|By Iska (Iska) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:27 am: Edit|
Interesting, but long, Atlantic Monthly look back article for those starting the application process:
|By Dadx (Dadx) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:01 am: Edit|
Nicely written, although I could do without the drumbeat of "odd-ball word analogies" and that the SAT "effectively rewards high income and social standing". Please....isn't it enough to just dump on high income without contorting yourself with the social standing claim. I suppose next year we'll learn that the SAT rewards those who understand flossing and have blonde hair.
The coninuing comments on how ED disadvantages lower income kids ring hollow to me too. I understand the ostensible reasoning, but with all the studies these academics do, if there were any factual evidence that this was the case they would be on it like flies on ....honey. I submit that there is no evidence that it makes a difference in financial aid awards.
|By Nedad (Nedad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:21 am: Edit|
Dadx - I support ED because it is a huge reduction in stress for kids who know for sure where they want to go, and because it is the ONLY slight advantage that students who are NOT URMs, recruited athletes, or legacies. I do not think ED benefits ONLY the college; it benefits kids to who don't have to spend most of their senior year stressing out.
SATs do correspond very, very strongly with parental income, though I highly doubt that it has anything to do with being able to afford prep classes (since this correlation has existed for decades, before prepping was a big deal, and it exists even considering rich kids who DON'T take prep classes), nor do I think it has much to do with the supposed fact that high-income people are constantly exposing their kids to museums and symphonies! I DO NOT go so far as to say, as some do, that it is because intelligence is partially inherited. Instead, I think it is because highly successful people set a certain kind of example for their kids.
No flames please - I believe that people who are highly intelligent but low paid, doing jobs that serve the common good, including teachers and artists, also set excellent examples for their kids.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:39 am: Edit|
The benefits of ED for students can be gained by adopting SCEA, as the piece points out.
I agree with you on the SATs. I suspect, however, that when the phrase "low-income" is used, it is not often associated with teachers, artists, etc..., but more likely with janitors, food service employees, and others who do not have a history of attending college and may not be English-speakers or have books lying around in their houses. In my community, we have children of Ph.D. candidates qualifying for Free or Reduced Lunch, but they are obviously very different from the kids of new immigrants who live in subsidized housing.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:14 am: Edit|
Dadx -- I think ED can disadvantage low income kids simply because there are so many fewer spots available in the RD round. This is particularly true for the schools that fill close to 1/2 their class ED, like Princeton and Columbia.
However, I think the biggest disadvantage is for those kids who are not sufficiently low income to get enough need-based aid, but not high income enough to be able to pay full fare. So basically the "middle income" families who are doing well enough that colleges won't give them need based aid, but they can't fork out 40K per kid per year. These kids will need merit aid of some sort, and that doesn't come ED.
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:55 am: Edit|
This really gets me. We are so called "middle income." We have worked very hard all our lives to earn a comfortable living. We thought we invested wisely for our children's college education but the bottom dropped out of the market and many of us are in the same boat. We make a decent living but can never afford the price of private college. I guess we could give up food but that's not practical. With 2 in college next year our choices are narrowed to the extremely competitive public schools (at least the better ones). We do not believe in mortgaging our children's future with heavy college debt. So yes, I believe that merit awards are very necessary because we, in the middle, are being excluded from the best colleges because the tuitions are impossible to pay. Our children are being discriminated against because their parents achieved a great deal but just not enough.
|By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:06 am: Edit|
Minormajor, in recent years from the NE area in which I live, students with stats similar to your son's, and in top 10% of class, have been accepted with merit awards to Tulane. Good luck!
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:17 am: Edit|
With two in college at the same time, your family may qualify for financial aid.
|By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:41 am: Edit|
Minormajor, I would consider ourselves middle income or perhaps upper middle class. We cannot afford to pay tuition either and have no savings. One might not think of us to get aid as you think of aid for low income families but my daughter got some (not a lot) need based aid from every college on her list (all privates). You also could have your child apply to schools offering merit based aid. We did not do that though at acceptance time, my daughter got two merit based scholarships that we did not even know two of her schools had, the rest did not by the way. We have a freshman in college and one applying to college right now so we are looking at a college bill each year of over $80,000. Maybe we could afford to pay 20% of that. Unlike you, however, we are willing to go into debt (ours, not our kids') to pay for this. I am not advocating that as an option for you necessarily but this is what some of us in the "middle" must do to afford this as we cannot pay for college out of yearly income. With two in school next year, I hope the aid my kids get increases some.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:53 am: Edit|
Soozie -- I had the same thought when reading Minor's post -- that many people will do what you are doing, pay what you can and borrow what you need to, and pay it back over time. I know several who have done just that.
Obviously, it's a personal choice. If you do take Soozie's approach, certainly you are making a sacrifice. And those of us who DID save aggressively over the years have made sacrifices, too. It's really something each family must decide for itself, and no one else can really tell you what to do.
The good news for you is that if your son does in fact have high test scores and a good academic record, there are likely to be some merit awards available. He should look into schools that are generous with merit aid and make sure he includes them on his list.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:16 pm: Edit|
Very few of these articles describe the macro-benefit of ED. The overall system works better because ED very efficiently identifies and matches up schools with the qualified students who most want to attend. Having students who enthusiastically want to attend your school is a big plus.
In many ways, the binding ED round is the part of the college application "market" that works most efficiently in terms of placing students in appropriate colleges without the burden on the system that comes from students submitting eight to ten applications, shotgun style. To the extent that you remove "self-selection" (which is what binding ED is really all about), the system collapses under a crush of applications. Imagine a system where each student submits 100 applications instead of 10, having no idea where he or she will get accepted and each college having a 4% yield instead of 40%. Total nightmare.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:55 pm: Edit|
"The overall system works better because ED very efficiently identifies and matches up schools with the qualified students who most want to attend."
I disagree -- the reason this statement is not going to be true is that it is based on the false assumption that all or even most ED applicants have thought through the process carefully and have concluded that they want to attend this school above all others, and that those kids who feel otherwise haven't applied ED for that reason alone.
There are many reasons kids don't apply ED to their first choice school, and one big one is the need to compare $$ offers. In addition, plenty of kids apply ED as a strategic choice, not b/c it's their first choice school (I mentioned on another thread a girl I know who is applying to Williams ED although Brown is her first choice, b/c she is concerned about competetion from other classmates applying to Brown, and thinks she can get into Williams ED).
And certainly you will have ED kids who AREN'T enthusiastic, for whatever reason ("what if" syndrome, for example).
|By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:12 pm: Edit|
Remember in "Fiddler on the Roof" when Tevye told one man he was right, and then his opponent that he was right, and a third man chimed in with, "They can't BOTH be right," and Tevy answered, "You know, YOU are also right?" Well, I feel like Tevye.
Rhonda, for the most part I really agree with your points...but to also agree :-) with Interesteddad, I think that for the most part adcoms can see through at least some of that gaming. I have talked to many, many adcoms over the years and know most about own Ivy where I used to interview. There are ways to tell from the essay, package and interview how much the student REALLY knows about the detailed specifics of a school. On a required scale of 1-9, I score A LOT of ED candidates below 4 because it was crystal clear from the interview that they had NO compelling reason to apply.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:09 pm: Edit|
Even the "gaming" aspect of binding ED contributes to efficient self-selection and matching of students to colleges.
An ED acceptance is de facto proof that the student has correctly identified an appropriate match between his or her qualifications and the admissions standards of the college -- at least to a far greater degree of precision than indicated by many of the "What Are My Chances" threads on this forum.
I do not buy the theory that the majority of successful binding ED applicants have simply thrown a dart to select their first choice school. The reasons for making a first choice selection may vary from student to student, but that doesn't imply that the reasons are not valid. I don't honestly know how my daughter could have invested more "due diligence" in her ED choice or how a different school could have satified more of her criteria. From the school's perspective, her enthusiasm is a benefit. The process was a win-win for everyone involved.
I don't think that my daughter's ED experience is atypical.
Because it requires less of a commitment, non-binding EA may actually result in less due-diligence on the part of applicants. It's the binding commitment part of ED that leads to an efficient marketplace with a high degree of self-selection.
|By Farawayplaces (Farawayplaces) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:25 pm: Edit|
Yes, ED does disadvantage low income students.
Our son was a recruited athlete at the beginning of his college search. We visited Cornell, whose coach leaned on him to apply ED. Coach took our financial aid info, and came up with what he thought we would pay. Might even be lower, he said. It sounded good, but our stubborn son refused to commit. Instead, while we cursed under our breath, he spent Christmas vacation on four more applications.
Were we glad! In April when the offers came through, Cornell's FA was nowhere near the coach's estimate, nor even that of the other four schools, who were within a few hundred dollars of each other. We simply could not have afforded to send him to Cornell.
It's a mystery to us yet how this school could be so different from the other offers. ED is not a risk I would advise students needing financial aid to take.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:29 pm: Edit|
I just don't think that the due diligence in order to select one single school is necessarily all that beneficial. But unlike others here, I'm not that hung up on perfect fit.
Certainly ED is great for kids who have a first choice school, can work out the finances, and can get in ED. It worked out very well for my D.
And I think the goals you're talking about -- to match up kids with school -- while I don't necessarily agree that is so important -- can be adequately met with ED that contains a cap on the portion of class accepted ED. I'm not sure what arguments there are against this approach.
I think SCEA works fine even though it's not binding. Even under your theory, if you have only one EA option, you do have to invest some due diligence to select it. But your options (including $$ options) remain open.
Voronwe -- I don't really know whether adcoms can see through the gaming. My guess is some can and others can't. In terms of my D's application, she certainly knew she wanted to go to Brown, but frankly I'm not sure how well she indicated that on her application. She wrote an essay, which I didn't read, but I don't think it focused on "why Brown" -- I don't think that was the question asked. There was a shorter "why Brown" essay, but I don't know how anyone can take a couple of hundred words and know whether or not she had exercised the kind of due diligence in making the choice to apply there ED. Frankly, in reading about numerous visits etc, she probably didn't compared to what other people do.
Interestingly, her alumni interviewer told her that the interviewer's opinion really didn't matter, but the college likes to make them think it does! My guess is a really, really bad report from an interviewer can hurt you, but if they want to take you, they'll take you in spite of a lukewarm one. I imagine D's went fine, and interviewer was kind enough to call after Brown informed her D had been accepted.
|By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:36 pm: Edit|
I've already noted our case. The range of offers from "need-blind" "100% of need" schools differed by as much as $48k over four years (more than half the cost of my house!), and with required loan amounts varying from $0 to $17.9k.
Of course, I don't believe in the least that any of these schools is really need-blind, for reasons I've stated elsewhere. I also don't believe they are without "merit aid". Merit aid at these schools (for students with financial need) amounts to how much of the package is made up of loans, workstudy, and summer expectations. Indeed, the Ivies ended up having to admit as much when they settled a suit with the federal government regarding collusion - both before and after the short period when their agreements were in effective, Ivies would compete with each other by "buying" athletes and others with differentials in the aid packages (i.e. what percentage was actually grants), and in juggling EFCs in such a way so as to provide more aid to some, and less to others.
The point is that there is no "mystery" to this at all, just information to which we are not privy.
|By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:53 pm: Edit|
Rhonda and Marite, isn't it true that SCEA is only advantageous to schools like Harvard and Yale that have a high yield? Why would be it advantageous to other schools? I know it is an advantage to students in terms to being non-binding....
I know we often talk about what should or should not happen...but unless it is in the interest of the individual schools, I don't see how it can happen.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:54 pm: Edit|
At the MIT info session, the Dean of Admissions, Marilee Jones talked about interview as an important piece of the application. Some of the alumni interviewers were in fact sprinkled in the audience and invited to stand up when she identified them by name. I also overheard her urging a couple of individual applicants to make an appointment to have an interview soon.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 03:00 pm: Edit|
Achat -- I think you're right about SCEA being best suited for those schools w/high yields. But I think those are the very schools at which ED emphasis is a big problem, because those are the reach schools and the ones that get the most applications per spot.
I guess my opinion is that if the elite schools switched to SCEA (all of them) or voluntarily agreed to a cap on the portion of class admitted ED, it would have a beneficial effect throughout the system.
Marite -- it may well be different at other schools, I'm just repeating what the Brown interviewer told my D.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 03:00 pm: Edit|
Here is a quote from the article referenced by the OP. I think that SCEA is probably the best compromise between ED, and unrestricted EA. And from observing my S trying to arrive at a decision, it requires as much due diligence as ED but it also makes allowances for buyer's remorse.
>>The spread of the single-choice early plan has already reduced the wild oversupply of applications to Harvard, which last year had 50 percent fewer early applicants than the year before. "Our sense is that students were targeting their early application to the college they most wanted, and were realistic about their likelihood of a match," says Marlyn McGrath Lewis, Harvard's director of undergraduate admissions. Meanwhile, Stanford had 62 percent and Yale 42 percent more early applicants after they jettisoned their binding programs. Many people express views similar to that offered by Andrew McNeill, of the Taft School: "Single-choice early action is the future.">>
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 03:01 pm: Edit|
I was actually a bit surprised by the importance MIT seemed to accord the interview.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 03:41 pm: Edit|
>> The spread of the single-choice early plan has already reduced the wild oversupply of applications to Harvard, which last year had 50 percent fewer early applicants than the year before.
The "wild oversupply of applications" would be further reduced by binding Early Decision. Why? Because ED actually requires a commitment on the part of the applicant. Quid pro quo: you commit to us; we commit to you.
There is no longer a "sense" that students are applying to the college they most want to attend; it's right there in black and white with a binding ED application.
|By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 03:42 pm: Edit|
ED has other advantages for "need-blind, 100% of need schools", in that even students requiring financial aid can't compare offers. I was amazed last year watching my friends "appeal" financial aid awards, even among the top Ivies, by sending them copies of the awards received from other schools. Magically, families became more needy, and with it, the aid to cover the newly discovered need. I saw loans magically turn into grants, EFCs get refigured to provide $5-6k more aid per year (enough to pay fora new car!), and summer earning expectations mysteriously melt away. All from schools that had already figured out, to the penny, what the family required based on their "need", and for which no new circumstances had arisen.
I think we might call them "post-RD merit scholarships". Or simply the free market at work. The prestige places HATE to be turned down -- it lessens their prestige! (LOL!)
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:03 pm: Edit|
I don't disagree with you. But ED works best for students who do not need to compare offers. See Mini's post below yours. I, too, know cases of applicants whose financial aid was increased by need-blind schools when they faxed competing offers to these need-blind schools (huh!). And it made a difference in their decision as to which of these need-blind schools to attend (yes, I repeat the phrase need-blind schools, because, like Mini, I'm being tongue-in-cheek). In fact, even without the post-facto increase, there ought to be no reason why schools offered different financial aid to applicants based on exactly the same financial information. But they do. And as long as they do (and increase their s0-called need-blind financial aid package in order to compete for top applicants), it would be foolish for an applicant in need of financial aid to tie himself of herself down by using ED.
|By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:11 pm: Edit|
I am wondering if other than Harvard and a few other very high-yield, very hard to get into schools, do school administrators pay attention to issues like this. For example, Harvard got rid of binding ED in favor of first non-binding EA and then SCEA. Would other schools, let's say in the top-fifteen or twenty be willing to do that? I would think not. They can't.
I also wonder if college administrators or people who report to them read boards like this to see what the concerns are for the "consumers" in this market, namely the students.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit|
I agree. ED does not work for those who want to compare aid packages in April. But, in reality, EA accomplishes nothing for those applicants either. They still have to mail the stack of apps in December. They still have to wait to April to find out what schools are options. So, other than a small bit of piece of mind, the EA acceptance is pretty much worthless. Of course, that's fair, too since the "investment" the student makes in non-binding EA worth next to nothing to the college.
Getting rid of binding ED isn't going to change the financial aid picture. Each school is still going to admit "x" number of full fare passengers. The only difference is that the number of apps will skyrocket, yield numbers will decline, and the unpredictabilty that plagues the current system (for students and colleges alike) will be magnified. The whole process would benefit from having each student apply to four colleges instead of eight or twelve. Binding early decision is one way to move the system in that direction, for some students.
|By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit|
I agree. That's why I favor the ED auction. It will give colleges more leeway with financial aid, more money captured for the endowment, and eliminate uncertainty on the part of poorer folks, who will know not to apply.
At Williams (or Swarthmore), the bidding would start at $260k (four years at $65k each, the actual cost of providing the education.) I bet there would be plenty of bidders. And prestige would go up. And they'd never have the problem of the ED acceptance who now can't afford it.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:31 pm: Edit|
If a student is admitted EA or SCEA, s/he does not need to send quite as many other RD applications, assuming that the news in December is good--perhaps another 2 or 3 at most, instead of 7 or 8. I think that is the main value of the EA/SCEA over ED.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:40 pm: Edit|
The EA acceptance is definitely not worthless. First, as Marite says, it should reduce the number of RD apps. Second, it's possible the EA school WILL give you a good aid offer, further minimizing (or even eliminating) RD apps.
I'm wondering what others who have obviously thought about this issue think of a voluntary cap on portion of class accepted ED.
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:53 pm: Edit|
It would be great if selective colleges could work out some sort of matching system, like the Resident Match that virtually all medical students go through. They'd have to work out the financial aid bit, and I'm not sure a supercomputer could handle the number crunching, but it would certainly reduce the anxiety and the number applications - just the illusion that the system wasn't arbitrary decreased the number of people "cheating" in the Resident Match.
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:55 pm: Edit|
It would be great if selective colleges could work out some sort of matching system, like the Resident Match that virtually all medical students go through. They'd have to work out the financial aid bit, and I'm not sure a supercomputer could handle the number crunching, but it would certainly reduce the anxiety and the number applications - just the illusion that the system wasn't arbitrary decreased the number of people "cheating" in the Resident Match.
|By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:02 pm: Edit|
Rhonda, they would agree to a voluntary cap if the playing field was level for all of them to begin with. But is it? That's my question.
But the voluntary cap is a good idea, in my opinion.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:04 pm: Edit|
My opinion is that the LAST thing the college admissions game needs is ANOTHER quota....er, I mean...."loose target".
Reducing the percentage of the class filled by ED applicants is not going to improve the financial aid picture one iota. The same distribution of students will still be accepted, simply moving some from Dec. to April notification.
Forcing more high-stat, full-fare kids to apply to eight schools instead of one school is not going to make it EASIER for need-aid kids. As it stands today, each successful ED applicant is only clutching ONE acceptance in his or her grubby little paw come April. Do you think it will help if each of these high stat, full-fare customers is clutching EIGHT desireable acceptance letters?
Take away binding ED and you will force the few remaining "need-blind" schools to abandon that policy in favor of a merit-based discount structure. It will be the only way they can survive in the redefined "yield" game. Guess what...you've just redistributed the aid pie at the nations top 3 dozen schools from lower income applicants to higher income applicants -- the exact opposite of what the anti-ED proponents seek to accomplish. The "bartering" round in April will double in intensity and, guess what, it won't be the low-stat, low-income kids the schools are fighting over.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:16 pm: Edit|
ID -- I don't really understand your last paragraph. Here's my rationale -- one reason ED applications have increased so much is the admissions edge if you apply ED. It's particularly strong at the schools with huge portions of the class accepted ED (e.g., 32% ED acceptance rate at Princeton).
If you limit the portion of class accepted ED, the ED acceptance rate will go down, and the RD rate will go up, assuming the same number of ED and RD apps. That means the admissions edge for ED is reduced and there are more spots available RD.
You say the same distribution of students will be accepted, some will just be moved from Dec to April. If that's truly the case, what is the problem? The April kids now have more options.
If the rich kids apply to more schools in April, and even if they are accepted to a number of them, I'm not sure that matters -- they can only attend one in the end.
And I understand it won't improve the overall financial aid picture, but the "middle income" kids will have a more realistic chance of getting in in April to a school if half the spots aren't already filled.
And yes yield will be lower, but presumably if there is an agreement among schools, all their yields will go down (although schools like Princeton and Columbia would be disproportionately affected b/c of their huge ED emphasis currently).
I don't understand how reducing the portion of class accepted ED (NOT eliminating binding ED) would result in a merit-based discounting structure (actually I'm not even sure what you mean by that).
I guess the reason this approach is appealing to me is that the main thing that has troubled me about ED is the way the schools use it to hike up yield, by locking so many kids in early, and leaving so few spots for the RD round. A more limited use of ED doesn't seem to raise the same concerns.
Someone else mentioned the med school matching system. That seems problematic to me -- don't the residency places decide collectively who goes where? I'm not that familiar with it, though.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:27 pm: Edit|
The med school matching system would not work for undergraduate education. In med school, there is only one major--medicine, so all applicants can be compared with one another. They don't have to worry about "building a community" and filling their football teams, their orchestras, balancing classes so that they are not entirely filled with econ majors and no classics majors. etc... The number of schools involved and the number of hospitals where students can do their residency is also limited. Not so colleges. I'd sure hate it if my S wanted a small LAC and ended up at a university with 50k other students!
|By Nycdad (Nycdad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:33 pm: Edit|
ID...EA, in most cases, does offer advantages beyond getting an early decision. Yes...if they want to compare offers, they'll have to wait until April.
But most schools accept a greater percentage of those who apply early than they do of those who apply RD. For example, Yale, which switched to SCEA this year, accepted roughly 16% of its early applicaants; just 8% of its RD applicants.
And there is certainly the perception, if not the reality, that if the acceptance isn't binding, then the school has a greater incentive to make a competitive financial aid offer. And if they don't, at least you've got options.
|By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit|
If I were a college administrator, I'd ignore all of these concerns entirely. My purpose would be to form a class (not accept individuals but form a class) that best meets my institution's needs as defined by the trustees. If I could do that by taking 100% of the class ED, I would do just that. I certainly want to lock down the oboe player, the football quarterback, the math genius, the developmental admit, the weighty legacy, the kids from the toney prep school where I need to placate the GC, the 17-year-old international opera star, the last member of that obscure tribe from North Dakota, Ashley and Kate, the Olympic iceskating champion, and the future captain of the tiddlywinks squad. And if I can get them all to pay full-freight, so much the better so that, in my "need-blind" system, I can consider need heavily in acceptances come April, and buy myself some minorities and poor folks (but not too many.) And if my expectation is that there are folks who aren't in those categories, but who have high SAT scores and etc. and don't cost me much who I can lock in now (and create more happy families), why not? It creates more prestige!
None of these schools have anywhere close to the yield of the South Puget Sound Community College nursing program (and entering GPAs are lower, too - not a single student got into the program with more than a single A-minus in a year of collegiate work before entry.) The reason I think that is worth noting is to demonstrate that college prestige is not determined either by selectivity or yield or even, necessarily, the quality of program.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 06:18 pm: Edit|
>> one reason ED applications have increased so much is the admissions edge if you apply ED. It's particularly strong at the schools with huge portions of the class accepted ED (e.g., 32% ED acceptance rate at Princeton).
I'd have to see some data indicating that ED applications and percentage of class have increased. My understanding is that Williams and Swarthmore have been filling roughly a third of their classes ED forever. I don't know what the exact percentage was when both my wife and I applied ED in the 1970s, but I know that ED was very common among my entry-mates -- not unusual at all.
>> If you limit the portion of class accepted ED, the ED acceptance rate will go down, and the RD rate will go up, assuming the same number of ED and RD apps.
Ah, but there's the false assumption. Reduce the number of ED acceptances and the total number of apps goes through the roof. My daughter submitted one application. Had she not applied ED, she would have submitted eight or nine applications. Multiply her by one third of the freshman classes at every elite binding ED school. One third of elite college students multiplied by eight new apps each is a TON of new RD applications, applications that are heavily skewed towards the attractive end of the admissions pool. That's one third of the total elite college enrollment that colleges will be fighting over in the merit aid contest like dogs gnawing on a bone. There is no way that scenario improves the financial aid picture for lower income (and, thus, lower stat) college applicants. With binding ED, that's one third of the total elite college enrollment that the schools don't have to outbid each other to get in April.
What has gone up is the number of Early applications at schools that switch from binding ED to non-binding early action.
It drives me nuts when "researchers" attempt to generalize from the admissions data at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. As I've said all along, the yield numbers at those three schools result in a situation where their admissions numbers do not behave in the same fashion as normal college admissions.
|By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit|
And the evidence for an admissions "edge" is very, very sketchy at best. There is no evidence whatsoever that students getting in ED wouldn't have gotten in RD. Their test scores (from what I've read) are the same. Their grades are the same. They do tend to be wealthier (but, as already noted, wealthier people have an edge in admissions, whether ED or RD). Those accepted are more likely to fill a school's particular need (oboe players and tiddlywinks champs.) (An English horn player in hand is worth two in the bush.)
What we do know is that fewer people apply. More legacies apply. More development admits apply. More recruited athletes apply. Is it a surprise that in most snooty places (Pomona excepted), ED admit rates are higher?
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit|
If a student isn't a solid applicant for a college in the RD round, he or she isn't going to be accepted in the ED round.
Any admissions edge in ED lies in selecting one qualified applicant over another qualified applicant and is fairly easy to understand:
a) The ED apps can be read more thoroughly at a stage in process when the adcoms are fresh
b) Of couse a college is going to accept the qualified app who says, "this is my #1 choice, I LOVE your school" over the equally qualified applicant who says, "well, you are one of eight colleges I'm considering and if you accept me, I might think about attending, especially if you make it worth my while...". Who, in their right mind, wouldn't prefer the first applicant?
|By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 07:34 pm: Edit|
"Of course a college is going to accept the qualified app who says, "this is my #1 choice, I LOVE your school" over the equally qualified applicant who says, "well, you are one of eight colleges I'm considering and if you accept me, I might think about attending, especially if you make it worth my while...". Who, in their right mind, wouldn't prefer the first applicant?"
First of all, we know at least from Pomona that this is factually false. They DON'T prefer them. Secondly, logically, it is false as well. Admissions offices may use ED in just the way I described above, to lock down candidates they wish to lock down, or feel they have an obligation to lock down. Take those out of the equation of each set of ED applications and I believe that, factually again, you will find no statistical advantage to ED whatsoever, at a large number of the top schools. Love simply doesn't translate to admission.
And, logically, that makes sense, too. Once you've got your English horn player, etc., and the son of the person that puts the screws on the trustees, or the daughter of the dean, or the son of the guy who donated the chemistry building (or will), or the all-state linebacker, (and this amounts to quite a few admits!), there is no reason NOT to play the "two-in-bush" game, especially when you consider that the admissions office is not accepting individuals, but constructing a class. The pool will be equally qualified, there will be more of them, with a larger set of individualized characteristics, and it will be easier to fashion a class. The only reason you wouldn't do so is to ensure you have enough full-paying customers from the December round so you can afford some of the poorer ones (not too many!) later.
Your "of course" is no "of course" at all, if I believe there are better candidates of the full-paying variety to be had later. And simply factor out the legacy ED admits (forget all that other stuff) and, at many schools, that becomes instantly clear.
|By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 07:45 pm: Edit|
I think one of the benefits of ED is that the kid who is sure of their choice will get their ap in and approved (hopefully) before the bump down begins.... I use the term bump down to descrive the VERY talented kids who might apply ED to a school like Harvard....get rejected...and then submit apps to Yale, Brown, Colimbia, Penn, etc....and wind up taking those spots away from the kid who knows she doesn't realy have a shot at Harvard, but can likely make Brown or Penn....this is especially true, IMHO, in those high schools where most of the kids will apply to the same 8-10 of colleges.....
In other words, ED gives Kid A a chance to secure their spot... before Kid B, who is only slightly more talented, gets rejected ED from another school and starts to compete with Kid A at Kid A's choice school.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit|
Just to be clear, I don't really disagree with you. In fact, I think your characterization of "what you would do" if you were the Dean of Admissions is exactly what DOES happen.
Having said that, there is a piece of the puzzle that is missing. Specifially, I've seen bits and pieces of data to surmise that the quality (or "stats") of the ACCEPTED class at most elite schools is higher than the quality (or "stats") of the ENROLLED class. In other words, colleges are most at risk of losing their best accepted students in the yield fallout. Why? Because the "best" accepted students are the ones with the most options and best offers of merit aid in April.
As you say, we don't have all the data. But, I believe that the adcoms are looking at this in the ED round. I also believe that being equal to or better than what the adcoms know will be their final "enrolled class" stats is the bar that has to be met in ED, up to the point where the college has accepted its "quota" of ED acceptances for the year.
If the schools could not lock in a third of their freshman class in the eD round, they would have a nightmare scenario of trying to predict their yield with no hedge. The end result would be hundreds, if not thousands of students put on the waiting list, with their options on hold until June or July.
I don't entirely buy your hypothesis of "hook" or "slot" students being the only ED acceptees. I don't know for sure if my daughter was a "slot" applicant. Maybe. Maybe not. But, I don't think her roommate (also ED) was a "slot", "hook", or "walk on water stats" candidate.
|By 2dsdad (2dsdad) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 01:39 am: Edit|
"The med school matching system would not work for undergraduate education. In med school, there is only one major--medicine, so all applicants can be compared with one another. They don't have to worry about "building a community" and filling their football teams, their orchestras, balancing classes so that they are not entirely filled with econ majors and no classics majors. etc... The number of schools involved and the number of hospitals where students can do their residency is also limited."
The National Resident Matching Program matches medical school graduates (who admittedly have all "majored" in the same subject, medicine) with the 3,246 different individual programs at hundreds of teaching facilities in about 38 specialty areas. I think it is more complicated than you realize and closer to the situation of an admissions committee building next year's class. Sure, some institutions only offer one program in one specialty, but some offer twenty or more and they want to fill as many of the positions as possible with the best qualified applicants they can get. Not filling and having to take lower ranked applicants affects a program's prestige, just like in the college application process.
|By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 06:06 am: Edit|
Mini, I agree with you in principle but that doesn't explain the huge number of admits (I am not merely being anecdotal about my kids, but dozens I've known over three decades) that get in ED WITHOUT big donations, playing a weird instrument, or being legacies. Although I assume you'll say that group is the one that won't be asking for financial aid, and I'd agree with you there.
ED is something I am still EXTREMELY grateful for - EXTREMELY. You have no idea how calm and peaceful it has made senior year three times (and counting!)
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:05 am: Edit|
I don't know that the Resident Match is so far off either. I'm only talking about the top 50 or colleges - that's a lot fewer than the residency programs and med schools participating in the Match. Don't know about sports and arts - I wonder how many students would have to participate to make the process random? Where are those MIT grads?
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:07 am: Edit|
>>Sure, some institutions only offer one program in one specialty, but some offer twenty or more and they want to fill as many of the positions as possible with the best qualified applicants they can get.>>
Yes, of course. But these institutions do not worry overmuch about whether to admit yet another violin player or fill the crew team, along with balancing the needs of the classics department against the popularity of economics. They are probably as concerned with gender balance and minority recruitment, but are they interested in increasing geographical diversity?
We know that not every intern is happy with the assignment s/he has drawn. But the difference among LACs and universities is so much greater than among teaching institutions; one would need several committees to sort out students who want to attend LACs, mid-sized universities, large universities, schools only in warm climates, schools only in cold climates, etc...
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 08:58 am: Edit|
ID -- I really don't have data, but I believe it is true that Princeton, Penn, and Columbia have all increased portion of class accepted ED over the past decade. If I have time, I'll see if I can find any info.
I agree that there will be more RD applications overall, although I'm still not sure whether there will be more at any given school. In any case, even if there are, there will also be more available spots.
|By Dadx (Dadx) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 09:58 am: Edit|
Brown has a fairly interesting write-up on their site directed towards guidance counselors which discusses some of their considerations in switching from EA to ED a couple of years ago. It has some points that I wouldn't have thought of.
Also has their stats at the bottom broken down by class ranks and SATs, and gives applications acceptances and matriculations for different scores and ranks. Pretty interesting to peruse.
One thing that I think is a question mark is that Avery's book asserts that applying early is like raising your board scores by (100?) points. Regardless of whether his data showed this when he compiled it, My personal suspicion is that if you were to have all the data and analyzed it accurately for last year, that applying early to the HYPSM didn't do much for you at all.
Having early programs, binding or not, at the top 10 or so schools does do a great favor to all of the other schools by lowering the number of appllications they receive from students who wouldn't attend anyway. Interested Dad's take on this is exactly on point. He's also right about the "researchers" who generalize from the HYPSM situations to others.
|By Idler (Idler) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 10:48 am: Edit|
To return to the Atlantic article, the hope is expressed that colleges will become more candid in disclosing their real numbers. The standard comparisons of ED vs RD acceptance rates are misleading, because so many use ED to lock up URMs, athletes, desireable legacies, and other well-hooked applicants. Back them out, and the unhooked kid who thinks he can trade keeping his options open for a better shot at admission might find that the benefit is not so great.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit|
It would also be useful if they would report RD yield separate from overall yield.
|By 2dsdad (2dsdad) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 11:46 am: Edit|
"one would need several committees to sort out students who want to attend LACs, mid-sized universities, large universities, schools only in warm climates, schools only in cold climates, etc... "
I am not sure how applicable the NRMP is to the college admissions process but there are no committees that decide for applicants which field to go into, which geographic area they should go to, which size program, etc. It has been a while since my wife and I went throught the drill, but I believe students still submit a rank ordered list of the programs that they would like to be considered for and program directors submit a rank ordered list of the applicants each program would like to have. All the NRMP algorithm does is make the "best" match based on the two sets of lists.
|By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 11:59 am: Edit|
Dadx, that Brown site was great! It showed that TWO THIRDS of valedictorians and salutatorians WERE NOT ADMITTED, and THREE-FOURTHS of those with SAT scores over 750 WERE NOT ADMITTED! Yes, those guys did better than other applicants, but it proves that the hysteria over perfect scores, or wanting to do away with your rivals so you can be Val, guarantees nothing! I mean, we all know that, but it's hard to convince some people....
|By 2dsdad (2dsdad) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 12:43 pm: Edit|
The problems that led to the institution of the National Resident Matching Program sound like some of the problems that students and parents are complaining about with the present college admissions process. Many, if not most, of the problems had to do with extreme competition among students for what were perceived to be the best positions and extreme comepetition by program directors for what were perceived to be the best students.
GME Selection Process Before the Match – An Overview
The Match was created to solve the following problems, which characterized the graduate medical education (GME) selection process from the 1920s until the first Match in 1952:
* Pressure on students to select internships well before their senior year of medical school, see Students Pressured for Early Appointments; Exploding Offers
* “Exploding offers” that expired after an extremely short period of time (e.g., 24 to 48 hours) and gave students little time to consider their options
* Positions filled early through side-deals disadvantaging minority and other students without personal ties to the medical establishment
* Students feeling forced to accept less desirable internships because they had not yet heard from programs they preferred
* Conflicting schedules among programs for offering internship positions, which limited students' choices
* Failure of programs to abide by informal and formal agreements on uniform appointment dates, see Repeated Failure of Uniform Appointment Dates
* Failure of students and programs to notify each other when they had accepted offers or filled all their positions
* Ineffective and unfair mechanisms for notifying students of internship offers
* Severe timing problems and offer gridlock unresolved by agreements on shortened offer periods, see Repeated Failure of Shortened Offer Periods
And what about the whole affirmative action/preferential admission debate?
PRESERVING THE MATCH: PROVIDING FAIRNESS AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MINORITIES
The Suggestion That The Match Reflects “Racial Biases” Is Blatantly False And Reflects A Fundamental Misunderstanding Of The Match And The Process Of Securing Residencies.
The Match is a completely transparent process for matching the preferences of students and residency programs. Formed at the request of students, it is designed to ensure that applicants have sufficient time to choose a specialty, apply to and interview with as many institutions as they desire, and seek offers from their top choices among programs without having to pass up offers from programs that they may prefer less.
The Match has nothing to do with how students and programs rank each other and does not collect or distribute any information on the race or ethnic origin of applicants.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 01:07 pm: Edit|
>> It would also be useful if they would report RD yield separate from overall yield.
That one can usually be figured out from the Common Data Set and other info released by colleges. Here is the relevant data for the Fall 2003 freshman class at Swarthmore:
EARLY DECISION I & II
Enrolled: 137 (assuming 100%)
Acceptance rate: 46%
Acceptance rate: 22%
Acceptance rate: 24%
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 03:17 pm: Edit|
Thanks 2dsdad, I mentioned it off-hand, but I've thought since this process began that a program like the Match could go a long way toward defusing the anxiety of admissions. The thing about the Match is that ideally and in practice, most of the time, the candidates and the programs rank order their choices independently. In terms of crafting a class, I would think statistically, you could determine how many oboe players you would have to admit to get an acceptance (after all in the RD round, the school might have to admit 3 oboists to get 1 now), and increase their rank accordingly. Athletics, particularly some team sports might be a challenge, maybe they would need tips.
Before the Match there was a lot of gaming as 2dsdad describes - hot prospects got a lot of very early offers, more normal students felt pressured to take the first offer they got, students and institutions who followed the rules sometimes got cheated or were poorly used.
Who knows, it is just speculation.
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