Ah, the College Board...our longtime nemesis for their outright refusal to connect with typical students.
Hey Albuquerque students!
It appears as though the College Board is making news for spewing nonsense, yet again. This time around, they are trying to debunk the myth of college admissions being difficult
. While their information is convincing and seemingly backed up numbers, they fail to show their work. The study is also, and more importantly, contradicted by the experiences of Albuquerque students and their families, as well as the Omniac tutors who work with them.
This is not the College Board's first foray into controversial reports, nor is it the first time we've taken them to task for it
. They seemed to have learned their lesson though about putting obviously contradictory statements. This latest study certainly does seem to be conclusive evidence that the idea college admissions being a nightmare is overblown.
A closer look at their numbers and a comparision between those numbers and what we've seen in five years of tutoring New Mexico students and helping with college admissions, points out a few interesting facts and biases.
Fact 1 - Regional Bias
The study only had three regions from which it sampled: East, West, and Midwest/South. So basically they polled an equal number of students on the east coast, the west coast, and everything in between.
Even Notre Dame admits 43% of their students from the coasts.
So even selective schools located in the midwest and ones who want to admit a greater portion of midwest students still import larger numbers of out-of-region students (who come from both coasts) than do the selective schools located on either coast.
What do all of those numbers mean? It's not that east and west coast students are any smarter or better prepared for college than their southern or midwest counterparts. But it does suggest that east and west coast students are putting together better applications. By focusing on these two groups of students, who historically have had an easier time with admission, the College Board's study has less of an impact to students who don't fall in those categories, such as New Mexico students.
Fact 2 - Academic Bias
Whether by fluke or by choice, the College Board's sample of students skewed heavily towards the academically successful. Of all the students surveyed, only 11% of them had a GPA lower than 3.0!* In addition, the average SAT and ACT score of their sample is roughly in the top 25%*. So, the College Board is only working with the best and the brightest students, is it any wonder that they got the results that they did?
If that was not enough, the study itself admits that the majority of students polled had already been accepted to a 4-year university. So, in addition to asking an overwhelming number of the most prepared students, they also mainly asked students who had already gone through the process successfully. They might as well have asked Michael Jordan how hard it is to play basketball!
Fact 3 - Income Bias
It is generally accepted that the number one correlation with standardized test scores is parents income. Also, as income goes up, the more opportunity is present for college consulting, test prep tutoring, and other avenues of improving a college application. It stands to reason that the higher a families income, the greater the likelihood is that they'll be more prepared for college admissions.
Once again, the College Board has opted to sample a greater portion of familes who are already inclined to be prepared for college admissions. One-third of all families had a family income of over $75,000, with another quarter who have a family income of over $40,000.*
Over the course of three different areas, region, academics, and income, the College Board has skewed their sample towards students that are already inclined to do well in the college admissions process. With this information in mind, their claim that college admissions is easy now seems somewhat ingenious.
The trouble that this invites is that students and families that we speak with, New Mexico students and families here in Albuquerque, do have trouble with admissions. Studies like this confirm to colleges and families that there's nothing wrong with the system and any difficulty that a family has is their fault. That's simply not true and by attempting to skew the facts so that it appears true, the College Board is doing it's part to ensure that nothing ever changes and that the process never improves.
Hopefully, all of you have received more of these letters than the alternative. (Photo Credit: SolYoung via Flickr)
Hey Albuquerque seniors!
It's April now,and those college acceptance letters should be pouring in. For many of you, the college admissions process is over and done with: you've been accepted to your first choice school and there's no question of where you'll be next fall. For others, though, you still have the most important choice still to make. Whether an unexpected rejection or wait-list has thrown a wrench into your plans or you've been accepted into so many quality programs, the final choice of which school to attend is often more difficult than families originally anticipate. There are several key areas that you need to think about when making this final choice.
1. Money, Money, Money
Obviously, the first consideration that anyone will look at when choosing a school is the financial aid package offered. Everyone's worried about the tough economic times, just as they're worried about the ever increasing cost of college. It would be a very natural idea to simply go with whichever school gives the most comprehensive scholarship and financial aid offer. While this idea works out fantastically most of the time, there does come a point where this may not necessarily be true. There are strong correlations that suggest that the more prestigious a university one attends (and these tend to give out lesser financial aid packages), the higher one's lifetime income will be. Much like with attending college at all, going to a more expensive school is a risk that can be worth it.
2. Focus on the fit
There are a lot of great schools out there, but not every great school will be great for each student. Different students respond better to different approaches and different environments. If you applied and were accepted to a school, there's a good chance that that school will be a good fit for you. So while there probably won't be any bad choices at this stage, some will be better than others. There are several things that can go into determining which school will be the best fit for you. From looking at the overall quality of the school, to the quality of your prospective major, to extra-curricular activities, to just a gut feeling. From the logical to the illogical, all of these can and will play a role in how much you enjoy your college experience.
3. Don't neglect the community
It is possible to find a school that seems to be a perfect fit, but still not have the greatest experience. It's sometimes tough to remember this, but schools do not exist in a vacuum. They're in communities, towns, and cities, and those shape how students experience college more than families initially realize. Students will spend 4 or more years in these places, a significant portion of their lives at that point. It's important that students not only spend that time at a school that will be a good fit, but also in a community that will be a good fit as well. Students will not spend all of their time on campus, so it will become increasingly important that they have enough opportunities to experience life outside the classroom as well.
If you've already made your decision about the upcoming fall, fantastic! Congratulations! But for those who are still on the fence between two or more schools, be sure that you look at all the factors that will play in to the next stage in your education and in your life. Unexpected things will always happen, but the more things you can look at ahead of time, the better prepared you'll be when the unexpected arrives.
Do you still have questions about which school you should attend next fall? Need further academic tutoring or test prep tutoring? Or are you a junior wanting a head start on the process so you'll be better prepared when it's your turn to make this decision? Our team of tutors in Albuquerque can help. Please contact us with any questions or concerns!