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Interesting article in The New Yorker on college admissions


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23 minutes ago, daijobu said:

It also didn't hurt that Steve Jobs attended Reed.   My crude standard for financial solubility is whether I've heard of a school.  I'd never heard of any of the failing colleges mentioned in the article, but I've been aware of Reed since receiving their marketing missives when I was in high school.    

My husband’s criteria when applying for jobs at LACs many years ago was that it at least had to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. I’m guessing all those in the top 50 do and likely most in the top 100 also.

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9 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

There’s also the issue of declining international enrollment as a result of COVID.

I don’t think the international enrollment ended up declining though. Or if it did, it was for just a year. I think* admissions numbers for this year show an increase in international application to higher than before corona crisis (election may have sth to do with that). 
* I’m not super sure but I think I read this 

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13 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

I don’t think the international enrollment ended up declining though. Or if it did, it was for just a year. I think* admissions numbers for this year show an increase in international application to higher than before corona crisis (election may have sth to do with that). 
* I’m not super sure but I think I read this 

I’m wondering if students are even able to travel here, not necessarily whether they apply or get in. 

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1 hour ago, kokotg said:

It's really remarkable how very few smaller colleges most people have heard of. I think generally speaking the average person has heard of colleges within a 50 mile radius of where they live, a handful of Ivy Leagues and other super prestigious schools, and then the ones with nationally televised football. Hardly anyone in my area has heard of Macalester, where my son goes. I think of places like Oberlin and Vassar as the sorts of small LACs most people have heard of, but I think "most" is an exaggeration even for those. 

Are you in CA by any chance? Because here nobody has heard of any LACs it seems. Well, at least in my area. 

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46 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

I don’t think the international enrollment ended up declining though. Or if it did, it was for just a year. I think* admissions numbers for this year show an increase in international application to higher than before corona crisis (election may have sth to do with that). 
* I’m not super sure but I think I read this 

Visas are still not being issued, or if they are, they’re being issued slowly, because the state department hasn’t caught up with the backlog. Some international students might end up doing online for the fall semester. Most still pay full freight though.

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4 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Are you in CA by any chance? Because here nobody has heard of any LACs it seems. Well, at least in my area. 

No, Georgia. Although we both may be in states where strong students are more likely to go in state public for various reasons (lottery money here covers in state tuition, so the best students from middle and upper middle class families tend to focus on UGA and Ga Tech).

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1 hour ago, kokotg said:

No, Georgia. Although we both may be in states where strong students are more likely to go in state public for various reasons (lottery money here covers in state tuition, so the best students from middle and upper middle class families tend to focus on UGA and Ga Tech).

Are you happy with your decision? 

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12 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

To go with Macalester over UGA or  Georgia Tech. 

Ah! For us, financial aid at colleges that meet need made it pretty much a wash. So yes. For the same money I think it was the best choice. If we’d been full pay or anything close (and not super wealthy) he’d be at UGA. (He actually didn’t apply to Tech, because we thought he wanted a broader liberal arts experience...but it turns out he mostly just wants to take all the math classes, so maybe it would have been great for him).

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17 minutes ago, kokotg said:

Ah! For us, financial aid at colleges that meet need made it pretty much a wash. So yes. For the same money I think it was the best choice. If we’d been full pay or anything close (and not super wealthy) he’d be at UGA. (He actually didn’t apply to Tech, because we thought he wanted a broader liberal arts experience...but it turns out he mostly just wants to take all the math classes, so maybe it would have been great for him).

I secretly hoped my son would choose Macalester. We didn’t qualify for any need based aid, but he was offered great scholarships and even work study. Plus they are strong in his two big areas of interest, chemistry and economics, and in a metropolitan area. We are originally from the Midwest and still have lots of family in the Twin Cities and he could have taken Amtrak south to WI to visit other family. But alas, he liked Grinnell more and ultimately chose the by far cheapest option, the one university he applied to.
 

For awhile he was really taken with Reed, and I have to admit that while we could have paid full boat, it would have been a huge sacrifice that I’m not sure would have been worth it. At the time he applied, we had only had that level of income for less than three years. I really struggled with the idea of paying full price at the LACs that only offer financial aid. I understand what they are trying to do by only offering need based aid, but they are also not differentiating between people like us who could make huge sacrifices (no retirement savings for four years and cutting everything else to the bare bones) and do it and those for whom it is fairly easy. Especially given the fact that it was my going back to work to put my husband through professional school when he did a career change that put us over the FA threshold.

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10 hours ago, bibiche said:

Visas are still not being issued, or if they are, they’re being issued slowly, because the state department hasn’t caught up with the backlog. Some international students might end up doing online for the fall semester. Most still pay full freight though.

I don’t know how this will work. As far as I can tell colleges around me are planning to be fully in person this fall, with no online options offered (which was the case last fall)

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9 hours ago, Frances said:

I secretly hoped my son would choose Macalester. We didn’t qualify for any need based aid, but he was offered great scholarships and even work study. Plus they are strong in his two big areas of interest, chemistry and economics, and in a metropolitan area. We are originally from the Midwest and still have lots of family in the Twin Cities and he could have taken Amtrak south to WI to visit other family. But alas, he liked Grinnell more and ultimately chose the by far cheapest option, the one university he applied to.
 

 

It's quite possible mine would have ended up at Grinnell, but it was one of his many waitlists. It remains the one outcome I'm a little surprised about; I know it's a crapshoot, but I felt like he and Grinnell were better matched than some of the equally selective schools he DID get into. I guess it wasn't meant to be after all, though. And Mac has been great, AND I've been grateful many times for that quick bus or Lyft ride to the airport! 

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1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

I don’t know how this will work. As far as I can tell colleges around me are planning to be fully in person this fall, with no online options offered (which was the case last fall)

Yup, me neither. But I imagine if the visas haven’t come through schools will find some way to make it work rather than lose that money. 

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I watched Varsity Blues last night. 😟

Am I alone at being furious at Stanford and feeling sympathy for that coach? 
The parents. OMG. Zero sympathy. I mean they are all so well connected and so rich. Why on earth they even need those big name schools? And the scene with kids crying? Just terrible. 
 

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9 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

I watched Varsity Blues last night. 😟

Am I alone at being furious at Stanford and feeling sympathy for that coach? 
The parents. OMG. Zero sympathy. I mean they are all so well connected and so rich. Why on earth they even need those big name schools? And the scene with kids crying? Just terrible. 
 

Yeah, that poor sailing coach?  He didn't keep the money for himself, he passed it on to Stanford.  Agreed.  Poor guy.  Did I mention the sports Stanford brought back to campus?  It occurred to me that these athletes in many cases are keen to receive in exchange for tuition, coaching and prep for olympics.  They want olympic caliber coaching.

What is college for anyway, if not coaching to prepare for the olympics?  

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

Yeah, that poor sailing coach?  He didn't keep the money for himself, he passed it on to Stanford.  Agreed.  Poor guy.  Did I mention the sports Stanford brought back to campus?  It occurred to me that these athletes in many cases are keen to receive in exchange for tuition, coaching and prep for olympics.  They want olympic caliber coaching.

What is college for anyway, if not coaching to prepare for the olympics?  

Yes, him 😢


Another thing that really struck me was being strapped for money at Stanford. Now don’t these universities have billions in endowment funding and supposedly make obscene amounts from those investments? How is it possible that funding anything there is an issue? The coaches fundraise? Good god. Where are all those billions going into? Now I am just curious to see the financial reports from those universities. 
 

 

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One possible alternative: perhaps schools could look at their data, figure out what makes students significantly more likely to graduate with good scores and healthily, take legal restrictions and historic imbalances into account (which will vary by state and type of school), then just specify those and use lottery system to select between candidates?

Surely that would be much simpler for the schools and students alike?

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3 minutes ago, ieta_cassiopeia said:

One possible alternative: perhaps schools could look at their data, figure out what makes students significantly more likely to graduate with good scores and healthily, take legal restrictions and historic imbalances into account (which will vary by state and type of school), then just specify those and use lottery system to select between candidates?

Surely that would be much simpler for the schools and students alike?

The schools do not accept that acceptances are a lottery at all.  They say they build a class.  From their perspective they try to balance unique needs of the U, the differences in applicants, and attempt to build a cohort that works well together.  (IOW, they need a tubist vs a cello player, the tubist gets accepted and the cello player denied.)  They don't want all generalists or all spiky kids.  They want a blend.  So the argument goes.  THese conversations have been going on for yrs.  THey have zero intention of changing their admissions strategies bc the pay off is simply a boon for them.

FWIW, I don't think private schools owe any applicant anything.  They are private and can do what they want.  I personally think the blame falls on parents and high $$ application coaches.  The idea that only certain schools are good enough to meet the needs of little Johnny is absurd.  There are 1000s of colleges and Us in this country.  Hyperfocusing on the tippy top is a choice, not a necessity.  It is easy to avoid the mania if a family chooses to.

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Posted (edited)

To expand: "building a class" is not a lottery system, but a "meritocracy" where some of the "merit" features are hidden from the applicants (and often, at least initially, from the admissions team - the tubist in 8filltheheart's example might not be known to be needed until the tubist quits playing at concert-level halfway through the spring semester to focus on their sophomore engineering course, for example).

 

"Building a class" is a valid recruitment system, but inadvertent moulding applicants to the implied mean (that may not even be what the schools wanted in the first place) is a clear downside when lots of prominent schools employ it in similar ways. If students mostly hear about schools with moulding requirements, the majority will mould accordingly - even if they're only hearing about 6 schools out of thousands and all the ones they don't hear about use different criteria. That in turn affects the applicant pools for the schools who use different criteria...

 

(Good school advice would probably help here, though this is difficult in a system with thousands of options, all of which are viable for at least some students but none of which are viable for every student).

Edited by ieta_cassiopeia
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I will say this though that all of those brilliant kids who aren’t getting into top schools have really improved the quality of other schools. Even places like UCSC, which in my youth was a pot smoking and academically weak institution, now boasts very respectable programs. So in a sense the astronomically low admissions rates at the very top have improved other institutions. 25 years ago I would have laughed about UCSC, but it is now on our list for DS.

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5 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

I will say this though that all of those brilliant kids who aren’t getting into top schools have really improved the quality of other schools. Even places like UCSC, which in my youth was a pot smoking and academically weak institution, now boasts very respectable programs. So in a sense the astronomically low admissions rates at the very top have improved other institutions. 25 years ago I would have laughed about UCSC, but it is now on our list for DS.

This is also true of faculty.  Our country overproduces PhDs in nearly every field, so you'll get high caliber researchers from top institutions taking jobs at a little-known LAC.  

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2 hours ago, daijobu said:

This is also true of faculty.  Our country overproduces PhDs in nearly every field, so you'll get high caliber researchers from top institutions taking jobs at a little-known LAC.  

And your avg public U.  My kids' have had multiple professors who earned their PhDs at places like MIT, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, etc.  

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4 hours ago, daijobu said:

This is also true of faculty.  Our country overproduces PhDs in nearly every field, so you'll get high caliber researchers from top institutions taking jobs at a little-known LAC.  

 

2 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

And your avg public U.  My kids' have had multiple professors who earned their PhDs at places like MIT, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, etc.  

I’m not sure I agree with the premise that the US is overproducing PHDs, but I agree one can find High caliber researchers, including those who graduated from Ivy leave and equivalent schools, in non-ultrA-selective public and private universities and colleges. 

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, NewnameC said:

 

I’m not sure I agree with the premise that the US is overproducing PHDs, but I agree one can find High caliber researchers, including those who graduated from Ivy leave and equivalent schools, in non-ultrA-selective public and private universities and colleges. 

Maybe PP means that there is a surfeit of PhDs hoping for jobs in academia. This is certainly true.

Edited by bibiche
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1 minute ago, bibiche said:

Yes, but some are worse than others. 

I just found an article on it. The last part just made me roll 😂😂😂

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-04/america-is-pumping-out-too-many-ph-d-s

A handful of angry, downwardly mobile English Ph.D.s aren’t by themselves enough to overthrow the institutions of society, but they can make hugely outsized contributions to unrest and discord if they are so inclined. Remember, these are very smart people who are very good at writing things, and well-schooled in any number of dissident ideas. Those are the kind of people who tend to lead revolutions.”

Not relevant to this thread, but funny nevertheless. 😉

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15 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I just found an article on it. The last part just made me roll 😂😂😂

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-04/america-is-pumping-out-too-many-ph-d-s

A handful of angry, downwardly mobile English Ph.D.s aren’t by themselves enough to overthrow the institutions of society, but they can make hugely outsized contributions to unrest and discord if they are so inclined. Remember, these are very smart people who are very good at writing things, and well-schooled in any number of dissident ideas. Those are the kind of people who tend to lead revolutions.”

Not relevant to this thread, but funny nevertheless. 😉

Two jumping off points for me: 1) you don’t need to be very smart to get a PhD, you just need to be very diligent. 😉  2) getting rid of tenure is a really, really bad thing.

 

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2 minutes ago, bibiche said:

Two jumping off points for me: 1) you don’t need to be very smart to get a PhD, you just need to be very diligent. 😉  2) getting rid of tenure is a really, really bad thing.

 

I think #1 depends on the field. For instance, I think most college grads could get a PhD in Education if diligent enough. I don’t think the same could be said for many STEM fields.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Frances said:

I think #1 depends on the field. For instance, I think most college grads could get a PhD in Education if diligent enough. I don’t think the same could be said for many STEM fields.

I dunno. I say never underestimate the power of hard work. 😊 

ETA and I’m not saying it’s terribly common. I am just saying you don’t have to necessarily be brilliant to get a doctorate. And sometimes the most brilliant people can’t cut it and end up not getting their PhDs. 😞 

Edited by bibiche
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Just now, bibiche said:

I dunno. I say never underestimate the power of hard work. 😊 

I would agree that hard work, especially the ability to work independently, is very important. But given the comprehensive exam requirements in both my husband’s chemistry PhD program and my statistics one (and numerous anecdotes I’ve heard from others), I still think there is a significant portion of the population that could not receive a STEM PhD no matter how hard they worked. I say that not to brag about our abilities (I didn’t even finish mine and am officially ABD), but I’m pretty certain there are other STEM areas where I could not earn a PhD, no matter how hard I worked. For starters, only a relatively small portion of the US population would have the math background and/or ability to earn many STEM PhDs due to the generally atrocious k12 math teaching in the US.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, bibiche said:

I dunno. I say never underestimate the power of hard work. 😊 

ETA and I’m not saying it’s terribly common. I am just saying you don’t have to necessarily be brilliant to get a doctorate. And sometimes the most brilliant people can’t cut it and end up not getting their PhDs. 😞 

Nm

 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Frances said:

I would agree that hard work, especially the ability to work independently, is very important. But given the comprehensive exam requirements in both my husband’s chemistry PhD program and my statistics one (and numerous anecdotes I’ve heard from others), I still think there is a significant portion of the population that could not receive a STEM PhD no matter how hard they worked. I say that not to brag about our abilities (I didn’t even finish mine and am officially ABD), but I’m pretty certain there are other STEM areas where I could not earn a PhD, no matter how hard I worked. For starters, only a relatively small portion of the US population would have the math background and/or ability to earn many STEM PhDs due to the generally atrocious k12 math teaching in the US.

I’m not knocking it. And it’s possible that I have a warped view of the capability of the average person because literally everyone in my and DH’s family and extended has a PhD as do most of my friends and acquaintances. But PhD does not equal brilliant and no PhD does not mean someone isn’t brilliant. That’s all. 🙂

Edited by bibiche
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32 minutes ago, Frances said:

I think #1 depends on the field. For instance, I think most college grads could get a PhD in Education if diligent enough. I don’t think the same could be said for many STEM fields.

Half the country seems to have a PHD in education and so many earned online. And then they want me to be impressed. 😂

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, bibiche said:

I’m not knocking it. And it’s possible that I have a warped view of the capability of the average person because literally everyone in my and my extended family has a PhD as do most of my friends and acquaintances. But PhD does not equal brilliant and no PhD does not mean someone isn’t brilliant. That’s all. 🙂

I agree. Neither my husband nor I are brilliant, no doubt. Our son is far smarter than either of us, so smart that he didn’t  even consider getting a PhD. 😜

Edited by Frances
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7 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Is the glut in all fields? 

There is definitely a glut of physics PhDs. This is a conversation ds and his wife have been having bc pursuing what they envisioned at the beginning of their program is next too Impossible bc there are way too many phds qualified and wanting to pursue a handful of opportunities. (They are in different subfield, so not just a single area is impacted.)

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2021 at 7:12 PM, kokotg said:

It's really remarkable how very few smaller colleges most people have heard of. I think generally speaking the average person has heard of colleges within a 50 mile radius of where they live, a handful of Ivy Leagues and other super prestigious schools, and then the ones with nationally televised football. Hardly anyone in my area has heard of Macalester, where my son goes. I think of places like Oberlin and Vassar as the sorts of small LACs most people have heard of, but I think "most" is an exaggeration even for those. 

Wanted to share that Macalester hosts a Russian Studies Essay Competition for both Macalester students and students from other other universities.  Dd won a first place award for her sr thesis.   (Pretty much my sum total knowledge of Macalester.  🙂 ) 

Edited by 8filltheheart
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3 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

Wanted to share that Macalester hosts a Russian Studies Essay Competition for both Macalester students and students from other other universities.  Dd won a first place award for her sr thesis.   (Pretty much my sum total knowledge of Macalester.  🙂 ) 

cool! (I don't think had heard of Macalester before we started looking at colleges for my oldest, either--although my college-knowledgeable friends from the midwest knew about it. Like someone else mentioned here, I mostly only knew about the SLAC that I remembered getting mail from when was in high school. Hello, Carleton!)

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10 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Half the country seems to have a PHD in education and so many earned online. And then they want me to be impressed. 😂

That's because getting higher Ed credentials is the only way, in public Ed, to get a decent salary jump, and the only way to move to an administrative role. Add that you have to get X number of credits to renew a license,and you end up with a lot of people figuring that they might as well get ones they can count towards a degree. And assistanceships in Ed are almost non-existent, so degree programs are usually done while working full time. 

 

I will say that online Ed grad programs tend to not be PhD. (Research) but Ed.D. and Ed.S. degrees,which are generally granted based on comprehensive exams and teaching experience, and analysis of same (that is, you would develop a project, try it in your classroom, and compare to a prior class taught by you). Most Ed. D and ED. S. Degrees are either focused on administration, and are closer to business degrees, or Curriculum and Instruction, usually with a specialization in one area or population, like Gifted Ed or Special Ed, Mathematics, Reading, etc. The latter require already being highly qualified in that area, which is typically at least the equivalent of a solid undergrad minor. The MAT is the same way-comprehensives, not exams, generally requiring a full year or more of teaching experience. These are more comparable to an MBA, NP, or other professional degree.

 

And yes, you can get one from University of Phoenix, ASUOnline or almost any major state U with an online component.

 

M.S. Ed and PhD degrees are research degrees. They tend to not be available online beyond maybe the first year, and like a MS or PhD in Psych or Sociology, tend to involve a lot of observation of others, collecting data, and analyzing said data. And also generally teaching undergrads, usually in whatever your bachelor's is in because you won't get the funding needed to do a grad degree in Ed if you have an education bachelor's. For these, you tend to go to state flagships, Vanderbilt,Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Duke and other elite schools-in part because they're the only schools with deep enough endowments to actually be able to fund educational research. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

I just found an article on it. The last part just made me roll 😂😂😂

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-04/america-is-pumping-out-too-many-ph-d-s

A handful of angry, downwardly mobile English Ph.D.s aren’t by themselves enough to overthrow the institutions of society, but they can make hugely outsized contributions to unrest and discord if they are so inclined. Remember, these are very smart people who are very good at writing things, and well-schooled in any number of dissident ideas. Those are the kind of people who tend to lead revolutions.”

Not relevant to this thread, but funny nevertheless. 😉

I'm having this conversation with the English department at my Uni right now. They use me to teach writing classes as an adjunct (I have years of both writing and teaching experience), but they want a PhD for a full-time position.

Our university doesn't need PhDs in the English department. Our students fall into two camps; conditional admits and engineers who hate to write. They need engaging 11th grade English teachers who can connect with newly minted adults. I could certainly pursue a PhD in English, but I'm already dangerously over-educated and my ROI would basically be zero. I just like to teach.

So anyhow, they have lots of resumes, but the interviews have been... interesting.

Edited by MamaSprout
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1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

That's because getting higher Ed credentials is the only way, in public Ed, to get a decent salary jump, and the only way to move to an administrative role. Add that you have to get X number of credits to renew a license,and you end up with a lot of people figuring that they might as well get ones they can count towards a degree. And assistanceships in Ed are almost non-existent, so degree programs are usually done while working full time. 

 

I will say that online Ed grad programs tend to not be PhD. (Research) but Ed.D. and Ed.S. degrees,which are generally granted based on comprehensive exams and teaching experience, and analysis of same (that is, you would develop a project, try it in your classroom, and compare to a prior class taught by you). Most Ed. D and ED. S. Degrees are either focused on administration, and are closer to business degrees, or Curriculum and Instruction, usually with a specialization in one area or population, like Gifted Ed or Special Ed, Mathematics, Reading, etc. The latter require already being highly qualified in that area, which is typically at least the equivalent of a solid undergrad minor. The MAT is the same way-comprehensives, not exams, generally requiring a full year or more of teaching experience. These are more comparable to an MBA, NP, or other professional degree.

 

And yes, you can get one from University of Phoenix, ASUOnline or almost any major state U with an online component.

 

M.S. Ed and PhD degrees are research degrees. They tend to not be available online beyond maybe the first year, and like a MS or PhD in Psych or Sociology, tend to involve a lot of observation of others, collecting data, and analyzing said data. And also generally teaching undergrads, usually in whatever your bachelor's is in because you won't get the funding needed to do a grad degree in Ed if you have an education bachelor's. For these, you tend to go to state flagships, Vanderbilt,Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Duke and other elite schools-in part because they're the only schools with deep enough endowments to actually be able to fund educational research. 

 

Seems like such an inefficient system and so much wasted time. And all those degrees and yet educational system is worse off.

 

 

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On 5/29/2021 at 9:31 PM, Farrar said:

What's your alternative proposal? Because study after study has shown that relying strongly on test scores alone strongly disadvantages poor kids. And that holistic admissions helps them.

There's no magic formula these days and it is like a shell game as 8fillstheheart mentioned. But there are enough paths to college for every single kid. College is incredibly accessible now. The stress is being generated and will keep being generated no matter where the colleges put the shell. That's the piece that I think we lose sight of. We don't have to buy into this rhetoric or play that game that it's so incredibly hard and more stressful than ever before. That's just not really true. Public school kids don't have to either. It's a choice that some are going to make no matter what approach admissions is using.

Colleges don't determine a kid's worth as a person. The attitude that they do is a huge part of the problem, as is the attitude that if a kid does certain things to play whatever game colleges are pitching that they deserve a spot.

But study after study also shows that in almost all cases, admitting students who have poor test scores gives you students who do poorly in the college.  And if anything is stressful, it is being in a place where others are doing fine and you aren't.  I didn't see that much in my undergraduate program and not at all in my graduate program but did see it happening at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center which I attended for months to learn all the laws regarding immigration and then to learn enough Spanish to communicate on the job.  There was one lady in my class who wasn't stupid or anything but couldn't do tests.  She was a nervous wreck.  

And unfortunately, student loan stats show that going to a college which is too hard for you is a recipe for disaster.

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On 5/30/2021 at 12:52 AM, lewelma said:

I think it is dangerous to admit based on academic qualifications only. Poor kids don't have those opportunities. By being able to tell their unique story, they are able to say why they can 1) handle the workload, and 2) offer something to the community. We used this global admission to our advantage by arguing that there was nothing here for ds, as in nothing in the entire country. He was just that advanced. However, my son did not make it into MIT based on his merits. He did not earn a Gold medal in the IMO, not even a silver or a bronze. MIT could fill its class with only international medal winners from the top 10 international competitions. This would have excluded my son. But he (with my help and his English teacher's help) was able to argue *why* he should be admitted. How he had struggled with a lack of community, how he tried to help others in his same shoes. He told a compelling story. As much as global admissions is horrible, academic admissions only is equally bad. My ds did not earn a medal at the IMO even with three tries, but he is now top of his class at MIT, regularly scoring 2 standard deviations above the mean score on tests. Academic qualifications do not equal capability.  Can admissions accurately and regularly spot kids like my son?  I don't know, I guess that is the real question. I have always assumed that they could see right through all the fancy expensive admissions agencies, but maybe not.

Yes, I agree with you about it not just being about academics.  But there are often other indications that a child is the right one for the college based on what else they did.  And I am not talking about some of these made up experiences that rich parents or upper middle class parents pay for.  

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41 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

But study after study also shows that in almost all cases, admitting students who have poor test scores gives you students who do poorly in the college. 

I tend to think the tests are biased, though. Or just not that important.

And I have a lot of respect for schools that take in underprepared students and help them, bring their basic scores up, give them support, so they are able to graduate.

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5 hours ago, stripe said:

I tend to think the tests are biased, though. Or just not that important.

And I have a lot of respect for schools that take in underprepared students and help them, bring their basic scores up, give them support, so they are able to graduate.

I think its setting a kid up for failure and debt.  Its a risky move, and not one I would encourage.  With my own kids, I will not encourage them to go to a school if they are not prepared for the courses.  They can try to prep via free online sources, go to CC, check out other trade schools or on the job training skills. College is not for everyone,  there are many different types of jobs!   Sometimes kids just aren't mature enough for college at 18.

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9 hours ago, stripe said:

I tend to think the tests are biased, though. Or just not that important.

And I have a lot of respect for schools that take in underprepared students and help them, bring their basic scores up, give them support, so they are able to graduate.

While I agree it is a very good thing to help underprepared students succeed and have had summer jobs with both high school and college students that do this very thing, choosing a highly ranked school can also sometimes close some options for students because there simply isn’t time to catch up and excel when your educational background was so poor (through no fault of your own) compared to your college peers. For some students, I think the better option is to go to a smaller, more nurturing, less competitive, lower ranked school. For instance, if your goal is medical school, simply graduating from college is not enough. You need to excel both in and outside of the classroom. There are many LACs and smaller schools outside of the top 50 that can be a great fit in such cases.

 

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Yes! I definitely agree this is a task for schools outside the top few, including community colleges, regional public universities, and small liberal arts colleges! I may have posted an article here somewhere about how the Cal State schools have done so much to help first generation college students. I can’t find it, though. Oh well. I did discover a ranking of colleges for first generation students, and the response from some schools, with lists of what they do is interesting. 

https://www.thebestcolleges.org/the-best-colleges-for-first-generation-college-students/

https://source.colostate.edu/csu-among-best-for-first-generation-students/

https://sundial.csun.edu/73881/news/eop-programs-help-first-generation-students-transition-into-college-academics/

I also ran across this article subtitled How American Universities’ Focus on Independence Undermines the Academic Performance of First-Generation College Students:

https://web.stanford.edu/~hazelm/publications/2012 Stephens Fryberg Markus Johnson, & Covarrubias Unseen disadvantage.pdf

And also https://eab.com/insights/daily-briefing/student-success/90-of-low-income-first-generation-college-students-dont-graduate-on-time/

But yes, I firmly believe we are letting teenagers down by not having better high schools (and elementary and middle schools). Especially since those are the ones that are free and more accessible. Many people never make it to college, so they need to be educated before then!

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