|By Nerdyguy (Nerdyguy) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 08:33 pm: Edit|
SAT I 1550 800m/750v
SAT II's 8002c/800physics/750 Writing
PSAT 232 80m/77v/75w
3.75 UW GPA
10/15 Honors and AP's taken
3.9 Freshman 3.9 sophomore 3.48 Junior (I know)
I would like to major in biochemistry (pre-med)
I'm worried that my junior year grades will keep me from getting in. I was just stupid. My senior year grades will be all A's guaranteed. Let's assume I apply RD with improved senior grades, can I make it? My B's were from English, History, and French.
EC's: Eagle Scout Order of the Arrow Brotherhood member, Math Tutor for one hour each day after school, Referee soccer games (since 7th grade)
I've made it to AIME 9-11 I made it to USAMO junior year; I will be National Merit Semifinalist and probably finalist with my PSAT score,
Science Olympiad 9-11 and will be on team again this year
Quiz Bowl team 9-11 We’ve won state the past three years
I will have awesome rec's from my math and science teachers. My essays will be good but not spectacular.
Senior Yr Schedule
AP Calc BC
AP Physics C
AP US History
I'm a math/science guy and I've already started school. I'm determined to get good grades. I'm not applying to HYP due to my junior year grades. Yeah, I screwed up big time.
|By Tootall (Tootall) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 09:16 pm: Edit|
I think you have a shot. you're scores should help you out. Apply Rd and with your improved Senior grades and you're in.
|By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 09:37 pm: Edit|
I believe you definitely have a shoot. Just apply RD to those school, since by then your midyear reports should be in, and if you do get all As like you said, it should level off the bad/so so grades you got in junior.
DON'T apply EA or ED though, because they'll see the junior year marks (without the senior midyear reports to back you up) and they'll be like "wtf, is this a downward trend? is the guy getting dumber?". But if you wait for RD and by then the midyear reports are in, and you do get those As, they'll just assume you had a bad year, or you made a mistake and took the initiative to fix your problems (thus the higher marks).
|By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 09:40 pm: Edit|
You should try MIT and Caltech, since you're the science type of guy, i think you'll like it there. I think you could make it. Mention the olympiad stuff, and the USAMO and AIME stuff, they like that stuff a lot.
|By Nerdyguy (Nerdyguy) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 09:44 pm: Edit|
My school doesn't rank, so that's why I didn't provide class rank.
|By Argus (Argus) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 11:33 pm: Edit|
As an African American male with astro scores and an Eagle rank under your belt, pretty much any school in the country is in your range, seriously. As long as something is not egregiously wrong with your application, you have a decent shot at Ivies, Tech Schools and even Carleton College.
The number of AfAm males with scores as high as yours in the US is incredibly miniscule. Make sure your grades go up this year, and don't let things slide. Good Luck.
|By Davidrune (Davidrune) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 01:39 am: Edit|
what does that mean? African American males perform at a lower level than other kinds of males? And this one male is the exception to the rule. In fact, maybe he scored so high because he's half white and half black.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 03:31 am: Edit|
Your PSAT and SAT scores are some of the highest of any black students in the country. The Journal of blacks in Higher Education each year reports how many black students score 750 or higher on any part of the SAT. Only a couple of hundred score that high on either the V or M SAT. Only a few black students each year score 800s on any part of the SAT.
Not only are African Americans URMs, and thus desireable for diversity reasons, but African American males are especially desireable because a far smaller proportion of them are high academically achieving and college bound than are black females. Your being particularly strong in math/science is icing on the cake. Yesterday, I was talking to a woman who administrates a college science program for URMs, and she was lamenting the difficulty of finding black males for her program.
You also have an exceptionally strong curriculum for African Americans, who on the whole take few AP courses.
With all of the above, unless you have an expulsion on your record or you write some kind of wakko essay, you should be able to be accepted to any college in the country. Are you sure you only want to apply to the ones you listed? You also should be a prime candidate for merit aid, including outside scholarships in sciences for URMs. Check the Internet to find out info about such scholarships.
Incidentally, the colleges may ask you why your junior year grades dipped. Unless your answer is something like, "I was using crack," you still should get acceptances. Just be thoughtful and honest about why your grades dipped, and what you're doing to correct them. And do make sure your senior year grades are strong.
|By Beenthereil (Beenthereil) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 10:15 am: Edit|
With your grades and scores, you should go Ivy.
Go Ivy...Being black, too, is a plus for schools looking to diversify their student population, i.e., they don't want all white males who play soccer and are in the band and do nothing else but study!
|By Covalentbond007 (Covalentbond007) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 01:27 pm: Edit|
Yeah, all of those white males look the same to me. God forbid if we base admissions on objective open standards like GPA/SAT/ECs. We must give points for being the correct skin color!
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 01:44 pm: Edit|
Covalentbond-- There are tons of white and Asian applicants who have backgrounds similar to Nerdyguy's. Overall, in fact, the most competitive colleges have far more stellar applicants with stats like Nerdyguy than the colleges have places for those people.
Thus, what will make the difference in terms of who is selected and who isn't are factors that add to the overall diversity of the class: ECs, region, type of high school, SES, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
Meanwhile, Nerdyguy is very obviously highly qualified for any college in the country. If he were an upper or middle class white male, he would be, though, among thousands of similarly qualified white male applicants. Being a black males him stand out more just as would be the case if he had attained his achievements and was first generation college, disabled or came from a terrible school system.
And there are many white males who get into top colleges with qualifications very simmilar to Nerdyguy's. There also are many white males with lesser qualifications than Nerdyguy's who still get into top colleges.
For instance, most folks accepted at Ivies don't have any 800 scores.
|By Covalentbond007 (Covalentbond007) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 06:08 pm: Edit|
Schools are not discriminating on the basis of religion and sexual orientation. Legally, there are laws against admitting on the basis of religion. However, there are no laws against admitting based on sexual orientation. It would be incredible to see how many lawsuits would be produced if schools gave preference to Christians or homosexuals (ie: deny some people because they are not Christian or gay). It is somewhat funny to see how far the diversity propaganda has spread among the public. It has obviously been indoctrinated when people start to make up "diversity" factors schools use. Thank you, northstarmom.
One question though, where in the world did you get the idea schools were discriminating on the basis of religion and sexual preference? I know of one high school in New York that caters to homosexuals, but that school is rightfully mired in controversy. Bob Jones discriminates in favor of Christians, however they receive no federal funding nor are they an accredited university. Where in the world did you get the idea that the regular run of the mill federally funded Universities are discriminating on the basis of religion and sexual preference?
No one likes to be discriminated on the basis of race. That was why race as a factor was specifically banned for all entities receiving federal funding per the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If you admit someone because he is black, you will deny someone because he is not black. That is the essence of a zero-sum game.
Northstarmom, you obviously think "diversity" is important. Will you join me in support of Voluntary Affirmative Action?
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 06:45 pm: Edit|
Schools such as the elite schools actually do try to recruit students from various religions, political orientations, and students who are gay. Students who add to the diversity of a campus in any nonwakko way are considered to be desireable.
I am curious: Since the elite schools have more excellent candidates than they have room for, how exactly do you think that the schools should make their decisions?
Right now, many such colleges select among the various qualified candidates by looking for students who will help create a well rounded freshman class. This means that the class will have people who are excellent musicians, represent a variety of majors and interests, as well as a variety of countries, regions, races, religions, political and sexual orientations and socio economic classes.
I don't see anything wrong with this because to me, the most valuable part of going to a place like an Ivy is getting to be around a lot of smart people who expose one to things that one hasn't been exposed to before.
|By Covalentbond007 (Covalentbond007) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:08 pm: Edit|
What specific "elite schools" discriminate in favor of gays? Seriously, where did you get this wacky idea? Did you think of it yourself or did you read it somewhere? Have you ever filled out a college application? It doesn't ask you if you are homo or hetero. And unlike race, you will have a hell of a time proving the gay applicant you selected is actually gay.
If you remember, the Virginia BOV recently tried to change their policy from "The school shall not discriminate on the basis of gender, political ideology or sexual preference" to "The school shall not discriminate on the basis of gender, political ideology and race". Gays were mad because they did not want to be discriminated on the basis of their sexual preference. Blacks were furious because they wanted to be discriminated for on the basis of their race. Hilarious stuff.
We select on the basis of GPA/SAT/ECs and any other OPEN, OBJECTIVE, RELEVANT and ACHIEVABLE factors. We certainly shouldn't select on the basis of a factor where you are either born or not born into the category (ie: race and legacy). That is how we should make our decisions in admitting students.
Exposing you to black people should not and is not a priority to schools. Universities are practicing Affirmative Action because of this country's deplorable past. Diversity is simply a fig leaf. As a pro-AA writer recently said, schools are not petting zoos where blacks are brought in for the benefits of whites.
|By Nerdyguy (Nerdyguy) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:11 pm: Edit|
I see your point covalent. However, if I were to be accepted it wouldn't be because I'm black. My stats are way above the fifty percentile range for ND, Carleton, and NU. They are at or higher than the 75th percentile of MOST Ivies. I live in the midwest and don't want to go too far for college. I know a lot of kids who got into ivies and their stats weren't even close to mine (asians and whites). The above posters were saying that I'm as qualified as any other student, so being black is a plus. It's not like I have an 1100 SAT and being black is going to get me in. Consider the context of their words. I will retake the SAT in October, since the 1550 is from my freshman year. That should help my application if I can obtain a 1600. Thanks for all the responses and I will consider applying to Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.
|By Covalentbond007 (Covalentbond007) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:23 pm: Edit|
You're a very strong applicant, nerdyguy. You have a very good chance to get in even if you were not black. Would you get in if you were not black? There's only one way to find out.
Obviously, I don't expect you to risk your admissions slot. It is probably too much to ask of a teenager. Form your convictions in college, nerdyguy. See AA for what it truly is. When you apply for professional school, I will expect you to make the right choice.
Good luck in your applications. I hope you will get into HYP like you want.
|By Nerdyguy (Nerdyguy) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:27 pm: Edit|
Actually, I wasn't planning on marking my race. I won't. ND is my top choice and I know my stats are good enough to get in there regardless of race.
|By Jimjunior (Jimjunior) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:54 pm: Edit|
USAMO is a huge achievement, make sure colleges see it. With your scores and ethnicity you are in everywhere you want. Impressive profile
|By Fredmurtz2 (Fredmurtz2) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 07:58 pm: Edit|
How do you feel about the charter of Duke which mandates that 13% of the incoming class is from North Carolina? Would you ask all North Carolina residents applying to Duke to leave off their mailing information -- Since that triggers a certain response.
|By Covalentbond007 (Covalentbond007) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 08:42 pm: Edit|
Hey, good for you nerdyguy. You have saved yourself a lot of cognitive dissonance in your older years.
If it is my sole discretion to rewrite the charter of Duke, then I would eliminate the 13% quota. I would concentrate on helping North Carolinians to compete, but not help them at the point of competition. It is the difference between teaching someone how to swing a baseball bat and tossing them a giant softball during a baseball game.
Legally, there is no basis for anyone to be upset over Duke setting a North Carolina quota or for them discriminating on the basis of state residence. If Duke is funded by the state, it is up to the people of North Carolina whether or not they want quotas.
However, the people of the United States have spoken about using race as a factor. I quote:
“§2000d - No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance"
That is all I want. For the government to enforce their own laws and the will of the people.
Let me ask you this, Fredmurtz2. Do you think Affirmtiave Action has the support of the majority of the citizens of this country? If so, will you join me in support of Voluntary Affirmative Action?
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 09:21 pm: Edit|
I think you are foolish if you decide not to mark your race. Your race is simply among the various factors that will be considered as part of your application.
Think about it: If you had the same stats and you were a white male living in North Dakota, a legacy, or were the son of a celebrity, or were first generation college, or had gone to a horrendous h.s. in which next to no one was college-bound, the things that I mentioned also would be tipping factors for you, making you stand out from the many other candidates who are as highly qualified as you are.
You better believe that if some of the white guys who act like all blacks somehow should hide their race on apps had any of the factors going for them that I have mentioned, they'd be highlighting them.
Heck, I've even seen people on these boards saying things like, "My ancestor was a founder of Elite U. Should I mention this on my app? Will this be an advantage for me?" "My parents are alumni and are donors, how will this help me?" " My dad knows so and so in the admissions office. Should I meet with that person to try to get them to write me a recommendation?"
You would not be somehow cheating to let the universities know your race. Your race is part of who you are. And it's not as if you are unqualified hoping that being black will cause the universities to overlook mediocre academics, ECs, etc. You are extremely well qualified for any college in the country.
IMO you should use your application to highlight any special things about yourself that would help you stand out among the many other stellar candidates. Trust me: Any candidate of any race with any sense is doing exactly that.
The white people who are encouraging you to hide your race as if listing it would be somehow cheating are using every means within their networks of old white guys to make advantages for themselves.They don't call doing that playing the race card. They call it being smart and following business as usual.
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 09:54 pm: Edit|
What Northstarmom said.
|By Fredmurtz2 (Fredmurtz2) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 10:05 pm: Edit|
> Thus, you favor preference.
Why would a policy designed to help minorities be supported by the majority? I think it's a bit of a misnomer.
The bottom line is that this country for all it's progress still has many stereotypes for those that are not within the mainstream conception of America which can be seen in every facet of pop-culture and in everyday conversations. Whether you choose to admit that reality or not -- is your call. Nobody overtly discriminates anymore or at least most don't but the covert discrimination does exist even by governmental organizations in such things as racial profiling or it can be seen in Chris Rock's movie about being President..the list goes on and on. You know All in the Family didn't get off the air until a year or two before we were born and even in the early 80's (71-85) it was a highly ranked show as was the Jeffersons (75-85). Both of which expressed continuing discrimination and the conflicts which arose. You tell me if you think discrimination is just something from the past. It wasn't until the 80's that the first interracial kiss was on T.V. (or around then).
Until America is ready to function in a practically meritocratic way (Which the real world is NOT as per a job study which showed that the non-minority candidate was favored 50% of the time above the minority candidate)..I will not join you in any such endeavor to try to make it a meritocracy in the abstract. People simply aren't treated as equals in the real world.
I have no intentions of offending anybody and if I have, I do apologize.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 10:13 pm: Edit|
If your parents aren't wealthy, they may appreciate it if you also apply to some of the excellent colleges that offer good merit aid. While the Ivies do offer need-based aid to any student who is accepted and has documented financial need (which at Harvard is close to 50% of accepted students), they don't offer merit aid.
If you are solidly middle class or even upper middle class, your parents may still be expected to pay $20k a year out of pocket. While they may be able to afford that, it still wouldn't hurt to also check out some excellent colleges that give merit aid along with educations that are up there with the Ivies.
University of Chicago and Washington University of St. Louis both are top ranked schools that also offer excellent merit aid. I think that Swarthmore also offers some merit aid, which is unusual for a liberal arts college of its quality. Wash U also offers a wonderful mentoring research program for top ranking students in the sciences.
Do add those to your list of schools to consider. Do also take the time to apply for outside merit scholarships that one can get for stellar academics, strong science/math backgrounds, and strong community service and leadership. Apply carefully (including following advice on web sites and in books that describe how to win scholarship $) and you can go to even an expensive elite college for free.
And good luck!
|By Nerdyguy (Nerdyguy) on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 10:31 pm: Edit|
Thank you Northstar mom for all the responses. I was foolish to make such a rash decision. I will mark my race on my apps. I will do everything that you have advised me. I am leaving the board now to concentrate on my studies. I will return next April and tell everyone how things went.
|By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:42 am: Edit|
You actually SHOULDN'T retake the SAT. After you score over a 1500, the colleges don't really care anymore. They start to look at your ECs, race, essays, recommendations etc... more. You have a 1550, and if you redo your SATs, the adcom will just be thinking "does this guy have anything else going on in his life?". Seriously, if you got that 1550 on your first try, that's awesome, a 1600 and a 1550 isn't different by much, and a 1600 doesn't guarantee you anything. Around 60% of those with a 1600 who apply to Harvard still get rejected.
Because of the race card, you are guaranteed a spot at any college in america. If you were asian or white, a 1550 means nothing. SAT scores mean very little to top universities after you reach a certain score, if Harvard wanted an average SAT score in the upper 1500s, they can set and meet that goal right away, the applicant pool offers them that opportunity.
Your scores are spectacular for sure, but they don't guarantee anything. An SAT score of 1550 and a GPA of 3.75 doesn't guarantee a damn thing when applying to top colleges. But the USAMO and AIME gives you a big boost, and i think, that the USAMO and AIME will get you into MIT and Caltech EASILY (even if you don't indicate your race). But due to the lottery ticket effect, i still wouldn't risk not putting other on the application.
There's no doubt you are a qualified applicant, but it's people like you i want to study with! Not the 1250 who got in only through AA, but the QUALIFIED students. I hope you get in wherever you apply. Make sure you get into whatever school you want, it is your future.
|By Supernova (Supernova) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 12:50 pm: Edit|
Nerdyguy, applying without marking your race is extremely respectable, ESPECIALLY when you're basically a sureshot with your stats in ANY school in the country if you were to use AA to your advantage.
I don't know how you feel, but if i were you, as a clearly intelligent person, i would be deeply insulted by AA.
Just one thing though, if you weren't planning on marking your race than why did you state it in your title line. B/c the kind of input you would get would be a lot different if you didn't say that. While your stats are excellent and you probably would get into the schools you mentioned regardless of race, combining your race and stats you can get into ANY school - harvard, mit, etc...whereas a white male just has a regular shot at them.
|By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:09 pm: Edit|
Agree with Supernova. Nerdguy's stats are great and all, but i personally know people (mostly family and friends) who have better stats and still got deferred/waitlisted/rejected. Top Colleges have so many qualified applicants that, today, it seems like they emphasize academics to a certain point, then after that, the ECs, Awards and Essays are the main factors that would set you apart.
Nerdguy, IF you don't play the race card, you better emphasize your ECs, and the USAMO and AIME, plus the essay. But if you do, your scores will get you in anywhere, simply for the fact that not many blacks get scores that high, and even top colleges don't see many blacks with scores that high. They'll all be racing to accept you, simply because of the combination between your race and stats.
Personally, i wouldn't mind if YOU played the race card. I think AA should be around to eliminate the lottery ticket effect for QUALIFIED URMs, if URMs were put into the lottery ticket effect, even the qualified will have a hard time getting in. If you play AA, i'm just going to hope that you'll knock the underqualified URM out of the top colleges by taking their spot. You still have a great chance of getting in, even if you don't indicate your race. Personally, i would be more satisfied knowing i got in purely for my strengths. It's your choice though.
|By Fredmurtz2 (Fredmurtz2) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:19 pm: Edit|
Woah there -- Who's to say what qualified is anyway since 90% of applicants or some figure like that can do the work?
|By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:34 pm: Edit|
A lot of people can "do" the work. But how many can "do" the work well? Not many.
|By Collegeboy453 (Collegeboy453) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 07:15 am: Edit|
Ok, first of all, if I were you, Nerdyguy, I would definitely mark my race. It only helps. But on the other hand, I don't agree with this whole preference for race thing in the first place. I can't help not being an Unrepresented Minority race. I don't choose my skin color, do I? I mean, what am I supposed to do if I'm not black? Pray that I was? All students, regardless of race, should have equal chance at every college. It may be good to the university to have racial diversity but the plain and obvious fact is that it is unfair to the individual student who works incredibly hard to get into college and gets rejected based on race. Actually, this is true not just for race, but for children of alumni, children of celebrities/other well-known people, children whose parents have millions of dollars to blow away on donations, etc. We can't help in what environment we grow up. As a last note, none of this is pertaining to Nerdyguy, who seems to be highly intelligent and well-quialified for an applicant of any race.
|By Nyu2010 (Nyu2010) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:42 am: Edit|
"The white people who are encouraging you to hide your race as if listing it would be somehow cheating are using every means within their networks of old white guys to make advantages for themselves."
And who says that all white people are rich fogies? That's a stupid stereotype. It's like saying all black people love Afrika Bambaata, now would that be true?
What about the poor white Appalachians? Colleges have completely forgotten that white people can be poor and live in a ghetto-like enviroment too!
Even though Nerdyguy says he isn't coming back anymore, I too would advise that he doesn't mention his race. If no one in the country mentioned their race, we would have eliminated affirmative action completely by ourselves! And that, my fellow posters, is something to be proud of.
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 11:30 am: Edit|
Poor white applachians have an advantage when they apply to elite colleges. As I have mentioned, the elite colleges want all sorts of diversity. This includes economic diversity.
At the places like Ivies, people of all races who are first generation college students, from poor areas, from rural areas, from ghettos, from schools that send few to colleges, come from blue collar background etc. -- all get extra consideration.
Just as being from a state like Idaho or having a celebrity or multimillionaire parent can be a factor that tips a qualified student into the ranks of those who are admitted, so can being a poor white person from a place such as Appalachia. In fact, my guess is that a poor white person from Appalachia who has the academic background to be successful at an Ivy would have more of a chance of getting in than would a black person with an equivalent background.
This is because the Ivies probably get many more qualified black applicants than they get applications from qualified poor white Appalachians.It is far easier to target black students through special mailings than it is to target poor white students.
A big reason is that students can indicate their race when they take tests such as the PSAT. They are not, however, asked to indicate whether they are low income, and probably many people would be insulted if such a question were asked.
Incidentally, there also are special pre college and college programs for people of all races who are poor. Upward Bound is just one example.
|By Collegeboy453 (Collegeboy453) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 06:27 am: Edit|
I am curious. Where does one mention on their application that they are a "poor white applicant living in a ghetto". As far as I have seen, I only remember seeing a space for race and address, not type of residence. I suppose one could write about their family's difficult lifestyle in their essay, but since there are more than one such applicant, this would after a while, cease to be a unique essay and the option to mention one's social status would, in effect, have disappeared. I am just curious, Northstarmom, as to why you are pro-"giving unfair advantages to UM's, poor applicants, etc."
NYU2010, I truly like your idea, although it will only ever be theoretically possible. Not everyone will agree with it. I still have to say, it's a good idea.
"If no one in the country mentioned their race, we would have eliminated affirmative action completely by ourselves!"
|By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 11:15 am: Edit|
The information about whether a person is poor will be very apparent to the adcoms because of what high school the student attends, what jobs the students' parents do, what education the students' parents have and possibly even due to what neighborhood or city the student lives in.
The information also can be apparent as a result of what the student writes about on their essay. The info also is apparent during interviews. The alumni interviewers that many Ivies use certainly are familiar with the neighborhoods and schools in their areas, and may include such information as part of their report.Adcoms also call guidance counselors to get detailed background information about candidates and about the schools and community.
For instance, I remember that in one of my interview reports, I mentioned that I had first met the applicant at an evening Harvard information session that the student had traveled by public transportation 20 miles to get to. I also was able to say that I had done volunteer work at her school, and it was in a very low income area in which few students went to college.
As for essays mentioning families' difficult lifestyles, when it comes to the elite schools, such schools get relatively few low income applicants. Frankly, elite colleges' adcoms are more likely to be swamped with essays from well off kids describing pricey travel or summer enrichment experiences.
That's precisely why it's a plus when applicants are low income. And, as always, it's not the subject itself that makes an essay special: It's the treatment of the subject. An essay that simply says,"I am poor. Admit me," isn't going to do much for an applicant.
Meanwhile, I have not talked about giving unfair advantages to anyone. As I keep saying: the elite colleges are overflowing with highly qualified applicants. For Harvard, for instance, about 80% of the applicants have the ability to be successful at Harvard.
After throwing out the 20% who clearly couldn't be successful, the adcoms could create a class by simply drawing names out of a hat. However, while such a class would probably be as academically successful as would a class picked by the current means, what such a class would lack would be the rich exposure to a diversity of peers that the current method allows.
Currently, any qualified applicant who has a skill or attribute that would make the class more diverse has a better than normal chance of admission. This is as true for people who play rare instruments and students planning to go into majors that attract few students as it's true for stellar athletes, poor kids in Appalachia, URMs, multimillionaire white kids and students who live in Idaho.
The bottom line is that there are far more qualified applicants than there are spaces at Ivies, and a big part of what differentiates those who are admitted from those who aren't is how much the applicant would add to the overall diversity of the campus environment.
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