Purposely rejection kids with high scores?

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Discus: Ivy League Schools: Harvard University: 2004 Archive: Purposely rejection kids with high scores?
By Amylase (Amylase) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 09:26 pm: Edit

why! why but just go to the archives or PR stats database. so many brilliant asian kids with high score got rejected. WHY! why are they purposely rejection high testing kids? what's wrong with us! should we revert the whole thing and work hard to get 90% ranks and sub 1000 SATs?

By Voigtrob (Voigtrob) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 09:33 pm: Edit

Have you ever seen a 90% ranked sub 1000 SAT scorer get into Harvard? Don't think so. Those "perfect" asian kids are just boring, is all. And Harvard doesn't want a boring class.

By Congresssenator (Congresssenator) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 09:37 pm: Edit

High scores only merit a CONSIDERATION, not ADMISSION at an uberselective institution.

Amylase, I realize you are an international, and that your perception of universities is tainted somewhat by China's pure meritocracy. This is not the case in the United States; the ability and resources to contribute to the collegiate environment is something emphasized highly in the States. Terribly boring it would be to have a college full of Asian violin and tennis players with 1550+ SATs, 780+ IIs, and premed/engineering aspirations. Balance is the key here.

By Piquant77 (Piquant77) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 10:34 pm: Edit

Aiya. I see you're back Amylase...just relax a bit. I come from your country and had my interview very recently; they told me candidates from China are hand-picked for interviews, so if you got one, you're already at the top of China's applicants (especially as most of them can't take the SAT's..that eliminates most of the competition right there)! I'm a U.S. citizen here so it doesn't apply as much to me, but certainly you should be proud to have made it that far (no matter what happens in April).

Since my communication with Harvard, I've come to realize that this board is overly pessimistic. Yes, it lets us know the harsh truth..that 90% of us will get thin envelopes, and that admissions is very complicated and random. However, I think often most students get this "impossible" mentality that bars them from actually considering the very selective colleges further. I know; I myself had figured it was a lost cause and just found myself not even hoping or caring about decisions.

So just one word of advice that you rarely hear on these boards: yes, it is difficult, but it is not impossible. Someone has to make it in, and it could be you. If you applied, you must think you have some chance...unless you did it just because "it's Harvard". :S So just wait and see what happens..and for heaven's sake don't reject yourself before they can reject you. :P

By Emperoriv (Emperoriv) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Racist comments are useless. Are you implying only Asian kids with perfect scores are boring? or ALL Asian kids are boring?
One should be banned for such comments...

By Boxosox (Boxosox) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

it's not racist, Amylase directly refered to a specific type of student

"why! why but just go to the archives or PR stats database. so many brilliant asian kids with high score got rejected."

and Voigtrob resonded directly to that reference

"Those "perfect" asian kids are just boring, is all"

She asked why Asian kids with perfect scores get rejected and he aswered that Asians with perfect scores tend to be commonplace and very similar, and thus, in his words, are "boring" to the admissions committee. It's not racist for the same reason that saying African Americans with perfect scores are rare and thus very exciting to admission committees is not racist.

By Congresssenator (Congresssenator) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 11:17 pm: Edit

Shoot, I'm Asian and I concur completely with voigtrob.

By Eaglescout (Eaglescout) on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 11:54 pm: Edit

And a token one that that! (sup CW)

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

What has repeatedly been pointed out on various CC boards, and also is emphasized on Harvard's website is that Harvard admissions are based on far more than stats. Certainly one needs certain minimum stats to be considered for admission to Harvard: minimum 1200 SAT, "B" average, an academic curriculum, but one doesn't need perfect stats to be admitted.

Harvard could fill up its classes with valedictorians, students with 1600s and students with straight As in AP courses. Harvard wants, though, not a class filled with people who study all of the time, but with smart people who represent a variety of interests, talents and intellectual passions.

As a result, a person who has only 1600 scores, straight As, validictorian status and AP courses to offer while having a boring personality, no ECs adn no intellectual interests or talents will be turned down in favor of someone such as a student with a 1350 SAT, 3.6 average who has pursued in depth for years an unusual intellectual interest or talent.

The US does not operate the way that educational systems in some other countries do. The person with the highest scores doesn't get automatic preference. Colleges here are far more than places in which one learns and regurgitates lectures.

An equally important part of the US college experience is the interaction that students get with classmates, including in conversations and in extracurriculars such as student government, music societies, student magazines, student sports, etc. Students who appear to have nothing to contribute to such things (i.e. students with no prior experience of doing things like this) are not likely to be sought after by top American universities.

Schools, though, below the top 25 or so liberal arts and national colleges may seek out such students to boost their own stats of admitted students.

CalTech may be the only top 25 school that is likely to accept a student who is exceptionally strong in stats but very weak in ECs.

People who don't like or agree with the typical American admissions system probably would be far happier applying to universities elsewhere that rely mainly on testing and grades as admission factors.

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit

Would you say that Harvard wants maybe 100 of the 1600 students in each class to be hardcore nerds (study-hard types)?

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 03:06 pm: Edit

"CalTech may be the only top 25 school that is likely to accept a student who is exceptionally strong in stats but very weak in ECs. "
BTW, that statement has to be wrong unless you consider activities such as research and Olympiad/national/international awards to not count as strong EC's. After all, of its class of 230, ~50% are the 1600 type and the other half are of the strong research/award type.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit

Harvard isn't looking at all for students who simply study because they desire to get high grades.

Harvard is interested in attracting some students who are "genuine scholars" This means students whose "hook" is a genuine love of scholarship. These are not students who write papers exactly up to the level that will get them "As." This is students who write papers up to "A" level and then go way beyond that because they are interested in the subject matter.

These are students who stay after school and ask questions, not to brown nose, but out of genuine interest.

These are students who can find something interesting in virtually any academic subject and whose idea of fun is doing something like reading or research.

Just as Harvard wants students who are star athletes, star musicians, star writers, etc., they also want star students who are genuine scholars: The type of students who some day will be tenured faculty members and stellar researchers at some of the world's top universities.

You still proved my point: If students have extraordinarily high stats, CalTech is likely to accept them -- whether or not they have ECs. A student with a 1600 SAT, 800 SAT IIs, 4.0 average in all AP courses, a dull personality and no ECs at all is likely to get into CalTech. The student may not get into other top 10 universities.

By Congresssenator (Congresssenator) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 03:27 pm: Edit

Hi Eaglescout!

By Amylase (Amylase) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 07:58 pm: Edit

I agree with you perfectly Northstarmom. I know American system don't place much weight on numbers, but more interest on genuine intelletual interest and scholarly pursuits (which is what me and most 'high testers' wanted to have).

But many of the kids with high SAT and GPA do have that. I think there is also a misconception in america that people tend to associate high testing valeditorians with dull personallity, when many of us have both. You are an old member here, so you might know Serene, Madrigal, Canadian_idol, evil_robot, chasgoose, etc.

My comments might be biased, favoring high testing kids. You are a harvard alumni, a long standing interviewer for the admissions, and you know their policies and standards well, so you might give a more balanced and impartial view. But since I myself is a high testing and my be somehow 'dull' kid, so it is understandable that I will sympathize those high testing kids.

Thanks everyone

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

I'm rather appalled that NSmom is assuming that high stats people are of the "no love of learning" type. My estimation is that no more than 25% of the 1600/800/4.0 students can be characterized like this. The others I know/met loved what they did (which was mostly math). (This is not to say they didn't like all their subjects; they enjoyed all subjects overall but particularly loved math)

By Voigtrob (Voigtrob) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 12:15 am: Edit

Boxosox: Thank you. ;)

Congressenator: Haha. :)

Yea I mean the point is I don't care how good your stats are - if you don't have something more to offer to the college community, which Harvard obviously wants to be vibrant and exciting, you're going to be rejected. I see a whole bunch of kids who spend all of high school desperately wasting their time BEING a 1600/800x3/4.0 kid, instead of out living their lives and being who they truly are. And I think Harvard realizes that these kids will come to Harvard and do exactly the same thing they did in high school - do well. They will just... do well. Oh hey, another A on your test? Congrats. Oh wow, you pulled another perfect paper? ...awesome. No it's not awesome. It's just a person doing well for the sake of doing well... it's not an exciting intellectual who lives to change the world. These are the people who tell you, 'Oh yea, maybe I'll be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a CEO.' And then you say, 'aren't those completely unrelated fields?' And they say, 'They all make a lot of money,' and chuckle. And you chuckle too, with a half-smile on your face. Their motivations are pretty darn clear. They wanna say, 'Hi, I'm Dr. So-and-so.' They wanna drive up in their Jags so people will stare at them in all their glory. They wanna have that six-figure income in their pockets. And that's why they wanna go to Harvard. And, at least I hope, thats exactly why Harvard doesn't want them.

Sidenote: There are plenty 1600/800x3/4.0s who are there because they are in fact genuine intellectuals and so on. I'm talking about the ones who aren't. So if you happen to be one of the ones who is, don't spazz out. -.-

By Lovetheriver (Lovetheriver) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

are you serious?
all you need are stats for Caltech?

By Congresssenator (Congresssenator) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 12:22 am: Edit

"The others I know/met loved what they did (which was mostly math)"

That certainly can be a problem, as well. In looking for intellectual scholars, your future tenured professors, they won't select all mathematicians either.

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 01:51 am: Edit

That's an effect of my area (Silicon Valley) and the clubs I attend.

By Thenamek (Thenamek) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 04:00 pm: Edit


Because we ALL know that all one needs to predict success in life is to look at one's SAT scores and GPA. Yup, those are the only factors that determine one's creativity, ambition, non-quantitative intelligence, moral fortitude, humility . . .

The original post is one of the most absurd loads of babble I have ever seen. Please spare us the mental anguish and refrain from posting such refuse again.

By Congresssenator (Congresssenator) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 04:09 pm: Edit

You must cut him some slack.

Us Asians are forever in Plato's cave when it comes to college admissions.

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 05:01 pm: Edit

"Because we ALL know that all one needs to predict success in life is to look at one's SAT scores and GPA. Yup, those are the only factors that determine one's creativity, ambition, non-quantitative intelligence, moral fortitude, humility . . . "

Tests don't measure those attributes but no items do. I don't think essays nor letters of rec. are that effective. Seeing how competitive the admissions process is getting, I wouldn't be suprised if we start seeing these parts of the application get ultra-commercialized/marketed.

Tests are the only part that are "fair" for everyone. No one has an advantage over anyone else. (And no, that crap about money for prep courses is bull because almost everyone I know who got 1600 self-studied w/ at most $50 of books--not to mention you can photocopy materials from friends or borrow from the library)

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 05:02 pm: Edit

(Never mind)

By Sueah85lh (Sueah85lh) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 07:13 pm: Edit

Why does it feel like we're putting colleges on pedestals here? It's not as if they have special abilities to pick out money-motivated people from the ones with good intentions. Nor do they intend to be some kind of ultimate judicial system for all of society. College admissions is increasingly a business, too, and you'll find motivations to make money and earn prestige at work in admissions offices as much as you do in the typical college application.

By Baggins (Baggins) on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 11:54 pm: Edit

Have any of you used the Princeton Review's SAT prep CD? They have a college interview section in which they ask your ethnicity. You can see the point scale on the top of the computer screen. The less points you have the less likely you are to get into a good college. When I marked Asian/Pacific Islander my points went down. I think this says that collges do look at your ethnicity and it might mean the difference between getting into a college or being rejected.

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 12:27 am: Edit

Dude, Baggins you thread-jumper!!

That's quite far off the OP's post.

By Nervous (Nervous) on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 04:45 pm: Edit

I agree with Webhappy. Tests are still a major part of the college process. Why else are people always posting stats on CC that begin with "SAT: 1500 (740V/760M)?" And, as Sueah said, it is a commercialized process. Colleges want applicants as much as applicants want colleges. The average U.S. News reader isn't going to care about what awesome essays Harvard applicants write. They care about the average range of the SAT scores. So I think perfect scores on the SATs still impress people.

But, like everyone else said, it also matters that you have a life beyond studying vocabulary. The adcoms don't want to veer straight from the George Bush lookalikes to the Studyholics. But you know what National Honor Society and varsity soccer still get distilled down to? A number, 1-5, 5 being the best.

So like it or not, everyone, numbers are here to stay.

(I think I just lost my train of thought. I apologize ahead of time for my incoherence.)

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