Applicant Comparison (humor me)

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: Applicant Comparison (humor me)
By Drfunk (Drfunk) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 07:51 pm: Edit

The following are two applicants from one school.. they arent, but lets assume they are applying to same school.

Who has a better chance?

Applicant A

African American Female

4.05ish GPA (approx rank would be top 5 about)
1440 SAT I
640 SAT II Writing
690 SAT II Math IC
taking another SAT II this fall

Big EC's

Girl's State (state version of girls nation, very competitive)
SGA Secretary
Spanish honor society Treasurer
SGA student council
Myriad list of ECs but no clear distinction in other activities

Applicant B

Minority but not URM Male (prolly categorized as caucasian)
3.9 GPA (approx rank would be about top 15-10)
1550 SAT I
790 Physics SAT II
770 Writing SAT II
math iic this fall

major Ec's

4 summers of research work (publishing abstract as primary investigator)

Co-owner of a patent as a result of research (separate from above paper)

Pres Spanish honor society
not really involved in other school clubs
works 20 hours a week during school term on family business

both solid candidates in my book.. who do you think has the edge?

By Stephenpmi (Stephenpmi) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 09:11 pm: Edit

Both would have good apps, but I would assume that the African-American female would have the edge.

By Nealp (Nealp) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 10:06 pm: Edit

def app b b/c of research

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 10:30 pm: Edit

Numero Uno creo

By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 10:30 pm: Edit

I say the guy with the patent (if he didn't have the patent, then applicant A would have the edge). But both will get in anyways. Applicant A will get in automatically at nearly all LACs, and will be accepted also to nearly ALL top schools, while Applicant B will be accepted by the best and be rejected by many others (you know, schools that think you won't attend anyways, so they just reject you to raise the %s and stuff).

That's what i think.

By Rubenizm (Rubenizm) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 11:29 pm: Edit

if this is another one of those look-how-unfairly-i'm-being-discriminated posts, then stuff it. AA is constitutional and will not be revisited for several years. Just get over it.

By Drfunk (Drfunk) on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 12:19 am: Edit

thats not my goal..honestly. I know there is an advantage there and i want to get a better idea of how it works.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 10:15 am: Edit

The first applicant - her SATs are at least in line with her grades, while the second appears to be a very intelligent, but underachieving, individual. He might be able to get away with that in high school, but could very easily get caught in college. Also, while the patent is quite impressive, he must have had help at least getting his research position - doing research at the age of 14 is only pulled off with significant amounts of intervention. Applicant I looks like she's just not good at standardized testing - or as good as she could be.

By Drfunk (Drfunk) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 12:47 pm: Edit

Very interesting input. You must be some sort of admissions officer.. or perhaps you are a detective haha.

i think its hard to assume the part about underachiever etc. by just GPA alone.. you would have to see a transcript. Candidate A has straight A's for pretty much all of high school (including some A's for highschool classes in 8th grade). Candidate B, however, had lower grades (not poor grades) during freshman year. Let me put it this way.. if Cand B applied to Princeton where his freshman and prefreshman grades wouldnt be on his transcript he would have a 4.0.

with that said, Candidate B's research background was achieved with help (once again you are very sharp). During the early years, Cand B did BS work like helping clean the dishes/utensils. Over the years his role grew and in the last two years he took a very active role in the projects. So yes, he had help getting his foot in the door but i would think it seems that he made the ultimate decision to pursue the option at a higher level.

I guess these sorts of things are impossible to tell w/o knowing who is reading the application or knowing the applicant personally. A perfect GPA could come off as either extremely hard work and a love for learning or simple grade-grubbing. Along the same lines, the 3.9 candidate could come off as a slacker or perhaps someone who enjoys learning and is not overly concerned with grades.

I certainly hope more of you guys reply with more analysis etc.

As always, thnx.

By Mouse (Mouse) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 02:55 pm: Edit

Are these real people or hypothetical ones?

By Pistolpete (Pistolpete) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 03:03 pm: Edit

Mouse--I hope you're being facetious.

By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 03:04 pm: Edit

Applicant B's GPA is NOT low at all. He works 20 hours a WEEK, which explains the 3.9; if you ask me, a 3.9 with 20 hours of work does NOT indicate laziness. 4 summers of research does mean he has some connections, BUT he is a co-owner of a patent. This means he had a worthwhile contribution to the research, which means he's adept at research, which is impressive. His SATs and SATIIs are also more impressive.

The GPA difference and rank difference could also be due to the difficulty of the school. So saying the guy was a slacker is not fair. I'm just saying.

I personally think Applicant B is a lot more impressive. It's not important if he has connections or not, it's whether he was good at what he was doing, and that he keeps himself busy outside of school (20 hours of work during the school week). There are many young researchers who get nowhere.

By Drfunk (Drfunk) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 02:51 pm: Edit

Again, another very thoughful response.

to answer mouse, yes, both of these applicants are based upon the numbers/resumes of real people

i tried to present the facts as closely as i know them

By Cmaher (Cmaher) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 03:52 am: Edit

B if applying to MIT/Caltech or large Public Schools.

A if applying to any LAC or smaller school.

edit: African American FEMALE.. Ok I take it back, A for almost all schools.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 11:22 pm: Edit

Considering the grade distribution of candidate B, his chances improve - boys sometimes take longer to adjust to school than girls (especially early high school), and he found himself. The reason that I commented on the 3.9 however is that the school does weigh grades: Candidate A has a 4.05, which means the 3.9 is not all As and A-s. The SAT IIs are also crazy good, which suggests that he is quite intelligent. Lacking a writing sample though, it is hard to determine how he is in other subjects and in general communication. Just a thought.

Regarding the patent: quite good that he chose to continue pursuing the research at a higher level... but a patent is only one indicator of scientific and research acheivement, and a poor one at that. Consider two very different examples: Thomas Edison, who tested about a thousand different materials for a light blub filament - dedication and intelligence at work. Consider as well the patent holder for bar code scanners: came up with the idea many years before it was implemented, patented it (as you do not need the actual functional device), and then sued people when other individuals went through the effort to develop the technology for bar-code scanning. The latter only had the idea for the invention, but was permitted to patent it because it is non-obvious, useful, and a new idea/significant improvement - though he never even attempted to make the device. Likewise, the candidate in question could have had a brilliant idea, gone through innumerable experiments to get it to function, and received a patent - or he could have helped someone else iron out the details for a theoretical invention, then been a co-owner of a patent. Now, things like peer-reviewed publications, presentations at conferences, or proposals for project funding would be helpful in making a determination as to how much effort went in to this research and patent.

Just a thought.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 11:30 am: Edit

This applicant comparison sucks. When adcoms look at applications, they place each applicant in context. Either of these two have an equal shot, depending on a number of different factors no one can predict.

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