Geography and College Admissions
Ivy Coach is featured in “Quartz” today in a piece about geographic diversity and highly selective college admissions. The piece, written by Corinne Purtill, focuses on how students from certain states might have an easier time earning admission to highly selective colleges than do students from other states. And by the word ‘might,’ we mean students from states like Wyoming definitely have better odds of getting into highly selective schools than do students from New York. And that’s because the highly selective colleges get tons of applications from New York and California, from New Jersey and Texas. They don’t get nearly as many applications from the state of Wyoming.
Highly selective colleges love to claim that they have an incoming class hailing from all fifty states. In fact, about twenty some odd years ago, the Founder of Ivy Coach, Bev Taylor, heard the then-Dean of Admissions at Dartmouth College say that they accepted students from 49 states that year. He went on to say, “And if only one student from the state of Nebraska applied, and if that kid could read, that student would have been accepted.” We applaud his candor, all these years later.
One college consultant got it wrong about geographic diversity in the “Quartz” piece. Highly selective colleges sure do want students from all fifty states and they sure will admit less qualified students from less represented states to secure these important bragging rights.
In the piece up on “Quartz,” Brian of our firm is quoted as follows: “Successful applicants from underrepresented states ‘often don’t have as strong grades or as strong scores,’…Those students are getting into schools, he said, that ‘students from New York wouldn’t have a chance on God’s green earth of getting into.'” He’s right. But the piece closes with an incorrect statement, voiced by Michele Hernandez, a college consultant: “‘An unqualified student is not going to get in, no matter where they live,’ said Michele Hernandez…’There are other factors that count more than geographic diversity. No one’s going to lose any sleep in the admissions office if Montana goes unrepresented.'” But, Michele, you’re absolutely incorrect. While of course an “unqualified student” is not going to get in, there’s bound to be a less qualified applicant from some unrepresented state who IS going to get in because admissions counselors WILL lose sleep if Montana goes unrepresented. Contrary to your statement, the goal for every highly selective college is to admit students from ALL 50 states.
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