in more ECs, etc. — and they apply to larger and larger numbers of schools, which drives the acceptance rates down even further. It's a vicious circle, but it applies to universities in every part of the US and has nothing to do with UCs lying about their admissions criteria. I'm sure they do include the other, more subjective, factors in their decisions — how else can they differentiate among the thousands of top stats applicants and guarantee a well-rounded, well-balanced class of freshmen? That's how admissions works at pretty much every selective college in the country. 

 

The idea that it's totally unfair for UCs to expect a minimum ACT of 26, when the US average is only 21, is equally absurd. UCLA and Berkeley are two of the premier universities in the world, why would they be expected to admit students whose stats are no better than the US average??? Test scores at UCB and UCLA are in line with scores at other top publics like UVA, UMich, and UNCCH — are people in those states clamoring for them to start admitting students with much lower test scores, in the interests of "fairness"? 

 

I think "random" admissions results are often not random at all, they just look that way to applicants who aren't sitting in on the selection process. The lower-stats kid who got into Berkeley but was rejected at Davis may have been just the oboe player/gymnast/whatever that Berkeley needed, or they may have had a compelling backstory that touched the heart of an application reader at Berkeley but left the reader at Davis unmoved. The kid who thinks it's totally random and unfair that he was rejected at the top UCs despite a 34 ACT and 4.3 GPA, may have come across as arrogant or obnoxious in his essays and turned people off. Or maybe there were just other kids with the same stats and similar ECs who had something more interesting and unusual about them that made them stand out. Such is life.

 

The one area where I think the author has a legitimate beef is with the number of OOS students that UCs accept. But the only way to solve that problem is to vote for legislators who will increase funding so UCs are not so dependent on a high percentage of OOS & International students to cover their costs.

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I always love this sort of article about how my high achiever didn’t get into a school to which she was entitled to admission. I want the parent to have to sit down with a stack of admissions packets and tell me who they would kick out to give his daughter a spot. This kid whose dad is in prison, yet the kid has persevered anyway? This swimmer whose stats are in the bottom quartile but who practices 20 hours/week and has a passion for teaching special needs kids to swim? How about this massive stack of apps with perfect (not your paltry “near perfectâ€) ACTs? I do not envy adcoms because those at highly-selective public Us get this every stinkin’ year. And the parents who think if their kid can check all of the boxes, their kid is entitled to admission, so they have their kids in 20 clubs, a no-cut sport and recreational cello, are going to end up with a burned out kid, not a Berkeley freshman.

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My friedn’s DD is applying this year. Not from UCs, but there seems to be a big variation so far on acceptance rates. Kids with much, much better academic performance were passed, but others with much weaker scores got in into many of the same selective schools. In half of those cases we could identify the reason - first generation admits, but it isn’t always clear.

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 Test scores at UCB and UCLA are in line with scores at other top publics like UVA, UMich, and UNCCH — are people in those states clamoring for them to start admitting students with much lower test scores, in the interests of "fairness"? 

 

 

 

I don't know about those schools, but every year, someone in Georgia makes the exact same argument about Georgia Tech, which has an acceptance rate in the low 20s.  I've seen it on College Confidential, and I see it in the Atlanta newspaper.  Every year, someone becomes super interested in the politics of public education because his special snowflake didn't get admitted while an obviously less-special snowflake from California did.

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I always love this sort of article about how my high achiever didn’t get into a school to which she was entitled to admission. I want the parent to have to sit down with a stack of admissions packets and tell me who they would kick out to give his daughter a spot. This kid whose dad is in prison, yet the kid has persevered anyway? This swimmer whose stats are in the bottom quartile but who practices 20 hours/week and has a passion for teaching special needs kids to swim? How about this massive stack of apps with perfect (not your paltry “near perfectâ€) ACTs? I do not envy adcoms because those at highly-selective public Us get this every stinkin’ year. And the parents who think if their kid can check all of the boxes, their kid is entitled to admission, so they have their kids in 20 clubs, a no-cut sport and recreational cello, are going to end up with a burned out kid, not a Berkeley freshman.

 

 

Yep.  Some people don't seem to realize that these are CHILDREN (in the beginning of high school) and young PEOPLE, who need a LIFE and not to have their entire lives controlled for the "perfect" admissions criteria.  You could do "everything right" and have a 5.0 GPA and still not get in.

 

Some of the parents here make me sick.  They and the entire culture, push their kids to the brink of suicide, to achieve admissions to ONE place.  Ok, two- Stanford, and Berkeley...or "bust."

 

It is not RANDOM, it is life, and the fact that they had such a one-track mind to begin with just underscores their total lack of reality check.  I pity, pity their kids.  :( 

 

Imagine putting yourself in that kids' shoes. :( All of them...one way, one path, one desire....?? I can't even imagine living that way.

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And by the way, it's just another symptom of the entire SICK perfection culture here...

 

when I was a kid, I was involved in a LOT of activities, but EVEN I had time to study for my math quiz and go to a swim meet.  Or maybe I didn't really study for math, I just did my homework, and was fine with getting a 93 instead of 100 on math.  And I enjoyed swimming.  

 

Assuming that the child LOVES swimming and needs exercise and a physical outlet, what is wrong with our culture, that we would even consider telling our teen to stay home and study for the math quiz SO THAT they can increase their entrance qualifications to Berkeley.  

 

Really???

 

This guy just said, that the entire crux of his article, was that he would give his daughter better advice, on minute details of her life, to increase her ALREADY extremely high achievements, in order to gain admittance to Berkeley.  And the fact that 1000 Bay Area parents will read this article and nod, not even realizing the sick bubble they are putting their children, in, is sickening. 

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And by the way, it's just another symptom of the entire SICK perfection culture here...

 

when I was a kid, I was involved in a LOT of activities, but EVEN I had time to study for my math quiz and go to a swim meet. Or maybe I didn't really study for math, I just did my homework, and was fine with getting a 93 instead of 100 on math. And I enjoyed swimming.

 

Assuming that the child LOVES swimming and needs exercise and a physical outlet, what is wrong with our culture, that we would even consider telling our teen to stay home and study for the math quiz SO THAT they can increase their entrance qualifications to Berkeley.

 

Really???

 

This guy just said, that the entire crux of his article, was that he would give his daughter better advice, on minute details of her life, to increase her ALREADY extremely high achievements, in order to gain admittance to Berkeley. And the fact that 1000 Bay Area parents will read this article and nod, not even realizing the sick bubble they are putting their children, in, is sickening.

Bay Area is crazy. I will tell you though that we aren’t in the Bay Area and here locally kids are involved in all sorts of activities and mostly for recreation. Somebody made a sarcastic remark about recreational cello, but a ton of kids do recreational music here and I see huge value to it. What better way to enrich our children than engage them with classical music, which to me is one of the greatest achievements of the human civilization. One of my children is engaged in the local orchestra and it has been a transformational experience to him. We don’t all need to become professionals in order to enrich our lives. Same with sports.

 

I was told that UCs were designed to take top 10% of CA graduating PS kids. I know they have been expanding with new UC campuses opening up, but it isn’t clear to me what % of qualified kids (that top 10%) they are able to take in.

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Bay Area is crazy. I will tell you though that we aren’t in the Bay Area and here locally kids are involved in all sorts of activities and mostly for recreation. Somebody made a sarcastic remark about recreational cello, but a ton of kids do recreational music here and I see huge value to it. What better way to enrich our children than engage them with classical music, which to me is one of the greatest achievements of the human civilization. One of my children is engaged in the local orchestra and it has been a transformational experience to him. We don’t all need to become professionals in order to enrich our lives. Same with sports.

 

I was told that UCs were designed to take top 10% of CA graduating PS kids. I know they have been expanding with new UC campuses opening up, but it isn’t clear to me what % of qualified kids (that top 10%) they are able to take in.

 

Oh, I have nothing against recreational cello!  It's putting your kid in rec cello because you think it checks a box to make your kiddo well-rounded for college admissions.  I think the same thing when I drive by my neighborhood tennis courts where the local high school team practices, and I see all these kids out there flailing away because tennis is a no-cut sport at our school, thus letting them check the "varsity athlete" box on apps.  Do I really think these kids have a passion for (or even enjoy) tennis, or do I think they're doing it to appear well-rounded?  And geez, the clubs these kids join.  Do you really have a burning passion for epidemiology that would lead you to found an epidemiology club, or are you just looking to add "founded a club" to your app?  (This is a real club at our local school, by the way.) I absolutely believe there is value in rec cello and rec tennis; I just don't believe that value is in getting you admitted to a highly-competitive college.

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A friend was told not to file FAFSA since they are full pay to increase the odds of getting into UCLA. The reasoning given by the person who told her was that UCs do need full paying students.

 

I was told that UCs were designed to take top 10% of CA graduating PS kids. I know they have been expanding with new UC campuses opening up, but it isn’t clear to me what % of qualified kids (that top 10%) they are able to take in.

It’s top 9%. We know many who were accepted to UC Merced when the campus was newly opened. We know one public high school guy who got into UCSC on that option.

 

“If you're in the top 9 percent of California high school graduates and aren't admitted to any of the UC campuses you apply to, you'll be offered a spot at another campus if space is available. We use a formula — called an admissions index —to determine if you fall in that group.â€

http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/freshman/california-residents/admissions-index/index.html

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Random is a word that gets used more and more when it comes to UC admissions. Why does a kid get wait listed at Davis and admitted at UCLA? Nobody knows!

Each of the past few years, I have helped get kids into the UC System (children of friends and relatives) .  I've seen many of the weaker (but qualified) students, get into better UCs than my superstars. At first, I thought it was random as to the acceptances. Now, not so sure.  The only things that I can rationalize is a more interesting and unique story (not another piano/violin  player), and fewer, but more in depth, EC (e.g, captain of the team, rather than runner)

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It is extremely sad that students are sucked into a mentality where they MUST follow THIS path in order to achieve some-undefined-yet-100%-only-true-definition SUCCESS? The stress level of students due to their academic and EC overloads is readily evident.

 

Unfortunately, I see the same sort of manifestations growing in the homeschool community (eta: qualifying for admissions aware parents ;) ) vs allowing students to develop real interests and pursuing them vs checking off a box.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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It is extremely sad that students are sucked into a mentality where they MUST follow THIS path in order to achieve some-undefined-yet-100%-only-true-definition SUCCESS? The stress level of students due to their academic and EC overloads is readily evident.

 

Unfortunately, I see the same sort of manifestations growing in the homeschool community (eta: qualifying for admissions aware parents ;) ) vs allowing students to develop real interests and pursuing them vs checking off a box.

 

Exactly, there are many different paths to success, and being able to provide for oneself, and even college....

 

My dd doesn't even want to go away to college at this point.  Continuing with her hobby means she will get to travel, stay in hotels all over the western US, have part time summer jobs of varying kinds, meet new people all the time, and we live a short Light Rail ride away from a great State University.  So, she plans to go there and live at home. ....not all kids have to go away to college, or even go to college either.....to have an adventure or a new experience.

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ECs don’t need to be stress inducing. In fact they can be just the opposite. For kids cooked up in the classroom all day, playing soccer for couple of hours afterwards (or other sport) might just be the relaxation they need. For one of my children it’s his orchestra. His week really revolves around it and his instrument practice. It’s almost magical.

I agree that when ECs are forced, they don’t produce much food for anybody, but seeing a kid play violin doesn’t mean their parents made him.

I have extroverts at home. My children don’t like to stay home more than one day a week. They thrive on ECs.

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ECs don’t need to be stress inducing. In fact they can be just the opposite. For kids cooked up in the classroom all day, playing soccer for couple of hours afterwards (or other sport) might just be the relaxation they need. For one of my children it’s his orchestra. His week really revolves around it and his instrument practice. It’s almost magical.

I agree that when ECs are forced, they don’t produce much food for anybody, but seeing a kid play violin doesn’t mean their parents made him.

I have extroverts at home. My children don’t like to stay home more than one day a week. They thrive on ECs.

 

 

Yeah but the culture here is that kid MUST play violin AND must play a VARSITY sport, AND Be on some kind of "Honor Society" AND do something amazing with a foreign language (including a club or Saturday School for it), AND do something Tech related, they literally MAKE their kids join something for every single "sphere" so that they can "look well rounded" ....no one of course assumes everything playing soccer or the violin is doing that one thing because they're "checking the box"....

 

it's the push to do it all, ALL of it well, ALL of it at the best possible level, and check the boxes whether they enjoy it or not, that is the sick part.

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I've seen many of the weaker (but qualified) students, get into better UCs than my superstars. At first, I thought it was random as to the acceptances. Now, not so sure.  

 

From my experience I have come to believe that the top UCs (such as UCLA and UC Berkeley) are trying to have a more varied incoming class. In addition they seem to let in a lot of low income kids who may not have the resources to have the amazing SAT score or a ton of ECs but who show potential. Because of this there is not a tried and true formula of getting in. These schools try to take a holistic approach (at least as much as they can when reading thousands and thousands of apps). 

 

For students and parents who are playing the admission game this can be a frustrating process as they feel that if they do everything they can to have a high caliber app they should get in. Unfortunately that isn't always the case and I for one am happy about this trend as the competitiveness and craziness of the high school culture in California is too much for so many. 

 

But it does upset teens and their parents. If you read this years UC Davis thread on College Confidential there are many who feel they were passed up for lesser candidates and they are very verbal in their outrage. 

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After reading acceptance threads on College Confidential, I really do think the current admissions system seems very obscure and capricious for the more selective schools. Because of the seemingly random results, students are having to apply to more schools to ensure that they might "get lucky" at one of them. Of course, increasing applications will just end up exacerbating the problem over time. Here's a TED talk that's relevant. The speaker suggests applying widely and not getting attached to any one school. 

 

Edited by 3andme
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ECs don’t need to be stress inducing. In fact they can be just the opposite. For kids cooked up in the classroom all day, playing soccer for couple of hours afterwards (or other sport) might just be the relaxation they need. For one of my children it’s his orchestra. His week really revolves around it and his instrument practice. It’s almost magical.

I agree that when ECs are forced, they don’t produce much food for anybody, but seeing a kid play violin doesn’t mean their parents made him.

I have extroverts at home. My children don’t like to stay home more than one day a week. They thrive on ECs.

There is a difference between pursuits out of interest and pursuits to check off a box. Kids on CC are posting a ridiculous# of APs and multiple clubs, sports, etc. Everything screams "faux polish" vs authentic. Then they are furious when kids with fewer APs and ECs are accepted bc to them it seems random and unfair. But from an outside perspective, many times the outcomes are predictable. To me, there were very few suprises last yr. The 2 surprises I had were 2 young men's rejections from MIT. Both were accepted to other top schools. But all of the others were pretty expected. The kids were focused and accomplished, not overwhelmed and skimming the surface.

 

Fwiw, if you read posts on CC by parents of kids who had successful apps, the low key but high levels of achievement is by far the more successful outcome vs the more dominate manic approach of the majority of posters.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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To shed more light on the holistic approach to UCB and UCLA, I do know from an article I read from a few years ago that there is a target of 30% of admits to be from low income families and 30% from first to attend college. Throw in OOS admits and URM admits and the superstars like Olympic athletes, etc, it becomes a lot more competitive for those remaining spots. It's my alma mater, but I would be hard pressed to say whether or not I would make the cut. I would still qualify, but at these schools as well as other tippy top schools, it's no guarantee. 

I was helping one student with her applications. It was really difficult to get the parents to have realistic expectations. She was a good student but not among the very top in her school, cood SAT/ACT, no interesting ECs, no demonstrated passions, the essay was ok, no leadership, no awards, high middle class income, both parents are college grads but Chinese immigrants, attends a great high school where most students are college bound, etc. In all honesty, she is thousands of other students, she has a shot because she make the qualifications...but not guaranteed. She was a definite match for the next tier level schools, but, boy, those parents are seriously disappointed and feel their daughter was wronged. I had advised them years ago what was necessary for her to to make her app stand out. They didn't pursue those things, so it is what it is. They were convinced that what she did would be more than enough. They just don't want to accept her profile doesn't even mean average for the admits at this level if you exclude the special categories and factor in the Asian penalty.

Edited by calbear
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Exactly, there are many different paths to success, and being able to provide for oneself, and even college....

 

My dd doesn't even want to go away to college at this point. Continuing with her hobby means she will get to travel, stay in hotels all over the western US, have part time summer jobs of varying kinds, meet new people all the time, and we live a short Light Rail ride away from a great State University. So, she plans to go there and live at home. ....not all kids have to go away to college, or even go to college either.....to have an adventure or a new experience.

And they can go that route and still have fabulous adult lives. (My oldest 2 neurotypical kids didn't give a 2nd thought to college apps. They just did and were done and then went and earned their degrees. Both have great careers that fit their personalitis and needs/career wants.

 

Kids can even attend regular ol' universities and achieve significant levels of achievement that are often portrayed as elusive except to those small % of students who took that "undefined but defined predetermined outcome" path.

 

It is big world of opportunity that seems to be ridiculously reduced to a vortex channeled down Alice's hole bc it is only found in Wonderland.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Each of the past few years, I have helped get kids into the UC System (children of friends and relatives) . I've seen many of the weaker (but qualified) students, get into better UCs than my superstars. At first, I thought it was random as to the acceptances. Now, not so sure. The only things that I can rationalize is a more interesting and unique story (not another piano/violin player), and fewer, but more in depth, EC (e.g, captain of the team, rather than runner)

Yes, obviously nobody but the admissions people have the whole story, but I am not even talking about two different students. I am talking about one student getting rejected, waitlisted or admitted seemingly at random at different UC campuses, even at equally selective or not campuses.

Edited by Mabelen
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No Asian penalty at UCB or UCLA. It’s now race blind, I believe.

 

Huge advantage for URM based on what we are seeing now with our local school.

No UC is allowed to look at race or ethnic background. They can and look at socio economic background, first generation status, and or any other disadvantaged status that may have affected the student's performance and achievement.

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To shed more light on the holistic approach to UCB and UCLA, I do know from an article I read from a few years ago that there is a target of 30% of admits to be from low income families and 30% from first to attend college. Throw in OOS admits and URM admits and the superstars like Olympic athletes, etc, it becomes a lot more competitive for those remaining spots. It's my alma mater, but I would be hard pressed to say whether or not I would make the cut. I would still qualify, but at these schools as well as other tippy top schools, it's no guarantee.

 

I was helping one student with her applications. It was really difficult to get the parents to have realistic expectations. She was a good student but not among the very top in her school, cood SAT/ACT, no interesting ECs, no demonstrated passions, the essay was ok, no leadership, no awards, high middle class income, both parents are college grads but Chinese immigrants, attends a great high school where most students are college bound, etc. In all honesty, she is thousands of other students, she has a shot because she make the qualifications...but not guaranteed. She was a definite match for the next tier level schools, but, boy, those parents are seriously disappointed and feel their daughter was wronged. I had advised them years ago what was necessary for her to to make her app stand out. They didn't pursue those things, so it is what it is. They were convinced that what she did would be more than enough. They just don't want to accept her profile doesn't even mean average for the admits at this level if you exclude the special categories and factor in the Asian penalty.

Again, URM status cannot by law be a factor in admissions at the UCs.

 

ETA: Many other factors are taken into consideration. Full pay OOS and international applications are very welcome too.

Edited by Mabelen
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What I mean by Asian penalty is not what you probably think. This subject is beaten to death in my AA circles. There is no cap on admits like at the privates at UC, but there is a real disadvantage when you are looking at ACT/SAT scores meaning that as an AA applicant. The average Asian admit is still going to have to have a higher ACT/SAT than other ethnic groups plus under holistic model of admittance, you have to do something to really set yourself apart from what every other AA student is doing. The reality is that the average ACT/SAT score for the pool of AA applicants is always going to higher than in other ethnic groups. The reality is that there are many more qualified AA students applying to college even though they are a fraction of the population. For example, AAs are 5.6% of the US population, and they comprise of 60% of the National Merit Scholars. There are about 15K National Merit Scholars annually.

There was an interview with a UC admission officer who admitted that if it was strictly by scores and not holistic admissions, that the UCB admit class would be something like 70+ percent Asian American versus the current 42%. There is no way that would ever happen. People are okay with that limitation. (edited to add: I am not making an argument one way or another.) That's why as an AA, you have to have your eyes wide open about admissions and know how to read those student profiles and how to benchmark your student against them. I roughly use the rule of thumb that if you aren't at least at the 75%ile for that school, then you should accept that it is likely a reach school for you. In al honesty, if all you have going for you is that score and a good GPA with nothing else, it's going to be impossible.

Another interesting look at admits is that UCB admits somewhere around 13K students. That number is more than the total number of admits for the tippy top schools combined that you typically think of (usually somewhere between 1.5 to 2 K in their freshmen admits). FWIW, UCLA also admits around 13K. When I tell people that, they are truly shocked because they really don't realize the number aspect of admisisons at the tippy top schools and the reality is that yes, UCB and UCLA are state flagships, but they do attract national and international interest. Honestly, people need to quit griping about OOS admits. I think the OOS students applying are usually going to be top notch applicants as are international students.  Now, we all know that there is going to be overlap in students gaining multiple admits from these schools as well. When you think about the sheer numbers and are truly realistic, you can totally understand why things are the way they are. However, I agree with previous comments that there are way too many people who believe that their child is somehow the exception to the story that the numbers tell. Parents are doing a serious disservice to their students by not being realistic with them.

Edited by calbear
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Yep. Some people don't seem to realize that these are CHILDREN (in the beginning of high school) and young PEOPLE, who need a LIFE and not to have their entire lives controlled for the "perfect" admissions criteria. You could do "everything right" and have a 5.0 GPA and still not get in.

 

Some of the parents here make me sick. They and the entire culture, push their kids to the brink of suicide, to achieve admissions to ONE place. Ok, two- Stanford, and Berkeley...or "bust."

 

It is not RANDOM, it is life, and the fact that they had such a one-track mind to begin with just underscores their total lack of reality check. I pity, pity their kids. :(

 

Imagine putting yourself in that kids' shoes. :( All of them...one way, one path, one desire....?? I can't even imagine living that way.

I am not in the Bay Area but I understand what it must be like there because I see plenty of that here too. The thing is, there are genuinely people who can do all that and do it extremely well and not work up so much of a sweat. The problem is when you are pushed to the limits so you can keep up with those people. And, yes, parents for whom only a handful of colleges are worth it. It is very much in part a cultural issue, but it affects everyone who aims to have a shot at the UCs. It becomes a kind of academic/extracurricular arms race.

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Each of the past few years, I have helped get kids into the UC System (children of friends and relatives) .  I've seen many of the weaker (but qualified) students, get into better UCs than my superstars. At first, I thought it was random as to the acceptances. Now, not so sure.  The only things that I can rationalize is a more interesting and unique story (not another piano/violin  player), and fewer, but more in depth, EC (e.g, captain of the team, rather than runner)

A few years ago a woman who had worked in admissions at Stanford did a series of videos where she reviewed the applications of 3 students (with no identifying info). There was one kid with very high stats and a million ECs, a middle-range kid, and a girl with significantly lower stats. She was unimpressed with the laundry lists of unrelated ECs and said it seemed clear that he wasn't involved in any of them to any depth. The girl had much lower test scores and her only AP was French, in which she got a 3. But she was passionate about food, she'd spent a summer at a French cooking school, and she had a trilingual food blog (French, English, Vietnamese). The reviewer was actually most interested in the girl, who she thought sounded really fun and interesting. She said she just wished the test scores were a little higher, and I got the impression that even a slight increase in her stats might have gotten her in, whereas the guy with the high tests scores, top GPA, and a dozen uninteresting ECs was indistinguishable from hundreds of other kids just like him.

 

Ohio State is obviously not Stanford, or even UCB/UCLA, but they are in the same range as UCSB/UCSD/UCI/UCD and are well above UCSC/UCR/UCM, and DS's experience corroborates the advice in those videos. I have seen kids with stats as high, or higher, than DS complain on CC that they were either deferred from EA and then accepted with no merit aid, or they were waitlisted or even outright rejected. These are kids with ACTs in the 30-35 range, multiple APs, high GPAs, and lots of ECs. DS has no APs and limited ECs, but the ECs he does have are all interrelated and at a high level (very highly ranked in his sport, assistant coach for youth classes, volunteer at fencing camps), and his hobbies are interesting and unusual (Tuvan/Mongolian throat singing, playing didgeridoo). His transcript includes courses like Old Norse, Turkish, and linguistics, as well as Greek and Latin, and his essay was about his passion for linguistics, not a generic "sports taught me about team work" type essay. Not only was he accepted EA with maximum merit money, he just got a personal email last week offering him acceptance into the Humanities Scholars Program (which is like an honors program, with special classes and a dedicated dorm) — while kids on CC lament not getting into to the Scholars Programs they applied for, DS was offered acceptance despite having never applied at all.

 

I think the vast majority of people who think the admissions process is totally opaque and random simply don't understand what adcoms are looking for: kids who are interesting and passionate and genuinely engaged, not just checking a bunch of boxes to look good on college apps.

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I know people that read for admissions for Cal. While URM can't be used as a reason for admit under the law, they will use other correlated criteria to work towards certain goals. Perhaps, this will help explain more. 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/education/edlife/lifting-the-veil-on-the-holistic-process-at-the-university-of-california-berkeley.html?mtrref=www.google.com&gwh=DDF81F4531AC152BDD0E0D5E080E96E5&gwt=pay

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I think the vast majority of people who think the admissions process is totally opaque and random simply don't understand what adcoms are looking for: kids who are interesting and passionate and genuinely engaged, not just checking a bunch of boxes to look good on college apps.

Exactly. I totally agree.

 

I read another article that put it this way if a reader looks at your application, you don't want them to think: Another piano playing, hard working student with perfect SATS? We can't have a campus full of these students. 

Edited by calbear
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A few years ago a woman who had worked in admissions at Stanford did a series of videos where she reviewed the applications of 3 students (with no identifying info). There was one kid with very high stats and a million ECs, a middle-range kid, and a girl with significantly lower stats. She was unimpressed with the laundry lists of unrelated ECs and said it seemed clear that he wasn't involved in any of them to any depth. The girl had much lower test scores and her only AP was French, in which she got a 3. But she was passionate about food, she'd spent a summer at a French cooking school, and she had a trilingual food blog (French, English, Vietnamese). The reviewer was actually most interested in the girl, who she thought sounded really fun and interesting. She said she just wished the test scores were a little higher, and I got the impression that even a slight increase in her stats might have gotten her in, whereas the guy with the high tests scores, top GPA, and a dozen uninteresting ECs was indistinguishable from hundreds of other kids just like him.

 

Ohio State is obviously not Stanford, or even UCB/UCLA, but they are in the same range as UCSB/UCSD/UCI/UCD and are well above UCSC/UCR/UCM, and DS's experience corroborates the advice in those videos. I have seen kids with stats as high, or higher, than DS complain on CC that they were either deferred from EA and then accepted with no merit aid, or they were waitlisted or even outright rejected. These are kids with ACTs in the 30-35 range, multiple APs, high GPAs, and lots of ECs. DS has no APs and limited ECs, but the ECs he does have are all interrelated and at a high level (very highly ranked in his sport, assistant coach for youth classes, volunteer at fencing camps), and his hobbies are interesting and unusual (Tuvan/Mongolian throat singing, playing didgeridoo). His transcript includes courses like Old Norse, Turkish, and linguistics, as well as Greek and Latin, and his essay was about his passion for linguistics, not a generic "sports taught me about team work" type essay. Not only was he accepted EA with maximum merit money, he just got a personal email last week offering him acceptance into the Humanities Scholars Program (which is like an honors program, with special classes and a dedicated dorm) — while kids on CC lament not getting into to the Scholars Programs they applied for, DS was offered acceptance despite having never applied at all.

 

I think the vast majority of people who think the admissions process is totally opaque and random simply don't understand what adcoms are looking for: kids who are interesting and passionate and genuinely engaged, not just checking a bunch of boxes to look good on college apps.

:iagree:

This was exactly dd's experience last yr. Her ECs were things like translating a Russian fairy tale or attending Alliance Francaise with a very elderly populace bc she was bound and determined to converse in French. Those things were authentic her and flowed through her courses, awards, and personal goals.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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The kid was accepted to 5/5 UCs applied to.

 

What kid didn't do:

- involve self in sports (wouldn't and couldn't for the life of him be coordinated enough)

- do a ton of ECs

- extremely well rounded in every single area

- take a class for the sake of looking good on applications

- math competitions

 

What kid did:

- very spiky theoretical math involvement...lots of math classes and a very interest-led math research opportunity via AoPS

- obviously fun-oriented ECs like improv comedy and zumba and doing those ECs over a period of time

- only one community service project but doing it over a period of time

- self-deprecating essays about only fitting in with old people and being color blind and producing artwork after artwork that was green-heavy

- very single minded focus on jazz piano and singing, emceeing, and playing keyboard at community college concerts including creating a Twitter account simply to connect with a Bollywood composer to ask for his score, not hearing back, and improvising score on his own, and singing the song to the CC audience with voice cracking due to puberty despite not knowing a word of Hindi

- very high GPA and test scores

 

I think it was a combo of those four five things that helped. Kiddo's application was probably odd and quirky enough for both UCB and UCLA to think the kid would do well on their campus. :laugh:

 

We spent a fraction of the cost of what many Bay Area parents do to get their kids into these campuses. And we didn't do it to get kiddo into a specific campus but because my kiddo, sweet and compliant as kiddo is, would refuse to do things just because.

Edited by quark
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I am not in the Bay Area but I understand what it must be like there because I see plenty of that here too. The thing is, there are genuinely people who can do all that and do it extremely well and not work up so much of a sweat. The problem is when you are pushed to the limits so you can keep up with those people. And, yes, parents for whom only a handful of colleges are worth it. It is very much in part a cultural issue, but it affects everyone who aims to have a shot at the UCs. It becomes a kind of academic/extracurricular arms race.

 

 

I could be misunderstanding you, but if what you are saying is that as long as people don't verbally/physically seem "worked up about it" that parents can push that "check off the box, one path" mindset is OK, then you are in the bubble with them.

 

And I was there for a while, in that bubble so I truly am speaking from experience.

 

Kids are quietly committing suicide.  If you think the parents THOUGHT that everyone was worked up about it, you would be wrong.  Obviously, everything seems fine on the surface until your kid is running in front of a train in Palo Alto. Most of these parents had NO idea.  For every kid who is taken to the psychiatrist, and the parents realize something's up, there are another ten who are sleep deprived, to the point of insanity, overburdened, and very worried about their future but all you see is the smiling white or asian kid who is going from activity to activty, class to class, and studying through the night.

 

NO it is not ok, and it is not normal to "check the box" and join clubs and activities to "seem well rounded" and to stay up till midnight studying every night and to join a sport partly, even partly, to "check the box."  It is not normal, healthy life and it will breed a whole new generation of the same thing in 15 years. 

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The kid was accepted to 5/5 UCs applied to.

 

What kid didn't do:

 

- do a ton of ECs

 

 

What kid did:

-  very interest-led math research opportunity via AoPS

- obviously fun-oriented ECs like improv comedy and zumba and doing those ECs over a period of time

- only one community service project but doing it over a period of time

-  producing artwork after artwork that was green-heavy

- very single minded focus on jazz piano and singing, emceeing, and playing keyboard at community college concerts including creating a Twitter account simply to connect with a Bollywood composer to ask for his score, not hearing back, and improvising score on his own, and singing the song to the CC audience with voice cracking due to puberty despite not knowing a word of Hindi

 

 

 

 

This is where everything seems a bit subjective... I look at what he did and think --WOW! That's a lot of extra-curriculars. Yes, I know there are kids that do many, many more. Still, the amount he did doesn't seem insignificant to me.

 

BTW, congrats on the acceptances!!  :hurray:

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What Calming Tea is referring to is very real. This isn't a world that many on here can possibily fathom. This is the bubble that I lived in being a life long Bay Area native. Though some would say, given the specific zip code I moved to in SD, I'm still in a similar bubble though not to the intense level of which much of the Bay Area is in. Most of my family is in that bubble and most of my good friends, THIS is exactly why I homeschool. Life in the Bay Area like living in a place of mutally assured insanity for children. It is sick and is harmful. Yes, it is very much an arms race. Yet, it is absolutely the norm for priviliged middle class life in these desirable school districts in the Bay Area. I don't know what the solution is to stop this. It is immensely difficult to chose to go outside of this. Even if I had stayed in the Bay Area, I had already made the decision to homeschool. We didn't want this for our son. We wanted more than this rat race mentality. 

Edited by calbear
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This is where everything seems a bit subjective... I look at what he did and think --WOW! That's a lot of extra-curriculars. Yes, I know there are kids that do many, many more. Still, the amount he did doesn't seem insignificant to me.

 

BTW, congrats on the acceptances!!  :hurray:

 

I agree that it feels subjective but WMA, when you look at the applications, many portals only allow you to list five ECs. Many of our friends struggle with what to cut down from their list to fit those five spaces. My kiddo had exactly five and didn't feel like entering ECs was a struggle. Look ma, I have five things to say and there are five spots to say them! think it's subjective depending on where you live too. Our friends' kids don't just do piano or badminton but also cello, violin, trumpet, sax, on top of piano and tennis, soccer, swimming, basketball on top of badminton. Compared to all of that my kiddo did very few!

 

And thank you! Sometimes it still feels like a dream!

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I find it strange that so few parents and students really seem to stop and think about why colleges want to see ECs. Or if they think about it at all, they mistakenly believe they need to pick at least one EC from each of a half-dozen different columns so they will appear "well-rounded." Someone from Yale admissions once said that they're not really looking for a class of "well-rounded kids," they're looking for a well-rounded class of spiky kids.

When ECs are authentic expressions of a student's interests and passions, schools know that those kids are likely to continue the activities in college, contributing their time, energy, knowledge, and skills to the college community. Kids who approach ECs as just a bunch of boxes to check in order to get into a top college are not going to continue those once they've achieved their goal (admission). Another important function of ECs to help "paint a picture" of the applicant, to humanize a generic transcript and a set of test scores. A dozen unrelated ECs just provides more generic information that makes kids look like everyone else, instead of giving adcoms a reason to pick this student over hundreds of others with similar stats.

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What I mean by Asian penalty is not what you probably think. This subject is beaten to death in my AA circles. There is no cap on admits like at the privates at UC, but there is a real disadvantage when you are looking at ACT/SAT scores meaning that as an AA applicant. The average Asian admit is still going to have to have a higher ACT/SAT than other ethnic groups plus under holistic model of admittance, you have to do something to really set yourself apart from what every other AA student is doing. The reality is that the average ACT/SAT score for the pool of AA applicants is always going to higher than in other ethnic groups. The reality is that there are many more qualified AA students applying to college even though they are a fraction of the population. For example, AAs are 5.6% of the US population, and they comprise of 60% of the National Merit Scholars. There are about 15K National Merit Scholars annually.

 

There was an interview with a UC admission officer who admitted that if it was strictly by scores and not holistic admissions, that the UCB admit class would be something like 70+ percent Asian American versus the current 42%. There is no way that would ever happen. People are okay with that limitation. (edited to add: I am not making an argument one way or another.) That's why as an AA, you have to have your eyes wide open about admissions and know how to read those student profiles and how to benchmark your student against them. I roughly use the rule of thumb that if you aren't at least at the 75%ile for that school, then you should accept that it is likely a reach school for you. In al honesty, if all you have going for you is that score and a good GPA with nothing else, it's going to be impossible.

 

Another interesting look at admits is that UCB admits somewhere around 13K students. That number is more than the total number of admits for the tippy top schools combined that you typically think of (usually somewhere between 1.5 to 2 K in their freshmen admits). FWIW, UCLA also admits around 13K. When I tell people that, they are truly shocked because they really don't realize the number aspect of admisisons at the tippy top schools and the reality is that yes, UCB and UCLA are state flagships, but they do attract national and international interest. Honestly, people need to quit griping about OOS admits. I think the OOS students applying are usually going to be top notch applicants as are international students.  Now, we all know that there is going to be overlap in students gaining multiple admits from these schools as well. When you think about the sheer numbers and are truly realistic, you can totally understand why things are the way they are. However, I agree with previous comments that there are way too many people who believe that their child is somehow the exception to the story that the numbers tell. Parents are doing a serious disservice to their students by not being realistic with them.

 

In my kid's classes at AoPS Academy and CTY camp, the demographic is 95% Asian and Indian, and almost all the white kids are Jews. It's very striking, and not at all in proportion to our population here in So Cal, which has a large Latino population. I haven't seen a single African American either. :(    

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What Calming Tea is referring to is very real. This isn't a world that many on here can possibily fathom. This is the bubble that I lived in being a life long Bay Area native. Though some would say, given the specific zip code I moved to in SD, I'm still in a similar bubble though not to the intense level of which much of the Bay Area is in. Most of my family is in that bubble and most of my good friends, THIS is exactly why I homeschool. Life in the Bay Area like living in a place of mutally assured insanity for children. It is sick and is harmful. Yes, it is very much an arms race. Yet, it is absolutely the norm for priviliged middle class life in these desirable school districts in the Bay Area. I don't know what the solution is to stop this. It is immensely difficult to chose to go outside of this. Even if I had stayed in the Bay Area, I had already made the decision to homeschool. We didn't want this for our son. We wanted more than this rat race mentality. 

 

I agree with this too.

 

We avoided it by being realistic about what to spend and when. We are also introverts and doing fewer things outside made us much happier than rushing from one social event to another. So much of these ECs are social events in my book and we couldn't stomach them. I can feel exhausted from a single 2-hour homeschool gathering although I enjoy myself immensely during the gathering. My kiddo hates sports and competitions so that was easy to avoid. We also lived on the outskirts of the Bay Area which made driving a chore so I managed to cut more things from the list by not driving to everything. Last, my kiddo's first love is a very academic subject which made following passion easier than say skiing or history competitions would have. As immigrants, we did not have the social stigma that some of our American friends had about using community college. We might have been privileged (pre-divorce) but never really felt it because we supported dependents in our home country and had to be very careful about saving money.

Edited by quark
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I agree that it feels subjective but WMA, when you look at the applications, many portals only allow you to list five ECs. Many of our friends struggle with what to cut down from their list to fit those five spaces. My kiddo had exactly five and didn't feel like entering ECs was a struggle. Look ma, I have five things to say and there are five spots to say them! think it's subjective depending on where you live too. Our friends' kids don't just do piano or badminton but also cello, violin, trumpet, sax, on top of piano and tennis, soccer, swimming, basketball on top of badminton. Compared to all of that my kiddo did very few!

 

And thank you! Sometimes it still feels like a dream!

 

I agree, but still... when you look at what he did with the math research etc, it may not be 10 or 15, but they are also not insignificant ECs. 

 

I have the same reaction when I hear of kids "only" taking 6 or 7 APs.  I know many kids take more than twice that, but that doesn't mean that 6 or 7 is nothing. I just wonder sometimes how our own language and the phrasing we use perpetuates the idea that more is more.

 

For the record, I live in a bubble area as well, which is part of the reason I've been thinking about this lately.

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Life in the Bay Area like living in a place of mutally assured insanity for children. It is sick and is harmful. Yes, it is very much an arms race.

The uncertainty of getting into state universities is making it worse in my area. People are transferring younger siblings to private schools if the oldest child has rejections to state universities.

 

There is also a pending fee hike for in-state students. March 13 SFGate article https://www.sfgate.com/education/article/UC-price-tag-for-out-of-state-students-going-up-12754173.php

“The full Board of Regents is expected to adopt the 3.5 percent increase for nonresident undergraduates Thursday at its meeting at UCLA. The higher price tag would raise nearly $35 million for the university and bring out-of-state tuition and fees to $41,622 a year.

 

UC officials say the increase is needed because Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed giving UC a 3 percent increase in state funds for next year instead of the 4 percent that the university requested. UC officials are still lobbying state lawmakers for more, and say that if they fail, they will ask the regents in May to approve higher tuition for state residents as well.

...

Nonresident enrollment has risen by 71 percent since 2013, to 37,217 students this year, with two-thirds of them from other countries.

 

“These additional revenues are critical to 2018-19 campus operating budgets,†finance officials told the regents in recommending the higher price.

 

They said three campuses benefit the most from nonresident tuition: UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley, where the added revenue pays for a Student Learning Center at which 9,000 undergraduates find academic support.

 

Also on Wednesday, a regents committee approved higher fees for 24 professional degree programs, including a new master’s program in “serious games†at UC Santa Cruz.â€

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What kid did:

- very spiky theoretical math involvement...lots of math classes and a very interest-led math research opportunity via AoPS

- obviously fun-oriented ECs like improv comedy and zumba and doing those ECs over a period of time

- only one community service project but doing it over a period of time

- self-deprecating essays about only fitting in with old people and being color blind and producing artwork after artwork that was green-heavy

- very single minded focus on jazz piano and singing, emceeing, and playing keyboard at community college concerts including creating a Twitter account simply to connect with a Bollywood composer to ask for his score, not hearing back, and improvising score on his own, and singing the song to the CC audience with voice cracking due to puberty despite not knowing a word of Hindi

 

What an awesome list of ECs — they show true passion and commitment (pursued long term) and paint a vivid picture of the amazing, creative, unique person he is.  :thumbup1:

 

This is where everything seems a bit subjective... I look at what he did and think --WOW! That's a lot of extra-curriculars. Yes, I know there are kids that do many, many more. Still, the amount he did doesn't seem insignificant to me.

 

 

But all those activities are self-directed and seem like things he would do anyway, for fun, whether he was 10 or 20 or 60. That's a stark contrast to kids who are doing structured sports, structured music lessons, Saturday School language classes, and 5 or 6 after school clubs — most of which they will drop and never pick up again once they've achieved the goal of college admissions. For so many kids the ECs are just a means to an end; it's obvious that for Quark's son, the activities are an end in themselves.

SaveSave

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I have the same reaction when I hear of kids "only" taking 6 or 7 APs. I know many kids take more than twice that, but that doesn't mean that 6 or 7 is nothing. I just wonder sometimes how our own language and the phrasing we use perpetuates the idea that more is more.

It’s the most rigorous option available thing in public high schools. I heard a bunch of public high school kids at the library who were commenting that everyone in their school takes APUSH so it would be weird if someone opt out of that option.

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  I know many kids take more than twice that, but that doesn't mean that 6 or 7 is nothing. I just wonder sometimes how our own language and the phrasing we use perpetuates the idea that more is more.

 

For the record, I live in a bubble area as well, which is part of the reason I've been thinking about this lately.

 

I can definitely be guilty of that. :tongue_smilie: Some of it is my own doubt about why BIg Name U turned my kiddo down. Did kid not do enough? Did they want a competition kid after all despite not making that clear on their website? Ha, quite similar to the article writer's questions no? But I look at this kid and how well suited Berkeley is and am grateful Big Name U said no because then I would have agonized about not being able to afford sending kid there.

 

 

What an awesome list of ECs — they show true passion and commitment (pursued long term) and paint a vivid picture of the amazing, creative, unique person he is.  :thumbup1:

 

But all those activities are self-directed and seem like things he would do anyway, for fun, whether he was 10 or 20 or 60. That's a stark contrast to kids who are doing structured sports, structured music lessons, Saturday School language classes, and 5 or 6 after school clubs — most of which they will drop and never pick up again once they've achieved the goal of college admissions. For so many kids the ECs are just a means to an end; it's obvious that for Quark's son, the activities are an end in themselves.

SaveSave

 

 

Thank you! :001_smile: I am so grateful Berkeley saw this despite being bombarded with applications in the tens of thousands. Improv comedy is very quickly sold out when offered within campus so kid spends weekends hanging out with a fantastic teen improv group. It's one pretty cool way to stay connected with same age friends. Sadly, jazz piano has fallen by the wayside due to lack of time but improv is something this kid lives and breathes. So happy to see it continue to be a passion.

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What an awesome list of ECs — they show true passion and commitment (pursued long term) and paint a vivid picture of the amazing, creative, unique person he is.  :thumbup1:

 

 

 

But all those activities are self-directed and seem like things he would do anyway, for fun, whether he was 10 or 20 or 60. That's a stark contrast to kids who are doing structured sports, structured music lessons, Saturday School language classes, and 5 or 6 after school clubs — most of which they will drop and never pick up again once they've achieved the goal of college admissions. For so many kids the ECs are just a means to an end; it's obvious that for Quark's son, the activities are an end in themselves.

SaveSave

 

I agree, but that wasn't my point. My point is that it seems perhaps we I should start phrasing things in a way that doesn't always compare. It seems there is quite enough of that in every facet of these teens' lives. 

 

It's a system gone mad. I can't change the system, but I can change how I act within that system. I can be honest in conversations that my teen has a solid list of ECs regardless if someone has more. She has enough. That's all that matters. (Enough to be in the running, not guaranteed admission -- that's crazy talk!) As it's been shown over and over, the kid who manages to survive with the most credits and EC's isn't always the one that's admitted.

 

I just happened to respond to quark's post, and I know she was making the very point that you don't have to have the most to be admitted. I was just sort of wondering aloud about how comparison language sometimes colors what we are trying to say.

 

I will say that I forgot this was the UC thread, and I was speaking in general. I've been on many similar threads today and perhaps posted on the wrong one. Mea culpa.  ;)

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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The kid was accepted to 5/5 UCs applied to.

 

What kid didn't do:

- involve self in sports (wouldn't and couldn't for the life of him be coordinated enough)

- do a ton of ECs

- extremely well rounded in every single area

- take a class for the sake of looking good on applications

- math competitions

 

What kid did:

- very spiky theoretical math involvement...lots of math classes and a very interest-led math research opportunity via AoPS

- obviously fun-oriented ECs like improv comedy and zumba and doing those ECs over a period of time

- only one community service project but doing it over a period of time

- self-deprecating essays about only fitting in with old people and being color blind and producing artwork after artwork that was green-heavy

- very single minded focus on jazz piano and singing, emceeing, and playing keyboard at community college concerts including creating a Twitter account simply to connect with a Bollywood composer to ask for his score, not hearing back, and improvising score on his own, and singing the song to the CC audience with voice cracking due to puberty despite not knowing a word of Hindi

- very high GPA and test scores

 

I think it was a combo of those four five things that helped. Kiddo's application was probably odd and quirky enough for both UCB and UCLA to think the kid would do well on their campus. :laugh:

 

We spent a fraction of the cost of what many Bay Area parents do to get their kids into these campuses. And we didn't do it to get kiddo into a specific campus but because my kiddo, sweet and compliant as kiddo is, would refuse to do things just because.

I find it strange that so few parents and students really seem to stop and think about why colleges want to see ECs. Or if they think about it at all, they mistakenly believe they need to pick at least one EC from each of a half-dozen different columns so they will appear "well-rounded." Someone from Yale admissions once said that they're not really looking for a class of "well-rounded kids," they're looking for a well-rounded class of spiky kids.

When ECs are authentic expressions of a student's interests and passions, schools know that those kids are likely to continue the activities in college, contributing their time, energy, knowledge, and skills to the college community. Kids who approach ECs as just a bunch of boxes to check in order to get into a top college are not going to continue those once they've achieved their goal (admission). Another important function of ECs to help "paint a picture" of the applicant, to humanize a generic transcript and a set of test scores. A dozen unrelated ECs just provides more generic information that makes kids look like everyone else, instead of giving adcoms a reason to pick this student over hundreds of others with similar stats.

What an awesome list of ECs — they show true passion and commitment (pursued long term) and paint a vivid picture of the amazing, creative, unique person he is. :thumbup1:

 

 

 

 

But all those activities are self-directed and seem like things he would do anyway, for fun, whether he was 10 or 20 or 60. That's a stark contrast to kids who are doing structured sports, structured music lessons, Saturday School language classes, and 5 or 6 after school clubs — most of which they will drop and never pick up again once they've achieved the goal of college admissions. For so many kids the ECs are just a means to an end; it's obvious that for Quark's son, the activities are an end in themselves.

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I think these posts provide an excellent summation of everything I witnessed last yr on the parents' CC thread and with my own Dd. These kids aren't doing what they're doing to get into college. They are doing them bc they are genuinely interested in doing them and would be doing the exact same thing without college apps at the end. They are engaged learners....learning bc they want to learn, participating in events bc that is who they are.

 

It is also why using homeschooling to let your kids be who they are and explore those interests can work so heavily to their advantage. List of APs? Generic ECs? If those are what your child naturally gravitates to, great. But, if you think your student has to do that to stand out, the reality is that they will just look like every other applicant going across the desk bc that is what adcoms see over and over and over. What makes that piece of paper different from that one? (These kids aren't there in front of them. The paper version is all they have.)

 

Dd put down she was fluent in French and had French through French 7. She wasn't "dinged" bc she didn't take AP French or submit any sort of French score or award. I don't think any school cared. She wrote about getting all of her news from French news, about reading Les Mis in French, and her fairy tale study where she read Perrault's fairy tales in French, etc. Which is going to be have a greater impact? What everyone else does (and blends in) or using their homeschooling as an opportunity to demonstrate internal motivation for learning out of desire?

 

ETA: I should clarify that we don't live in CA, so our homeschool has no a-g influence over it. I am speaking in generalities, not UC schools. But, equally, kids can be successful wo attending Berkeley for UG. ETA 2: I hate autocorrect.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I think these posts provide an excellent summation of everything I witnessed last yr on the parents' CC thread and with my own Dd. These kids aren't doing what they're doing to get into college. They are doing them bc they are genuinely interested in doing them and would be doing the exact same thing without college apps at the end. They are engaged learners....learning bc they want to learn, participating in events bc that is who they are.

 

 

 

Agreed.  Lord knows I do not advocate avoiding any stressful or competitive or time-consuming ECs.  I had a competitive gymnast (25 hours/week), a competitive swimmer (9 practices/week) and a travel baseball player; heck, "go big or go home" is one of our family's philosophies.  But I do not think a dilettante approach to ECs, 2 years of French club, a year of Quiz Bowl, 3 years of HS swim, 2 years of orchestra, etc., Knitting Club, etc., is going to get anyone into a competitive college.  Adcoms are not stupid; they know who is picking up ECs to check imaginary boxes.

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I could be misunderstanding you, but if what you are saying is that as long as people don't verbally/physically seem "worked up about it" that parents can push that "check off the box, one path" mindset is OK, then you are in the bubble with them.

 

And I was there for a while, in that bubble so I truly am speaking from experience.

 

Kids are quietly committing suicide. If you think the parents THOUGHT that everyone was worked up about it, you would be wrong. Obviously, everything seems fine on the surface until your kid is running in front of a train in Palo Alto. Most of these parents had NO idea. For every kid who is taken to the psychiatrist, and the parents realize something's up, there are another ten who are sleep deprived, to the point of insanity, overburdened, and very worried about their future but all you see is the smiling white or asian kid who is going from activity to activty, class to class, and studying through the night.

 

NO it is not ok, and it is not normal to "check the box" and join clubs and activities to "seem well rounded" and to stay up till midnight studying every night and to join a sport partly, even partly, to "check the box." It is not normal, healthy life and it will breed a whole new generation of the same thing in 15 years.

Yes, you are misunderstanding me. Maybe I didn't express myself clearly. When I say some kids can do that genuinely, I mean kids who do what they do because they genuinely want to do it, not because they have to check boxes. I have an example like that in my nephew.

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