Sunday, November 30, 2014

Truthiness Behind College Admit Rates~Don't Panic!

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My last four posts have been about the mad rush to apply to too many schools. Today's New York Times tracks the trend with some actual numbers in "For Accomplished Students, Reaching a Good College Isn't as Hard as it Seems." Kevin Carey's piece tries to assure applicants - and their parents! - that the dire figures lodged in our brains do not tell the whole story. 

Here's an excerpt, but it's worth reading the entire article:

"Earlier this year, Harvard announced that it had accepted 5.9 percent of the nearly 35,000 students who applied for admission to the class of 2018. The next day, Stanford announced an even more exacting 5.07 percent admission rate, the lowest in the university’s history.

"Statistics like these have come to dominate the national narrative of elite college admissions, with each new batch of ever-more-minuscule success rates fueling a collective sense that getting into a good college has become a brutal, “Hunger Games"-style tournament that only the fittest survive.

"That story is wrong. For well-qualified students, getting into a good college isn’t difficult. It probably isn’t that much harder than it was generations ago. The fact that everyone believes otherwise shows how reliance on a single set of data — in this case, institutional admission rates — can create a false sense of what’s really going on.

"To start, it’s worth noting that the headline-inducing single-digit rates reported by Harvard and Stanford are unusual even for elite institutions. Washington University in St. Louis, ranked 14th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, admitted 17 percent of applicants this year. Notre Dame admitted 21 percent, Wellesley 28 percent, and the University of Michigan 32 percent. Still, those numbers are low and have been declining in each case." READ MORE 

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