Selective Colleges

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livesoft
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by livesoft » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:57 pm

retired recently wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:53 pm
[...]
We hired a consultant but I am not certain how good she will turn out to be but at least add a bit of direction to the process.
... and we were hoping to use it quite a bit over the next year plus.
May I ask why? Or more bluntly, why not let your child figure this out on their own? It doesn't seem to me from the sentences you wrote that they need any help at all. They will do quite well no matter what happens. They are blessed, fortunate, silver spoon, ..., and all that other stuff. Oh, they are also lucky! Or at least as long as they stay out of car accidents, jail, and away from drugs, the outcome will be wonderful.
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LFS1234
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by LFS1234 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:00 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:18 pm

I would say my view is that better average outcomes for elite schools are mainly the result of the difference in the students (going in), but that there is some effect of the school itself.

I base this, roughly on:
* Likely better peer effects
* Likely much better resources of the college
At the most "elite" schools, peers will include people who genuinely prefer discussing academic and intellectual matters in their spare time, rather than sports, TV or the opposite sex. If your progeny shares these inclinations, and they have the intellectual capacity, then they probably would feel at home at such a school.

It has also become quite obvious that at the most "elite" schools, a significant proportion of the students are under very intense parental pressure and have been supplied with all sorts of coaching and other assistance on their college applications, standardized tests, etc. Regardless of whether they'd be a good fit academically, their integrity may in some cases have been compromised. And they may be there not because they themselves want to be there, but because their parents, grandparents, or trust officers so desire. These types of "peer effects" might not be best classified as "likely better".

Having attended both good state schools and "elite" private schools, I've generally found the students at the state schools to be more genuine and from a wider variety of backgrounds. At the "elite" schools, students have to act in accordance with their (possibly inflated) resumes and are under more pressure to live up to the expectations of others. Those are my impressions from the particular schools I attended, at the particular times I attended them. Others may have had completely different impressions.

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PhilosophyAndrew
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:00 pm

sd323232 wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:44 pm
Higher education can make someone to be a better person but why spend 4 years and $100K+? Nowdays, you can become better person for free without even going to college, if you want. People can learn to play piano by using online resources, no need to go to music school for that. Or learn Spanish and history using online resources, no need to go to a 4 year school for that. Learn finance using online resources, no need to get degree in finance.
To my mind, one of the advantages of the selective colleges is that they can provide a handcrafted education in the liberal arts that is extremely difficult to replicate with rigorous self-study — and impossible to replicate by viewing videos of lectures posted online.

This is an expensive and resource-inefficient form of education, but is one that the elite institutions do a marvelous job providing. And the benefits of this education — for careers and beyond — are something that the pendulum movement towards vocational efficiency has made invisible to many parents and students. I understand the skepticism about “non-vocational, inefficient” majors, and I wish to question assumptions supporting this comfortable orthodoxy.


Andy.

22twain
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by 22twain » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:01 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
\I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Urm, what? :confused
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afan
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by afan » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:06 pm

patrick013 wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:02 pm
Anyone who has a degree whether it is business, science, technology or whatever can tell a good curriculum from an excellent curriculum regardless of whether it is private, public, small or large. T
With all due respect, this is grossly wrong. Updating a curriculum is a long and difficult undertaking. Creating a new one even more so. The notion that "anyone with a degree" knows what should be in a curriculum is absurd. Many colleges with excellent programs have widely different offerings. They are the product of a lot of work by a lot of people who devote their full time to being professors with major commitments to teaching. If "anyone" could do this life would be so much easier.

Now it is entirely possible that some people think they can tell an excellent curriculum from a good one, based on no data as to the effectiveness of either. Of course, not based on ever having tried to teach any of the material. Of course, not taking into account the backgrounds and preparation of the students typically involved, or the resources required, or the libraries and laboratories available, or [you get the point].
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Vulcan
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:13 pm

22twain wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:01 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
\I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Urm, what? :confused
Don't bother applying to CalTech with ACT 34 or SAT 1500
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

retired recently
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by retired recently » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:19 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:13 pm
22twain wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:01 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
\I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Urm, what? :confused
Don't bother applying to CalTech with ACT 34 or SAT 1500
URM is under represented minority if that is what you were asking about?

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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:21 pm

Brown (lower-tier Ivy) provides pretty good data about admissions - more than many schools provide. Browse this to get a feel for changes just within a 10 year period, then mentally extrapolate this to a generation:

https://www.brown.edu/about/administrat ... ancial-aid

I went looking for this because I thought I remembered that Brown used to be one of the few highly selectives that showed admit rate by ACT/SAT score (maybe the only one). But I can't find that data now - maybe Brown used to have it and no longer does, or I remembered the wrong school, or whatever. FWIW, the notable thing about the admit rate by ACT/SAT score, IIRC, was that it marched steadily upward at every level. No, you were far from guaranteed admission with a 36, but your chances were a little bit better than those with a 34, and better still than a 32, and so on.

My second kid got a 35 on the ACT (on his 2nd official try) and decided he was done. Very good GPA and course rigor, too. But got rejected by Ga. Tech, Michigan, and Wash U. Maybe he shoulda retaken the ACT...
Last edited by psteinx on Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bfwolf
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Bfwolf » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:21 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:57 pm
retired recently wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:53 pm
[...]
We hired a consultant but I am not certain how good she will turn out to be but at least add a bit of direction to the process.
... and we were hoping to use it quite a bit over the next year plus.
May I ask why? Or more bluntly, why not let your child figure this out on their own? It doesn't seem to me from the sentences you wrote that they need any help at all. They will do quite well no matter what happens. They are blessed, fortunate, silver spoon, ..., and all that other stuff. Oh, they are also lucky! Or at least as long as they stay out of car accidents, jail, and away from drugs, the outcome will be wonderful.
I have to agree with Livesoft. May I gently recommend that you don't worry so much about this? Your kid is going to be fine regardless. Getting into the most selective college is NOT the key indicator of a successful childhood and parenting strategy. It's probably going to make very little difference to your child's life outcomes where they go to college. I mean, yes, their life will be somewhat different going to one college over another, but you can't tell ahead of time which will be better. It's almost like picking stocks.

You've done a great job already raising a bright, capable young adult. Cut yourself some slack and stop worrying so much about the college they go to.

stoptothink
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by stoptothink » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:30 pm

retired recently wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:19 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:13 pm
22twain wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:01 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
\I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Urm, what? :confused
Don't bother applying to CalTech with ACT 34 or SAT 1500
URM is under represented minority if that is what you were asking about?
Pretty sure that's exactly what Vulcan was saying. If you have parents that are average Bogleheads (wealthy, not URM), applying somewhere where your standardized test scores are below the average incoming freshman is likely a waste. That's about as politically correct as it can be stated.

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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:33 pm

retired recently wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:19 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:13 pm
22twain wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:01 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
\I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Urm, what? :confused
Don't bother applying to CalTech with ACT 34 or SAT 1500
URM is under represented minority if that is what you were asking about?
It's generally accepted that at MOST highly selectives, there are significant tips for URMs, recruited athletes, legacy kids, and first gen. Development cases are likely smaller in number, but notable, as are celebrities.

URM = Under-Represented Minorities. Black, Hispanic, Native American, and maybe Pacific Islander. Asian generally NOT considered a URM.

Recruited Athletes = If a COACH at the target school wants you for their team, and recruits you, then you get potentially a very big tip. If you were a varsity volleyball player, but the coach at your target school didn't recruit you, then it's basically an EC (Extra-Curricular activity) - helpful, maybe more helpful than being on the newspaper, but not a massive boost.

Legacy = You're definitely a legacy if either of your parents graduated from the target school as an undergrad. There may or may not be a smaller legacy boost for grandparent attendance, sibling or other relative attendance, or attendance for grad school rather than undergrad.

First-Gen = If at least one of your parents did not attend college, you may get a boost. I'm less clear on the parameters here - if one attended and the other didn't, then what? Attended but didn't graduate? Associate's only?

Development Cases = A relatively small number of kids of very wealthy donors or prospective donors. No, giving $100/year to your alma mater doesn't move you/your kid from "legacy" to "development" - the dollars involved are very big.

Celebrities/Celebrity Kids = It's generally accepted that kids who are themselves celebrities (actors, athletes, etc.), or are the children of celebrities (add politicians to the list) likely get a boost at many institutions.

These are some of the main ways in which an application can be boosted from primarily non-academic factors. Of course, many kids aren't any of these for a given institution. That's called being "unhooked". Since hooked kids are admitted at disproportionate rates, and generally with weaker academic markers (on AVERAGE, though of course some will have solid stats), the implication is that an UNHOOKED kid faces longer odds and needs better scores/GPA/etc.

In addition, the following may have modest positive/negative impacts, but generally would not rise to the level that I'd call a hook:

Demonstrated Interest = Some schools will favor applicants who've shown some level of interest beyond simply submitting an application. This can include visits to the campus or at least meetings with the school's rep when that rep is in the area.

Interviews = Probably not as common or as important as they once were (the massive number of applications to top schools make interviews cumbersome. But still done in some cases (sometimes conducted by alumni rather than college employees). Scheduling and following through with an interview can be a way for far-away kid to demonstrate interest.

Gender = Almost all schools are co-ed these days, but I think a lot of schools nudge their admissions thresholds to make it easier for whichever gender is underrepresented. In general, boys are more likely to be overrepresented at tech/STEM schools (Ga. Tech), girls at "softer", liberal arts focused schools (Emory).

Also, the use of Early Admission/Early Decision is a non-academic way to boost one's admissions chances (probably). This is one of the murkier areas of the admissions process, and somewhat controversial. It's difficult to really assess just how BIG of an effect EA/ED has for a normal applicant, as at least some of the high admissions rates for EA/ED applicants may be tied to other factors (i.e. they may have had a more favorable admissions profile, including hooks, anyways).
Last edited by psteinx on Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:40 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:21 pm
You've done a great job already raising a bright, capable young adult. Cut yourself some slack and stop worrying so much about the college they go to.
Part of the trickiness with this whole process is trying to separate the parent's ego from what's best for the kid. Parents don't want their kids to be rejected, both for its own sake, and because of what that suggests about the job you've done as a parent. And most of us want our kids to be "stars" in ways that are meaningful to us.

The same general issue can be operating within other domains - athletics, music, etc. The image of the overbearing parent, pushing the kid more to fulfill the parent's ambitions than the kid's desires, carries over. For athletics, the caricature is most associated with fathers ("My son will follow in his dad's footsteps, or exceed them - being the star that I wasn't"). For academics, it can be associated with mothers (helicopter mother, tiger mom).
Last edited by psteinx on Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

stoptothink
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by stoptothink » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:46 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:33 pm
retired recently wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:19 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:13 pm
22twain wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:01 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
\I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Urm, what? :confused
Don't bother applying to CalTech with ACT 34 or SAT 1500
URM is under represented minority if that is what you were asking about?
Development Cases = A relatively small number of kids of very wealthy donors or prospective donors. No, giving $100/year to your alma mater doesn't move you/your kid from "legacy" to "development" - the dollars involved are very big.
My boss is not an alumni, but supports a local university for other reasons. He gave the athletic department a 7-figure donation and one of the science buildings on campus is soon to be renamed after my employer (of which he is one of four founders) thanks to a recent 8-figure donation. Nonetheless, his youngest son (who, from what I know, had grades/test scores plenty high to get in) was rejected. On the other hand, two of my younger cousins with inferior academic credentials were accepted to the same university (URM). Needless to say, he's let his football season tickets lapse after like two decades.

sd323232
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by sd323232 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:14 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:40 pm
Bfwolf wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:21 pm
You've done a great job already raising a bright, capable young adult. Cut yourself some slack and stop worrying so much about the college they go to.
Part of the trickiness with this whole process is trying to separate the parent's ego from what's best for the kid. Parent's don't want their kids to be rejected, both for it's own sake, and because of what that suggests about the job you've done as a parent. And most of us want our kids to be "stars" in ways that are meaningful to us.

The same general issue can be operating within other domains - athletics, music, etc. The image of the overbearing parent, pushing the kid more to fulfill the parent's ambitions than the kid's desires, carries over. For athletics, the caricature is most associated with fathers ("My son will follow in his dad's footsteps, or exceed them - being the star that I wasn't"). For academics, it can be associated with mothers (helicopter mother, tiger mom).
I agree.
Last edited by sd323232 on Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Watty
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Watty » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:16 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
livesoft wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:26 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:26 pm
Was that a question for me?
No, it was for all readers of this discussion.
ACT/SAT ranges for the middle 50% are widely available.

I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Have all the kids from Lake Wobegon who are "all above average" have grown up and are applying for college now?

Pretty much by definition half the students that were admitted would have had scores that were below the average.

:oops:

Even if some of the people with below average scores were the special admissions I doubt that would be anywhere near 50% of the class.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:19 pm

^^^ 2 posts up. Please stay focused on the OP's essay. Conjecture on news events (college admission scandal) will derail the thread and is therefore off-topic.
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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:20 pm

Watty wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:16 pm
Even if some of the people with below average scores were the special admissions I doubt that would be anywhere near 50% of the class.
Recruited athletes can be a surprisingly high % of some classes. The Ivies aren't particularly big, but field many athletic teams, and need to fill out the teams not only to replace those who've graduated, but also those who've just dropped off the team. Add in URMs, and yeah, you can get awfully close to the halfway mark on a class (at a smaller Ivy anyways). There's some duplication there, as some athletes are also URMs. But still...
Last edited by psteinx on Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:25 pm

"Nearly 25 percent of students participate in intercollegiate athletics" at Dartmouth.

https://home.dartmouth.edu/dartmouth-glance

Some are presumably walk-ons, but some folks recruited as athletes at admission time may not actually complete. It's not clear if the "nearly 25 percent" is for any given year or reflects intercollegiate athletics at SOME point in a student's career, but not necessarily for 4 years.

Note that Dartmouth is a smaller Ivy. The relevant percentage is likely lower at most significantly larger schools (Ivy or not.)

Also, some of the athletes there presumably ARE great students, with stats above the Dartmouth median. But I'd guess that a big chunk of the "nearly 25 percent" sits below the median, academic stats-wise.

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Matigas
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Matigas » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:42 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:30 pm
retired recently wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:19 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:13 pm
22twain wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:01 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:47 pm
\I wouldn't waste any time applying anywhere one's scores put them below average unless they were legacy, recruited athlete, or an URM.
Urm, what? :confused
Don't bother applying to CalTech with ACT 34 or SAT 1500
URM is under represented minority if that is what you were asking about?
Pretty sure that's exactly what Vulcan was saying. If you have parents that are average Bogleheads (wealthy, not URM), applying somewhere where your standardized test scores are below the average incoming freshman is likely a waste. That's about as politically correct as it can be stated.
Yes, wealthy white kids must have better test scores than black kids to be admitted to selective colleges. Asian kids must have better test scores than white kids to be admitted to selective colleges.

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Vulcan
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:44 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:20 pm
Watty wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:16 pm
Even if some of the people with below average scores were the special admissions I doubt that would be anywhere near 50% of the class.
Recruited athletes can be a surprisingly high % of some classes. The Ivies aren't particularly big, but field many athletic teams, and need to fill out the teams not only with those who've graduated, but also with those who've just dropped off the team. Add in URMs, and yeah, you can get awfully close to the halfway mark on a class (at a smaller Ivy anyways). There's some duplication there, as some athletes are also URMs. But still...
Harvard’s incoming freshman class is one-third legacy

Another 10% or so are athletes (I am saying "or so" because some of them could also be legacies).
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

KlangFool
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by KlangFool » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:52 pm

Folks,

If you are Asian, you are overly represented minority (ORM). You will need to be significantly over the average in order to be admitted to those selective colleges. On the other hand, many of the so-called advantages of selective colleges do not apply to you either. So, buyer beware! Before you enter this rat race into the selective colleges, make sure that you are actually getting what you pay for.

KlangFool

Bfwolf
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Bfwolf » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:16 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:40 pm
Part of the trickiness with this whole process is trying to separate the parent's ego from what's best for the kid. Parent's don't want their kids to be rejected, both for its own sake, and because of what that suggests about the job you've done as a parent. And most of us want our kids to be "stars" in ways that are meaningful to us.

The same general issue can be operating within other domains - athletics, music, etc. The image of the overbearing parent, pushing the kid more to fulfill the parent's ambitions than the kid's desires, carries over. For athletics, the caricature is most associated with fathers ("My son will follow in his dad's footsteps, or exceed them - being the star that I wasn't"). For academics, it can be associated with mothers (helicopter mother, tiger mom).
Amen. It seems like there's definitely a keeping up with the Jones aspect to it as well.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:32 pm

Starfish wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:13 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:01 pm
sd323232 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:58 am
College major is more important than rank of a school, engineering degree from a cheap state school worth alot more than liberal arts degree from top school.
I studied philosophy at a “top school” and am now making $300k in tech at age 33.

My same age brother in-law studied EE at a “cheap state school” and is making $120k as an engineer.

If one wants to make money, one will find a way, regardless of what one chooses to study.
Isn't this the old/frequent confusion "in spite of" instead of "because of"?
You did not get your job because of your degree.
You are wrong about this. When I got my first job I had no work experience. What else could it have been besides my degree?
If you want to become a CEO a PhD in CS/CE/EE is a better bet.
And you are wrong about this too. The average CEO definitely does not have a PhD.

tomservo14
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by tomservo14 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:40 pm

Interesting thread. If you want a professor's perspective, here it is. I grew up a working class URM kid. I got a bachelors at one Ivy and a PhD at another. I'm currently a professor at a top 20 private university, but before that I taught at a top public flagship.

Will students get a better education at a private than a public? Maybe. Privates definitely have some advantages. There are more resources and support (more on this in a sec). Classes tend to be smaller, so you get more interaction with the instructor. A huge advantage are classmates. Kids at they Ivy I went to are now CEOs, MacArthur Genius winners, NY Times reporters, politicians, famous novelists, etc.... There are incredible networking opportunities, and there's something to be said for interacting with competitive, smart kids every day. The private school I currently teach at finds internships, research opportunities, and other educational experiences for students. Downsides are the costs, but also the mental toll on the students. These students are like Italian sports cars: they're optimized to be high performing academic machines, but a lot these kids are pretty high strung. They're a joy in the classroom, but I know that my school has plowed tons of money into mental health services over the past five years, and it's getting worse. ...I'm not sure if it's a good environment for some kids, even if they're really smart.

When I was teaching at a public flagship, there were plenty of smart kids, but there was more variability. If you're not a Type A student, it's easy to get lost (or sucked into the party scene). That said, If you're a hard worker and focused, you're going to get basically the same education as a top private. There are also good networking opportunities if you plan on living in the same state/region as the public school.

Finally, schools have their own intellectual and social cultures, and I think that cultural fit between school and student probably matters more than anything else.

Annabel Lee
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Annabel Lee » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:59 pm

I’ve read this thread with interest - both on behalf of my high-achieving kids and also with my own experience in mind.

For what it’s worth, similar age and income to HEDGEFUNDIE, though I went to a mid-tier private school.

Random thoughts typed quickly while on vacation with my family:

- I missed the peer effect being discussed in this thread - both while attending and 10+ years after graduation. Peer ambition, social circles, topics of conversation, regional vs national/global dispersion... I’ve seen undergrad institutions affect each of these dynamics so, so much. This is probably the biggest reason I will track my kids to the absolute best institution in which they can enroll.

- Elements of this conversation have focused on starting salaries after graduation which is a really weak metric to gauge the value of a degree. I’d find a study demonstrating salary progression by industry, by undergraduate institution to have much more value — though I’m not sure it exists.

- Along the same lines, I’ve felt as though I have to deeply outwork peers at my company to wind up in the same place that people with better educational pedigrees arrived at with relatively less effort.

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William4u
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by William4u » Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:27 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:29 pm
“End goal of a successful childhood” or not, here are some fun facts:

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Most popular majors:
Engineering (22%)
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services (13%)

Social Sciences (8%)
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs (7%)
Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences (6%)
Salary after attending: $61,500
https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/ ... -Champaign

Northwestern University
Most popular majors:
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs (20%)
Social Sciences (17%)

Engineering (16%)
Visual and Performing Arts (8%)
Psychology (7%)
Salary after attending: $69,000
https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/ ... University

But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of a good argument.
When I saw this post I thought "Northwestern grads are disproportionately taking low-paying majors (like Comm) relative to Illinois grads who disproportionately take high-paying majors (like Engineering)." Overall, Northwestern grads make about 22.6% more than Illinois grads even though Northwestern grads tend to take lower-paying majors (see payscale for more on lifetime earnings by major). Given that Northwestern grads make more money on average even though they tend to graduate with lower-paying majors, this makes Northwestern look REALLY GOOD compared to Illinois. Comparing across majors, I suspect the Illinois major would generally make less than the same major at Northwestern.

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William4u
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by William4u » Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:36 pm

Annabel Lee wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:59 pm

- Elements of this conversation have focused on starting salaries after graduation which is a really weak metric to gauge the value of a degree. I’d find a study demonstrating salary progression by industry, by undergraduate institution to have much more value — though I’m not sure it exists.
Yes, starting salaries aren't as useful as lifetime earnings. Business majors make slightly more than philosophy majors right out of school, but after a few years the philosophy majors tend to make more, and after 20 years a lot more. Philosophy majors tend to make significantly more in a lifetime than the average Business Administration major.

The Earning Power of Philosophy Majors - The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2015/ ... es/403555/
The folks at Payscale.com have conducted a pretty impressive study comparing the earning power of virtually every major. Philosophy doesn’t stack up to the top paid major, petroleum engineering, but no one really thought it did. (Although, it is worth reading our earlier post showing that the rate of return on a philosophy major is the same as an engineering major, That fact does equalize the playing field quite a bit.)

The Payscale.com study shows that philosophy is at the top of the humanities heap. In fact, philosophy is #75 in mid-career earnings out of 540 majors of all levels. That puts it in the top 13 percent.
https://philosophyisagreatmajor.com/201 ... he-others/

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market timer
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by market timer » Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:39 pm

It is still a while until my children will enter the college admissions game. Sticker of $300K seems a bit rich to me. Maybe we'd pay that for a top 5. Another option to consider is a good overseas school like Oxford or Cambridge. With GBP/USD at 1.21, Oxford's cost of attendance is about $42K/year, and it is a 3-year degree program.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1962
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Bfwolf » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:23 pm

Annabel Lee wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:59 pm
Elements of this conversation have focused on starting salaries after graduation which is a really weak metric to gauge the value of a degree. I’d find a study demonstrating salary progression by industry, by undergraduate institution to have much more value — though I’m not sure it exists.
Perhaps you missed the discussion of this study. While not exactly what you're talking about, it looked at 2 cohorts, one which entered college in 1976 and another which entered college in 1989. For the 1976 cohort, they looked at lifetime earnings between 1983 and 2007. For the 1989 cohort, they looked at their median earnings in 2007 (when they were 35 years old).

https://www.nber.org/papers/w17159.pdf

The conclusion:

"We find that the return to college selectivity is sizeable for both cohorts in regression models that control
for variables commonly observed by researchers, such as student high school GPA and SAT scores.
However, when we adjust for unobserved student ability by controlling for the average SAT score
of the colleges that students applied to, our estimates of the return to college selectivity fall substantially
and are generally indistinguishable from zero. There were notable exceptions for certain subgroups.
For black and Hispanic students and for students who come from less-educated families (in terms of
their parents’ education), the estimates of the return to college selectivity remain large, even in models
that adjust for unobserved student characteristics."

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:26 pm

William4u wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:27 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:29 pm
“End goal of a successful childhood” or not, here are some fun facts:

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Most popular majors:
Engineering (22%)
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services (13%)

Social Sciences (8%)
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs (7%)
Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences (6%)
Salary after attending: $61,500
https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/ ... -Champaign

Northwestern University
Most popular majors:
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs (20%)
Social Sciences (17%)

Engineering (16%)
Visual and Performing Arts (8%)
Psychology (7%)
Salary after attending: $69,000
https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/ ... University

But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of a good argument.
When I saw this post I thought "Northwestern grads are disproportionately taking low-paying majors (like Comm) relative to Illinois grads who disproportionately take high-paying majors (like Engineering)." Overall, Northwestern grads make about 22.6% more than Illinois grads even though Northwestern grads tend to take lower-paying majors (see payscale for more on lifetime earnings by major). Given that Northwestern grads make more money on average even though they tend to graduate with lower-paying majors, this makes Northwestern look REALLY GOOD compared to Illinois. Comparing across majors, I suspect the Illinois major would generally make less than the same major at Northwestern.
Bingo.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:31 pm

market timer wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:39 pm
It is still a while until my children will enter the college admissions game. Sticker of $300K seems a bit rich to me. Maybe we'd pay that for a top 5. Another option to consider is a good overseas school like Oxford or Cambridge. With GBP/USD at 1.21, Oxford's cost of attendance is about $42K/year, and it is a 3-year degree program.
Or the London School of Economics! Only $24k/yr.

One of the best philosophy programs in the world too 😁

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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:16 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:31 pm
Or the London School of Economics! Only $24k/yr.

One of the best philosophy programs in the world too 😁
Well, you may or may not be able to get career satisfaction as a business major at LSE.

decapod10
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by decapod10 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:28 pm

William4u wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:27 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:29 pm
“End goal of a successful childhood” or not, here are some fun facts:

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Most popular majors:
Engineering (22%)
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services (13%)

Social Sciences (8%)
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs (7%)
Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences (6%)
Salary after attending: $61,500
https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/ ... -Champaign

Northwestern University
Most popular majors:
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs (20%)
Social Sciences (17%)

Engineering (16%)
Visual and Performing Arts (8%)
Psychology (7%)
Salary after attending: $69,000
https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/ ... University

But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of a good argument.
When I saw this post I thought "Northwestern grads are disproportionately taking low-paying majors (like Comm) relative to Illinois grads who disproportionately take high-paying majors (like Engineering)." Overall, Northwestern grads make about 22.6% more than Illinois grads even though Northwestern grads tend to take lower-paying majors (see payscale for more on lifetime earnings by major). Given that Northwestern grads make more money on average even though they tend to graduate with lower-paying majors, this makes Northwestern look REALLY GOOD compared to Illinois. Comparing across majors, I suspect the Illinois major would generally make less than the same major at Northwestern.
This may be skewed by the fact that Northwestern has a relatively well known journalism school, it's considered one of the best in the country, sometimes considered "the best", for whatever value random internet ranking sites can give.

(Edit: To explain the popularity of journalism at NU I mean, not the pay necessarily).
Last edited by decapod10 on Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HereToLearn
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HereToLearn » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:32 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:21 pm
Brown (lower-tier Ivy) provides pretty good data about admissions - more than many schools provide. Browse this to get a feel for changes just within a 10 year period, then mentally extrapolate this to a generation:

https://www.brown.edu/about/administrat ... ancial-aid

I went looking for this because I thought I remembered that Brown used to be one of the few highly selectives that showed admit rate by ACT/SAT score. But I can't find that data now - maybe Brown used to have it and no longer does, or I remembered the wrong school, or whatever. FWIW, the notable thing about the admit rate by ACT/SAT score, IIRC, was that it marched steadily upward at every level. No, you were far from guaranteed admission with a 36, but your chances were a little bit better than those with a 34, and better still than a 32, and so on.

My second kid got a 35 on the ACT (on his 2nd official try) and decided he was done. Very good GPA and course rigor, too. But got rejected by Ga. Tech, Michigan, and Wash U. Maybe he shoulda retaken the ACT...
I have a PDF of the Brown admit stats by 50 point SAT ranges saved to my computer, but unlike the clever people here who are able to post charts and such, I have no ability. However, I did want to confirm your recollection. For the class of 2020, here are the admit stats by SAT range. (I will only post for CR. Math & Writing were also included, with similar trend line.)

SAT Score % Admitted % of Class
800 23 21
750-790 15 24
700-740 10 26
650-690 7 15
600-650 5 8
550-590 4 4
less than 550 1 1

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:42 pm

https://lehd.ces.census.gov/data/pseo_beta.html
The PSEO provide data on earnings and employment for recent graduates of partner colleges and universities. Graduate Earnings are available at the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, one, five, and 10 years after graduation, by institution, degree level, degree field, and graduation cohort. Employment Flows provide industry and location of employment for graduates. These statistics are generated by matching university transcript data with a national database of jobs, using state-of-the-art confidentiality protection mechanisms to protect the underlying data.

HereToLearn
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HereToLearn » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:43 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:25 pm
"Nearly 25 percent of students participate in intercollegiate athletics" at Dartmouth.

https://home.dartmouth.edu/dartmouth-glance

Some are presumably walk-ons, but some folks recruited as athletes at admission time may not actually complete. It's not clear if the "nearly 25 percent" is for any given year or reflects intercollegiate athletics at SOME point in a student's career, but not necessarily for 4 years.

Note that Dartmouth is a smaller Ivy. The relevant percentage is likely lower at most significantly larger schools (Ivy or not.)

Also, some of the athletes there presumably ARE great students, with stats above the Dartmouth median. But I'd guess that a big chunk of the "nearly 25 percent" sits below the median, academic stats-wise.
The Ivies, by common agreement, each admit approximately 250 recruited athletes. They all use the Academic Index for Athletic Recruiting to calculate an AI for each athlete. The NYT published a detail article about the calculation and use of the AI half a dozen years ago.

You are correct that Dartmouth with 1100 freshman will have a significantly higher percentage of recruited athletes among the freshman class than say Cornell with a class of 3300 or Penn with 2500. When you consider that all athletes are admitted via ED, and you calculate that approx 250 of the 574 ED spots at Dartmouth are dedicated to recruited athletes, you see the real odds of being admitted ED. From that balance of 324, you have to also subtract the development admits (not as many as we all think), legacy admits (it's a finger on the scale, especially during the ED round), Questbridge admits, those w/o the athletic hook who offer something the university wants...satisfy some institutional need. These numbers are further divided if a university admits along college or program lines--Engineering vs Nursing.

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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:45 pm

Hedgefundie - there appears to be a lot of data at your link location. Is there something in particular you want to highlight?

Topic Author
psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:50 pm

HereToLearn wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:32 pm
I have a PDF of the Brown admit stats by 50 point SAT ranges saved to my computer, but unlike the clever people here who are able to post charts and such, I have no ability. However, I did want to confirm your recollection. For the class of 2020, here are the admit stats by SAT range. (I will only post for CR. Math & Writing were also included, with similar trend line.)

SAT Score % Admitted % of Class
800 23 21
750-790 15 24
700-740 10 26
650-690 7 15
600-650 5 8
550-590 4 4
less than 550 1 1
Thanks for the data.

Of interest, if we call the middle of the 750-790 bucket a 770, then just the dropoff from an 800 to a 770 cuts your admit chances by (1-15/23) = 35%. And that's at a good school, but one that's not one of the very top Ivies (or non-Ivies). Granted, we can probably assume that those kids with a little better SAT score are also likely to have a little better GPA, a little better ECs, etc., but that's a big impact.

And dropping from that ~770 to a ~720 gives your admit chances a further ~1/3 reduction.

HereToLearn
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HereToLearn » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:04 pm

psteinx wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:50 pm
HereToLearn wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:32 pm
I have a PDF of the Brown admit stats by 50 point SAT ranges saved to my computer, but unlike the clever people here who are able to post charts and such, I have no ability. However, I did want to confirm your recollection. For the class of 2020, here are the admit stats by SAT range. (I will only post for CR. Math & Writing were also included, with similar trend line.)

SAT Score % Admitted % of Class
800 23 21
750-790 15 24
700-740 10 26
650-690 7 15
600-650 5 8
550-590 4 4
less than 550 1 1
Thanks for the data.

Of interest, if we call the middle of the 750-790 bucket a 770, then just the dropoff from an 800 to a 770 cuts your admit chances by (1-15/23) = 35%. And that's at a good school, but one that's not one of the very top Ivies (or non-Ivies). Granted, we can probably assume that those kids with a little better SAT score are also likely to have a little better GPA, a little better ECs, etc., but that's a big impact.

And dropping from that ~770 to a ~720 gives your admit chances a further ~1/3 reduction.
You are welcome. Neither of my children applied to Brown, so I have never spent any time researching the school. I have no idea why I saved the PDF of the admit rates by SAT range. Perhaps because it was so unusual to see that detail.

Here is the same info for Cornell. A little less useful here because of the differences in admission standards among the seven undergrad colleges. (One really needs an 800 in Math to apply to Engineering but probably not required for Architecture, Art & Planning.)

http://irp.dpb.cornell.edu/wp-content/u ... shmen2.pdf

Kind of unrelated, but when you mention transparent admission stats, CMU comes to mind. Not the same info, but they provide the admitted 50th percentile SAT ranges by college. I think CMU used to publish subject test scores by college, but I am not seeing those. I have not looked at some of this in a while as my children are in college already.

https://admission.enrollment.cmu.edu/pa ... statistics

Starfish
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Starfish » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:59 am

(One really needs an 800 in Math to apply to Engineering but probably not required for Architecture, Art & Planning.)
One would hope so.
800 in Math in GRE for any decent 14 old from overseas is child play. In half of the official time I would say.

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Vulcan
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:56 am

Starfish wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:59 am
(One really needs an 800 in Math to apply to Engineering but probably not required for Architecture, Art & Planning.)
One would hope so.
800 in Math in GRE for any decent 14 old from overseas is child play. In half of the official time I would say.
+1
Not familiar with GRE, but ACT/SAT are ridiculously simple tests.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

02nz
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by 02nz » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:46 am

Starfish wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:59 am
(One really needs an 800 in Math to apply to Engineering but probably not required for Architecture, Art & Planning.)
One would hope so.
800 in Math in GRE for any decent 14 old from overseas is child play. In half of the official time I would say.
GRE tests math reasoning, not advanced math. I don’t know whether a perfect score is indeed child’s play, but you would probably sound more credible on this subject if you didn’t refer to a scoring scale that hasn’t been used in 8 years.

Calico
Posts: 389
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Calico » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:03 am

psteinx wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:22 pm
Bravo to you if you've read this all the way through, or even mostly. I could have gone into more depth on some of this stuff (heh). I could provide links/references to backup sources on at least some of it. I hope to provoke some discussion. Thanks for reading.
Thank you for posting all this. I read it quickly, but need to read it all more carefully.

I am very concerned with affording college and I am shocked by some of the standards to get into some schools. For example, the average GPA at our main State University is a 4.23. How does that even happen? Luckily, my daughter is taking AP classes (which are weighted) so it's achievable for her, but what about schools that don't offer AP courses? And even then, my daughter needs to get straight A in all her classes (including AP) for all four years to even achieve that. The pressure of not allowing one single B just to go to the state university? It seems nuts. Plus you also have to stand out in other ways. Seems like you have to be a super student. Luckily, there are lots of other universities with what I feel are more reasonable standards.

And that's just the grades part of the equation.

And as a single parent with an income that's not high enough to make me "well to do" but too high for my daughter to be considered for some finical aid, I am worried. I have a 529 for her and we were thinking about ROTC, but she has exercise induced asthma and I don't think they will take her (she has attacks during marching band practice).

I have my hail Mary plan of selling my house and using the equity to pay for college for her if need be. I don't dare sell it before she's done with college though because then my money counts against her for scholarships.

nonfacebookuser365
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by nonfacebookuser365 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:27 am

Lots of good information here. Thanks!

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:29 am

Calico wrote:I am very concerned with affording college and I am shocked by some of the standards to get into some schools. For example, the average GPA at our main State University is a 4.23. How does that even happen? Luckily, my daughter is taking AP classes (which are weighted) so it's achievable for her, but what about schools that don't offer AP courses? And even then, my daughter needs to get straight A in all her classes (including AP) for all four years to even achieve that. The pressure of not allowing one single B just to go to the state university? It seems nuts. Luckily, there are lots of other universities with what I feel are more reasonable standards.
Don’t freak out. If your kid checks all the boxes for a state school, cool. If not, there’s a benefit to holistic admissions for the non cookie cutter high schooler.

My son was accepted to Yale, and he did not have straight A’s. Iirc he never got much better than a B in French in H.S. or college. His art grades were not all A’s either.

He did very well on standardized tests, his essays were thoughtful and well expressed, he was a National AP scholar, but most importantly (IMO) his recommendations were stellar.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Vulcan
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:35 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:29 am
he was a National AP scholar
Looks like there are over 30 thousand of those. I am pretty sure nearly everyone applying to top schools is one, with lots of room to spare.
Admittedly, most only reach this distinction after the senior year, when the applications are already adjudicated, but there's quite a lot of them even after junior year. 8 APs with a 4 on them is not a terribly high bar.

https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/d ... s-2017.pdf
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:29 am
most importantly (IMO) his recommendations were stellar.
Aren't everyone's though?;)

I am curious how you were able to see them?
Did the recommenders share them with you directly, or did you not opt out of FERPA?
Last edited by Vulcan on Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

Calico
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Calico » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:47 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:29 am
Calico wrote:I am very concerned with affording college and I am shocked by some of the standards to get into some schools. For example, the average GPA at our main State University is a 4.23. How does that even happen? Luckily, my daughter is taking AP classes (which are weighted) so it's achievable for her, but what about schools that don't offer AP courses? And even then, my daughter needs to get straight A in all her classes (including AP) for all four years to even achieve that. The pressure of not allowing one single B just to go to the state university? It seems nuts. Luckily, there are lots of other universities with what I feel are more reasonable standards.
Don’t freak out. If your kid checks all the boxes for a state school, cool. If not, there’s a benefit to holistic admissions for the non cookie cutter high schooler.

My son was accepted to Yale, and he did not have straight A’s. Iirc he never got much better than a B in French in H.S. or college. His art grades were not all A’s either.

He did very well on standardized tests, his essays were thoughtful and well expressed, he was a National AP scholar, but most importantly (IMO) his recommendations were stellar.
You are awesome. Thank you. My daughter too does well on standardized tests and is a pretty good essay writer (at least according to her English teachers).

I just tend to worry (and over think things). It's a weakness, but it's one that's served me well in the past, so I tend to not try to lose that aspect of my personality. Even if it shortens my life and grays my hairs. 😂

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:01 am

Vulcan wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:35 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:29 am
most importantly (IMO) his recommendations were stellar.
Aren't everyone's though?;)
I am curious how you were able to see them?
Did the recommenders share them with you directly, or did you not opt out of FERPA?
Not everyone's recommendations are stellar. We had the good fortune to have the kids in a school where the college counselors had long relationships with regional admissions officers; they had a vested interest in having their recommendations mean something. A bad faith recommendation would have had negative repercussions for the school for years.

We opted out of FERPA, but the college counselor discussed her process in collating recommendations to submit for our son. She went to the teachers, and was taken by the comments that our son was not “resume building,” wasn’t a “grade grubber” (well, duh :D ), and brought a smile to people’s faces. A conservative teacher, with whom my son had frequent intense debates about politics, nevertheless lent my son textbooks and said, in writing, that he was the best math student he’d ever had (a claim he obviously couldn’t repeat every year) and that his processing speed was astounding. So, we never saw the recommendations, but have good reason to think that they were not just one more lukewarm positive cookie cutter recommendation.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

dknightd
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by dknightd » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:05 am

fortfun wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:18 pm
Ever wonder if parents on BH worry too much about their kids' college education/career? I went to a pretty mid-level state college, studied a pretty low-end major, became a pretty low paid teacher, and yet I'm happy. I get summers off, make about 100k/yr now, and can retire at 50 with a 75k/yr pension. I have two kids, live in a decent home, have a lovely wife, and can afford to go on a couple of great vacations each year (we just returned from three weeks in Galapagos and Inca Trail hike). My parents worried zero about my college and career choices. I figured out how to pay for college myself, granted it is more expensive now. Anyway, I've decided I'm going to stop worrying about my kids' college/career as much as I used to. I think they will be alright. YMMV.
That would be a dream life for many people. Only time will tell if your kids will have the same options.

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Vulcan
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:15 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:01 am
Vulcan wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:35 am
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:29 am
most importantly (IMO) his recommendations were stellar.
Aren't everyone's though?;)
I am curious how you were able to see them?
Did the recommenders share them with you directly, or did you not opt out of FERPA?
Not everyone's recommendations are stellar. We had the good fortune to have the kids in a school where the college counselors had long relationships with regional admissions officers; they had a vested interest in having their recommendations mean something. A bad faith recommendation would have had negative repercussions for the school for years.

We opted out of FERPA, but the college counselor discussed her process in collating recommendations to submit for our son. She went to the teachers, and was taken by the comments that our son was not “resume building,” wasn’t a “grade grubber” (well, duh :D ), and brought a smile to people’s faces. A conservative teacher, with whom my son had frequent intense debates about politics, nevertheless lent my son textbooks and said, in writing, that he was the best math student he’d ever had (a claim he obviously couldn’t repeat every year) and that his processing speed was astounding. So, we never saw the recommendations, but have good reason to think that they were not just one more lukewarm positive cookie cutter recommendation.
Gotcha! :beer

My perspective is admittedly a bit stilted, since our son's program is graduating less than 50 kids a year.

But more importantly, I am not sure how recommendations from different teachers and schools can be weighed against each other.

This could be less of a concern if one's school is well known to admissions at the target colleges, which is apparently the case for your (and, I would hope, my) son's schools, but still, the larger question remains.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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