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Old 03-25-2007, 08:53 PM   #16
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A lot of those big name State schools also have a reputation as party schools . Geography also matters. I have a MS from a large state u. (with a top 5 program in my field) across the country from where I live. When I returned back to my home area to start work, I was basically in the same boat as people from local (in some cases commuter) universities. A big name state school's reputation tends to wear off the farther away you move from it.

Liesje's point is good about it's what you make it. Being admitted is in some ways the easy part. Motivation and taking advantage of the available resources outside of the classroom and coursework- academic, social, networking, etc. are essential. However, for corporate fields like business and law (e.g. Wall Street), the Ivies are definitely overrepresented at the top firms, and they do like to recruit their own.
Yes, the state schools definitely have a party reputation. I was considering going to UW-Madison...#4 party school in the nation

I completely understand that education is what you make of it. That's a huge reason that I opted for a state school in the capital of the state.
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Old 04-05-2007, 10:34 AM   #17
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A Great Year for Ivy League Schools, But Not So Good for Applicants to Them

By SAM DILLON
New York Times, April 4


Harvard turned down 1100 student applicants with perfect 800 scores on the SAT math exam. Yale rejected several applicants with perfect 2400 scores on the three-part SAT, and Princeton turned away thousands of high school applicants with 4.0 grade point averages. Needless to say, high school valedictorians were a dime a dozen.

It was the most selective spring in modern memory at America’s elite schools, according to college admissions officers. More applications poured into top schools this admissions cycle than in any previous year on record. Schools have been sending decision letters to student applicants in recent days, and rejection letters have overwhelmingly outnumbered the acceptances. Stanford received a record 23,956 undergraduate applications for the fall term, accepting 2456 students, meaning the school took 10.3% of applicants. Harvard College received applications from 22,955 students, another record, and accepted 2058 of them, for an acceptance rate of 9%. The university called that “the lowest admit rate in Harvard’s history.” Applications to Columbia numbered 18,081, and the college accepted 1618 of them, for what was certainly one of the lowest acceptance rates this spring at an American university: 8.9%.

“There’s a sense of collective shock among parents at seeing extraordinarily talented kids getting rejected,” said Susan Gzesh, whose son Max Rothstein is a senior with an exemplary record at the Laboratory School, a private school associated with the University of Chicago. Max applied to 12 top schools and was accepted outright only by Wesleyan, New York University and the University of Michigan. “Some of his classmates, with better test scores than his, were rejected at every Ivy League school,” Ms. Gzesh said.

The brutally low acceptance rates this year were a result of an avalanche of applications to top schools, which college admissions officials attributed to three factors. First, a demographic bulge is working through the nation’s population — the children of the baby boomers are graduating from high school in record numbers. The federal Department of Education projects that 3.2 million students will graduate from high school this spring, compared with 3.1 million last year and 2.4 million in 1993. (The statistics project that the number of high school graduates will peak in 2008.) Another factor is that more high school students are enrolling in college immediately after high school. In the 1970s, less than half of all high school graduates went directly to college, compared with more than 60% today, said David Hawkins, a director at the National Association of College Admission Counseling. The third trend driving the frantic competition is that the average college applicant applies to many more colleges than in past decades. In the 1960s, fewer than 2% of college freshmen had applied to six or more colleges, whereas in 2006 more than 2% reported having applied to 11 or more, according to The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 2006, an annual report on a continuing long-term study published by the UCLA.

The ferocious competition at the most selective schools has not affected the overall acceptance rate at the rest of the nation’s 2500 four-year colleges and universities, which accept an average of 70% of applicants. “That overall 70% acceptance rate hasn’t changed since the 1980s,” Mr. Hawkins said.

The competition was ferocious not only at the top universities, but at selective small colleges, like Williams, Bowdoin and Amherst, all of which reported record numbers of applications. Amherst received 6668 applications and accepted 1167 students for its class of 2011, compared with the 4491 applications and 1030 acceptance letters it sent for the class of 2002 nine years ago, said Paul Statt, an Amherst spokesman. “Many of us who went to Amherst three decades ago know we couldn’t get in now; I know I couldn’t,” said Mr. Statt, who graduated from Amherst in 1978.
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Old 04-05-2007, 11:09 AM   #18
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i'm fairly certain that i would not get into my college today. this stuff always baffles me -- we get so many horror stories about how the educational system is failing, how kids think they're smarter than they actually are, how kids are lazy, have no attention spans, etc., but none of this seems borne out by the insanely competitive college admissions process.

as for the rankings, they sort of mattered. i had, basically, three tiers of schools i applied to -- "reach" schools, "reasonable" schools, and "safety" schools. generally, schools landed in one of those three categories on the basis of their acceptance rate, which is inextricably tied to the rankings.

i think the rankings are a brilliant marketing scheme, and no matter what any college admissions officer will tell you, all schools in the top 25 are obsessed with them. admissions decisions are made in order to further the bottom line of each academic institution, make no mistake. it's a brutal process, and it's given birth to a generation of (understandably) resume-obsessed, numbers-oriented high school students.

that said, what i do think is advantageous about going to a school that's higher up on the rankings is the quality of your fellow students and alumni who can become valuable contacts in your professional career. most of the top tier schools got that way because they've been around for years, they have powerful alumni who give money, and have alumni who are very, very successful. that is what's unique. you can get a great education anywhere, but the passion and power of alumni can't be found everywhere, and i'll be honest, whenever i see my school atop the rankings, it gives me a (probably undeserved) sense of pride (even though it has nothign to do with me) that ultimately makes me more likely to go to things like homecoming, reunions, and potentially hire fellow alumni over people from other, similar schools. cheap, maybe, but it is my initial reaction.
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Old 04-05-2007, 12:03 PM   #19
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Originally posted by Irvine511
admissions decisions are made in order to further the bottom line of each academic institution, make no mistake.
I think that's true to some extent, but the top schools also need diversity (academic, geographic, etc.). E.g. it wouldn't make a lot of sense to admit mostly wealthy pre-meds from the Northeast. Students choosing fields that pay less and those receiving financial aid are probably less likely to become large donors in the future. But that's probably where the legacy admissions come into play.
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:17 PM   #20
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I think that's true to some extent, but the top schools also need diversity (academic, geographic, etc.). E.g. it wouldn't make a lot of sense to admit mostly wealthy pre-meds from the Northeast. Students choosing fields that pay less and those receiving financial aid are probably less likely to become large donors in the future. But that's probably where the legacy admissions come into play.


but diversity is a selling point -- it makes your school sexier.
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Old 04-05-2007, 02:33 PM   #21
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but diversity is a selling point -- it makes your school sexier.
this is very true. some schools (i.e. mine) have gone through great lengths to recruit more of a variety of students, and are now struggling with some diversity issues on campus. that's why campus climate is such a hot topic these days amongst student affairs professionals.
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