May 1, 2013, 3:26 pm
In an article this week, I describe the culture of College Confidential, the Web site many people love and/or hate. So far I’ve received several e-mails from readers who complained that my story was too negative (one anonymous soul informed me that my alma mater is a “joke”). Other readers suggested that the story wasn’t harsh enough.
Yet the most interesting response came from David Hawsey, a longtime admissions professional who helped create College Confidential in 2001. “It was founded for a different reason than people may think,” he wrote.
Mr. Hawsey, now vice president for enrollment management at Emory & Henry College, in Virginia, described his motivations for starting the free Web site: to educate the public about how colleges recruit and select applicants, and determine financial-aid awards. Back then, as the site’s primary producer of content, including responses to…
May 1, 2013, 11:15 am
Disadvantaged students are more likely to search for colleges haphazardly, rather than in the systematic way a good counselor would encourage. And that makes them more susceptible to marketing from lower-tier colleges that may not be a good fit, academically or financially. That’s the takeaway of a new paper that will be presented on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association but is not yet available online.
The paper, “Easy Targets: Haphazard College Searching and the Reproduction of Inequalities in Higher Education,” is based on a two-year qualitative study at two suburban high schools in the Northeast. Its author, Megan M. Holland, expects to receive her doctorate in sociology from Harvard University this month.
Among the 89 students she interviewed, Ms. Holland identified two main approaches to the college search. Some students were…
April 29, 2013, 4:59 am
Dominican University of California has been misreporting admissions data since 2001, the institution’s president announced last week.
In an e-mail to the campus, the president, Mary B. Marcy, said the university’s annual tallies of first-year applications had included incomplete applications, resulting “in the appearance of the university being more selective in its admissions process than it is.” Dominican reported an acceptance rate of 53.7 percent for the incoming class in the fall of 2011, for instance; the actual acceptance rate was 72.6 percent.
A recent internal review revealed the discrepancies, according to Ms. Marcy’s e-mail. The university, she wrote, has since notified the U.S. Department of Education of the errors. “I assure you that we will correct the error and take the necessary steps to ensure accuracy regarding future data collection and reporting,” Ms. Marcy…
January 17, 2013, 11:32 pm
Los Angeles — Merit. It’s the star around which the admissions profession revolves, and a major theme in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Nonetheless, the ubiquitous word too often has a narrow definition, Arthur L. Coleman said here on Thursday at a conference hosted by the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice. Mr. Coleman, a managing partner and co-founder of Education Counsel LLC, said colleges must do more to articulate how they define “merit” in their admissions process—and how that definition entwines with diversity.
Fisher hinges on the legal question of whether and how colleges may use race in admissions decisions. Yet as officials assess their own race-conscious admission policies, Mr. Coleman said, they must remember that the court of public opinion is as crucial as any court…
December 18, 2012, 4:56 am
Budget cuts have led many public universities to enroll more higher-paying students from other states, eroding the traditional boundaries of recruitment. As we reported last year, for instance, Arizona State University enrolled more freshmen from California than did six of California State University’s campuses.
How far can a state university’s mission bend before it breaks? How are all those applicants from other states—and from overseas—affecting in-state applicants’ chances of being admitted? Parents, legislators, and admissions officers are asking such questions, and researchers are asking, too.
In a new brief published on Monday by the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington at Bothell, two researchers describe their analysis of recent admissions data from the University of Washington’s main campus, in Seattle. They conclude that in-state…
November 29, 2012, 12:01 am
Over the last 10 years, the Good Ship Admissions has taken on great numbers of passengers who, in various ways, have changed the profession’s course. These high-achieving applicants—wired to new technologies and hailing from many nations—have greatly challenged those who recruit them, by filing an increasing number of applications, shrinking acceptance rates at the most-selective colleges, and driving down yield rates everywhere.
This image arises from the 2012 “State of College Admission” report, released on Thursday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. This year’s report marks the 10th installment of the annual compilation of data on admissions trends. Each chapter includes a “retrospective” look at major themes of recent years (do you remember reading that applying early to a highly selective college increased an applicant’s chance of admission by the…
November 16, 2012, 12:25 pm
George Washington University’s rank in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 college guide would have been lower if it had submitted accurate class-rank data, according to the man whose calculations form the annual list of “Best Colleges.”
In a blog post on Friday, Robert J. Morse, director of data research at U.S. News, explained why the publication moved George Washington to the “Unranked” category this week. In cases of misreported data, U.S. News conducts a statistical simulation to determine what a college’s rank would have been if the correct figures had been used.
If a college’s rank would have been lower “even one or two spots” than its published rank, Mr. Morse wrote, U.S. News removes the college from the list until the following year’s edition is published. He did not specify how much lower George Washington’s rank—No. 51 in the latest edition—should have been.
November 15, 2012, 1:19 pm
In a guest post today, Louis L. Hirsh describes the consequences of early-admission programs. Mr. Hirsh is a former director of admissions at the University of Delaware.
I once shared a panel with nine admissions colleagues. Because there were so many of us, each of us was given only three minutes to describe our colleges before the Q&A started.
Next to me was a young admissions rep from an excellent college that had both “Early Decision I” and “Early Decision II,” as well as deadlines for various scholarship programs. It took him his entire three minutes just to explain the different deadlines and notification dates.
A generation ago, the less-selective colleges practiced rolling admission, and the more selective ones notified applicants in the spring. Early decision was rare and existed only for the few academic superstars. Admissions was primarily a counseling profession, and…
November 9, 2012, 2:01 pm
As I’ve written before, there’s no Data Sheriff patrolling the sometimes-secretive realm of college admissions.
George Washington University reminded us of that on Thursday when it announced that its admissions office had inflated its class-rank data for more than a decade, substituting estimates for hard numbers. If not for an internal administrative review, the practice might have continued—undiscovered—forever and ever.
The news reminded me of a chat I had with Raymond A. Brown this past summer. Mr. Brown, dean of admission at Texas Christian University, believes that all colleges should agree to have their admissions data reviewed regularly by independent auditors.
For the last 12 years, Texas Christian has hired PriceWaterhouseCoopers to verify that the university’s admissions numbers—including applications, acceptances, and standardized-test scores—have been…