Tuition at Brown University is — unsurprisingly — on the rise. We only write unsurprisingly because tuition goes up every year but Brown University is certainly not the only school where this trend is the case. It’s the case across the board. But tell us something we don’t know, Ivy Coach. As reported by the aptly named Matthew Brownsword and Michael Dubin for “The Brown Daily Herald,” tuition will exceed $100,000 a year in the 2028-2029 academic year if tuition at the university continues to rise by an average of 4% each year. Yes, there’s inflation. And then there’s college tuition.
But now is not 2028-2029, rest assured prospective Brown parents and students. Brown has however announced its tuition for this coming academic year and that figure is $68,106 (please note that this figure was previously underestimated — including in a post by us). This figure includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal. Like you, we’re not sure what the “personal” signifies either. Perhaps toothpaste? Well, $1,000 per semester is very expensive toothpaste. Has Crest raised its prices? Of the $68,106 for 2016-2017, $50,224 is earmarked for tuition. The rest is toothpaste. Kidding. The rest is the fees, room, board, etc. And toothpaste.
And while Brown administrators have expressed a desire to bring tuition increases more in line with annual inflation, the fact that Brown’s endowment, valued at $3.3 billion as of last year, is the smallest among the Ancient Eight schools doesn’t exactly help matters. We know, we know. We hear you thinking, “But they have $3.3 billion. Why not dip into their endowment so as to avoid tuition hikes?” That’s not going to happen. With 55% of students at Brown not receiving financial aid, Brown relies on the tuition these students pay. And they rely on tuition hikes each and every year.
There’s a good piece up on “Business Insider” about the climate for military programs on campus like ROTC and NROTC. The piece, written by Yeganeh Torbati, is entitled “On Ivy League campuses, military brass find a warmer welcome” and we figured we’d share it with our readers. As our loyal readers know, Ivy Coach is firmly committed to helping veterans of our United States armed forces earn admission to the highly selective colleges of their dreams after their dutiful service. In fact, we work with select veterans each and every year on a pro bono basis. We used to help other underrepresented groups too on a pro bono basis but we decided some time ago that we wished to devote all of our pro bono resources to the men and women who courageously serve.
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was shameful, discriminatory legislation against LGBT Americans. But now that it’s off the books, we’re sure glad Ivy League colleges have embraced the military on their campuses. Students interested in serving, and those who’ve already served, benefit these schools immeasurably by their presence on these campuses, by their unique perspectives and experiences.
Anyhow, the piece up on “Business Insider” focuses on hostility such programs encountered years ago — at schools like Yale — that led to the ends of these programs. But the programs are back at so many highly selective schools now and they’re back in full force (particularly after the end of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy). As detailed in the piece (and Secretary Carter’s alma mater is Yale), “On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited his alma mater for the first commissioning since the Vietnam era of cadets and midshipmen who participated in the program for all four years of college. The ceremony is the latest evidence of a sea change in the attitude of elite universities, which shunned the military for four decades in part because of its controversial ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy for gay personnel. Now they have come to realize that their graduates should have as much influence on a major instrument of American power as they do in the halls of the White House or the trading desks of Wall Street.” We do wholeheartedly agree!
And what kind of growth have these programs experience on Ivy League campuses? As reported by Torbati for “Business Insider,” “The Navy and Air Force ROTC programs returned to Yale in 2012, after the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ ROTC has made similar inroads across the Ivy League and on other elite campuses. A Navy ROTC branch is set to open at Brown University this fall. There were 122 Navy ROTC midshipmen spread across six Ivy League campuses in 2016, compared to 53 at three Ivy League schools in 2011, according to Navy data. There were 42 Air Force ROTC cadets in the Ivy League in 2016, compared to 28 in 2011, according to Air Force data. The class of 2016 at Yale includes 10 Navy midshipmen and four Air Force cadets out of 1,300 graduates.” This is progress indeed!
Ivy Coach salutes these Ivy League schools. And we in particular salute Brown University for their new NROTC program. We’ve been critical of Brown’s record in the past with respect to those wishing to serve and those who have served. But this is a step in the right direction indeed. Ivy League colleges benefit from having such programs on their campuses. They benefit from having veterans on their campuses. These are the very kinds of students who add unique, wonderfully diverse perspectives to class discussions. So way to go Brown and way to go to the other seven Ivy League colleges for this continued progress.
Harold O. Levy, a former chancellor of the New York City public school system who now serves as the executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (a foundation that awards scholarships to high-achieving students from low-income families), has written an op-ed for “The Hill” entitled “Money shouldn’t outweigh merit in college admissions” that we figured we’d share with our readers. Harold Levy is a respected educator and the work of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is fantastic so we eagerly read his opinion piece on the state of college admissions.
He raises valid points. For instance, Levy writes, “No matter how smart they are, children who grow up with modest means are at a huge disadvantage in the competition for admission to college, particularly elite colleges. In fact, a 2014 White House report found that while 50 percent of the sons and daughters of wealthy families have a bachelor’s degree by age 25, only 10 percent of the children of poor families do. This is not because having more money makes you smarter.” He’s absolutely right. Children from modest and low-income families are at a disadvantage in college admissions. They don’t get the best advice because their schools rarely have great college counseling (although this is true at the best high schools in America too!). They don’t get as much one-on-one prep for the SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, and AP exams. Harold Levy is not wrong.
Harold Levy, former chancellor of the New York City public schools, makes valid points about disadvantages facing modest and low-income college applicants. But he also ignores relevant facts — like how being the first in your family to attend college is quite the hook in highly selective college admissions.
And he is not wrong to single out Amherst College, Davidson College, Pomona College, Rice University, Stanford University, and Vassar College to be among the colleges across the United States that have made great strides in appealing to modest and low-income students. But ‘among’ is a key word as there are several other highly selective colleges that have made great strides in appealing to this important group. And one thing that Harold Levy is wrong about is that highly selective colleges don’t target modest and low-income students. In many cases, such students can indeed have an advantage over their wealthier counterparts. These are students admissions officers can root for (admissions officers are human beings!). Highly selective colleges love their first-generation college students, students who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. They love to brag how many first-generation students they have in their incoming class. So to suggest that such schools essentially only favor the wealthy, with exception, isn’t the whole story.
While we wholeheartedly do not support the legal complaint filed by a coalition of over 100 Asian American groups against Yale University, Brown University, and Dartmouth College, that doesn’t mean we don’t agree with the basis of their complaint. Of course highly selective colleges — all highly selective colleges — discriminate against Asian American applicants. Of course Asian American applicants are held to a different standard. Of course the sky is blue. We have been fiercely vocal over the years on the pages of our college admissions blog and in the press about the discrimination that Asian-American applicants face in admissions and we wholeheartedly believe that this group as a whole — and the often-forgtten Indian American group of applicants too! — deserve better.
We simply don’t believe legal action is the way to change hearts, to change minds, to change admissions practices. It defies the American narrative as we understand it. Did the Supreme Court of the United States ultimately legalize gay marriage? You bet. But change didn’t start at the courts. It started at The Stonewall Inn in the West Village of Manhattan. Similar cases can be made for the black civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement in America.
But we will call out university spokesmen on politically correct nonsense. A quote in “The Yale Daily News” by Yale spokesman Tom Conroy is just that — politically correct mumbo jumbo. As reported by Yale’s newspaper, “University Spokesman Tom Conroy reaffirmed the necessity of Yale’s admissions policies in creating diverse classes of students. ‘All relevant factors are considered in the context of the application as a whole, and the decision on any applicant does not turn on any one factor alone,’ Conroy said. ‘In conducting a holistic review, applicants are not disadvantaged in the admissions process on the basis of race or national origin.'” We don’t believe for a second that Mr. Conroy believes the words he’s uttering. Sometimes when you say something so may times, you start to believe it. Maybe that’s the case here. Asian Americans are not disadvantaged in the admissions process on the basis of their race? Hogwash.
At Ivy Coach, we help each of our students develop an admissions hook. The vast majority of students come to us interested in lots of things. Maybe they play a few sports, a few musical instruments, and volunteer in a host of activities. So many parents in particular write us to brag about all of the activities their children are involved in. But what these parents don’t seem to get is that this is not what highly selective colleges want. They don’t want the well-rounded student who does all sorts of things. They want the singularly talented student — the student who excels in one specific area. That is a student with a hook.
Malcolm Gladwell taught the world in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” “Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness…you need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 before you get good.” In fact, this quote is on Ivy Coach’s homepage. We follow it up with a line of our own: “Playing three sports, each for a few hours a week, isn’t going to get you into a top college. Listen to Malcolm.” We wholeheartedly stand by this premise. But we would like to point out that some folks disagree with this simple assessment by the renowned author of getting good at an activity, including a researcher whose studies Malcolm based his argument on.
As this man, Anders Ericsson points out, “Malcolm Gladwell read our work, and he misinterpreted some of our findings. We [studied] violinists who had been at an international academy [and were] viewed as being on track for international careers. When we estimated how many hours they had spent working on trying to improve their performance by themselves, we came up with an average, across the group, of 10,000 hours. But that really meant that there was a fair amount of variability. I would argue that the key thing that people have misinterpreted is that it’s not just a matter of accumulating hours. If you’re doing your job, and you’re just doing more and more of the same, you’re not actually going to get better. There’s a lot of research to really prove that.”
So basically, if you’re a swimmer and you’re swimming breastroke every day with bad technique, you’re not going to become the next Brendan Hansen, a great American Olympic breastroker. Obviously! We actually back up Malcolm on this one. Of course Malcolm would assert you can’t be swimming poorly every day, even if your swimming does add up to 10,000 hours, to get good. It kind of goes without saying, one would think.
While you’re here, read what Malcolm has to say about the Ivy League. We don’t always agree with him…
A reformed Harlem drug dealer has graduated from Columbia University. David Norman, 67, recently donned a cap and gown after earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Columbia’s School of General Studies. If you’re wondering if David Norman was the oldest member of Columbia’s graduating class, he sure was. And he likely served more prison terms than any member of his graduating class too. So there’s that.
As reported by Trace William Cowen for “Complex,” “After securing a job as an outreach worker at Mount Vernon Hospital upon his release in 2000, Norman was accepted into Columbia’s School of General Studies. Though he was decades older than most of his classmates, Norman didn’t sweat it. ‘I had a good rapport with the young people because they always amazed me,’ Norman said. Norman, who now works as a research assistant at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and plans to pen a book about his journey, has one simple phrase for those who find themselves in a similar situation: ‘It’s always possible to pursue your dreams.'”
Ivy Coach salutes Columbia University for offering a reformed drug dealer a second chance.
If you’re not familiar with the Columbia School of General Studies, it’s a school for non-traditional students at the university. The students graduate with the same degree that typical undergraduates receive — they just happen to usually be older. Maybe they served in America’s military (Columbia admits many veterans every year through it’s School of General Studies — and we absolutely disagree with the criticism that this segregates veterans — rather it allows the school to offer so many slots to our vets!). Or maybe they are in their 40’s or 50’s and just never sought a college education. The School of General Studies allows students however old, no matter their background receive a first class education. Including, apparently, reformed drug dealers!
This is not the first time Ivy Coach has saluted Columbia for helping non-traditional students receive degrees from the university. And we’ve got another one coming in the days ahead so stay tuned.
With the announcement that an Asian American coalition will be filing suit against Brown University, Dartmouth College, and Yale University for alleged discriminatory practices in admissions, we feel the need to draw attention to another group of students who also face discrimination in highly selective college admissions — they just don’t form coalitions that file civil rights suits against universities. And that group? It’s Indian American applicants. They certainly don’t get the publicity that Chinese American and Korean American applicants for the high bar they must surmount to earn admission to these very schools, but they face very similar discrimination nonetheless.
We help our Indian American students overcome the discrimination that they will invariably face in admissions. We help them — dare we say it — not play into stereotypes. And, yes, admissions officers at highly selective colleges stereotype. Will they admit it? No way. But we all stereotype. It’s part of being human. We were all originally hunter-gatherers. We had to make quick decisions — to survive. Stereotyping is using fixed-action patterns to understand scenarios rapidly. So anyone who should suggest that they don’t stereotype might be trying to be politically correct but they are defying the very laws of science. And those laws are surely at play in highly selective college admissions. To stereotype is to be human.
Have a question about the discrimination that Indian American students face in highly selective college admissions? We’re curious to hear from our readers so post a Comment below.
File this one under senseless. Today, a group known as the “Asian American Coalition for Education” put out a press release to put it out there that on May 23rd, the leaders of over 100 Asian American organizations will hold a press conference to announce to the public that civil rights complaints have been filed against Brown University, Yale University, and Dartmouth College. These complaints allege that these three universities discriminate against Asian American applicants in their admissions processes.
As stated in their press release, “To continue fighting against this unlawful discrimination, the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE), representing more than 100 Asian American organizations, will file an administrative complaint with the Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, and Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education on May 23, 2016. In this complaint AACE requests that the Department of Education and the Department of Justice conduct a thorough investigation of admission practices of Yale University, Brown University and Dartmouth College and require the three colleges and other Ivy League universities to cease their discriminatory practices, including the use of racial quotas, racially-differentiated admission standards, racial stereotypes, and other unlawful admissions criteria.”
We at Ivy Coach have been quite outspoken over the years about the discrimination that Asian American applicants face in highly selective college admissions — and surely not only at these schools. Bev, Founder of Ivy Coach, published a piece entitled “Asian Americans Deserve Better in Ivy League Admissions” and it’s a frequent topic of our college admissions blog. But we also have been outspoken on the issue of litigation against these universities and other universities. We believe it to be fruitless. Litigation is not the way to hope to end such discrimination — and we’ve outlined just why here.
We’ve got some good news for prospective Yale University students. Yale will be increasing the size of its freshman class — by a 15% margin! That means that the school will soon start to admit 200 more students each year — all because the university is breaking new ground to expand its residential college system. This marks the first additions to Yale’s residential college system in quite some time…since 1961 in fact! For prospective students, more slots is of course always a good thing. Duh.
More slots at Yale in the years ahead is indeed good news for prospective Yalies.
As reported by Michael Morand for “Yale News,” “‘In the buildings taking shape just across the street, we can see a future with hundreds more Yale undergraduates each year — students who will be innovators, citizens, leaders,’ [Yale’s president Peter] Salovey said. ‘They, like our current undergraduates, will be creators and discoverers and fearless thinkers. All of us here today have seen the renderings of the beautiful buildings that, two-and-a-half years from now, will stand in splendor. But they will also be teeming with life — with students running to and from class or the lab or the library, rehearsing for dance performances, looking forward to games here at The Whale, taking inspiration from master’s teas, eating lunch in the dining halls with faculty and friends. They will bring new energy into our classrooms, all across New Haven, and around the world,’ he added.”
This is a project that has been in the works for some time at Yale but is alas coming to fruition. Apparently, the conversation to expand the residential college system began during the 1990’s, according to former Yale president Richard Levin. But now, thanks to a gift by alumnus Charles Johnson of $250 million, it’s underway! So, Governor Rick Scott of Florida, we take this isn’t a positive indicator Yale will pick up and move to Florida? That was very silly, Governor. Good effort.
We used to get asked quite a bit, “How would work experience factor into my child’s case for admission?” Regrettably, we get asked this question less and less in recent years. And why? Because fewer and fewer students who come to us and who are seeking to earn admission to highly selective colleges have ever considered holding a job — much less actually held a job. It’s just not on their radar. And that’s rather silly — something we’ve been saying for years.
Instead, the question we usually get is, “Should my son do the Stanford Summer Enrichment Program or Duke TIP?” Our response? Regular readers of our college admissions blog know where we stand on the issue of summer college enrichment programs. We stand against them. What these programs convey is that mom and dad are wealthy, that your child didn’t have the imagination, the initiative, and the individuality to come up with an idea of his or her own for the summer, and that your child is basically going, well, to summer camp. And admissions officers don’t exactly root for students who spend their summers at camp. It’s just not interesting.
The math is simple. Flipping Burgers > Duke TIP. Sorry, Duke. And this applies not only to Duke’s summer program. It applies to enrichment programs at highly selective colleges across America.
Admissions officers at highly selective colleges are rational human beings. Rational human beings understand the importance of work experience. They understand the value such experiences impart on young people. And admissions officers are employees. Do you think they’re going to root for the student who went to some fancy summer camp or are they going to foot for the kid who worked at McDonald’s all through high school to help out mom and dad with the bills. If you’re even the least uncertain, they will root for the latter student. Every single time out of ten.
The admissions process is a human process. Working humanizes students. More students seeking admission to highly selective colleges should consider holding summer jobs. It’ll be a great life experience, too. So there’s that.