Archive for the ‘College Admissions’ Category

If your kids are college bound…

March 29, 2019

Here’s a site that you must check out.
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In a prior post, we questioned: “Are colleges watering down their curriculums?” … and reported on  a survey conducted by American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

The ACTA criteria and methodology  specifically  assesses whether students are learning the “essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

The results: Only 2% of the surveyed schools earned an A grade from ACTA.

For details, see “Have colleges watered down their curriculums?”

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The overall statistics are interesting (and disappointing), but what’s more meaningful is how specific schools are doing.

Here’s how to find out…

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Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

March 27, 2019

A survey seeks to  answer that question.
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In a prior  post, we reported that employers think that most college graduates are poorly prepared for the work force in such areas as critical thinking, communication and problem solving.

See A bigger college scandal than the recent admissions bruhaha…

Let’s dig a little deeper on that sentiment.

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The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) conducted a survey of “Core Requirements at our Nation’s Colleges and Universities” to determine what students are really learning in college.

Specifically, the ACTA survey focused on the courses that a student is required to take outside the major.

These courses — commonly called general education classes or the school’s core curriculum — are, according to the ACTA, “ the foundation of a school’s academic program”.

They are the courses “generally  designed to equip students with essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

Here is specifically what ACTA was looking for…

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College admissions scandal: Much ado about nothing?

March 25, 2019

Maybe so, but it shines a spotlight on other college problems.
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It was easy to get caught up in the recent college admissions fiasco.

It had all the ingredients of popular scandal: rich celebrity stars and industry titans, elite colleges, outrageous (and illegal) adult behavior, sports abuses, social injustice.  All constantly re-fueled by continuous cable news looping.

Today, let’s step back and put the bruhaha into perspective.

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Nicholas Lemann – of Columbia’s School of Journalism – cut to the chase in the New Yorker:

Busting the admissions cheaters is the right thing to do, in addition to being emotionally satisfying.

But it won’t change America’s colleges much for the better.

Let’s drill down on that…

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Are SAT scores income-biased?

March 22, 2019

The simple answer is ‘yes’, but it’s more complicated than that.
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I stumbled upon an interesting analysis…

According to Daniel Friedman  posting on Quillette.com:

There is a statistically significant relationship between family income and SAT scores.

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Let’s drill down on the numbers…

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Are “the meritorious” a protected class?

March 19, 2019

In a prior post, I opined  that an applicant to an elite college is “qualified” to attend that college if they have sufficient smarts and dedication to learning that it is reasonable to expect that they can successfully complete the coursework that’s required to earn a degree.

See Just how dumb are Lori Loughlin’s daughters?

If you buy that definition, then many (maybe most) of rejected applicants are qualified … but get rejected because there aren’t enough slots to accommodate all of them.

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Which raises another question: is there certainty that the most qualified students get offered admission?

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Just how dumb are Lori Loughlin’s daughters?

March 18, 2019

Or, the more pertinent question: Are Lori’s daughters “qualified” to attend USC?
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I hate to pick on Lori Loughlin’s daughters (<=not really) but, in the recent college admissions scandal, they’re the only  kids who have been outted (in detail) by the media … and, let’s be honest, they are easy targets.

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Evidence re: smart or dumb is scant – i.e. IQ or legit SAT scores haven’t been reported – but there are a couple of data points:

  1. The video loops on cable news are less than flattering (e.g. “I’m looking forward to the football games and parties” — not “the high level of intellectual challenge”);
  2. Lori’s stating that “I didn’t push my daughters to get A’s in high school” — suggests that they met their mom’s low bar and didn’t get many A’s;
  3. it took a whopping $500,000 to open USC’s “side door” for the girls — that suggests that the girls had a lot ground to make up.
  4. Lori shelled out the $500,000 (and allegedly committed a couple of felonies in the process) …that’s pretty dumb … and, at least some of everybody’s “smarts” comes via their parents DNA.

So, it seems reasonable to conclude that the girls aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Does that mean that they aren’t “qualified” to attend USC?  

That’s a trickier question…

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“Half of all U.S. colleges to close or go bankrupt in the next decade”

March 1, 2019

That’s the gloomy prediction of disruption guru Clayton Christensen
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And, it’s not just the tidal wave of online programs or ballooning college tuitions.

Moreso, Christensen’s prediction is on track, according to a WSJ recap of economist Nathan Grawe’s “Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education.”

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Grawe’s central thesis: Birthrates have plunged 13% since the Great Recession … and that “birth dearth” will cost America 450,000 fewer college applicants in the 2020s.

Here are some of the specifics….

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Finding college-caliber disadvantaged high-schoolers …

December 3, 2018

Universal SAT / ACT testing  “finds” talented low-income college candidates
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Interesting study reported by Brookings

Entrance exams (ACT or SAT ) are required for admission to virtually all selective colleges in the US.

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For low-income students, that’s a hurdle to overcome.

Students have to register and pay for these tests, and then travel to a testing center on a weekend to take them.

This is straightforward, if you have internet access, a computer, a credit card, and a car.

If you are missing any of these resources, it’s a lot more challenging.

The nearest testing center may be in a suburb that is unreachable by public transportation early on a Saturday morning.

To overcome these hurdles, several states are now giving the ACT or SAT exams in school, for free, on a school day during school hours.

The benefits are two-fold …

(more…)

Here’s a way to get your kid into a better college…

October 16, 2018

Instead of submitting SAT scores, take an ancestry-DNA test.

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Call it the “Elizabeth Warren Method”.

The Senator used DMA testing to  “prove” that she is at least 1/10th of 1% Native American and she stands behind the legitimacy of her claiming minority status for academic standing ….

Tech note: The DNA testers inferred from Warren’s lab sample that she  has some Native American DNA tracing back 6 to 10 generations (i.e. hundreds of years).  “Inferred” because they don’t have enough certified Indian DNA in their data base to ascertain Indian  ancestry.  So, they “project” off of South American DNA that they assume mimics Native Americans.  Said differently, 1/10th of 1% is probably overstated … with a very wide margin of error.  In mathspeak, the result is not statistically different from zero.

Math note: 6 to 10 generations ago translates to between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Indian blood … 1/1,024 = .0009765 ~.001 ~ 1/10th of 1%That’s about a big toe nail’s worth of Indian blood

A veritable  Pandora’s has been opened.…

As previously reported, some colleges are no longer requiring (or accepting) SAT & ACT scores

See University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what?

The action is a thinly veiled move  to “diversify” the student body by throttling the number of high scoring Asian-American admissions.

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I’m not a big fan of the commercial DNA testing done by ancestry sites.

But, they may be a tool for getting kids into better colleges.

(more…)

Here’s a way to get your kid into a better college…

August 15, 2018

Instead of submitting SAT scores, take an ancestry-DNA test.

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Let’s open Pandora’s box today…

As previously reported, some colleges are no longer requiring (or accepting) SAT & ACT scores

See University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what?

The action is a thinly veiled move  to “diversify” the student body by throttling the number of high scoring Asian-American admissions.

==============

I’m not a big fan of the commercial DNA testing done by ancestry sites.

But, they may be a tool for getting kids into better colleges.

(more…)

Finding college-caliber disadvantaged high-schoolers …

August 2, 2018

Universal SAT / ACT testing  “finds” talented low-income college candidates
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Recently, some name-brand colleges have announced that they would no longer require SAT or ACT test results.

The rationale: the tests may be culturally biased, dampening diversity.

Hmmm.

Taking another tack, the Brooking Institution recently published a study suggesting that diversity can be enhanced with more, not less, SAT/ACT testing.

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Entrance exams (ACT or SAT ) are required for admission to virtually all selective colleges in the US.

For low-income students, that’s a hurdle to overcome.

Students have to register and pay for these tests, and then travel to a testing center on a weekend to take them.

This is straightforward, if you have internet access, a computer, a credit card, and a car.

If you are missing any of these resources, it’s a lot more challenging.

The nearest testing center may be in a suburb that is unreachable by public transportation early on a Saturday morning.

To overcome these hurdles, several states are now giving the ACT or SAT exams in school, for free, on a school day during school hours.

The benefits are two-fold …

(more…)

University of Chicago drops SAT / ACT scores … say, what?

June 26, 2018

While I was beaching, my MBA alma mater – the University of Chicago recently announced that it will no longer require its American undergraduate applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores.

“The new policy is meant to help even the playing field for students coming from low-income and underrepresented communities.”

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The intent is certainly commendable, but the policy strikes me as problematic…

(more…)

Finding college-caliber disadvantaged high-schoolers …

February 14, 2018

Universal SAT / ACT testing  “finds” talented low-income college candidates
============

Interesting study reported by Brookings

Entrance exams (ACT or SAT ) are required for admission to virtually all selective colleges in the US.

image

For low-income students, that’s a hurdle to overcome.

Students have to register and pay for these tests, and then travel to a testing center on a weekend to take them.

This is straightforward, if you have internet access, a computer, a credit card, and a car.

If you are missing any of these resources, it’s a lot more challenging.

The nearest testing center may be in a suburb that is unreachable by public transportation early on a Saturday morning.

To overcome these hurdles, several states are now giving the ACT or SAT exams in school, for free, on a school day during school hours.

The benefits are two-fold …

(more…)

SOTU: Trump gave a shout-out to “American grit” ….

February 1, 2018

What is this “grit” that he’s talking about?
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In his inaugural SOTU, President Trump said:

Together, we can reclaim our building heritage.

We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land.

And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.

So, what is this “grit” that he’s talking about?

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Well, psychology professor Angela Lee Duckworth has researched successful students, athletes and business managers.

She concludes that talent and intelligence will get you only so far.

Prof. Duckworth says the characteristic that separates successful people from the also-rans is, in a word, grit”.

Grit is tenacious spirit that keeps certain people dedicated to their goal (whether it involves their studies, their projects, their clients, or something else) for the long haul, determined to accomplish what they set out to do.

Grit is working with intensity and  stamina over long periods of time to incrementally chip away at some goal.

Prof. Duckworth says schools & companies should recruit people who are not only smart, but also demonstrate “true grit”.

Maybe she’s onto something.

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Here’s a TED talk in which Prof. Duckworth summarizes her findings.

 

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Oh Swami, what’s the secret to success?

January 9, 2015

Psychology professor Angela Lee Duckworth has researched successful students, athletes and business managers.

She concludes that talent and intelligence will get you only so far.

The characteristic that separates successful people from the also-rans is, in a word, grit”.

Grit is tenacious spirit that keeps certain people dedicated to their goal (whether it involves their studies, their projects, their clients, or something else) for the long haul, determined to accomplish what they set out to do.

Grit is working with intensity and  stamina over long periods of time to incrementally chip away at some goal.

Prof. Duckworth says schools & companies should recruit people who are not only smart, but also demonstrate “true grit”.

Maybe she’s onto something.

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Here’s a TED talk in which Prof. Duckworth summarizes her findings.

 

If you want more here’s is a link to a longer talk Prof. Duckworth gave recently.

(more…)

Maybe, the best college essay ever written …

August 12, 2014

Too bad it was written after-the-fact.  After the rejections.

The WSJ published an op-ed by a HS senior: To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me

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It’s worth reading … says the things that most of us are probably thinking.

Here are some highlights:

(more…)

Oh Swami, what’s the secret to success?

March 26, 2014

Psychology professor Angela Lee Duckworth has researched successful students, athletes and business managers.

She concludes that talent and intelligence will get you only so far.

The characteristic that separates successful people from the also-rans is, in a word, grit”.

Grit is tenacious spirit that keeps certain people dedicated to their goal (whether it involves their studies, their projects, their clients, or something else) for the long haul, determined to accomplish what they set out to do.

Grit is working with intensity and  stamina over long periods of time to incrementally chip away at some goal.

Prof. Duckworth says schools & companies should recruit people who are not only smart, but also demonstrate “true grit”.

Maybe she’s onto something.

======

Here’s a TED talk in which Prof. Duckworth summarizes her findings.

 

If you want more here’s is a link to a longer talk Prof. Duckworth gave recently.

(more…)

Maybe, the best college essay ever written …

April 1, 2013

Too bad it was written after-the-fact.  After the rejections.

The WSJ published an op-ed by a HS senior: To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me

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It’s worth reading … says the things that most of us are probably thinking.

Here are some highlights:

(more…)