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the secret of elite college admissions

"There is virtually no discernible difference between those who make it and the many more who just miss out." In my experience, the bulk of the admissions deans and directors I encountered were decent, empathetic, and forward-thinking. Parents and students should self-sort and then contextualize: What are my strengths and interests? Eight things I wish people understood about my old job. The most farcical aspect of this system was it favored underwhelming white male candidates. In my opinion, the most compelling argument for affirmative action is access to resources and to social and economic networks. This saved tips in the athletic committee for more underqualified white men, while robbing non-athlete black students in the regular committee. It’s where selective admissions is the most unfair—the point at which a decision based on traditional criteria such as grades and test scores gives way to one based partly on other factors, such as money, … Wall Street Journal Read More » Neither type told me much about what the student might contribute to the campus. 9/4/2020 The Secrets of Elite College Admissions - WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-secrets-of-elite-college-admissions-11598626784?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1 4/9 The shaping process, like competitive admissions overall, is particularly tough on qualified women. Reading applications felt honorable. A mother lingered afterward to share a story about her daughter, who was extremely distressed about her own college rejections and killed herself. Most students we accepted were not exceptional in the context of the regular pool, and they got in at a much higher rate. For the underprivileged, though, some educational brands are perceived strongly enough to open doors. Some claim it raises student morale; others theorize athletes go into more lucrative fields post-graduation (business, law) and are more likely to donate down the line. I don’t believe you can reform college admissions from the inside. But schools use different aid formulas to assess families’ ability to pay, and the reality is that need-blind admissions is available at roughly two dozen of the most elite institutions in the U.S. that can afford to offer full aid. I interviewed her in my office and was struck by her depth, self-effacing humor, drive, maturity, and critical thinking. It’s never really clear which candidates are more qualified. When I worked in admissions, there seemed a nobility to the work, helping curate the ranks of future difference-makers. Whether at the top of the class or more toward the middle, on paper they look prepared for rigorous coursework at an elite university. I often couldn’t tell if an applicant was just outside the top 10 percent or closer to the middle. From the outside, how top-ranked schools rate applicants seems precise enough to land someone on the moon. The bulk of those credentialed enough for serious consideration are in that position because of circumstance and wealth. All while trying to maintain a personal life and some sanity. Elite universities, no matter how high-minded, have corporate souls and bottom lines. The goal was to evaluate each student in her individual context. They want it to be fantastical without being complex. White males with wealthy, educated parents and substandard academic profiles and SAT scores had a back door into elite schools through athletic talents that couldn’t net them Division I scholarships. Even after the economy recovers, advertising alone will never be enough to support it. The process begins well before college: It’s societal and holistic and reaches beyond clichéd talking points about donated buildings and the influence of celebrity and prestige. There’s no doubt these elite institutions have the money and the brainpower to rethink admissions’ and education’ purpose, and to innovate their processes accordingly. The wealthy teach the middle class the checklist for college admissions success and who to blame if things don’t go their way, engendering a suspicion that their birthright is being curtailed by an undeserving “other.”. No one can give a solid enough answer of why it’s important for an elite liberal arts school to have a strong D-III athletic program. There, I met many people who want to fix the system. The game favors the wealthy and powerful, and that’s an extension of our society. The Dirty Secret Elite Colleges Don't Want Applicants to Know. (Rarely do you hear people debate this form of affirmative action.). To foist the task of remedying societal inequity on relatively underpaid, unappreciated admissions officers is mostly unfair. That particular crew consists of grotesque caricatures of white privilege who distract from worthwhile discourse. "The secret of elite college admissions — the secret that became obvious to me during my time as an alumni interviewer — is that far more students deserve to attend these colleges than are ever admitted," Walsh wrote in a blog post. Although standardized tests predict little aside from first-year college academic success and retention, some people still point to a correlation between SAT scores and future earnings. Should admissions officers primarily value self-motivation, independent thinking, creativity? She had two working-class parents without advanced degrees and grew up in an economically depressed region of western Massachusetts. What does that mean for one of its most popular shows. There’s another reason that men — specifically, well-to-do white men — had an advantage over women: athletics. While I don’t envy people who work in elite admissions, I do feel great sympathy for them. If your competitors boast an SAT median of 1450 and 60 percent of their incoming class ranks in the top 10 percent of their high schools, you need to at least match that. Many colleges follow a rubric when evaluating applications. Even less clear is who deserves a spot in the class, and how anyone could comfortably determine such a thing. Some see in them vindication for pro-affirmative action arguments; others see proof positive that white students at elite schools are an unqualified, insipid lot. But for students at the nation’s best-known and most selective institutions, they also will never know just how close they may have come to not getting in at all. They simultaneously want the job to be more and less interesting than it is. She had the grades and the extracurricular activities, but her scores were 70 points below our median. Early decision applicants tend to have savvy private high school counselors who understand this. Some private schools provided no grades at all, substituting platitudinous fluff for any measurable achievement. These relatively small staffs are traveling across the country for school visits, doing several information sessions for prospective students a week, reading thousands of applications (difficult and monotonous work that takes eight to 12 hours a day if you’re doing it right), and then sitting through full-day committee sessions to debate specific cases.

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