Tuesday, June 24, 2014

National Trend #4: Out-of-State's Cash Cow

Many highly desirable public institutions are opening their doors wider to full paying out-of-state students.   

This is particularly true in the University of California system (UC Berkeley reported admitting 30% of their out-of-state pool;  up 24% from just three years ago).   

In addition, some highly coveted public universities like the University of Virginia plan to increase tuition by 5.9% for out-of-state students. 

See the following article.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

National Trend #3 - STEM Growth

Many highly selective schools reported major application spikes in science, technology, engineering and math programs.   

Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, for example, reported a 20.2% increase in applications with 7,701.   

See the following article.

Princeton, for example, admitted 25.3 percent of their overall admission pool who indicated they want to study engineering, and a record 43 percent of those students were women.

This tells me that schools like Casady need to make a concerted effort to strengthen their upper end M and S curriculum, resources and faculty, as well as add "T" curriculum like an online AP Computer Science course.

There may also be some legitimacy to adding an Intro to Engineering course down the line as well...or develop some project-based curriculum that integrates in aspects of basic engineering.

Monday, May 19, 2014

National Trend #2 - Early vs. Regular

My colleagues and I are not only fascinated by the totality of admission numbers - total applications, total admits, total wait listed, and total yields.

We are also intrigued by the dualities within highly selective admissions.

Specifically, the duality between early admissions versus regular admissions.

For some schools, the gap between early and regular admissions is widening.

Take Harvard, for example.

Harvard took a fairly liberal portion from the early admission bucket.

11% more, in fact, than last year.

Regular admission admits remained fairly static...and bleak.

But then take Harvard's admissions rival.


Stanford took a more conservative number from their early admission bucket.

Here the gap between early and regular admissions isn't as acute.

Harvard admits more.

Stanford less.

This is an example of how it is getting harder to use traditional models and metrics to predict outcomes.

My colleague Patrick O' Connor underscores this reality in his article in the Huffington Post, and helps us understand that students must "expand their horizons" and create an "A list" and "B list" set of schools.

It feels analogously that highly selective admissions has become the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby.

The best of the best racing against each other for a better national ranking...now students look at the odds and place your bets!

One of my top students this year bet on Harvard.  She bet on the right horse. 

I had others that bet on other horses...and some won...others lost.

The analogy is not my favorite one, but it feels like that is the reality of highly selective admissions today.

What analogy might you use to describe this trend within the glut of absurd admission statistics?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

National College Admission Trends (2013-14)

Over the next couple weeks, I will share with you national college admission trends that my colleagues have circled around in our conversations for the past few weeks.

I will be sharing these national trends with Casady's Board of Trustees tomorrow.

National Trend #1 - Business as Usual at the Top.

A colleague once remarked, "Highly selective colleges have the only business model I know of  where their goal is to grow their business through customer dissatisfaction."

I would add potential customer dissatisfaction.

Every year, these schools turn more potential customers away in disappointment...and every year the line to try and get in is looonnnnngggggeeeeerrr!

Consequently, the majority of the most highly desirable schools saw increases in application volume and decreases in application rates.

Here is a statistical sampling:

Name:                                                Applications                        Admits                        Admit Rate
Stanford                                             42,167                                    2,138                                    5.07%
Harvard                                              34,295                                    2,023                                    6.26%
Yale                                                    30,932                                    1,935                                    6.26%
Columbia                                           32,967                                    2,291                                    6.95%
Princeton                                            26,641                                    1,939                                    7.28%
Brown                                                30,432                                    2,619                                    8.86%
Penn                                                   35,868                                    3,550                                    9.90%
Duke                                                  32,457                                    1,705                                    10.80%
*Dartmouth                                       19,299                                    2,220                                    11.50%
*Vanderbilt                                        29,504                                    3,631                                    12.31%
Cornell                                               43,041                                    6,014                                   13.97%

* decrease in applications

 Here is a link to a Huffington Post article that expounds on the admission numbers at the top. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Class of 2014 "College Day"

Today is our College Chapel.

We will celebrate the Casady Class of 2014 and their accomplishments.

We will announce where each of the 73 seniors are matriculating in the fall.

This was a "BCS year" for the Class of 2014.

Our Sugar Bowl win (still relishing the Sooner victory over Bama!).

First some college admission statistics about the Class of 2014.

Overall matriculation to 4-year colleges:  100%
Overall college admission rate:  74%

Overall admission:  95 different colleges and universities
Overall matriculation:  33 different colleges and universities

Out-of-state matriculation:  63%
In-state matriculation:   37%

Public institutions:  55%
Private institutions:  45%

Universities:  93.2%
Liberal Arts Colleges:  6.8%

Matriculation Location:
In State:  37%
Southeast:  36%
Northeast:  10%
Midwest:  10%
West:  6%
International:  1%

Total (reported) merit monies:  $3 million

The 73 seniors of the Class of 2014 will matriculate to the following 34 colleges and universities:

Harvard College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Pennsylvania
Cornell University
Duke University
Vanderbilt University
Rice University*
Pomona College
Grinnell College
Tufts University
The University of Texas - Austin
University of Wisconsin-Madison
New York University
Boston University
University of Georgia
Indiana University - Bloomington
Texas Christian University*
Rhodes College
St. Olaf College
Earlham College
University of Puget Sound*
St. Edwards University
University of Arizona
University of Arkansas*
Florida State University
University of Tampa
St. Louis University
Baylor University*
Harding University
Xavier University (New Orleans)
Institute of Technology in Buenos Aires
University of Oklahoma*
Oklahoma State University*
Oklahoma Baptist University

* two or more students attending

Congrats to the Casady Class of 2014!!!  We are proud of every college acceptance and every college matriculation!!!

It was an exciting adventure to partner with every one of you in discerning the best college fit!

Mission accomplished!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Highly Selective Admissions Then and Now

Last week a colleague and I presented to packed room at GPACAC on Highly Selective Admissions:  Then and Now.

Here is a link to the prezi. 

We provided our audience a cadre of articles on this topic as well.

There is this one on Stanford's 5% admit rate.

And this one on Stanford denying 69% of their applicants with perfect SAT scores.   

And this one on major trends for next year's seniors (20% rule is very helpful!).

And this one with Ivy admission statistics (higher volume + lower admit rate = business as usual).   

Have a great week.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Admission Decisions Today (5 pm eastern time) and Icebergs

As highly selective admissions announce their decisions today and next week (here are the numbers!), the question in the aftermath [for counselors like me] is always this one:

If 85-90% of the students applying to these schools are admissible (according to the admission deans), then how do these admission officers make their decisions?

I would offer my iceberg analogy.

This is something I drew up on a napkin while listening to Bill Fitzsimmons talk about admissions at Harvard at the Harvard Institute.

90% of the reasons why or why not are underneath the surface.

Where we will never know why.

Which often then translates to students beating themselves up over the 10% above the surface that had NOTHING to do with the decision made.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bracketology and Highly Selective College Admissions

How's your NCAA bracket looking?


I filled out 8 brackets.

And all of them have been blown to smithereens.

I'm proud to say though I picked Dayton vs. Stanford.

I'm not proud to say I also picked Western Michigan, Louisiana Lafayette, and Western Kentucky.

Which brings me to the correlation between bracketology and highly selective admissions.

We're about to enter the two major 24 hour windows of time where all the #1 seeds reveal their winners and losers...and maybes.

I probably have 68 or so admission decisions pending for my students at those "blue blood" schools.

Enough to fill out a NCAA-like bracket.

And mentally I do it every year. 

I try my best to prognosticate who will win and advance and who will lose and well go somewhere else.

And every year I do about as well in my "highly selective admission bracket" as I do in my NCAA bracket.

There are kids who like Mercer don't beat Duke but get into Duke...and I didn't see it coming.

And there are kids who like Wichita State are undefeated in college admissions right up until April 1st and then they get smeared...and I didn't see it coming.

The reality is that highly selective admissions is simply too unpredictable these days.

The application volume. Plus...

The pressures for greater selectivity (which means lower admit rates and higher yield rates).  Plus...

The institutional agenda.  Plus...

The hidden variables that come into play in making very complex, highly nuanced decisions.

This article is an excellent reminder of what a "crap shoot" highly selective admissions is today.

As Mr. Gould points out in the following article, admission decisions say very little about the student, and much more about the institution making those decisions.

In the end, if a student's application list is balanced, then that student will have some excellent final choices that a majority of 18-year old's would give anything for.

March Madness is certainly my favorite time of year (other than the Masters in April) as a sports fan...but my least favorite time of the year as a college counselor.

But in the end, I'm always surprised how each student ends up where he or she is able to get a great college education.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul....Excellent Read

If you want the extended, full disclosure story behind the overhaul of the SAT, then I would invite you to read this article from The Times.

The article raises important questions about standardized testing.

The reality is that standardized testing has simply reinforced the savage inequalities that have existed socioeconomically.

Standardized tests advantage the advantaged.

And disadvantage the disadvantaged.

Scores, in other words, reveal zip codes and income brackets.

Not raw acumen and intellectual ability.

Not to mention intellectual curiosity and creativity and innovation (does any standardized test reveal this?).

Standardized tests are here to stay...at least at 80% of the colleges and universities out there.

It's a $4.5 billion dollar cash cow for the empire called The College Board.

Hopefully though the new SAT will provide ways to create a more even playing field for students.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New SAT 1 Unveiled

I was at the Harvard Summer Institute last June when College Board President, David Coleman, gave us - college deans and counselors - a sneak preview of the radical changes coming to the SAT 1.

Two sections only again.

Scored on the traditional 1600 scale.

An optional essay.  What....optional?

"Real world" vocabulary words.

So fewer words like parsimonious and inchoate.

And more words like synthesis and adaptability.

21st century words, in other words.

Data driven math.

Evidence-based literary analysis.

Less archaic and more relevant literature.

Like MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

And the Declaration of Independence.

And health care equivalent of free, universal test prep through Khan Academy!

This is a step in good direction....IF colleges and universities are going to continue to use standardized test scores to conquer and divide...excuse me, I mean bolster their ranking status...I mean evaluate the applicant's ability to succeed in their freshman year. 

Nevertheless, I'm not sure if a overhauled test will change the fact that only 42% (according to the College Board) of the US test taking population scored high enough to qualify as "college ready."

That said, I don't foresee the new SAT 1 having a significant impact on the Casady community.

We have steadily seen 15% of our seniors submit SAT I scores to colleges.

85% still prefer and score highest on the ACT.

But it will certainly change the game for our kids in terms of the PSAT...and National Merit.

Here is a link to an excellent article explaining the new SAT 1 that will be fully functional in the spring of 2016.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Interesting in Out-of-State Public U's?

One major trend emerging in higher education involves the rising costs of attending an out-of-state universities.

It's generally understood that non-residents can anticipate paying twice what in-state resident students pay at flagship public universities.

But now public institutions are becoming increasingly "need aware" in the admission process.

At the Harvard Institute this last summer, I heard a number of deans of admission from highly selective public universities flat out say, "We're looking for full pay kids."

Bottom line:  students and families need to become more aware of how "need aware" policies are factoring into admission decisions.

This article sheds light on this emerging trend.  It's worth taking the time to read it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What is Confounding, Absurd, and Miasmic? Here's a Hint: It starts with a S and ends with P, H, Y

Recently a colleague sent me this article from the Stanford Magazine.

It explored the confounding, absurd, and miasmic underbelly of highly selective admissions.

It's crazy to think that last year at Stanford, for example, as the article points out, that 69% of the applicants who had perfect SAT scores were denied.

800 + 800 + 800 = No Thanks!

This little juicy factoid underscores again that the schools at the top of the food chain have a set of hidden agendas (aka "institutional goals") that drive this admission process.

One of the graphics that I found helpful was this one.

This graph reveals the meteoric rise in applications to the Big 3 + Stanford over the last decade.

As well as the sharp plunge in the admit rate.

Now when any student or family in the future comes to me with ambitions to gain admission to one of these schools, I have a great introductory article to provide them to calibrate their expectations.

Thanks, Stanford.