It’s always gratifying when research backs up what you’ve been personally experiencing. And the research comes from Harvard, no less! Last year Harvard released the report, Turning the Tide. Their research shows that college admission practices are damaging our children and are harmful to society. And the press responded favorably, giving them a lot of positive press coverage for the report….
It’s an understatement to say that admission to Stanford is competitive. The acceptance rate is less than 5%. But that college application stress caused by these admission requirements is harmful to students and society is less well known, even after all the good press Harvard University got for its report, Turning the Tide.
At Stanford University, Challenge Success has been trying for a decade to highlight the corrosive educational policies driven by college application requirements. They provide research and information to help parents and high schools alleviate college application stress.
But in spite of this research at their own institutions, Harvard and Stanford continue to use the same admission criteria. It follows that they hold the opinion that while these requirements may be harmful to most students, the elite students they admit to their own universities are up to the competition and experience no harmful effects. But is this true?…
It’s no secret, admission to the top universities in the United States is very, very competitive. But the fact that these admission requirements are detrimental to students and society is less well known, even after all the good press Harvard University got for its report, Turning the Tide.
At Stanford University, Challenge Success has been trying for a decade to highlight these corrosive educational policies and help parents and high schools alleviate the detrimental effects.
But has either university taken the advice of their own experts and changed their admission requirements?
In spite of the evidence that the current college admission requirements are harmful to students’ well-being, Harvard is not alone in their admission requirements. You can see the same values reflected in the Stanford admission requirements.
Last year, Harvard made headlines announcing that the current college admission process is detrimental to students and society. The report called for radical change in college admission selection criteria. In my last post,”Is Harvard “turning the tide” in admissions to Ivy League schools?” I looked to see if there was any evidence that Harvard is taking any steps to change college applications in their own admission process.
Unfortunately, aside from some changes in some essay topics, they are not.
Cynically, I wasn’t surprised. I noticed one tiny, but significant, detail on the website where I read their report, Turning the Tide, even, before I looked up Harvard’s current admission application information….
Harvard got a lot of positive press last year when it announced its report, Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern For Others And The Common Good Through College Admissions. The Harvard Turning the Tide report found the current college admissions’ process is damaging to students. As Harvard states on its website, this report is “the first step in a two-year campaign that seeks to substantially reshape the existing college admissions process.” One year in on a two year campaign, has the Harvard admission process changed?
National Merit Semifinalist PSAT score predictions
National Merit Semi-Finalist qualifying scores won’t be announced by the National Merit Corporation until the September the year after the October PSAT. The best predictor is often the scores from the previous year, but scores do go up – and sometimes down. A year is a long time to wait! So if your score is close, you can’t help but try to figure out what the National Merit qualifying score for your state might be. This will help you know if you need to prepare for the next step in the competition, like achieving a National Merit confirming SAT score.
Have National Merit PSAT scores gone up or down from 2015-2016?
Since National Merit Semi-finalist cutoffs are higher than the top 99th percentile (more like the 99.5th percentile), you can’t tell if you’re going to qualify on percentile alone. To complicate matters, the College Board publishes a National Representative Sample percentile AND a PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT/10 User National Sample (this means the population of students that age in the entire United States vs. students who actually took the test.)
To complicate it further, they publish this chart for the 1520 scale score, not the National Merit Selection Index score, the 228 score scale….
In my last post, I talked in Excellent Sheep, the Miseducation of the American Elite & The Way to a Meaningful Life, William Deresiewicz says “The purpose of life [has become] the accumulation of gold stars.” (Excellent Sheep, page 16) How does he relate that to education? How does it relate to college admissions?…
You’ve read about them. Those super-start students who’re valedictorian, took 7 AP classes and tested out of 3 more AP credits, played in the school marching band, got accepted to Harvard, and started up their own non-profit on the side. All while making it look easy. But was it easy? William Deresiewicz starts out Excellent Sheep, the Miseducation of the American Elite & The Way to a Meaningful Life, by pointing out that the easy super-star student is a myth.
He goes into all sorts of statistics to show that while it appears students are effortlessly over-achieving, when you look at the numbers, what we have — according to one college President — is “an epidemic of depression among younger people.”
Of course, it’s just numbers, and just because it’s written in a book, doesn’t mean it’s true. But when what I’m reading matches my own experiences, I start to take notice….
If you’ve read my previous posts about a liberal arts education at a small liberal arts college, starting with Consider a Liberal Arts College, you probably didn’t expect the title of this post. But sometimes you consider an idea and then find it to not be the best fit. In my last post I covered some reservations I had about a liberal arts degree. But our biggest issue was that we were looking for a college with a computer science degree, a liberal arts college engineering degree. And yes, that turns out to be a contradiction.
It might seem like the easiest way to figure out which colleges and universities are good, or the best, is to just look at the college rankings.
The short answer is that is not a good idea.
In fact, it’s a TERRIBLE idea.
If you want to know why, read on….