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Ivy League Admission
The Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog

Low Income College Applicants

September 17, 2014
Low Income Applicants, Low Income University Applicants, Low Income Ivy Applicants

The Ivy Coach salutes the founders of QuestBridge, Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, for their extraordinary work in opening access for students of low-income backgrounds to highly selective colleges.

There was an article in yesterday’s “New York Times” entitled “‘A National Admissions Office’ for Low-Income Strivers” that we figured would be of interest to some of the readers of our college admissions blog. It should be of particular interest to students from low-income families who don’t believe they can attend a certain highly selective college simply because their parents can’t afford to send them there. With QuestBridge, an organization founded by entrepreneurs Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, these students no longer have to stress about whether their parents can afford the cost of tuition. They no longer have to stress about complicated financial aid forms. They no longer have to stress about whether or not their aid will disappear after their first year of college.

As articulated in the piece on low-income students applying to colleges in “The New York Times,” “College admissions officers attribute the organization’s success to the simplicity of its approach to students. It avoids mind-numbingly complex talk of financial-aid forms and formulas that scare away so many low-income families (and frustrate so many middle-income families, like my own when I was applying to college). QuestBridge instead gives students a simple message: If you get in, you can go. Yet the broader lessons of QuestBridge aren’t only about how to communicate with students. They’re also how our society spends the limited resource that is financial aid. The group’s founders, Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, are now turning their attention to the estimated $3 billion in outside scholarships, from local Rotary Clubs, corporations and other groups, that are awarded every year to high school seniors. The McCulloughs see this money as a wasted opportunity, saying it comes too late to affect whether and where students go to college. It doesn’t help the many high-achieving, low-income strivers who don’t apply to top colleges — and often don’t graduate from any college.”

Many students succeed in high school in spite of coming from low-income backgrounds where they have to work minimum wage jobs after school lets out each day. Many students succeed in high school because they come fro low-income backgrounds where they have to work minimum wage jobs after school lets out. Either way, these students are the kinds of students that highly selective colleges seek out and QuestBridge is a tremendous program with many participating highly selective institutions that takes so much of the worrying whether or not one’s parents can afford college out of the college admissions process. If a student gets into a school, with QuestBridge’s help, they can go. And that is a credit to Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, pioneers in the field of opening access to higher education for deserving students of low-income families.

The Ivy Coach salutes Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough for their extraordinary work over the years! Well done. And, while you’re here, read about what Amherst College has done over the years to welcome low-income students. Oh, and if you’re curious if Amherst is among QuestBridge’s partner colleges, they sure are! So are: Bowdoin College, Brown University, Caltech, Carleton College, Colorado College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Emory University, Grinnell College, Haverford College, MIT, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Pomona College, Princeton University, Rice University, Scripps College, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, Trinity College, Tufts University, University of Chicago, Notre Dame University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Vassar College, Washington and Lee University, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, Williams College, and Yale University.

So pretty much most highly selective colleges! Are there some top schools not currently partnered with QuestBridge? Yes. Hi, Duke, for instance. But we suspect all highly selective colleges will soon be partnered with this tremendous organization…

Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

Law Schools

September 16, 2014
Law School, Admission to Law School, Law School Admission

The Ivy Coach regularly helps students gain admission to top law schools.

The Ivy Coach regularly helps students gain admission to America’s most prestigious law schools. And so we read with great interest an article in “The Wall Street Journal” entitled “Law Schools Boost Enrollment After Price Cuts” by Jennifer Smith. Apparently, many law schools are trimming their prices (unheard of!) in the hope of boosting enrollment counts. According to a preliminary report conducted by “The Wall Street Journal,” three law schools that happened to cut tuition will be welcoming incoming classes that are between 22% and 52% bigger than in 2013. That’s a major difference, wouldn’t you say?

According to the article in “The Wall Street Journal” on law schools, “Last year, the average tuition and fees for private law school were $41,985, compared with $25,574 in 2003, according to the American Bar Association. Over the same period, the average tuition and fees for in-state students at public institutions more than doubled—to $23,879 in 2013—while rates at some elite public schools top $50,000. Financial aid and merit scholarships mean many students don’t pay the sticker price. Still, when fees and living expenses are factored in, the costs of law school add up. The average debt among borrowers who graduated in 2012 was $84,600 for those attending public schools and $122,158 for those at private schools, according to the ABA.”

What do you think about the tuition cuts at law schools? Do you think this latest trend has been a long time coming? Do you think that law school was becoming unaffordable? Do you think this new trend will encourage students who don’t have a clue what they want to do in life to matriculate to law schools? Or just the opposite? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

And remember when we wrote about how law school applications were dropping significantly back in 2011?

Categories: Applying to Graduate Schools Tags: , , , ,

College Selection

September 15, 2014
Selecting Colleges, Ivy League College Selection, University Selection

“The New York Times” has a great piece on which colleges students tend to choose to attend over others.

We recently wrote about college selection based on research conducted by Parchment as reported in an article on college selection in “The New York Times.” The research is based on the college choices of 114,119 students who have applied for college admission since the 2012-2013 admissions cycle. To jog your memory, “When interpreting these results, keep in mind that students don’t apply to colleges randomly. For a variety of reasons, including geographical proximity and in-state tuition discounts, students might favor a nearby school over a distant one. Parchment’s service is also used more widely in some states than others, which means the preferences here wouldn’t match a random sample of students nationwide. Still, the numbers for most colleges — including those that tend to draw applicants nationally — are broadly consistent with other data on students’ choices.”

Anyhow…on to the juicy stuff! Did you know that from this dataset, 83% of students admitted to both George Washington University and American University chose GW? 73% of students admitted to both Vanderbilt and the University of Michigan chose Vanderbilt. 86% of students chose Notre Dame University over Indiana University. 60% of students chose Boston College over Villanova University. 89% of respondents chose UCLA over UCSD. 61% of students chose the University of Wisconsin over Tulane University.

And how about Rice? 77% of students chose the University of California – Berkeley over Rice University. 60% of students chose Harvey Mudd College over UCSD, while 82% of students chose Carleton College over the University of Wisconson. Does that surprise you? Does any of this data on college selection surprise you? We’re curious to hear your thoughts so post a Comment below and we’ll be sure to get back to you.

Categories: College Admissions, College Decisions, Deciding on a College to Attend Tags: , , , ,

Which Colleges Students Choose

September 14, 2014
Colleges Students Choose, Colleges Students Prefer, Preferred Colleges

Students who get admitted to both Duke and Penn seem to prefer Duke, according to Parchment.

“The New York Times” reports that a company named Parchment compiled the college choices of 104,119 students who have applied for college admission since the 2012-2013 academic year. Parchment analyzes how students chose a particular college to matriculate to when admitted to more than one institution. According to the piece on which colleges students choose in “The New York Times,” “When interpreting these results, keep in mind that students don’t apply to colleges randomly. For a variety of reasons, including geographical proximity and in-state tuition discounts, students might favor a nearby school over a distant one. Parchment’s service is also used more widely in some states than others, which means the preferences here wouldn’t match a random sample of students nationwide. Still, the numbers for most colleges — including those that tend to draw applicants nationally — are broadly consistent with other data on students’ choices.”

From the findings, did you know that 83% of students chose the University of Michigan over Michigan State University? That should come as no surprise! Michigan is the better institution. Did you know that 61% of students chose Duke University over the University of Pennsylvania? Well, that’s certainly interesting! 61% of students chose Harvard over Yale. Now it’s getting juicy indeed! 100% of students chose Harvard over Dartmouth. 71% of students chose the University of Chicago over the University of Michigan. 82% of students chose Stanford University over the University of California – Berkeley.

77% of students chose the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over the California Institute of Technology. 76% of students chose Harvard University over Princeton University. 67% of students chose Columbia University over the University of California – Berkeley. But 56% of students chose the University of California – Berkeley over Cornell University. And we’ll share some more of this fascinating data in the coming days because we sure can’t get enough. Can you?

Categories: College Admissions, Deciding on a College to Attend Tags: , , , ,

Transgender Applicants in College Admissions

September 13, 2014
Transgender College Applicants, Transgender Students, Transgender University Applicants

The Ivy Coach salutes Mills College and Mount Holyoke College for leading the charge in creating equality for all on their campuses. Their policies of inclusion are to be commended.

Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign recently made a public apology directed towards the transgender community for his organization’s somewhat lack of support over the years. But Chad Griffin and the Human Rights Campaign are not alone in taking steps to foster inclusivity and equality for transgender people. Numerous women’s colleges across America have been taking steps aimed towards making their campuses more welcoming to members of the T in LGBT.

As reported in an article about transgender applicants in “Time,” “Mills College in Oakland, California, recently became the first U.S. women’s college to declare it would accept undergraduate applications from ‘self-identified women’ and people ‘assigned female at birth who do not fit into the gender binary,’ effective the semester that starts January 2015.” Mount Holyoke, perhaps taking inspiration from Mills College, has since done the same. The Ivy Coach salutes Mills College and Mount Holyoke College for their efforts at promoting inclusion and equality for transgender students.

But not all colleges across America are doing such great work. Not all colleges deserve our praise as Mills and Mount Holyoke do. According to “Time,” “Simpson University, Spring Arbor University and George Fox University are among the Christian colleges that have recently received a religious exemption from Title IX, the federal law banning gender-based discrimination in education.” Shame on these universities. Shame on these administrators who are inking discrimination into school policy. These schools are most certainly on the wrong side of history.

While you’re here, read up on LGBT-friendly colleges in America’s South.

Categories: College Admissions, LGBT College Students Tags: , , , ,

An Interesting College Ranking

September 12, 2014
College Ranking, Interesting College Ranking, Interesting University Ranking

We’re not so sure that Ben Franklin would be all that pleased that Penn recently topped one particular college ranking.

We came across an interesting college ranking. It’s the ranking of top party schools, as reported by “Business Insider.” It should be noted that the ranking, however, was conducted by…”Playboy Magazine.” Yes, you’ve read that correctly. While it should come as no surprise that certain universities near the top of the ranking, this year’s #1 ranked party school came as a surprise to us. Because who knew that the University of Pennsylvania throws such big parties? At least according to the source.

According to an article on this college ranking in “Business Insider,” “The Ivy League school tops Playboy’s ninth annual list of party schools, its first appearance in the ranking. Last year’s number one school, West Virginia University, fell to number three on Playboy’s list. ‘Smarties can party too, and UPenn puts other Ivies to shame with its union of brains, brewskies and bros,’ Playboy writes. ‘Boasting a notorious underground frat scene that school officials have deemed a nuisance, these renegades pony up thousands of dollars’ worth of liquor for their parties—and competition among the houses means a balls-out war of debauchery.’” This may not be a ranking that administrators at the University of Pennsylvania are too fond of bragging about!

If you’re curious about which other universities appear on this ranking, #10 is Syracuse University, #9 is University of Texas, #8 is Colorado State University, #7 is University of Miami (shocker!), #6 is University of California – Santa Cruz, #5 is University of Iowa, #4 is University of Arizona (another shocker — not really!), #3 is West Virginia University, and #2 is University of Wisconsin. But apparently no university parties as hard as Penn.

Does that surprise you? We’re not so sure how this particular magazine arrived at these rankings and if there’s any actual data involved in their “calculations” — or if it’s just based on subjective opinion — but we’re curious to hear where you stand on the question of whether or not Penn really is a big party school. So let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Categories: The Rankings Tags: , , , ,

Barnard Admissions

September 11, 2014
Admission to Barnard, Barnard Admission, Getting Into Barnard

There is an interesting editorial on the pages of “The Columbia Spectator” related to Barnard’s yield and a campus housing crunch.

There was a letter to the editor recently on the pages of “The Columbia Spectator” that we found quite well argued. In the letter, entitled “Barnard deliberately caused housing shortage,” Daniel Liss argues that Barnard intentionally accepted more students than they could possibly house. One of the key data points Liss cites is the yield rate. In spite of Barnard’s yield rate dropping this year, 39 more students matriculated than last year. So what would have happened if the yield rate had remained the same? Even more extra students would have matriculated to Barnard. There was no way that Barnard could have possibly housed the students even if the yield rate had not dropped.

As Liss writes: “I am disappointed that your recent article on Barnard’s housing shortage did not probe more deeply into why Barnard must now cram first years into four-person rooms. By Barnard’s account, students are stuck with the current space issue because of a “high matriculation rate.” In fact, a careful look at the numbers suggests quite the opposite: Barnard’s matriculation rate was low, given the number of students accepted this year. Here is a quote from your article: ‘Study lounges on the third through eighth floors in Sulzberger and Reid halls have been renovated into dorm rooms as 619 first-years matriculated at Barnard this year—39 more than last year … This year, Barnard admitted 23 percent of 5,676 applicants. Last year, Barnard admitted 21.3 percent of 5,606 applicants and 580 students matriculated for the class of 2017.’ Why did Barnard accept a higher percentage of students this year from a larger applicant pool, especially when Barnard has been grappling with housing space issues for years?”

He goes on to say, “Let’s crunch the numbers further. Based on the data Barnard has released, we can compare Barnard’s yield from 2013 and 2014. In 2013, 580 students matriculated out of 21.3 percent of 5606. The yield was therefore 48.57 percent. In 2014, 619 students matriculated out of 23 percent of 5676. The yield was therefore 47.41 percent. Even though Barnard’s yield dropped this year by more than a full percentage point, 39 extra students matriculated. Had Barnard’s yield held steady from last year, 634 students would have matriculated this year—54 extra students. The numbers are clear; Barnard deliberately admitted more students than it could comfortably house. Blame for the current housing shortage should fall squarely on the Barnard administration’s shoulders. Why did Barnard choose to accept so many applicants if it would need to scrap lounges and pack students into quads? Perhaps this could be the subject of another article. My guess would be that the answer relates to Barnard’s recent financial troubles. I hope Spectator follows up on this.”

We believe Daniel Liss has raised some very valid points and the data absolutely supports his argument. So why would Barnard do this? Is it because they needed the money? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Categories: College Admissions Tags: , , , ,

Summer Jobs and Ivy Admission

September 10, 2014
Summer Jobs and Colleges, College Admission Summer Jobs, Summer Jobs in Admissions

Holding a summer job can absolutely help your chances of admission to an Ivy League school! Quotes in an article of “The New York Times” suggest otherwise but the man they’re getting quotes from is absolutely wrong.

A reader recently wrote in asking us to offer our thoughts on an article in “The New York Times” entitled “A Summer Job Isn’t What It Used to Be” by Anna Altman. Well we have thoughts alright! Essentially, the article explores how summer jobs don’t give high school students the advantages that they once did, that they’re essentially just for students from low-income families, and that they don’t help students gain admission to highly selective colleges. William Deresiewicz, whom we’ve written about extensively on the pages of this blog, is even quoted in this “New York Times” piece as saying, “Colleges should put an end to résumé-stuffing by imposing a limit on the number of extracurriculars that kids can list on their applications. They ought to place more value on the kind of service jobs that lower-income students often take in high school and that high achievers almost never do. They should refuse to be impressed by any opportunity that was enabled by parental wealth.” We certainly don’t disagree with Mr. Deresiewicz on this point.

But then there’s this: “Mr. Deresiewicz told Op-Talk that admissions offices don’t give any weight to the kind of low-wage part-time job that Ms. Waldorf performed or that Mr. Ruhm and Mr. Baum studied. Instead, extracurricular activities and internships are a staple among applications and consistently impress admissions officers.” That is so not true! Admissions officers at highly selective colleges want to form diverse classes. And socio-economic diversity in an incoming class is vital! So for Mr. Deresiewicz to allude to the fact that underprivileged high schoolers who work jobs at the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King are unimpressive to admissions officers at top schools is just plain dead wrong. Advantaged students who work low-paying jobs are also impressive! They’re learning the value of working hard for low pay! Admissions officers are blown away by students who excel at school and have a passion for learning as they work at a business like McDonald’s after school. And why shouldn’t they be? It’s incredibly impressive. To root for a kid who works at McDonald’s after school, while his peers play varsity golf is human. And admissions officers are human. They will always root for this type of student. It’s these very students who are the gems in admissions!

The article cites how a student almost wanted to hide the fact that she worked at McDonald’s on her activity list for her college applications. But she shouldn’t! She absolutely should put this on her activity sheet. It’s impressive. It shows her character, that she worked through high school at a low paying job. It shows that she’s driven. It shows that she’s somebody worth rooting for. As for Mr. Deresiewicz, he clearly doesn’t understand the highly selective college admissions process if he believes admissions officers at top schools don’t root for students who work low paying jobs while attending high school. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Categories: Ivy League Tags: , , , ,

2015 US News College Rankings

September 9, 2014
2015 US News Ranking, College Ranking for 2015, 2015 College Rankings

Princeton has topped the 2015 “US News” college rankings among national universities.

The 2015 “US News & World Report” college rankings are out today. So which university topped the ranking as the best national university? That would be…Princeton University. Coming in second is Harvard University followed by Yale University at #3, Columbia University, Stanford University, and University of Chicago in a tie for #4, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at #7, Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania at #8, the California Institute of Technology at #10, Dartmouth College at #11, Johns Hopkins University at #12, Northwestern University at #13, Washington University in St. Louis at #14, Cornell University at #15, Brown University, University of Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt University at #16, Rice University at #19, and the University of California – Berkeley at #20.

At #21 sit Emory University and Georgetown University followed by the University of California – Los Angeles and the University of Virginia at #23, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Southern California at #25, Tufts University and Wake Forest University at #27, the University of Michigan at #29, and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill at #30. Boston College, New York University, the College of William & Mary, the University of Rochester, Brandeis University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California – San Diego, Case Western Reserve University, the University of California – Davis, Lehigh University, and the University of California – Santa Barbara round out the top forty national universities in the 2015 “US News” ranking.

As for liberal arts colleges, Williams College claimed top prize followed by arch rival Amherst College. Coming in third is Swarthmore College followed by: Wellesley College, Bowdoin College, Pomona College, Middlebury College, Carleton College, Claremont McKenna College, Haverford College, Davidson College, Vassar College, the United States Naval Academy, Washington and Lee University, Colby College, Hamilton College, Harvey Mudd College, Wesleyan University, Bates College, Grinnell College, Smith College, Colgate University, Oberlin College, Macalester College, Scripps College, and the United States Military Academy.

What do you think about the 2105 “US News” college rankings? We’re curious to hear your thoughts! And, while you’re here, check out this post on whether or not college rankings matter.

Categories: The Rankings Tags: , , , ,

College Waitlist Acceptance

September 8, 2014
College Waitlist, College Waiting List, Waiting List Admission

Our Founder, Bev Taylor, is quoted in an article today in “The Brown Daily Herald” about Brown University’s waitlist.

The Founder of The Ivy Coach, Bev Taylor, is quoted in an article today in Brown University’s “Brown Daily Herald” about Brown’s waitlist that we figured we’d share. Brown University admitted a significant number of students off of its waitlist this past admissions cycle, for the Brown University Class of 2018. In fact, 42 students earned admission, ending their time in college admissions limbo. The 42 students admitted off the list for the Class of 2018 is interesting because only 2 students earned admission off the waitlist for the Class of 2017. So what does that go to show you? That you should always try to put up a fight if you’re placed on a waitlist and you’d like to still earn admission…because you just never know. And in order to put up a fight, you can’t do nothing. You can’t just sit back and hope that a university like Brown will draw your name from a bowl. Because that’s not how the waitlist works. There is no bowl and not all students on college waitlists are created equal. Those students who effectively sway admissions officers to want to admit them off waitlists have improved odds of getting in.

As our Founder is quoted in the piece in the “Brown Daily Herald,” “Bev Taylor, founder and president of the Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said she has also seen an increase in the number of students waitlisted over the past five years, though there has not necessarily been a corresponding rise in acceptances off the waitlist. While universities primarily admit students off waitlists when they face lower-than-expected yield rates from their original pools of admitted students, Taylor said the waitlist also may be used to lower the reported acceptance rate — a commonly used metric of an institution’s prestige — or to deal with highly qualified applicants who may not be as likely to commit to attending a college. Brown’s yield has remained consistent over the past three years, with approximately 60 percent of admitted students accepting their offers of admission. Taylor said she advises applicants placed on a waitlist that ‘doing nothing will never get you admitted.’ Waitlisted students should send a ‘more detailed’ version of the ‘Why Brown?’ essay to their regional admission officer to show their continued interest in the school, she said.”

That’s absolutely what waitlisted students should do! Have a question on the waitlist? Let us know your question by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Categories: College Admissions, Ivy League Tags: , , , ,