Saturday, November 04, 2006

I Had A Rough Childhood--Let Me Into An Elite University

Even if my grades don't justify it.

Joanne (see blogroll at left) has a great post that includes a discussion of academic affirmative action. Here are some important points:

California passed an identical measure 10 years ago. Universities responded by letting students argue they've overcome barriers such as poverty, discrimination and disability. It's served as a de facto substitute for racial and ethnic preferences but hasn't equalized the numbers of low-income, black or Hispanic students admitted to the University of California system.

Last week a UC committee suggested revising the eligibility system that reserves the top-tier universities for students who graduate in the top 12.5 percent of the class based on grades and test scores. They want to let C+ students try to persuade admissions officers that their motivation, inititiative and leadership skills will make them successful.

I read a UC-Davis study they cite: UC students who get special consideration for overcoming hardships or showing initiative do worse than their below-average grades and test scores would predict, not better. The exception is students who admissions officials have decided show strong leadership skills. Leaders do better than their academic index number (grades and scores) would predict but not as well as students admitted solely on grades and scores. Students admitted in the bottom quartile of the academic index are significantly less likely to graduate in five years than students in the top half of the class or even the third quartile. (boldface mine--Darren)

You don't say. And John from Discriminations (see blogroll at left) makes a guest appearance in Joanne's post as well.


Anonymous said...

Rough childhoon+excellent grades=overcoming adversity and becoming a better person because of it.

Now THAT I can understand.

But to put someone into an elite school soley (soly? soley?) is just plain stupid.
I mean hey, I get over a 3.5 every year, yet I can't get into Harvard, Dartmouth or Yale!

Why? Because I had and am having a very nice childhood.


Darren said...


Anonymous said...

What's the best UC school besides Berkeley and LA?

Darren said...

I wouldn't know, as I was only accepted to one of them--and even then, I didn't go.

Anonymous said...

Oh oh! Which one?

Nigel said...

San Diego and Santa Barbara are among the hardest to get into, followed by Santa Cruz and Davis.

They're all about the same—it just depends what you want to major in.
By the way, that first comment was me as well.

Anonymous said...

Nigel's information is incorrect. The schools that are grouped together are of an equal tier.




Darren said...

Who established this tier system, anonymous?

Anonymous said...

You don't even have Berkeley on that list! And Darren, which did you get accepted to?

Anonymous said...

It is based on rankings by US News and World Report along with Princeton Review. These rankings are for top, middle and lower tier UC's and are pretty commonly agreed upon. The rankings are based on the SAT, SAT II, ACT, GPA, and class rank of admitted students.

Darren said...

Berkeley was the original University of California campus, so it still goes by the nickname Cal. It's the one at the top of anonymous' list.

And I was accepted to UCLA--one of three schools I was to, and the only one in California. I applied to four schools total.

And the one I wasn't accepted to? Went there for a semester on an exchange program anyway--and glad I didn't go full time.

Darren said...

That should read "one of three schools I was accepted to".

Anonymous said...

Check me on this ... it means that some student just barely in the top 15% at Phillips Exeter Academy would be ineligible for the UC system because that student wasn't in the top 12.5% of his/her class?

Or do they just mean that this hypotheical student is not permitted to go to Cal, UCLA and UCSD (assuming these are the top tier)?

This seems more like a scheme to injure the really good private high schools than to do anything else ...


-Mark Roulo

Kate said...

Darren, and that school you weren't accepted to would have been the AFA right? Kate

Darren said...

Who can be sure what they really mean, Mark.

And yes, Kate, you're correct.

Kate said...

Hey Darren, the retired E-9 who sits next to me at work knows the new commandant of Cadets at the AFA. I guess she is trying to make it look like a military institution again. Cadets are marching to class, (horrors) and are acutally have to meet face to fact to plan things rather than just sending everyone an e mail. :-) Kate

Darren said...

I'm not quite sure how 4000 cadets march to hundreds of different classes--I don't quite think that's happening. And if meeting face to face, instead of emailing, is a component of being military, well....

The Air Force Academy does a fine job of training air force officers. It's just not very military, is all, and may not need to be.

Darren said...

Here's what I just received from a USAFA cadet:

"We march to lunch Monday Thursday and Friday. Tuesday is an hour of
military learning instead of marching and Wednesday is a full parade on
the terrazzo before lunch. Breakfast is now mandatory and class starts
at 7."

Sounds quite similar to the situation when I was there in the fall of '85.