Ivy Coach is featured extensively on the pages of “The Brown Daily Herald” today, the newspaper of Brown University. In a piece by Alex Skidmore entitled “Jump in early admission lowers total acceptance rate,” the slug-line (is that what you call it?) reads: “Ivy Coach expert says higher early admission rate calculated effort to boost University rankings.” Well but of course! Regular readers of our college admissions blog know that highly selective colleges (and Brown is surely not the only culprit here — they’re all guilty) want as many students to apply as possible since, invariably, the more students who apply, the lower the acceptance rate will be. One does not need to take Differential Equations to understand this math. It’s simple arithmetic. And long division, we suppose.
It’s the best class ever! It’s not like we’ve never seen that before. JK!
As we’re quoted in the piece, “Brian Taylor, director of Ivy Coach, offered a different perspective. The number of applications that the University has received in total has risen steadily over the years, but the University is not receiving more qualified applicants, he said. ‘Colleges are getting better and better at getting unqualified students to apply,’ Taylor said. This allows the University to tout ‘the most competitive class ever,’ he added. This process is meant to boost a school’s U.S. News and World Report ranking, Taylor said. ‘There is no bigger impact (on admission) than the annual rankings,’ he added. In some parts of the world, the U.S. News and World Report rankings system is ‘the Bible’ of college admission and a deciding factor for many students applying, he said.”
The piece goes on, “When universities admit more students through a binding early decision process, they have to admit fewer students during regular decision, thereby lowering their overall acceptance rate, Taylor said. Universities are guaranteed 100 percent matriculation from early decision applicants because of their binding commitment to attend the school.” And it goes on further, “Brown and its peer schools then have to admit more students than they expect will eventually attend, increasing their acceptance rate and lowering their selectivity score for the rankings. Though this phenomenon occurs at all highly selective universities, Penn has used this tactic most blatantly, Taylor said.”
We always do like to offer that “different” perspective. Whatever. We’ll own it. Agree with us? Disagree? We’re curious to hear your thoughts so post a Comment below and we’ll be sure to write back.
Yes, we know. We just elicited some eye rolls. Roll your eyes all you’d like. We offer a one-million dollar admission guarantee at Ivy Coach. After a review of your child’s transcript and testing along with their first college choice, under our Million Dollar Guarantee package, we will guarantee that your child, with Ivy Coach’s help, will earn admission to his or her first choice college — or you will get every dollar of your money back in full from us. We’ve been offering this Million Dollar Guarantee for a while now and, it should be noted, we’ve never had to give a cent back. Not once. Because they get in.
We’ve gotten some flack for offering this Million Dollar Guarantee but here’s what we have to say to these naysayers: If we wish to work for free, who are they to tell us that we can’t? And who are they to tell us what we can or cannot charge? They may not be able to command such fees, but we do. Telling us what we can or cannot charge is anti-American. Frankly, it’s communist. And we are proud Americans at Ivy Coach. Ivy Coach is a great American entrepreneurial success story — growing from a high school counselor’s side gig in the early 1990’s into the world’s premiere college consulting firm. We are also proudly in the service of America’s veterans, helping several veterans a year earn admission to highly selective colleges on a pro bono basis.
The fact is that there are folks who use our service for whom a million dollars isn’t all that significant. That’s an important piece these naysayers seem to be missing. And these folks are willing to donate several million to a university. Of course, donating money to a university will not guarantee an applicant’s admission (though of course it can help — depending on the amount, when it’s donated, etc.). We tell these folks that they can surely give their money to colleges or they can give less money to us…and we’ll get their child in (or they can do both!).
Criticize us. Roll your eyes. Laugh at us. But there are a couple folks reading this blog who aren’t laughing. They’re filling out our form and indicating they’re interested in the Million Dollar Guarantee.
Ivy Coach appeared on CUNY TV on Friday night in the series “Asian American Life.” The segment, one in which we’re featured quite a bit, focused on how Asian American applicants face discrimination in the highly selective college admissions process. We know — shocker. It’s not as though we’ve never discussed the discrimination that Asian American applicants face before on our blog or in the press. Bev published a piece last year in “The Huffington Post” entitled “Asian Americans Deserve Better.” And they sure do.
Asian American applicants face discrimination in college admissions, whether admissions officers admit it or not.
Within this segment, Brian of our firm speaks of how it’s difficult for admissions officer to gauge one great violinist from the next, how it’s not like comparing a 100 backstroker. A :55 100 backstroker is faster than a :58 100 backstroker. There are no such times for violinists, first chair or second. He also speaks about how so many Asian American applicants choose to apply to the same schools and how it would be to their competitive advantage to consider spreading out a bit more — to apply to schools that so many Asian American applicants aren’t applying to. It’s not as though there are a dearth of Asian American applicants at any highly selective college in America but there are indeed schools that don’t secure as many Asian American students. We know our readers would like to know these schools but that is part of our paid service. After all, Ivy Coach is a business.
Have a question about this segment in “Asian American Life” in which Ivy Coach is featured? Have a question about the discrimination that Asian American applicants face in college admissions? Disagree with us big time? We’re curious to hear from you so do post a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.
In tonight’s “Asian American Life” on CUNY TV (in case you wish to watch counter programming to CBS’ “Blue Bloods” — we kid!), Ivy Coach is featured offering perspective on Ivy League admissions. In the segment, Brian of our firm discusses how it’s difficult for college admissions officers to gauge how one violinist is more talented than the next violinist. After all, college admissions officers are not necessarily experts at the violin. Most indeed are not. Brian articulates that while a :55 100-backstroker is obviously faster than a :58 100-backstroker, such distinctions are more difficult in, say, music.
And so many Asian American applicants include music as one of their extracurricular activities on their Common Application — particularly the piano and violin. In so doing, these students are playing into Asian stereotypes. While admissions officers at highly selective colleges will rarely admit to stereotyping applicants, they sure do. Because they’re human. We all do. We were built to be hunter-gatherers. We had to make rapid decisions…for survival reasons. That same rapid-fire processing is still very much programmed into us. It’s the very science behind stereotyping. It might not be right. It might not be fair. But it doesn’t mean we don’t do it.
In the segment, Brian also speaks of how Asian American applicants shouldn’t necessarily all apply to the same few schools, that even though being Asian American doesn’t help you in admissions at any highly selective college, it doesn’t hurt you as much at certain schools as it does at others. Our clients at Ivy Coach learn this early on while working with us.
While you’re here, read Bev’s piece on “Huffington Post” entitled “Asian Americans Deserve Better in Ivy League Admissions.”
Ivy Coach was featured a few days back on the pages of the University of Pennsylvania’s newspaper, “The Daily Pennsylvanian.” The piece, written by Sophia Leporte, is entitled “Early Decision pool becoming more diverse” and, naturally, it focuses on how the group of students who applied Early to UPenn is more diverse than ever before. Regular readers of our college admissions blog know that we encourage all of our students to apply Early Decision or Early Action. In fact, if a student should come to us before the Early round and not wish to apply Early, we won’t work with this student. And why? Because that student isn’t willing to play his or her cards right to get in. An Early Decision or Early Action card is one of the few cards that a college applicant to a school like the University of Pennsylvania has in the back pocket. To not use it is, in a word, nuts.
One reason some folks choose not to apply Early Decision or Early Action is because they don’t think they’ll get the best financial aid offer if they only apply to, say, one school. Here’s our answer, as quoted in “The Daily Pennsylvanian”: “Brian Taylor, the director of college counseling practice Ivy Coach, acknowledges that more underprivileged students may not be applying early because of this but notes that it is a misconception, since many universities, including Penn, have now made financial aid calculators easily accessible on their websites. ‘Yes, fewer underprivileged applicants apply in the early round,’ Taylor said. ‘And often for the wrong reasons — because they want to compare higher financial aid packages when, in fact, you can find that information out without even applying to colleges.'” And while this remains an issue not just at UPenn but at every highly selective college in America, as the piece points out, “Taylor agrees that the diversity of Penn’s early decision round is getting better. ‘It’s still somewhat of an issue, but it is not as drastic as some people may think,’ Taylor said.”
So many students choose not to apply Early Decision and so many of them make this decision for the wrong reason.
Have a question about applying Early Decision or Early Action? Think that the Early Decision or Early Action pool at various highly selective colleges is less diverse than the Regular Decision pools? Don’t like this? We’re curious to hear from our readers so post a Comment below and we’ll be sure to write back.
Ivy Coach is featured today on the pages of “The Daily Pennsylvanian,” the newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania. In an article by Sophia Leporte entitled “Penn endorses campaign to prioritize kindness in college applicants,” we are quoting as raising a skeptical eyebrow at the suggestion of the Harvard Graduate School of Education “Turning the Tide” report that testing be deemphasized in highly selective college admissions. One big argument made in the report against testing is that it is inherently unequal. And there is surely some truth to that. Students whose parents can afford fantastic ACT or SAT tutoring have a significant leg up on students whose parents cannot afford such services.
But let us not forget one thing, which Brian of our firm points out in “The Daily Pennsylvanian” piece: “The report also recommends a lower emphasis on testing. But Brian Taylor, director of the college counseling practice Ivy Coach, is skeptical of this idea. ‘They emphasize that they want to deemphasize tests,’ Taylor said. ‘That sounds nice, but actually the ACTs and SATs were created so that you can create equity between students from underprivileged and privileged backgrounds. They’re all taking the same test, no matter what school they come from, so that they can have a baseline measurement.’ [Dean of Admissions Eric] Furda also acknowledges that the testing recommendation is not likely to be put into practice, especially at Penn.” Dean Furda is right. Penn — or any of the Ivies — are not going test-optional anytime soon. Or ever.
The SAT and ACT, while surely far from perfect, were in fact created as a means to create equity among college applicants.
Are there significant flaws with the ACT and SAT? Yes. But how else can a student from Mississippi be gauged against a student from South Korea? How else can a student from a prep school that feeds tons of students into Ivy League colleges annually be gauged against a student whose school rarely places students into Ivy League schools? Like it or not, in some ways, the SAT and ACT — and all testing for that matter — creates a baseline for measurement. And without baselines for measurement, the highly selective college admissions process would be no fairer than now. Indeed we’d argue that it’d be even less fair.
Oh and, by the way, we do recognize the irony that Ivy Coach has given more press to the “Turning the Tide” report since its publication than has any news publication.
There is a piece up on “Bloomberg” today (oh Michael Bloomberg, won’t you please enter this presidential race?) by Sarah Grant entitled “Will the College Admissions Test Disappear?” that we figured we’d share with the readers of our college admissions blog. The answer, of course, is that the college admissions test — the SAT or ACT — will not disappear, even as more and more schools become test-optional. The most selective schools in America, including each of the eight Ivy League institutions, are of course not by any means test-optional.
As Grant points out, “Since 2004, 145 colleges have joined the ranks of schools that deem tests like the SAT, or its competitor, the ACT, optional for admission, including Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.; Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and George Washington University in D.C.” And these are certainly some very good schools indeed. But remember folks, just because a school is test-optional doesn’t mean they still wouldn’t love to see a great SAT or ACT score. Brown University, as an example, doesn’t require the SAT Subject Tests if you submit an ACT score. Does that mean submitting 3 800 SAT Subject Tests won’t help you in any way? Of course it’ll help you!
The piece by Grant goes on to say, “Just because some schools are making standardized testing optional doesn’t mean students won’t take the SAT or ACT. ‘Students are applying to upwards of 15 schools, and one of them is bound to require a test,’ said Bob Schaeffer, a director at FairTest, an advocacy organization dedicated to preventing the misuse of standardized tests. And some schools, including Colorado College and Bryn Mawr College, are test-flexible, meaning that only students who earn a certain grade-point average can decide whether to submit a standardized test. Since students usually take college entrance exams in their junior year and apply to colleges during senior year, those looking to keep their options open will likely sign up for at least one exam.”
In other words, unless you intend to pigeonhole yourself into applying to a select subset of colleges, take the SAT or ACT. And we don’t envision this changing anytime soon — no matter what the Harvard Graduate School of Education may say in their lengthy but largely unread reports. Sorry, Harvard GSE, but you’re an easy target.
While you’re here, read the truth behind test-optional colleges.
There’s a piece up on “Forbes” by Dan Edmonds entitled “Why Harvard-Recommended ‘Compassionate Admissions’ Won’t Change Anything” that we figured we’d opine about. Because that’s what we do. From the title alone, we have to say — it seems Mr. Edmonds is one the same page as us. After all, we have been vocal about how we believe the “Turning the Tide” report that generated a whole lot of ink in the press isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. The whole objective of the paper coming out of the Harvard Graduate School of Education was to propose ways to make the college admissions process more equitable, to encourage underprivileged students to apply to highly selective colleges like Harvard. But, ultimately, the report was a “duh,” pages and pages worth of super obvious criticisms about the admissions process with little in the way of solutions.
As Dan Edmonds writes in his editorial, “These suggested changes in emphasis are welcome. But it would be naive to suppose that they will lead to a radical change in admissions at highly selective schools unless there are deeper changes to other factors that affect those schools’ admissions decisions, namely the preferential treatment given to legacy applicants and recruited athletes, the outsized influence U.S. News rankings have on college behavior (and public perception of top schools), and the growing focus that school presidents and boards of trustees have on school endowments, which are largely driven by donations from monied alumni.”
It’s one thing to generate a report and try to get some press. It’s quite another to effect real-world change. The Harvard Graduate School of Education report ironically generated more press before its publication, thanks to Frank Bruni of “The New York Times” than did the report itself. In fact, the response to the report across the college admissions community was one largely of silence. And that’s because it didn’t tell the community much of anything we didn’t already now. In fact, it didn’t tell us anything at all. Such is a drawback of academia — they deal in the theoretical, not the actual.
If you’re a high school junior looking to get a head start on your Common Application Personal Statement, we suppose you now can. The Common Application has announced the essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle and bum bum bum bum…they are the precise same questions as this last cycle’s questions (the essay prompts do change from time to time!). This junior class sure is facing a lot of change in the admissions process, notably with the new SAT, so we believe it a wise move on the part of The Common Application to keep their essays the same. The juniors deserved some stability.
As reported on The Common App.’s website, “By conducting a review process every other year, rather than annually, we can hear from admissions officers, as well as students, parents, and counselors, about the effectiveness of the essay prompts. These prompts are designed to elicit information that will strengthen the other components of the application. “We want to make sure that every applicant can find a home within the essay prompts, and that they can use the prompts as a starting point to write an essay that is authentic and distinguishing,” said Scott Anderson, former school counselor and current Senior Director for Programs and Partnerships for The Common Application.”
Juniors are facing quite a few changes this admissions cycle. But the Common Application essay prompts will remain the same.
And during the 2015-2016 admissions cycle, which prompt did most students end up choosing? The first one of course! Indeed 47% of students chose to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent. And why? Because the question is framed in such a way that it essentially allows students to write whatever it is they want. It offers them the most flexibility, the most room for creativity. It is the prompt we recommend students choose. The others are too confining. And why on earth would you ever want to write about an accomplishment? You don’t want to brag in college admissions and that prompt essentially leaves you no choice but to do so. Applicants will complete that prompt at their own peril.
As reported by The Common App., “Among the more than 800,000 unique applicants who have submitted a Common App so far during the 2015-2016 application cycle, 47 percent have chosen to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent – making it the most frequently selected prompt; 22 percent have chosen to write about an accomplishment, 17 percent about a lesson or failure, 10 percent about a problem solved, and four percent about an idea challenged.” What a silly 22%! Yikes is right.
There has been a change at The Farm. Not at just any farm — at Stanford University. For those not familiar, the nickname for Stanford University is The Farm. Hey, the more you know. Anyhow, beginning this year, more students at Stanford will have the chance to attend for not cost at all. That’s right. More students than ever before will get to go to The Farm for free. Pretty cool, right? Indeed, for families whose incomes are below $125,000, they’ll no longer be required to pay any tuition.
But of course, there’s tuition, room and board, as well as fees. If a family earns less than $65,000, dorm fees will be on the house as well. As reported by “The Bakersfield Californian,” “Before the financial aid program expansion, students with family incomes of less than $100,000 received free tuition, and students with families earning less than $60,000 were waived dorm fees. ‘Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances,’ Provost John Etchemendy said in a statement. Annual costs for a typical Stanford student total roughly $65,000 before financial aid. Nearly 77 percent of Stanford undergraduates currently graduate with no student debt.”
What do you think of this change in policy at Stanford with respect to financial aid? Do you believe that more highly selective colleges will follow in Stanford’s lead? We’re curious to hear from our readers so post a Comment below and we’ll be sure to write you back.