Monday, June 25, 2018

The “Test Optional” College Policy Effect

The University of Chicago recently announced that it will no longer require its applicants to submit standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT.  It’s joining the “test optional” movement, which actually began about 50 years ago at Bowdoin College in Maine and has added colleges and universities to its list ever since. But before students break their #2 pencils, there are some points to be considered.

Why are colleges tempted to waive their test requirement? Statistics have shown that college applicants who choose not to submit test results scored, on average, 100 to 150 points lower than those students who did divulge their SAT scores.  Therefore, by not including the SAT scores of these students, if admitted, test optional colleges are able to artificially boost their average SAT score for admitted students which makes them appear more selective and move higher in the rankings race. The higher they rank, the harder they typically become to get into.  Currently, the University of Chicago ranks as the 3rd “Best National University,” according to U.S. News & World Report, with an 8% acceptance rate.  It tops six of the eight Ivy League schools, surpassed only by Princeton and Harvard universities.  If the University of Chicago gets a surge of additional applicants, attracted by its new test optional policy, its acceptance rate will likely drop even further making it harder – not easier – to get into.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Google Launches College Search Feature

Google has formally immersed itself in the college search process. It announced, just last week, that it would start showcasing important statistics to help students and parents who need relevant and accurate data regarding the colleges and universities in which they are interested.  

For example, a Google search of Princeton University highlights that the average annual cost, after aid, is $9,000.  Many families assume that the cost of attending this elite institution is well out of their price range, not realizing that Princeton’s need-based aid dramatically alters the cost-of-attendance.  For example, the average cost of attendance is $7,000 for students with an annual household income of $48,000 to $75,000, and $18,000 for those with a household income of $75,000 to $110,000.  

Other featured information, secured from a Google search, includes a university’s acceptance rate, graduation rate, typical SAT test scores, and rankings both on a national and international level.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ivy League Acceptance Rates Continue to Decline

Numbers don’t lie, and recent statistics support the claim by former Ivy League admissions directors that getting into an elite college or university is more competitive than ever before.

The statistics given for the Class of 2021 reflect declining acceptance rates at the Ivy League schools: Harvard 5%, Columbia and Princeton 6%, Yale 7%, Brown 8%, The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) 9%, Dartmouth 10%, and Cornell 13%.  For the Class of 2001, two decades earlier, Harvard University (typically the most competitive of the Ivies) had accepted more than 12% of its applicants.

A recent Business Insider article cited reasons for this trend, quoting former admissions directors at several of the nations top colleges and universities. 
“The rise in the number of international applicants to the most selective institutions in the US has inflated the number of overall applicants, as well as, in some cases, the GPA and testing profiles,” according to Cat McManus, a former dean at UPenn and admissions officer at Princeton.  However, McManus added that selective colleges often have a limit on the number of international students that they are seeking for each incoming class. So this trend alone cannot take full blame for the declining acceptance rates.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Unique Skill Set Offers Students an Advantage

One of our SAT prep students recently gained a lot of attention for being accepted to all seven of the Ivy League schools to which she had applied, as well as to Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) She has chosen to attend M.I.T. and major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Of course, Diana had earned stellar SAT scores and had a most impressive G.P.A.  But I was curious about her other accomplishments, and met with her recently to hear her words of wisdom as to what she believes it takes for a college-bound student, in this day and age, to meet with such success.