We’re nearing commencement exercises across the nation and thus news of commencement speakers at various universities is beginning to hit the press. “The Huffington Post” has reported a number of these speakers, many of whom are interesting choices to address the graduating classes. If you’ll recall from last year’s graduation ceremonies, Conan O’Brien, the speaker at Dartmouth College, gave the most exciting speech. If you haven’t seen the Dartmouth graduation speech, you should be sure to check it out. It was by far and away the best graduation speech we’ve ever heard.
This year, Steve Carell will be addressing the graduating class of Princeton University. Condoleeza Rice will be addressing grads at Southern Methodist University. Cory Booker, the erudite mayor of Newark with a profound interest in Judaism who ran into a burning building on Thursday to successfully rescue a woman, will be addressing the graduating class at Stanford University. Geoffrey Canada, the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, will be speaking to the graduating class of the University of Pennsylvania. Trailblazing journalist Barbara Walters, perhaps the most prolific female journalist of our time, will be addressing the graduates of Yale University.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will be speaking to grads of Tulane University in addition to the University of Washington. Adam Savage, one of the Mythbuster guys, will be speaking to graduates of Sarah Lawrence College. Walter Isaacson, the man who wrote Steve Jobs’ biography, will be addressing Cooper Union graduates. And the man with the famous voice, James Early Jones, will be receiving an honorary degree from Juilliard.
We’ll be updating you with more commencement speaker announcements as they’re announced but hat tip to a slideshow on commencement speakers in “The Huffington Post” for these leads. Of these speakers, which university do you think scored the biggest get? Is it Barbara Walters? Condoleeza Rice? Steve Carell? Cory Booker? And let us know who you think would make a better graduation speaker than the aforementioned folks!Categories: Did You Know?, Ivy League, Other Tidbits Tags: College Graduation Speakers, Commencement Speakers, Graduation Speakers, Ivy League Graduation Speakers, University Graduation Speakers
For all students applying to Duke University hoping to be Cameron Crazies, if you ever wondered just how important Duke’s men’s basketball team is to the university, an article on Forbes.com gives you the bottom line. “Duke University is the top revenue generating men’s basketball program in the country, generating over 160 percent more revenue than the national average among other BCS basketball programs,” writes Patrick Rishe of Forbes.com.
Here is Patrick Rishe’s / Forbes’ full 2011 ranking of the 73 BCS teams based on their revenue:
Rank Team MBB Rev Index
1 Duke $26,667,056 2.64
2 Louisville $25,890,003 2.57
3 North Carolina $20,551,168 2.04
4 Arizona $19,285,038 1.91
5 Syracuse $18,309,470 1.82
6 Wisconsin $17,666,311 1.75
7 Kentucky $16,781,239 1.66
8 Indiana $16,570,158 1.64
9 Ohio St. $16,190,723 1.61
10 Michigan St. $16,138,167 1.60
11 Kansas $16,116,502 1.60
12 Texas $15,602,348 1.55
13 Arkansas $15,515,830 1.54
14 Illinois $14,413,222 1.43
15 Marquette $13,877,475 1.38
16 Minnesota $13,733,316 1.36
17 West Virginia $13,306,654 1.32
18 Tennessee $13,301,579 1.32
19 Pittsburgh $13,117,849 1.30
20 UCLA $12,353,487 1.23
21 Oklahoma State $12,085,306 1.20
22 Washington $11,481,376 1.14
23 Alabama $10,766,327 1.07
24 Maryland $10,739,282 1.06
25 NC State $10,354,157 1.03
26 Florida $10,184,136 1.01
27 Georgetown $10,074,618 1.00
28 Northwestern $10,048,801 1.00
29 Virginia $9,788,223 0.97
30 Auburn $9,588,191 0.95
31 Missouri $9,540,265 0.95
32 Virginia Tech $9,252,293 0.92
33 South Carolina $9,190,794 0.91
34 Vanderbilt $9,182,578 0.91
35 Georgia Tech $9,143,914 0.91
36 Wake Forest $9,064,780 0.90
37 Texas A & M $8,853,325 0.88
38 Iowa $8,796,540 0.87
39 Oklahoma $8,626,247 0.86
40 Arizona St. $8,591,421 0.85
41 Penn St. $8,384,315 0.83
42 Georgia $8,331,515 0.83
43 Michigan $8,321,413 0.83
44 Mississippi State $8,205,804 0.81
45 Boston College $8,026,369 0.80
46 Purdue $7,791,967 0.77
47 Connecticut $7,745,145 0.77
48 Villanova $7,652,470 0.76
49 Kansas State $7,259,800 0.72
50 Iowa State $7,182,665 0.71
51 University of Miami $7,081,121 0.70
52 Clemson $7,054,691 0.70
53 California $6,967,208 0.69
54 Ole Miss $6,821,532 0.68
55 LSU $6,767,009 0.67
56 St. John’s $6,741,298 0.67
57 DePaul $6,528,661 0.65
58 Providence $6,460,838 0.64
59 Seton Hall $6,215,923 0.62
60 Stanford $6,191,021 0.61
61 Nebraska $6,022,208 0.60
62 Florida State $5,756,857 0.57
63 Baylor $5,737,350 0.57
64 Texas Tech $5,092,921 0.51
65 Oregon St. $4,938,930 0.49
66 Cincinnati $4,927,771 0.49
67 Rutgers $4,634,026 0.46
68 South Florida $4,588,627 0.46
69 Notre Dame $4,051,468 0.40
70 Colorado $3,587,371 0.36
71 Washington St. $3,544,745 0.35
72 USC $3,535,629 0.35
73 Oregon $3,240,150 0.32
Check out Patrick Rishe’s / Forbes’ article research here.
And check out our blogs about Princeton basketball and its impact on admissions or the significance of the Harvard-Princeton tiebreaker game or college admissions and March Madness or an underdog’s Cinderella run to the Final Four that transformed a university’s admissions statistics.Categories: Admissions Process, College Athletes, Did You Know? Tags: College Athletics, Duke, Duke Applicants, Duke Basketball, Duke University, Duke University Applicants
There was a great article in yesterday’s “The Harvard Crimson” that explored how students who arrive at Harvard and want to get on the premed path often end up changing their minds. The article points out that many students with an interest in medicine are exposed to medicine from an early age, either because of their annual doctor appointments, the prevalence of medicine on television series such as “House” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” or one or both of their parents are physicians and they want to follow in their footsteps.
At Harvard, like at so many universities throughout the country, students will so often find that their interests change while in college when they are exposed to new disciplines, to new possibilities. This isn’t just true of premeds. It’s true of students who apply to colleges thinking they want to be lawyers or business executives or politicians and that’s why it’s always important to keep your options open. Says Lee Ann Michelson, director of premedical and health care advising at Harvard’s Office of Career Services, “While approximately 20 percent of students informally declare an interest in pursuing the premed track when they first arrive on campus, only seven percent eventually apply to medical school as seniors.”
Check out the full article in “The Harvard Crimson.”Categories: Deciding on a College to Attend, Did You Know?, Selecting Colleges Tags: Harvard, Harvard Admissions, Harvard University, Premed Applicants, Premed College Applicants, Premed Students
It’s that time of year again, the time of year when you print out your NCAA Tourney bracket, read Dick Vitale’s predictions on ESPN, and then fill in your own projections for the universities you think will advance to the Sweet 16 and beyond. In the Ivy League, for the first time in the school’s long history, Harvard has won at least a share of the Ivy title. Should Princeton fall to Penn in their last regular season game, Harvard will secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Should Princeton beat Penn, Harvard and Princeton will compete in a playoff to determine the league’s representative to the NCAA Tournament.
But beyond the hoopla and excitement of March Madness, how does this tournament impact the universities that manage to qualify for The Big Dance? The fact is that at many universities, including at highly selective schools like Duke, Stanford, and Penn, the school’s run in the NCAA Tournament can have a major impact on the admissions process. Yes, if you’re applying to Duke next year, it may well be in your best interest to root against the Blue Devils this year so that you can have a better chance of admission. Heresy, you might suggest? It doesn’t mean you have to become a Carolina fan. And the fact is, if you’re admitted the following year, you can root on Duke as a Cameron Crazy for each of the next four years and for every year for the rest of your life.
Let’s take a look at the statistics. Historically, universities that qualify for the Sweet 16 increase their applicant pool by an average of 3% the following year. A school that wins the tournament tends to increase next year’s applicant pool by an average of 7-8%, according to a Virginia Tech researcher. Do you happen to remember mid-major George Mason’s Cinderella run to the Final Four back in 2006 (that included upsets of powerhouses Michigan State, UNC, and UConn)? In the following admissions cycle, George Mason’s applicant pool increased by 20%.
In a research paper entitled, “The Impact of College Sports Success on the Quantity and Quality of Student Applications,” author Devin Pope of Wharton and Jaren Pope of Virginia Tech found, “Empirical studies have produced mixed results on the relationship between a school’s sports success and the quantity and quality of students that apply to the school. This study uses two unique datasets to shed additional light on the indirect benefits that sports success provides to NCAA Division I schools.”
The Popes go on to write, “Key findings include: (i) football and basketball success significantly increase the quantity of applications to a school, with estimates ranging from 2-8% for the top 20 football schools and the top 16 basketball schools each year, (ii) private schools see increases in application rates after sports success that are 2-4 times higher than public schools, (iii) the extra applications received are composed of both low and high SAT scoring students thus providing potential for schools to improve their admission outcomes, and (iv) schools appear to exploit these increases in applications by improving both the number and the quality of incoming students.”Categories: Admissions Process, College Decisions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Did You Know?, Other Tidbits, The Rankings Tags: College Admissions and March Madness, College Admissions Statistics, Ivy League, March Madness, NCAA Tournament
The administration at Harvard decided this week to reinstate the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program on campus. Since 1970, the ROTC program had been discontinued at Harvard as a result of student protests to the Vietnam War and remained inactive due to the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy.” Said Harvard President Drew Faust in a statement, “Our renewed relationship affirms the vital role that the members of our Armed Forces play in serving the nation and securing our freedoms, while also affirming inclusion and opportunity as powerful American ideals. It broadens the pathways for students to participate in an honorable and admirable calling and in so doing advances our commitment to both learning and service.”
In light of the overturning of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy instituted under the Clinton administration that did not allow members of the LGBT community to serve openly in our nation’s military, Harvard chose to welcome back the respected program that trains college students to be officers in our armed forces. This is welcome news for high school students seeking to attend Harvard who also want to participate in ROTC and complete their military service following their college graduation. It is welcome news that a program that will train some of the best and brightest students our country has to offer at Harvard will soon be returning to campus and it is also welcome news that this program is now open to ALL Harvard students. LGBT Harvard cadets can now enjoy the full right and privilege of serving our country openly and our country will be stronger for it.
Said U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in a statement, “[The move] is good for the university, good for the military, and good for the country. Together, we have made a decision to enrich the experience open to Harvard’s undergraduates, make the military better, and our nation stronger.” If you are interested in securing a scholarship with a ROTC program either at Harvard or another university, we would love to hear from you so that we can help you succeed in the college admissions process.Categories: Admissions Process, Did You Know?, LGBT College Students, Other Tidbits Tags: Harvard, Harvard ROTC, Harvard University, Ivy League, ROTC, ROTC Applicants
There is an article on CNBC today that tackles the issue of whether or not an Ivy League education is worth the cost of admission. Is the degree worth as much as we think it is? The consensus is…it is but not for the reasons you may think.
One of the reasons parents may want their children to attend an Ivy League school is because of the education they will receive. These are supposed to be the schools with the best professors who are leaders in their respective fields, with the best research facilities, with the finest libraries. But this article suggests — and we happen to agree — that what sets Ivy League colleges apart from other competitive universities is not the education that students receive. Amherst College and Williams College are two examples of schools that not in the Ivy League that can offer a wonderful college education. And you can get one amazing education at the University of Michigan.
But what about after college? The article points out that “the lowest median starting salary for an elite eight ranges from $49,400 for Brown to $59,600 for the University of Pennsylvania…According to one study, that’s about 32 percent higher than a graduate at a non-Ivy League, liberal-arts school. A mid-career salary ranges from a low of $99,700 from Columbia to a high of $123,000 from Princeton and Dartmouth.”
The fact is that in the competitive job market, the old saying of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is still very much the case. Many companies like Bain, McKinsey, and Goldman Sachs recruit exclusively out of top schools. At Ivy League colleges, students form connections — friendships — with their classmates and these very connections often help shape their futures.
And for the job interviewer perusing resumes and deciding if she should bring in the Princeton grad or the Rutgers grad for an interview, our bet is on the Princeton grad every single time. Are there exceptions? You bet. Many of the leaders and captains of industry in the United States and around the world attended universities you may never have heard of. But they are the exceptions to the rule, not the rule.Categories: Admissions Process, Did You Know?, Other Tidbits Tags: Ivy League, Ivy League and Career, Ivy League and Jobs, Ivy League Career Influences, The Ivy League Influence on Career
Admissions counselors at Caltech celebrated last year when they landed a major recruit. This student was not the 7’0, 260 lb. inside post presence that could help transform their basketball team from the most notorious loser – they had not won a single conference game in 26 years, since before the fall of the Berlin Wall – into an NCAA contender. This student was not the next great QB with remarkable foot speed and accuracy to invigorate Caltech’s football squad and lead them to the Rose Bowl down the street. That team was eliminated long ago.
The student that the admissions counselors at Caltech landed was the winner of the Intel Science Talent Search, the most prestigious science competition for high school students in the country. At a school that boasts 31 alumni and faculty members who have won the Nobel Prize, 65 who have won the coveted National Medal of Science or Technology, the highest average starting salary in the country, and the Sheldon character from CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” the Intel winner is always the golden prize for Caltech admissions counselors.
But on Tuesday, the fate of Caltech’s beleaguered basketball team changed. In what has to go down as one of the great upsets in the history of sports, Caltech upstaged conference rival Occidental in the closing seconds of the game when senior Ryan Elmquist sunk a free throw and Occidental’s half-court heave fell short. The ecstatic fans in attendance immediately rushed the court and celebration erupted all across Caltech’s Pasadena campus. On that day, we were all Caltech fans rooting on the underdog to begin a new tradition.
In a few short months, Ryan Elmquist, the hero of Caltech, will move to Silicon Valley where he will work as a computer software engineer for Google as so many bright and motivated Caltech students have done before him. And admissions counselors at Caltech are now clicking their way through applications in the hope of finding their next Nobel Prize winners.Categories: Did You Know?, Other Tidbits Tags: Caltech, Caltech Admissions, College Admissions, Intel Science Talent Search, The Grand Prize of Caltech Admissions
Are the children of celebrities viewed differently than everyone else when their applications are reviewed? You bet they are! Should Brandy Norwood with her higher scores have been voted off “Dancing with the Stars” while Bristol Palin advances to the final round? Who says life is fair?Categories: Did You Know? Tags: College Admissions, College Applicants, College Celebrity Applicants, College Celebrity Children, Ivy League Celebrity Children
For the class of 2014, Harvard University received 30,489 and accepted 2,110. If you’re one of those 28,379 students who applied and were rejected, you may find some comfort in knowing that Harvard does indeed make mistakes.
Take U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), for example. He was rejected not once but twice by Harvard. After he was rejected by Harvard, he went to Yale University, graduated, and then enlisted in the Navy where he requested duty in Vietnam and earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts (although whether or not he truly earned this recognition was called into question by the Swift Boat campaign). He then applied to Harvard Law School and once again Harvard said “no.”
And you wonder what Harvard was thinking when they rejected Warren Buffet. With the $30 billion that he donated to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, just maybe Harvard regrets that they’re not on the receiving end for just a little something.
Here is a list of rejects that Harvard College most probably regrets:
Lee C. Bollinger – President of Columbia University
Tom Brokaw – Journalist, Former White House Correspondent
Warren Buffett – Investor and Philanthropist
Art Garfunkel – Singer and Songwriter
Matt Groening – Creator, The Simpsons
John Kerry – United States Senator
Scott McNealy – Chairman and Co-founder, Sun Microsystems
David Remnick – Editor, The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize Winner
Ted Turner – Founder, Turner Broadcasting System, Creator of CNN
Harold Varmus – President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine
Meredith Vieira – Co-Anchor, Today and Host, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Jann Wenner – Founder, Rolling Stone and Chairman, Wenner Media
Shellenbarger, Sue. “Before They Were Titans, Moguls and Newsmakers, These People Were…Rejected.” The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. 24 Mar, 2010. Web. 1 July. 2010.Categories: Did You Know?, Other Tidbits Tags: College Admissions, College Applicants, College Rejection, Harvard, Harvard Rejects, Ivy League
The magazines that rank our best colleges, graduate schools, boarding schools, hospitals, health plans, doctors, nursing homes, and high schools do so because they’re in the business of selling magazines. We buy into this craze. Rankings have an important place in American society. Once you learn what is actually being measured, you might see how unimportant some (not all) of these rankings are because the criteria that is used can in some cases be subjective.
This week, “Newsweek” published its annual list of the best high schools in the United States. Since 1998, “Newsweek” has ranked public high schools based on the “Challenge Index,” which is calculated by the number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Cambridge tests administered each year divided by the number of graduating seniors. Note that exams that are taken by all students, not just seniors, are counted. Public high schools whose students had taken as many tests in 2009 as the number of graduates that year achieved the “all important” cut-off ratio of 1. According to “Newsweek’s” report, “Just over 1,600 schools — only 6 percent of all the public schools in the U.S. — made the list.” The actual number of public high schools in the U.S. is approximately 27,000, and those schools achieving the ratio this year was 1,625.
If your high school is on this list, do you have a better chance of gaining acceptance to the college of your choice?
We have to say that this is not the case because we can’t imagine that any college values this data. We have concerns with this list basically because it only measures a single factor. What it doesn’t measure is how well students perform on this test. If the majority of students who take these exams score a 1 or a 2, the high school can still make the list and so in this case, quantity trumps quality. If the rankings were to measure a quantifiable factor, possibly the results of those tests, then the high schools would be ranked based on a measure that shows how well the students have been prepared for college level work. The way it is now, this list doesn’t even take into account drop-out rates at a particular school and magnet schools that attract the best and the brightest are not included.
Interestingly enough, the list is called “Best High Schools” but it only applies to public high schools. It seems to us that this list should be called “Best Public High Schools.” Highly selective boarding / prep schools that are often considered feeder schools to the Ivies are also not on this list. And what about high schools that don’t allow students to self-select AP or IB courses? Obviously, high schools that base admission to these courses on teacher recommendation, class performance, and qualifying test results may not make this list because fewer students are permitted to take these courses. And what about high schools that don’t offer these courses altogether?
In the fall of 2007, Scarsdale High School, a highly competitive school in the affluent Westchester County suburb of Manhattan, recently replaced AP courses with what they call Advanced Topic (AT) courses. As stated on Scarsdale’s website, their rationale in doing so was to “encourage higher levels of thinking beyond rote learning in a rigorous yet lively learning environment.” As a result of this innovative idea, Scarsdale ranked 1,011 in “Newsweek’s” Best High School list this year as opposed to 748 in 2009, 283 in 2008, 247 in 2007, and 174 in 2006. Yet even with Scarsdale’s rank plummeting these last few years, for the Class of 2008, 49 percent of seniors were accepted at the most competitive colleges in the U.S. This is up from 45 percent in 2007. So obviously, Scarsdale’s low “Challenge Index” ranking held no significance in the college admissions process.
But even though a college might dismiss the value of this list, the competitiveness of the high school does count! In reviewing applicants, college admissions counselors without a doubt consider the student’s high school as a significant factor. Thus, a high school that offers AP and IB courses and has impressive numbers of students who score well on these exams (not just take the exams) is likely to give students who attend these high schools a more competitive edge in college admissions than students who attend high schools that lack these more rigorous courses. However, no matter how competitive a high school is, in the end, the most important criteria is that a student takes the most rigorous courses offered and has earned exceptional grades in those courses.
According to Jay Matthews, a columnist for The Washington Post, and the inventor of the “Challenge Index,” “many educators say they think my list is dumb, narrow and deceptive because a high school’s efforts to teach its students cannot be summed up in a number.” We agree with the critics, Mr. Matthews.Categories: Admissions Process, Did You Know?, The Rankings Tags: College Admissions Criteria, College Applicants, College Rankings, High School Rankings, Ivy League