Category Archives: College

Harvard admissions: bias towards athletes and legacies

Source: Quora, Jun 2018

Applicants from these four “preferred groups” make up less than 5% of applicants, but nearly 1/3 of admitted students.

Related Resource: 
“‘Z-List’ Students Overwhelmingly White, Often Legacies”, Harvard Crimson, Jun 2018

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Harvard’s #1 Position

Source: Quora, Jun 2018

 

Harvard’s Asian-American Admissions

Source: Straits Times (SG), Jun 2018

Harvard’s 2013 internal review found that if Harvard considered only academic achievement, the Asian-American share of the class would rise to 43 per cent from the actual 19 percent.

After accounting for Harvard’s preference for recruited athletes and legacy applicants, the proportion of whites went up, while the share of Asian-Americans fell to 31 per cent.

Accounting for extracurricular and personal ratings, the share of whites rose again, and Asian-Americans fell to 26 per cent.

What brought the Asian-American number down to roughly 18 per cent, or about the actual share, was accounting for a category called “demographic”, the study found. This pushed up African-American and Hispanic numbers, while reducing whites and Asian-Americans.

 

US$1.5M for College Counselling (!)

Source: Inside Higher Ed, Feb 2018

A lawsuit filed last week by Ivy Coach revealed that it charged a woman in Vietnam $1.5 million to help her daughter apply to 22 elite colleges, as well as seven top boarding schools she sought to attend in high school, before applying to college. The fee was worth it, the lawsuit says. In December, an (unnamed) Ivy League institution granted the daughter early admission.

But, the lawsuit charges, the Vietnamese mother has paid only half of the $1.5 million. The family, the lawsuit says, is part of the “international aristocracy who have enlisted Ivy Coach’s premium services.”

The lawsuit says that Ivy Coach provided “substantial guidance and effort” to help the daughter apply to Amherst, Dartmouth and Williams Colleges; Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, New York, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford and Tufts Universities; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the Universities of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego campuses); Chicago, Pennsylvania and Southern California. The legal papers reviewed by Inside Higher Edreference 22 colleges, but only 21 are named.

Sklarow’s association recently published its “State of the Profession” report, which included information about average fees for services. The report said that the typical range for comprehensive fees (in which a family pays a rate for help throughout the admissions process), is $850 to $10,000. The averages are higher for consultants in New England ($5,400) and the Middle Atlantic region ($4,800) than in the Southeast and West ($4,000) and the Midwest ($4,100).

For those who charge by the hour, the average hourly rate is $200.

Straight A-students != Best Innovators

Source: The Conversation, date indeterminate

where do innovators come from? And how do they acquire their skills?

One place – perhaps among the best – is college. Over the past seven years, my research has explored the influence of college on preparing students with the capacity, desire and intention to innovate.

In this time we’ve learned that many academic and social experiences matter quite a bit; grades, however, do not matter as much.

as GPAs went down, innovation tended to go up. Even after considering a student’s major, personality traits and features of the learning environment, students with lower GPAs reported innovation intentions that were, on average, greater than their higher-GPA counterparts.

Additionally, findings elsewhere strongly suggest that innovators tend to be intrinsically motivated – that is, they are interested in engaging pursuits that are personally meaningful, but might not be immediately rewarded by others.

We see this work as confirmation of our findings – grades, by their very nature, tend to reflect the abilities of individuals motivated by receiving external validation for the quality of their efforts.

Perhaps, for these reasons, the head of people operations at Google has noted:

GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring.

Here is what our analyses have revealed so far:

  • Classroom practices make a difference: students who indicated that their college assessments encouraged problem-solving and argument development were more likely to want to innovate. Such an assessment frequently involves evaluating students in their abilities to create and answer their own questions; to develop case studies based on readings as opposed to responding to hypothetical cases; and/or to make and defend arguments. Creating a classroom conducive to innovation was particularly important for undergraduate students when compared to graduate students.
  • Faculty matters – a lot: students who formed a close relationship with a faculty member or had meaningful interactions (i.e., experiences that had a positive influence on one’s personal growth, attitudes and values) with faculty outside of class demonstrated a higher likelihood to be innovative. When a faculty member is able to serve as a mentor and sounding board for student ideas, exciting innovations may follow.

Interestingly, we saw the influence of faculty on innovation outcomes in our analyses even after accounting for a student’s field of study, suggesting that promoting innovation can happen across disciplines and curricula. Additionally, when we ran our statistical models using a sample of students from outside the United States, we found that faculty relationships were still very important. So, getting to know a faculty member might be a key factor for promoting innovation among college students, regardless of where the education takes place or how it is delivered.

  • Peer networking is effective: outside the classroom, students who connected course learning with social issues and career plans were also more innovative. For example, students who initiated informal discussions about how to combine the ideas they were learning in their classes to solve common problems and address global concerns were the ones who most likely recognized opportunities for creating new businesses or nonprofit social ventures.

Being innovative was consistently associated with the college providing students with space and opportunities for networking, even after considering personality type, such as being extroverted.

Networking remained salient when we analyzed a sample of graduate students – in this instance, those pursuing M.B.A. degrees in the United States. We take these findings as a positive indication that students are spending their “out-of-class” time learning to recognize opportunities and discussing new ideas with peers.

 

From our findings, we speculate that this relationship may have to do with what innovators prioritize in their college environment: taking on new challenges, developing strategies in response to new opportunities and brainstorming new ideas with classmates.

Time spent in these areas might really benefit innovation, but not necessarily GPA.

Endowment $ per student

Source: Morss Global Finance website, Jan 2016

Above the Senior Wrangler – Phillipa Fawcett

Source: Mike Dash history website, Oct 2011

June 7, 1890, when—for the first and only time—a woman ranked first in the mathematical examinations held at the University of Cambridge. It was the day that Philippa Fawcett placed “above the Senior Wrangler.”

The most serious candidates invariably hired tutors and worked more or less round the clock for months. The historian Alex Craik notes that C.T. Simpson, who ranked as Second Wrangler in 1841, topped off his efforts by studying for 20 hours a day in the week before the exams and “almost broke down from over-exertion…

G.F. Browne, the secretary of the Cambridge exam board, was also concerned—because he feared that the women entered in the 1890 math exams might be so far below par that they would disgrace themselves. He worried that one might even place last, a position known at Cambridge as “the Wooden Spoon.” Late on the evening of June 6, the day before the results were to be announced, Browne received a visit from the senior examiner, W. Rouse Ball, who confided that he had come to discuss “an unforeseen situation” concerning the women’s rankings. Notes Siklos, citing Browne’s own account:

After a moment’s thought, I said: ‘Do you mean one of them is the Wooden Spoon?’

‘No, it’s the other end!’

‘Then you will have to say, when you read out the women’s list, “Above the Senior Wrangler”; and you won’t get beyond the word ‘above.’ “

By morning, word that something extraordinary was about to occur had electrified Cambridge. Newnham students made their way to the Senate House en masse, and Fawcett’s elderly grandfather drove a horse-drawn buggy 60 miles from the Suffolk coast with her cousins Marion and Christina. Marion reported what happened next:

It was a most exciting scene in the Senate… Christina and I got seats in the gallery and grandpapa remained below. The gallery was crowded with girls and a few men, and the floor of the building was thronged with undergraduates as tightly packed as they could be. The lists were read out from the gallery and we heard splendidly. All the men’s names were read first, the Senior Wrangler [G.T. Bennett of St John’s College] was much cheered.

At last the man who had been reading shouted “Women.”… A fearfully agitating moment for Philippa it must have been…. He signalled with his hand for the men to keep quiet, but had to wait some time. At last he read Philippa’s name, and announced that she was “above the Senior Wrangler.”

Pandemonium.

The male undergraduates responded to the announcement with loud cheers and repeated calls to “Read Miss Fawcett’s name again.” Back at the college, “all the bells and gongs which could be found were rung,” there was an impromptu feast, bonfires were lit on the field hockey pitch, and Philippa was carried shoulder-high into the main hall—”with characteristic calmness,” Siklos notes, “marking herself  ‘in’ on the board” as she swayed past. The men’s reaction was generous, particularly considering that when Cambridge voted against allowing women to become members of the university in 1921, the undergraduates of the day celebrated by battering down Newnham’s college gates.

The triumph was international news for days afterwards, the New York Times running a full column, headlined “Miss Fawcett’s honor: the kind of girl this lady Senior Wrangler is.” It soon emerged that Fawcett had scored 13 percent more points than had Bennett, the leading male, and a friendly examiner confided that “she was ahead on all the papers but two … her place had no element of accident in it.”