Selective Colleges

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UpsetRaptor
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by UpsetRaptor » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:30 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:59 pm
rbaldini wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:55 pm
UpsetRaptor wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:22 pm
That Kruger/Dale study had a big methodological flaw. They acknowledge that the existing literature shows that more selective schools lead to better returns but then they add in a weird screwy extra control variable for "student ambition" which nerfs the selectivity advantage and thus results in "Hey, it doesn't matter". How do they measure that extra variable of "ambition"? They look at students who applied and were accepted into multiple schools and then chose the less selective school. Which probably measures socioeconomic background more than anything, but they claim without any evidence this accurately measures ambition, and adding the effect for this nerfs the selectivity advantage which refutes all prior research which shows that selectivity matters. Meh.

The fact that the literature's results still stood for minorities probably shows that their measure of "ambition" was really just measuring socioeconomic background and double-docking that variable.
Interesting. If we take the finding that more selective schools -> better outcomes, even for kids with same test scores and GPAs, seems to me there are a few possible, non-mutually-exclusive explanations...
1. Hidden differences in student quality. The students who went to more selective schools actually are better to begin with, in ways that are not reflected by SAT and GPA. This seems to be the whole idea behind the use of personal writing samples and recommendations: there is more to a student than GPA and SAT, and admissions reviewers can use the additional information to pick the better students.
2. School education and experience. Selective colleges have better instructors, better tutors. Students interact with smarter and more ambitious peers.
3. The name effect. Even if the school is no better at instruction, having a prestigious name on your resume gets you better jobs.

I'm not saying anything new here, of course.
Yes, those are 3 possibilities. The Dale/Kruger study says it's #1 except for blacks/Hispanics and first generation college students.

UpsetRaptor has misrepresented the study a couple of ways. First, they weren't trying to measure student ambition but merely "unobserved student ability," of which ambition might be one trait. But quite literally it's just student ability that we can't measure by GPAs, SATs, etc.

Second, he says it's for students who applied and were accepted by multiple schools and chose the less selective school. While earlier versions of the Dale/Kruger work looked at this, the newer study just looks at the schools the student applied to as a proxy for unobserved student ability. Now whether this is a good proxy for unobserved student ability or not is certainly up for debate. But we should at least be talking about what the study actually says.

I think the combination of the 2 Dale/Kruger studies, showing students who passed on more selective schools doing as well as the ones who went to more selective schools, plus the study looking at unobserved student ability, makes a worthwhile argument for school selectivity not adding much in and of itself.

I'm not saying people should just automatically go to the cheapest school regardless of selectivity, but I do think people should take the importance of selectivity and the brand name of the institution with a grain of salt rather than have it be the key determining factor.
Both Kruger/Dale studies' measures of "unobserved student ability" (whatever that is) are likely to just be socioeconomic measures as much as anything. Wealthier students are more likely to apply to more schools, are more likely to apply to more selective (expensive) schools, and are more likely have the means to attend more selective (expensive) schools that admit them. The fact that adding this extra factor didn't refute the existing scientific literature (which to reiterate, fairly extensively shows that selectivity matters, across many studies) for minorities almost really proves that this vague additional variable they tossed in is really just double-controlling for socioeconomic background. They never explained well what exactly this "unobserved student ability" is, why their method of measuring it is meaningful, why what they measured for it wouldn't just be another socioeconomic measure, or why it would reflect differently for Caucasians and minorities. (I don't count of a couple of vague "well maybe..." type of theories as "explained well"). It's really a bizarre, vague, nebulous variable, and it's the whole basis for their refutation of the existing scientific literature.

My kids aren't in college yet, and I don't want selectivity ($$$) to matter. But after reading a bunch of studies/literature, including the Kruger/Dale ones end-to-end which rather reeked of anti-selectivity bias throughout to be honest, I tend to think it unfortunately does, at least to some degree. If you buy the Kruger/Dale reasoning instead, that's fine, we'll just have to disagree.

decapod10
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by decapod10 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:17 am

UpsetRaptor wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:30 pm
Bfwolf wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:59 pm
rbaldini wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:55 pm
UpsetRaptor wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:22 pm
That Kruger/Dale study had a big methodological flaw. They acknowledge that the existing literature shows that more selective schools lead to better returns but then they add in a weird screwy extra control variable for "student ambition" which nerfs the selectivity advantage and thus results in "Hey, it doesn't matter". How do they measure that extra variable of "ambition"? They look at students who applied and were accepted into multiple schools and then chose the less selective school. Which probably measures socioeconomic background more than anything, but they claim without any evidence this accurately measures ambition, and adding the effect for this nerfs the selectivity advantage which refutes all prior research which shows that selectivity matters. Meh.

The fact that the literature's results still stood for minorities probably shows that their measure of "ambition" was really just measuring socioeconomic background and double-docking that variable.
Interesting. If we take the finding that more selective schools -> better outcomes, even for kids with same test scores and GPAs, seems to me there are a few possible, non-mutually-exclusive explanations...
1. Hidden differences in student quality. The students who went to more selective schools actually are better to begin with, in ways that are not reflected by SAT and GPA. This seems to be the whole idea behind the use of personal writing samples and recommendations: there is more to a student than GPA and SAT, and admissions reviewers can use the additional information to pick the better students.
2. School education and experience. Selective colleges have better instructors, better tutors. Students interact with smarter and more ambitious peers.
3. The name effect. Even if the school is no better at instruction, having a prestigious name on your resume gets you better jobs.

I'm not saying anything new here, of course.
Yes, those are 3 possibilities. The Dale/Kruger study says it's #1 except for blacks/Hispanics and first generation college students.

UpsetRaptor has misrepresented the study a couple of ways. First, they weren't trying to measure student ambition but merely "unobserved student ability," of which ambition might be one trait. But quite literally it's just student ability that we can't measure by GPAs, SATs, etc.

Second, he says it's for students who applied and were accepted by multiple schools and chose the less selective school. While earlier versions of the Dale/Kruger work looked at this, the newer study just looks at the schools the student applied to as a proxy for unobserved student ability. Now whether this is a good proxy for unobserved student ability or not is certainly up for debate. But we should at least be talking about what the study actually says.

I think the combination of the 2 Dale/Kruger studies, showing students who passed on more selective schools doing as well as the ones who went to more selective schools, plus the study looking at unobserved student ability, makes a worthwhile argument for school selectivity not adding much in and of itself.

I'm not saying people should just automatically go to the cheapest school regardless of selectivity, but I do think people should take the importance of selectivity and the brand name of the institution with a grain of salt rather than have it be the key determining factor.
Both Kruger/Dale studies' measures of "unobserved student ability" (whatever that is) are likely to just be socioeconomic measures as much as anything. Wealthier students are more likely to apply to more schools, are more likely to apply to more selective (expensive) schools, and are more likely have the means to attend more selective (expensive) schools that admit them. The fact that adding this extra factor didn't refute the existing scientific literature (which to reiterate, fairly extensively shows that selectivity matters, across many studies) for minorities almost really proves that this vague additional variable they tossed in is really just double-controlling for socioeconomic background. They never explained well what exactly this "unobserved student ability" is, why their method of measuring it is meaningful, why what they measured for it wouldn't just be another socioeconomic measure, or why it would reflect differently for Caucasians and minorities. (I don't count of a couple of vague "well maybe..." type of theories as "explained well"). It's really a bizarre, vague, nebulous variable, and it's the whole basis for their refutation of the existing scientific literature.

My kids aren't in college yet, and I don't want selectivity ($$$) to matter. But after reading a bunch of studies/literature, including the Kruger/Dale ones end-to-end which rather reeked of anti-selectivity bias throughout to be honest, I tend to think it unfortunately does, at least to some degree. If you buy the Kruger/Dale reasoning instead, that's fine, we'll just have to disagree.
What other studies have been done? To be honest, the Kruger/Dale is the most famous one, I haven't heard of the other ones which support the benefits of selective schools.

I haven't read the Kruger/Dale papers, though I probably should, but it seems to me that using the studies who were accepted into a selective school but did not choose to go as a comparison group against people who did go to a selective school would be a pretty strong study design (unless I am misunderstanding the design here)?

If you compared a group of kids who went to Harvard, and then another group of kids who were accepted to Harvard but went to UMass, and they there was no difference in outcomes, wouldn't that be a relatively strong point that Harvard isn't really adding much value? I can't think of a better way to design a study honestly, but maybe there are better ways to do it. I agree that using "schools they applied to" as a proxy seems a bit more fishy though.

rbaldini
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by rbaldini » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:09 am

decapod10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:17 am
If you compared a group of kids who went to Harvard, and then another group of kids who were accepted to Harvard but went to UMass, and they there was no difference in outcomes, wouldn't that be a relatively strong point that Harvard isn't really adding much value?
Right. Even if this is indeed just another additional proxy for household socioeconomic status, then that would just mean that more fully controlling for household SES explains the difference - not differences in school quality. So while the authors might be wrong about what the additional control means, it still suggests that selectivity doesn't add much.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:38 am

rbaldini wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:09 am
decapod10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:17 am
If you compared a group of kids who went to Harvard, and then another group of kids who were accepted to Harvard but went to UMass, and they there was no difference in outcomes, wouldn't that be a relatively strong point that Harvard isn't really adding much value?
Right. Even if this is indeed just another additional proxy for household socioeconomic status, then that would just mean that more fully controlling for household SES explains the difference - not differences in school quality. So while the authors might be wrong about what the additional control means, it still suggests that selectivity doesn't add much.
Or, you could decide that “fit,” which many of us believe matters a lot, does in fact matter a lot. The “vibe” at UMass is very different from Harvard.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

afan
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by afan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:04 am

psteinx wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:38 pm
afan wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:34 pm
That still left them with far more great candidates than could be admitted. They could pick at random many classes composed of those who were rejected and had no detectable drop in quality.

At that point the fate of an individual student was essentially random. The good news is that the great kids who did not get into our program would end up somewhere else.
But that sorta implies that colleges can't meaningfully distinguish among top candidates (hence the randomness).
Not "sorta", it means exactly that.

The vast majority of people accepted at a place like Harvard fall into the category of highly qualified, but easily replaced by someone equally well qualified from the same applicant pool.
Year ago I saw a strikingly frank document from MIT concerning their admissions and particularly its success in recruiting what they called academic superstars. In this document they said that each year there were approximately 300 such superstars applying to college nationwide. It proudly reported that MIT lagged only Harvard in the proportion of such super students it managed to enroll. Between the two of them, again according to this report, those two universities successfully recruited more than half of the superstars from across the nation.

Interesting conclusions:
Truly outstanding students are very rare.
Grades and standardized test scores do not identify them, since these measures are truncated at the top end. It takes something else to recognize that level of talent.
Reminds me of one person a couple of years ahead of me in high school. He got some kind of special merit recognition along with his acceptance to Harvard. It was not a scholarship, since Harvard does not do merit scholarships, but they clearly identified him as a star. He went on to a PhD, became a world's authority in his field and received a MacArthur award. So they were right about his stardom.

The vast majority of students at Harvard and MIT are bright hard working people most of whom will have successful careers because they are bright and hard working. Very few of them are brilliant. There are just not that many brilliant people around.

A discussion of Harvard admissions from years ago explained that the college would routinely offer admission to essentially all of the people it identified as superstars, but that they constituted a small fraction of the class.

Beyond that, they were seeking to create an environment that included students with a wide variety of talents and interests. Athletes, musicians, artists, writers, poly sci, comparative literature and engineering majors, future doctors, lawyers, scholars, reporters... For the vast majority of accepted applicants their admissions were based on how well they filled out the class. Since these are predictions of marginal differences about how very young people will perform in college, the admissions committee did the best it could but recognized that, superstars aside, the class could be composed of an entirely different set of kids with no discernible decrease in quality. At a place like Harvard or MIT they could be replaced with several classes of entirely different kids.

So, yes, for the vast majority of kids the admissions decisions have a large element of randomness. A student who is highly qualified to be admitted to an Ivy could well be rejected from most or all of them. But they would still have plenty of choices among top colleges. By applying to a number of them they reduce the chance that bad luck would freeze them out.
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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:16 am

afan, I think we're not THAT far apart in viewpoint, but there is some difference.

I took your first post as being something like "take all kids > N, where N is some sort of quasi-numeric evaluation of all their attributes, then randomly select X% of those kids, where X% is the % necessary to fill the class".

I think Harvard, MIT, and the like CAN distinguish among elite applicants (and Emory, Northwestern and the like can distinguish among somewhat less elite applicants). That said, the distinctions come with a fair amount of noise, and while they could select a GROUP of applicants, scoring "10" on their scale, that's better than the "9" applicants, there would of course be surprises - those identified as "9s" at age 18 who in fact outperform in college and thereafter, and vice versa.

I realize that Harvard, MIT, etc. are not SOLELY focused on academic merits, for a wide variety of reasons that the public at large, and us parents, may or may not agree with, and so thus may choose some kids who are "8s" academically but whose other attributes raise them to a "9" or "10" on Harvard's esoteric scoring system.

As a parent, it's frustrating when we think our kids are an "8", "9", and/or "10" (academically or otherwise), but see our kid rejected from schools where the 50th or 25th or even 75th percentile kid seems to be an "8".

Finally, my use of "8", "9", "10" is an abstraction. I've read some of the recent Harvard lawsuit documents, and know a bit about their 1-5 scale (with 1 being best, IIRC).

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:29 am

psteinx wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:16 am
As a parent, it's frustrating when we think our kids are an "8", "9", and/or "10" (academically or otherwise), but see our kid rejected from schools where the 50th or 25th or even 75th percentile kid seems to be an "8".
So now that you know how admission seems to work, you can write that there is no need for any frustration at all when your child is rejected. Is that right?
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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:36 am

There's no doubt a parental ego thing (for me anyways), associated with a college rejection.

But I also want my kids to attend good schools for them - for their sake. It's frustrating to me (and other parents, I presume), when our kids get rejections from schools that seem right for them, and where the kid's qualifications seem comfortably above those of many (or even most) of those the school accepts.

Yeah, judgement of qualifications is tricky, but that, in turn, is related to much of the frustration...

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:46 am

psteinx wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:36 am
It's frustrating to me (and other parents, I presume), when our kids get rejections from schools that seem right for them, and where the kid's qualifications seem comfortably above those of many (or even most) of those the school accepts.
Blame it on “Tufts Syndrome.”

Fwiw, the only grad school that rejected me was my (apparently not) safety.

ETA: Tufts swears they don’t do it. But, they know that yield matters in the various ranking systems.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by KlangFool » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:55 am

psteinx wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:36 am
There's no doubt a parental ego thing (for me anyways), associated with a college rejection.

But I also want my kids to attend good schools for them - for their sake. It's frustrating to me (and other parents, I presume), when our kids get rejections from schools that seem right for them, and where the kid's qualifications seem comfortably above those of many (or even most) of those the school accepts.

Yeah, judgement of qualifications is tricky, but that, in turn, is related to much of the frustration...
psteinx,

If you are frustrated, just imagine how would you feel if you are Asian parents?

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by patrick013 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:39 am

psteinx wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:36 am
There's no doubt a parental ego thing (for me anyways), associated with a college rejection.

But I also want my kids to attend good schools for them - for their sake. It's frustrating to me (and other parents, I presume), when our kids get rejections from schools that seem right for them, and where the kid's qualifications seem comfortably above those of many (or even most) of those the school accepts.

Yeah, judgement of qualifications is tricky, but that, in turn, is related to much of the frustration...
If I knew more of these several decades ago...especially if I had a 3.5 GPA and was in the top percentiles of the standard tests. Seems like enough choices to make an excellent salary. According to this article it's STEM. Some extra courses in math or science in high school and go right in and do it.

U.S. colleges that earn the most
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:46 am

^Be careful about top median salaries from graduates because graduates don't move to high cost-of-living areas where salaries tend to be higher, but they do tend to stay around where they graduated from. Yes, I know USNA graduates do move away from Annapolis.
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rbaldini
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by rbaldini » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:49 am

patrick013 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:39 am
U.S. colleges that earn the most
Also, as has been discussed much here, correlation does not imply causation. It is not at all clear that the high salaries of these graduates much at all to do with the quality of the education. The kids who graduated Harvey Mudd were always going to be winners - Harvey Mudd may have little to do with it. I suspect that is the case but it's not a settled question, evidently.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by afan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:58 pm

psteinx wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:36 am
There's no doubt a parental ego thing (for me anyways), associated with a college rejection.

But I also want my kids to attend good schools for them - for their sake. It's frustrating to me (and other parents, I presume), when our kids get rejections from schools that seem right for them, and where the kid's qualifications seem comfortably above those of many (or even most) of those the school accepts.

Yeah, judgement of qualifications is tricky, but that, in turn, is related to much of the frustration...
That is where playing the odds comes in. Using what you can learn and what your college counselors advise, make up a list of colleges that would be good for the student. Then apply to plenty of them. With the exception of a handful of true academic stars, no one can count on getting in if they apply only to Harvard, MIT, Caltech and Stanford. For a student who has a realistic chance of getting in to one of these places, apply to them all and a dozen other colleges as well. Make sure that several of them are reliable safety schools. Depending on the student, a safety school can still be very highly ranked. But don't have just one safety school if the student is trying for the most selective colleges. Have several.

The problem with comparing qualifications to others admitted is that you don't know what the other applications looked like. As this discussion should make clear, the colleges do not simply start at the highest test scores and work their way down until the fill the class.

That means that you don't know who the colleges would consider to be the most qualified. They would view as well qualified essentially everyone whom they seriously consider accepting. In the Ivies, due to recruiting rules, that includes the recruited athletes. If they can fill the class with 25th percentile SAT scores in the mid 700s, they may not see any reason to worry about SAT scores beyond that. The difference in performance between a 750 and an 800 may be too small to measure. Even considering that some of the 800s would have been 1200s if the test were harder. You may think that an applicant with a 770 in math is clearly better qualified than someone with a 740. The colleges might not care at all. To beat the point to death, what if the 770 student wants to major in physics and the 740 student wants to write for the newspaper and study Italian poetry? Should anyone care, even one tiny bit, about the differences in SAT scores?

If both wanted to play field hockey, then you could quite reasonably care a lot more about how fast they can run than the, probably meaningless, difference in test scores.

SAT scores are one of the few things you can see and they lend themselves to being reported in tables. That does not mean the colleges care as much about SAT's as many people assume they do. There is no neat way to present the range of interests and demonstrated abilities beyond grades and test scores in a table. So people ignore the importance of these other qualifications. That leads them to think that colleges seek to enroll the highest average test scores they can get and that nothing else matters.

Of course the highly competitive colleges want to enroll academically talented student bodies and to permit the faculty to teach their courses at high levels and rapid pace. They want students who are interested enough in intellectual things to make the classes stimulating. They want students who are comfortable enough with abstraction to let the faculty give some indication of how scholars in the field think about problems. The college wants to give the faculty enough future scholars to keep them content. Many in the faculty would only be happy if every undergrad were a future PhD student. But the colleges would be very different places if there were no orchestra, no athletic teams, no newspaper, no students deeply engaged in politics. If all anyone wanted to do was study it would be a bleak existence. Even the pre-PhD grinders want there to be other things going on.

In short, the standardized test score distributions give you an overall idea of the type of students who enroll at a college. By extension, this information gives you an overall idea of the pace and rigor of courses the faculty can offer. But the qualifications of the students and the goals of the college extend so far beyond test scores that they cannot be relied upon to provide much precision.
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psteinx
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by psteinx » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:15 pm

afan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:58 pm
That is where playing the odds comes in. Using what you can learn and what your college counselors advise, make up a list of colleges that would be good for the student. Then apply to plenty of them. With the exception of a handful of true academic stars, no one can count on getting in if they apply only to Harvard, MIT, Caltech and Stanford. For a student who has a realistic chance of getting in to one of these places, apply to them all and a dozen other colleges as well. Make sure that several of them are reliable safety schools.
This works well if there are a lot of colleges in the general vicinity of what the student is looking for and qualifies for (i.e. similar rankings, geographic locations, college characteristics (size, etc.) that appeal to the kid, and fields of study that appeal to the kid.

It doesn't work as well if the kid has pre-narrowed the field dramatically. My kid wanted a school that offered nuclear engineering. There weren't a lot of schools that offered this in general, and especially among highly ranked schools. So the option to sort of smooth out the randomness of acceptances by applying to 8 or 10 schools wasn't as viable for him.
afan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:58 pm
You may think that an applicant with a 770 in math is clearly better qualified than someone with a 740. The colleges might not care at all. To beat the point to death, what if the 770 student wants to major in physics and the 740 student wants to write for the newspaper and study Italian poetry? Should anyone care, even one tiny bit, about the differences in SAT scores?
Well, some combination of the higher score, and the attributes that correlate with that higher score (i.e. kids with higher SATs probably have higher GPAs and whatnot) does seem to matter to Brown at least, per the discussion earlier in this thread. There was a fairly sharp falloff in acceptance rates across relatively modest changes in SAT score. No, the higher scores weren't at 90% and the lower weren't at 1%, the SAT score thing (at Brown, at least) was not a cliff. But it was at least a steep slope.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Presintense » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:20 pm

The three/two dual degree programs affiliated with many selective schools are a guaranteed admission for anyone who meets the gpa standard. Our son was unable to gain admission into one of the most selective private schools in the country straight out of high school. He spent two years at a three/two affiliated school whereby he finished his bachelors in Physics in two years plus two summers and met the gpa requirement. This gained him automatic acceptance into said selective school. The two years were tough because he wasn't where he wanted to be. Such is life. Last week we moved him to the city of his new school where he will begin classes next week and we felt good about the way he persevered and found a way (although unconventional) to gain admission. For those who want to go, but think they can't get in, a dual degree program is a solid option.
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by UpsetRaptor » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:23 pm

decapod10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:17 am

What other studies have been done? To be honest, the Kruger/Dale is the most famous one, I haven't heard of the other ones which support the benefits of selective schools.

I haven't read the Kruger/Dale papers, though I probably should, but it seems to me that using the studies who were accepted into a selective school but did not choose to go as a comparison group against people who did go to a selective school would be a pretty strong study design (unless I am misunderstanding the design here)?

If you compared a group of kids who went to Harvard, and then another group of kids who were accepted to Harvard but went to UMass, and they there was no difference in outcomes, wouldn't that be a relatively strong point that Harvard isn't really adding much value? I can't think of a better way to design a study honestly, but maybe there are better ways to do it. I agree that using "schools they applied to" as a proxy seems a bit more fishy though.
No, what's happening is this:

- Simple, straight studies that compare Harvard to UMASS show that Harvard adds value. Simplest methodology is to just look at tuition vs future earnings, and those studies, with no statistical massaging, consistently show the ROI is there for selectivity, and the effect is "striking" to quote Witteveen.

Criticism: But wait, Kids that go to Harvard are wealthier, and we all know that socioeconomics matter to outcomes, so maybe that's why!

- OK, so new studies come out that control for that variable, such as looking at cohorts of only wealthy or non-wealthy kids at both selective and non-selective schools or statistically massage the data to dock wealthy kids based on some reference data/studies. Result: ROI for selectivity is still there.

Criticism: But wait, kids that go to Selective Tech have more STEM degrees, and we all know that those Majors make more money, so maybe that's why!

And it goes on and on, controlling for Major, Socioeconomic background, and a bunch of stuff, and the literature is quite consistent that the ROI for selectivity is there.

- But then Kruger/Dale comes in and says But wait, you guys are all wrong, in addition to all that other stuff we're not also controlling for "unobservable" factors (whatever those are), finds a poor proxy for those without explaining it, and finally finds No ROI, and the media loves it and reports it everywhere and the populous loves it.

Some literature beyond Kruger/Dale that anyone with a vested interested in this topic should probably read:
"The earnings payoff from attending a selective college" Witteveen + Attewell, 2017
"College Quality and Early Adult Outcomes" Long, 2005
"Early Labor Market and Debt Outcomes for Bachelor’s Degree Recipients: Heterogeneity by Institution Type and Major, and Trends Over Time" Scott-Clayton, 2016

rbaldini wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:09 am
Right. Even if this is indeed just another additional proxy for household socioeconomic status, then that would just mean that more fully controlling for household SES explains the difference - not differences in school quality. So while the authors might be wrong about what the additional control means, it still suggests that selectivity doesn't add much.
No offense but that's totally wrong.

decapod10
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by decapod10 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:59 pm

UpsetRaptor wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:23 pm
decapod10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:17 am

What other studies have been done? To be honest, the Kruger/Dale is the most famous one, I haven't heard of the other ones which support the benefits of selective schools.

I haven't read the Kruger/Dale papers, though I probably should, but it seems to me that using the studies who were accepted into a selective school but did not choose to go as a comparison group against people who did go to a selective school would be a pretty strong study design (unless I am misunderstanding the design here)?

If you compared a group of kids who went to Harvard, and then another group of kids who were accepted to Harvard but went to UMass, and they there was no difference in outcomes, wouldn't that be a relatively strong point that Harvard isn't really adding much value? I can't think of a better way to design a study honestly, but maybe there are better ways to do it. I agree that using "schools they applied to" as a proxy seems a bit more fishy though.
No, what's happening is this:

- Simple, straight studies that compare Harvard to UMASS show that Harvard adds value. Simplest methodology is to just look at tuition vs future earnings, and those studies, with no statistical massaging, consistently show the ROI is there for selectivity, and the effect is "striking" to quote Witteveen.

Criticism: But wait, Kids that go to Harvard are wealthier, and we all know that socioeconomics matter to outcomes, so maybe that's why!

- OK, so new studies come out that control for that variable, such as looking at cohorts of only wealthy or non-wealthy kids at both selective and non-selective schools or statistically massage the data to dock wealthy kids based on some reference data. Result: ROI for selectivity is still there.

Criticism: But wait, kids that go to Selective Tech have more STEM degrees, and we all know that those Majors make more money, so maybe that's why!

And it goes on and on, controlling for Major, Socioeconomic background, and a bunch of stuff, and the literature is quite consistent that the ROI for selectivity is there.

- But then Kruger/Dale comes in and says But wait, you guys are all wrong, in addition to all that other stuff we're not also controlling for "unobservable" factors (whatever those are), finds a poor proxy for those without explaining it, and finally finds No ROI, and the media loves it and reports it everywhere.

Some literature beyond Kruger/Dale that anyone with a vested interested in this topic should probably read:
"The earnings payoff from attending a selective college" Witteveen + Attewell, 2017
"College Quality and Early Adult Outcomes" Long, 2005
"Early Labor Market and Debt Outcomes for Bachelor’s Degree Recipients: Heterogeneity by Institution Type and Major, and Trends Over Time" Scott-Clayton, 2016

rbaldini wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:09 am
Right. Even if this is indeed just another additional proxy for household socioeconomic status, then that would just mean that more fully controlling for household SES explains the difference - not differences in school quality. So while the authors might be wrong about what the additional control means, it still suggests that selectivity doesn't add much.
No offense but that's totally wrong.
Thanks for the citations, I will take a look at them, I appreciate it.

I am not yet convinced that the Kruger/Dale methodology (at least the early papers which used actual admissions) is flawed. If I were designing a study trying to determine the added value of a school, I would probably do exactly what they did. Looking at students who were admitted to Harvard but didn't end up going to Harvard would effectively erase most concerns of selection bias (since both cohorts were good enough to be admitted to Harvard), which is really the biggest problem with these sorts of studies in my view (selection bias is the biggest problem I mean).

But it's good to get more information for sure. I've glanced over the Witteveen/Attewell study and I'm not yet clear on how they address selection bias (which factors are they controlling for?). I think I'll need more time to process it, I'm not as familiar with reading these types of research papers. It's definitely quite dense, lol.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by RetiredInTheWest » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:03 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:09 pm
Ben Mathew wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:53 pm
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.
Was this at a private school?
That was my firth thought as well.

My second thought, however, is that it could be a selective magnet program in a public school.
These could be setup as separate schools or smaller programs in a larger school.

The one my son attends graduates less than 50 students in a high school class of ~500. The average ACT of their cohort is around 34, with many perfect scores.
They get a lot of individual attention from teachers, and typically fare pretty well with admissions, though some of their bright students inevitably end up matriculating at our state flagship, which is in the middle of the 2nd hundred in USNWR, not infrequently due to it being free, and alternatives, well, far from it.

Brag sheet for last year (program name/logo redacted):
(prior years look similar)
Image
I am curious what "International Science And Engineering Fair Winner" means. Is this entrance to participate in ISEF? A special award there? A grand (1st-4th in category) award? Do you know if whatever this was helped the student much with college acceptances?

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by psteinx » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:25 pm

UpsetRaptor wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:23 pm
"The earnings payoff from attending a selective college" Witteveen + Attewell, 2017
This one appears to have at least one possibly serious error - not sure if it's only in the reporting or was actually in the analysis:

Look at Table 1, highest degree for the parents. The percentages stay relatively stable for 2 of the 4 categories across the 2 cohorts considered, but for the other 2, they appear to have been flipped, with a degree of precision that strongly suggests (to me anyways), an error - either in reporting the data, or perhaps further upstream, in coding/massaging the error.

Also, I don't like having college GPA as, apparently, an independent variable. HS GPA would have been appropriate, but college GPA is an outcome (more or less), not an input, in my mind.

Beyond that, it's hard for me to understand the main output results. My eyes glaze over - maybe I should stare at them harder/try better to parse them...

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:29 pm

RetiredInTheWest wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:03 pm
I am curious what "International Science And Engineering Fair Winner" means. Is this entrance to participate in ISEF? A special award there? A grand (1st-4th in category) award? Do you know if whatever this was helped the student much with college acceptances?
I believe any award there makes one a "winner". As you can see, one of the other years they only bragged about having a "participant" :happy

Last year, they actually had an overall top (1-4) place ISEF winner among their graduates. That person did very well in college admissions. As in, chose Harvard over MIT.

According to anonymous internet trolls at College Confidential :oops: , even a category ("grand") award at Intel ISEF is supposedly a major boost.

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/di ... t_21861945

But who really knows, right?

I know my son is more proud of his USACO Platinum, USAPhO Silver, and Google Code Jam Round 2 qualifications (missed Round 3 by a hairbreadth - no t-shirt for him!), which are objectively a lot rarer, but listed lower in that list, than he is of his Intel ISEF 3rd grand award and two special awards (though he could buy a lot of t-shirts with those).

Whether any of that helps his particular plight, we shall begin finding out in December :annoyed
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by livesoft » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:03 pm

Going back to frustration:

For parents that were frustrated from acceptance BEFORE college admittance, are you still frustrated AFTER college graduation or even mid-way through?
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:25 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:03 pm
Going back to frustration:

For parents that were frustrated from acceptance BEFORE college admittance, are you still frustrated AFTER college graduation or even mid-way through?
At that point post-purchase rationalization kicks in.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:32 pm

afan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:04 am
Year ago I saw a strikingly frank document from MIT concerning their admissions and particularly its success in recruiting what they called academic superstars. In this document they said that each year there were approximately 300 such superstars applying to college nationwide. It proudly reported that MIT lagged only Harvard in the proportion of such super students it managed to enroll. Between the two of them, again according to this report, those two universities successfully recruited more than half of the superstars from across the nation.
I would be interested in reading that document to see if their idea of who those superstars are aligns with mine.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by afan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:47 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:32 pm
I would be interested in reading that document to see if their idea of who those superstars are aligns with mine.
The report did not define superstar. It read as if it was a common term at the university and did not require elaboration. Not surprisingly given the intense pressure surrounding admissions and the numerous lawsuits, they took down the report years ago.

But another report used the same term and indicated that for the year in question (late 90s) 6% of MIT frosh met the superstar classification.
You can take a set of accomplishments that 94% of MIT students cannot muster as an indication of just how elite that classification was.

That the likelihood of admission to an elite university goes up with SAT score does not mean that it goes up BECAUSE of SAT score. Remember that they are not reporting the significance of multiple regression coefficients. SAT scores are correlated with a lot of other desirable things and it may be largely or entirely these associated factors, rather than SAT score, that are showing the univariate association.
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Vulcan » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:56 pm

afan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:47 pm
Vulcan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:32 pm
I would be interested in reading that document to see if their idea of who those superstars are aligns with mine.
The report did not define superstar. It read as if it was a common term at the university and did not require elaboration. Not surprisingly given the intense pressure surrounding admissions and the numerous lawsuits, they took down the report years ago.

But another report used the same term and indicated that for the year in question (late 90s) 6% of MIT frosh met the superstar classification.
You can take a set of accomplishments that 94% of MIT students cannot muster as an indication of just how elite that classification was.

That the likelihood of admission to an elite university goes up with SAT score does not mean that it goes up BECAUSE of SAT score. Remember that they are not reporting the significance of multiple regression coefficients. SAT scores are correlated with a lot of other desirable things and it may be largely or entirely these associated factors, rather than SAT score, that are showing the univariate association.
Oh, I have no illusions about magical powers of perfect test scores. In my son's class there's probably about a dozen perfect ACT scorers. They aren't all getting into MIT.

My definition of academic superstar is someone who medaled at an international Math, Physics, Informatics, Chemistry or Biology Olympiad. Combined, there is maybe a couple dozen of those kids in any given year applying to colleges.

Next tier would be US olympiad finalists (maybe about 20 per subject). With them, you could get to about 100 (very optimistically, as not all of them are juniors). I would still consider them superstars. They are basically about as good as those who made the cut to go internationally.

The next tier are mere USAMO qualifiers, USACO Platinums, USAPhO medalists, ISEF winners, etc. There's probably a few hundred of those combined, probably more than 300, but a lot less than 1,000. Experience of son's older peers shows that those give a boost, but are not a guarantee, at the very top schools. I would call them stars, but maybe not super stars. Because I am being modest :-)
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by randomguy » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm

decapod10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:59 pm


Thanks for the citations, I will take a look at them, I appreciate it.

I am not yet convinced that the Kruger/Dale methodology (at least the early papers which used actual admissions) is flawed. If I were designing a study trying to determine the added value of a school, I would probably do exactly what they did. Looking at students who were admitted to Harvard but didn't end up going to Harvard would effectively erase most concerns of selection bias (since both cohorts were good enough to be admitted to Harvard), which is really the biggest problem with these sorts of studies in my view (selection bias is the biggest problem I mean).

But it's good to get more information for sure. I've glanced over the Witteveen/Attewell study and I'm not yet clear on how they address selection bias (which factors are they controlling for?). I think I'll need more time to process it, I'm not as familiar with reading these types of research papers. It's definitely quite dense, lol.
The fear is that they introduce some other type of selection bias. Why didn't those students chose to go to Harvard and does it matter? For example take these 2 students
a) 4.0 gpa 1500 SATs, parental income of 50k. Gets full ride to harvard and full ride to state school
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one? Or maybe there is something like state school has a better department in the specific field the student is interested in.

Or of course it could be the combo of school and networking doesn't matter a ton when talking about the top 1% of the college population. Most of them could probably skip college and do ok:)

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by UpsetRaptor » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:03 pm

randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm
decapod10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:59 pm


Thanks for the citations, I will take a look at them, I appreciate it.

I am not yet convinced that the Kruger/Dale methodology (at least the early papers which used actual admissions) is flawed. If I were designing a study trying to determine the added value of a school, I would probably do exactly what they did. Looking at students who were admitted to Harvard but didn't end up going to Harvard would effectively erase most concerns of selection bias (since both cohorts were good enough to be admitted to Harvard), which is really the biggest problem with these sorts of studies in my view (selection bias is the biggest problem I mean).

But it's good to get more information for sure. I've glanced over the Witteveen/Attewell study and I'm not yet clear on how they address selection bias (which factors are they controlling for?). I think I'll need more time to process it, I'm not as familiar with reading these types of research papers. It's definitely quite dense, lol.
The fear is that they introduce some other type of selection bias. Why didn't those students chose to go to Harvard and does it matter? For example take these 2 students
a) 4.0 gpa 1500 SATs, parental income of 50k. Gets full ride to harvard and full ride to state school
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one?
Bingo! And those that say "well then they're adjusting for socioeconomic background, which is still beneficial" are missing a key point in study methodology: In Kruger/Dale (and many of these other studies) they are ALREADY adjusting for this factor. So if the proxy is really just doing another re-adjustment on the socioeconomic factor, the study's methodology is inherently flawed.

I'm trying to think of a good example. Let's say we have a baseball pitcher, very good ERA, good defense behind him. A stat comes out that correctly adjust for this, let's call it Fielding Independent Pitching, and the resultant FIP nerfs the pitcher's stats but still shows him to be a good pitcher. If you double-dip and re-adjust the pitcher's ERA down again from FIP based on the defense a second time, the result shows him to be average.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by decapod10 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:41 pm

randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm

The fear is that they introduce some other type of selection bias. Why didn't those students chose to go to Harvard and does it matter? For example take these 2 students
a) 4.0 gpa 1500 SATs, parental income of 50k. Gets full ride to harvard and full ride to state school
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one? Or maybe there is something like state school has a better department in the specific field the student is interested in.

Or of course it could be the combo of school and networking doesn't matter a ton when talking about the top 1% of the college population. Most of them could probably skip college and do ok:)
Fair enough. I think ultimately anything you choose will have imperfections, and people will have different opinions as to what sorts of imperfections you are willing to accept. My personal opinion is that this is probably the best way to remove selection bias that you could realistically accomplish, but I'm sure there are reasons why I could be wrong and reasons I could be right. It's probably one of those things that is difficult to convince the other person about.
UpsetRaptor wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:03 pm


Bingo! And those that say "well then they're adjusting for socioeconomic background, which is still beneficial" are missing a key point in study methodology: In Kruger/Dale (and many of these other studies) they are ALREADY adjusting for this factor. So if the proxy is really just doing another re-adjustment on the socioeconomic factor, the study's methodology is inherently flawed.

I'm trying to think of a good example. Let's say we have a baseball pitcher, very good ERA, good defense behind him. A stat comes out that correctly adjust for this, let's call it Fielding Independent Pitching, and the resultant FIP nerfs the pitcher's stats but still shows him to be a good pitcher. If you double-dip and re-adjust the pitcher's ERA down again from FIP based on the defense a second time, the result shows him to be average.
I am not so convinced by this argument. We know that family education and wealth are linked (higher family education = more wealth), we know that gender and wealth are linked ( men tend to make more), we know that certain minorities tend to make less money. By your argument, if a study corrects for gender, family education, race, and wealth, then it is quadruple-dipping on socioeconomic status. I don't believe that's how statistical corrections work because virtually every sort of study controls for these 4 variables, but again I'm not an expert on statistical analysis.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by ThatGuy » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:34 pm

randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one?
How does a family making $250k get a full ride to state? Inquiring minds want to know!

In all honesty, this seems a rather contrived example.
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by EddyB » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:41 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:34 pm
randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one?
How does a family making $250k get a full ride to state? Inquiring minds want to know!

In all honesty, this seems a rather contrived example.
Many schools would give significant merit aid to an applicant with a 4.0 and a 1500 on the SATs.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by ThatGuy » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:03 pm

EddyB wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:41 pm
ThatGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:34 pm
randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one?
How does a family making $250k get a full ride to state? Inquiring minds want to know!

In all honesty, this seems a rather contrived example.
Many schools would give significant merit aid to an applicant with a 4.0 and a 1500 on the SATs.
Can you point to "many"? For instance, the UC's won't.
UC Berkeley wrote:The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship offered by UC Berkeley to entering undergraduate students.

...

The Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship includes a monetary award that is renewable annually for up to a maximum of eight semesters for incoming freshmen and a maximum of four semesters for incoming transfer students. Scholars without financial need receive a $2,500 honorary award per year. Scholars with financial need are awarded a scholarship up to their full need as assessed by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.
Work is the curse of the drinking class - Oscar Wilde

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by HereToLearn » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:07 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:34 pm
randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one?
How does a family making $250k get a full ride to state? Inquiring minds want to know!

In all honesty, this seems a rather contrived example.
There are some full ride scholarships to a handful of state schools, specifically for those students who are National Merit Finalists. Approximately 1/2 of one percent of all students who take the PSAT will become NMF. These scholarships are based solely on merit.

There are other schools that offer full tuition scholarships, again based solely on merit. Vanderbilt and USC are the two privates that offer approximately 100 of these full tuition (not full ride) each year.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by HereToLearn » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:11 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:03 pm
EddyB wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:41 pm
ThatGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:34 pm
randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one?
How does a family making $250k get a full ride to state? Inquiring minds want to know!

In all honesty, this seems a rather contrived example.
Many schools would give significant merit aid to an applicant with a 4.0 and a 1500 on the SATs.
Can you point to "many"? For instance, the UC's won't.
UC Berkeley wrote:The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship offered by UC Berkeley to entering undergraduate students.

...

The Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship includes a monetary award that is renewable annually for up to a maximum of eight semesters for incoming freshmen and a maximum of four semesters for incoming transfer students. Scholars without financial need receive a $2,500 honorary award per year. Scholars with financial need are awarded a scholarship up to their full need as assessed by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.
I don't think the UCs give much money, so will assume that your link is correct. I think that Regents award also comes with some early registration benefits.

Here is a list of the merit awards offered to NMSF and NMF. List is not current for upcoming year, but it will give you an idea of the opportunities that exist.
http://nmfscholarships.yolasite.com

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by randomguy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:02 am

ThatGuy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:34 pm
randomguy wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:20 pm
b) 4.0 GPA 1500 SATS parental income of 250k. Gets 0 dollars to go to Harvard, gets full ride to state school
A goes to Harvard. B goes to state school. Are you measuring the effects of going to Harvard versus State school or are you measuring the fact effects of being raised in an upper middle class home versus a middle class one?
How does a family making $250k get a full ride to state? Inquiring minds want to know!

In all honesty, this seems a rather contrived example.
Merit based aid of course. The details don't really matter. Imagine there is no scholarship and B is faced with 70k for Harvard or 20k for state school that they can commute to from home. Same situation. Is it rational to pay 200k more for harvard or should you save that money for grad school? Or maybe it is a 2nd tier private school that is trying to get top students to go there and doing it by throwing money at people.

I would want to interview a decent sample size of the kids making these choices to try and make sure their isn't some factor that tilts the results. Being free for low income but not for upper middle class seems like an obvious one. But who knows what else could be out there. Maybe most of the kids are picking other schools with better programs in their fields of interest.

And I really want someone else to look into the problem with slightly different methodology and see if they get similar results. The amount of stuff that doesn't stand up when looked into is crazy high. It is way to easy to make honest mistakes somewhere along the lines.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by UpsetRaptor » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:12 am

decapod10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:41 pm
I am not so convinced by this argument. We know that family education and wealth are linked (higher family education = more wealth), we know that gender and wealth are linked ( men tend to make more), we know that certain minorities tend to make less money. By your argument, if a study corrects for gender, family education, race, and wealth, then it is quadruple-dipping on socioeconomic status. I don't believe that's how statistical corrections work because virtually every sort of study controls for these 4 variables, but again I'm not an expert on statistical analysis.
You're not understanding what I'm saying, or what is going on, with the Kruger/Dale study.

Of course you should correct for those four variables. That's what most of the literature does. And it consistently finds that the ROI for selectivity is still there.

Over-correcting for one of those variables by correcting for it twice is the problem. That's (probably) Kruger/Dale, and why it's the outlier from the rest of the literature.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by ThatGuy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am

HereToLearn wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:11 pm
I don't think the UCs give much money, so will assume that your link is correct. I think that Regents award also comes with some early registration benefits.

Here is a list of the merit awards offered to NMSF and NMF. List is not current for upcoming year, but it will give you an idea of the opportunities that exist.
http://nmfscholarships.yolasite.com
Aye, I'm aware of the NMF awards. Those are used by lower tier schools to attract students of higher quality in order to boost their rankings.

Going through the yolasite link the only school I would view as having prestigeon that list is Texas A&M. This surprised me, but they're ranked down at #66 by US News, and apparently have an acceptance rate near 70%. Besides, the award is not full ride, but full tuition.

A student who gets into Harvard will have options such as USC or Vanderbilt, as referenced above. Even the USC award is only half tuition, not full ride. So what I'm poking at is I have a really hard time believing there are more than a a handful of of students that would chase prestige enough to apply and get into Harvard, and then settle for one of those schools. I believe it of a homo economicus such as stoptothink, but you can't run a study without a representative sample.

Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by livesoft » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:29 am

ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am
Aye, I'm aware of the NMF awards. Those are used by lower tier schools to attract students of higher quality in order to boost their rankings.

Going through the yolasite link the only school ....
The doc at the link is not a complete list of NMF awards in my opinion because I know of awards made by schools not named in the link. The awards that I see missing are the $2,000 ones for schools that cost upwards of $40,000 a year. That is, more of a participation award than a merit award.

These are awards by the schools and not by the employer of the parent which is another common funding source for NMF awards. Indeed, the difference between a NMSF and a NMF is just whether they got some money or not, isn't it?
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:30 am

ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am
Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
I think it's mostly the privates that do that.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by livesoft » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:32 am

What is curious to me about this thread is that there are fewer parents of college students & graduates participating than I expected. These parents have gone through this with their young adults recently and started long threads on the subject. It is almost as if they figured out after the fact that none of this was important enough to worry about.
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by alfaspider » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:51 am

ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am


Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
A lot of the very top schools have instituted a "no debt" policy, which means even students from relatively well off backgrounds get substantial scholarships. Several charge no tuition for families making under low six figures.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by ThatGuy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:58 am

alfaspider wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:51 am
ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am


Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
A lot of the very top schools have instituted a "no debt" policy, which means even students from relatively well off backgrounds get substantial scholarships. Several charge no tuition for families making under low six figures.
Links man, links! Let's see those full ride high EFC institutions.
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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by alfaspider » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:12 am

ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:58 am
alfaspider wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:51 am
ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am


Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
A lot of the very top schools have instituted a "no debt" policy, which means even students from relatively well off backgrounds get substantial scholarships. Several charge no tuition for families making under low six figures.
Links man, links! Let's see those full ride high EFC institutions.
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-c ... h-no-loans

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:18 am

alfaspider wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:51 am
ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am


Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
A lot of the very top schools have instituted a "no debt" policy, which means even students from relatively well off backgrounds get substantial scholarships. Several charge no tuition for families making under low six figures.
Which schools are you referring to? Can you be more specific?

A handful (under 10?) of the wealthiest liberal arts colleges meet all demonstrated need with grants only, but require significant family contributions from families with significant means.

“A lot of the top schools” sounds like this practice — or perhaps something more generous — has become a norm in this space. Has it? Some more details would be useful.

Andy.

Andy.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:23 am

alfaspider wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:51 am
ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am
Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
A lot of the very top schools have instituted a "no debt" policy, which means even students from relatively well off backgrounds get substantial scholarships. Several charge no tuition for families making under low six figures.
The students at HYPMS I know that graduated with loans were either families that found it advantageous (subsidized loans) or, more worryingly, families where divorced parents were unwilling to meet their obligations. Even in those cases, the loan amounts were not crippling by comparison to what one reads about.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by HereToLearn » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:53 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:32 am
What is curious to me about this thread is that there are fewer parents of college students & graduates participating than I expected. These parents have gone through this with their young adults recently and started long threads on the subject. It is almost as if they figured out after the fact that none of this was important enough to worry about.
Parent of one grad and one current student. I wouldn't say that I think that none of it was important enough to worry about, but that many come here with preconceived notions and do not want to hear something that contradicts their thinking.

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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by A-Commoner » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:56 am

My daughter went through this in 2017. She got accepted to 3 of USNWR's top 20 schools (UChicago, Notre Dame, and UCLA). She/we were sick of living in the Midwest for too long, so UCLA it was, and we all moved to Los Angeles. She is now a junior, doing well as a pre-med student. She managed to survive the weeder classes in freshman and sophomore years (Organic Chemistry, Physics) with high GPA intact that is competitive for med school application.

In response to the OP's thread on the "merit of a selective college", our anecdotal experience is that it depends on the major and the career path the student is planning to take. In my daughter's case, UCLA has been a great fit as a pre med student. It's a nerdy/STEM-y school that is balanced by great athletics and arts programs. The beautiful campus in Westwood is icing on the cake.

UCLA is strong in the biological sciences. She was able to do bench research in molecular biology last year under the mentorship of a top notch professor (Cornell grad). The research project allowed her to attend meetings with and hobnob with fellow researchers from that esteemed school across town, Caltech. Speaking of which, there is a lot of cross-pollination that goes on, it seems, among the selective schools. Looking at the resumes of my daughter's teachers, I see people from Stanford, Cornell, U Michigan, Oxford, Harvard etc coming over to be TAs or professors at UCLA. Another merit to attending a selective school.The networking effect is real.

She will be shadowing a pediatrician this year at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center (which is, if USNWR is to be believed, the number 1 hospital in California and 6th in the nation).

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by HereToLearn » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:57 am

ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am
HereToLearn wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:11 pm
I don't think the UCs give much money, so will assume that your link is correct. I think that Regents award also comes with some early registration benefits.

Here is a list of the merit awards offered to NMSF and NMF. List is not current for upcoming year, but it will give you an idea of the opportunities that exist.
http://nmfscholarships.yolasite.com
Aye, I'm aware of the NMF awards. Those are used by lower tier schools to attract students of higher quality in order to boost their rankings.

Going through the yolasite link the only school I would view as having prestigeon that list is Texas A&M. This surprised me, but they're ranked down at #66 by US News, and apparently have an acceptance rate near 70%. Besides, the award is not full ride, but full tuition.

A student who gets into Harvard will have options such as USC or Vanderbilt, as referenced above. Even the USC award is only half tuition, not full ride. So what I'm poking at is I have a really hard time believing there are more than a a handful of of students that would chase prestige enough to apply and get into Harvard, and then settle for one of those schools. I believe it of a homo economicus such as stoptothink, but you can't run a study without a representative sample.

Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
The USC auto award is half tuition, but many of those awarded half are invited to interview on campus for the opportunity to be awarded full tuition. I do not recall the figures now, but half of those invited to interview are awarded full tuition, with some receiving additional amounts, but not full ride. IIRC, approximately another $20-$25K across the four years toward housing and research, in addition to full tuition.

Vanderbilt's full-tuition award includes a stipend for summer research, or perhaps two summers. Cannot recall.

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Re: Merits of a Selective School

Post by ThatGuy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:02 am

alfaspider wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:12 am
ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:58 am
alfaspider wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:51 am
ThatGuy wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:17 am


Another point of contention is that I'm unaware of any student who has received a full ride with a high EFC. The states just don't have the money to do that.
A lot of the very top schools have instituted a "no debt" policy, which means even students from relatively well off backgrounds get substantial scholarships. Several charge no tuition for families making under low six figures.
Links man, links! Let's see those full ride high EFC institutions.
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-c ... h-no-loans
Not a single state school on that list. I'll also leave this quote from your link.
But that doesn't necessarily mean the cost of attendance at these schools is zero dollars. Most no-loan colleges aim to cover each family’s demonstrated financial need – the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution, referred to as EFC.
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Ben Mathew
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Re: Selective Colleges

Post by Ben Mathew » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:15 am

Presintense wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:20 pm
The three/two dual degree programs affiliated with many selective schools are a guaranteed admission for anyone who meets the gpa standard. Our son was unable to gain admission into one of the most selective private schools in the country straight out of high school. He spent two years at a three/two affiliated school whereby he finished his bachelors in Physics in two years plus two summers and met the gpa requirement. This gained him automatic acceptance into said selective school. The two years were tough because he wasn't where he wanted to be. Such is life. Last week we moved him to the city of his new school where he will begin classes next week and we felt good about the way he persevered and found a way (although unconventional) to gain admission. For those who want to go, but think they can't get in, a dual degree program is a solid option.
These seem to be only for engineering programs (liberal arts schools followed by elite engineering school). Is that correct?

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