Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Holistic" Admissions Approach

From the major Sacramento newspaper:
Thousands of students will log on to their computers at 4 p.m. today to find out if they got into UC Berkeley. Most will be disappointed – even many with straight A's and enviable test scores.

Berkeley and the University of California system as a whole received a record number of freshmen applications this year. Last year, Berkeley rejected three-quarters of the students who applied. Those who were admitted had an average grade-point average of 4.19.

With so many high performers to choose from, how does Cal decide who gets accepted?

Very carefully. And with a lot of work.

Berkeley calls its admissions process "holistic review." That means a person – not a computer – read each one of the 53,000 undergraduate applications that came in this year. And it means the university considers more than just grades and test scores when scoring applications.

All of this is a fancy way of saying they need other ways to let in underprepared students (usually minorities) in violation of Proposition 209.


pseudotsuga said...

Average grade of 4.19?! Sheesh--who are the over-achievers at the TOP of that curve? Could there be some grade inflation too?

Mavor said...

Who are they letting in that you, at least that is what I think you are getting at, think is not qualified to get in?

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that the budget situation has motivated the UC system to admit a larger proportion of foreign and out-of-state students, since they pay more tuition.

Darren said...

Just take a gander at the GPA's and SAT scores for the incoming classes for, oh, just for giggles let's say the last 20 years--and let's look at that data disaggregated by, oh, just for giggles let's say race and/or ethnicity. Or you might type "marginally academically qualified Berkeley" into a search engine.

Do that, and you won't need to ask the question. My guess, though, is that you know the answer, and are playing games just by asking your question. You're relatively new to commenting here, though, so I don't know for sure--which is why I said it's a guess.

I found this interesting quote from PBS's Frontline:
In 1998, California's ban on affirmative action went into effect in undergraduate admissions, and the effect at Berkeley was considerable. In its first year without race-based preferences, the school accepted its least diverse freshman class in 17 years, admitting 56 percent fewer blacks and 49 percent fewer Latinos than in 1997. Six months later, in February, 1999, several civil rights groups filed a class-action suit against the university on behalf of 750 minority students denied admission in the fall. The suit focused on the school's policy of weighting grade point averages with credit for Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and pointed to the fact that many minority students attend high schools without AP classes. The school countered that it had no other way to differentiate between all of its applicants with 4.0 averages. In 1998, more than 14,000 students with 4.0 averages applied for just 8,400 spots in the freshman class.

Mavor said...

I guess Darren is ending this thread. I would just like to add that I am always a little concerned when some conservatives are outraged over preferences given to women and minorities in admissions to colleges and universities, but are silent about preferences given to football players at the same institutions. It kind of takes the logic out of the argument against preferences. How many 3.99 GPA students had to give up their place at a selective university to allow a 3.0 football player to attend?

Darren said...

Nice red herring you've got there, Mavor, as no one here has mentioned anything about football players.

But hey, if you think it's OK to admit students with lower GPAs and lower SAT scores over kids with more *demonstrated* academic potential, just say so.

On the other hand, if you think that college is about more than *just* academics and *that's* why lesser prepared students should be admitted, then I wonder how you can be against football players.

Mavor said...

It is not a red herring at all. You either set a GPA/SAT requirement or you don't. I don't think students with a lower record should be admitted be they minorities or football players. You have not expressed any concerns for the preference given to athletes, so I really do not know where you stand on this. Consistency is important.

Darren said...

You you accuse me by association because "some conservatives" don't have a problem with that.

Mavor said...

No body is accusing "you" anything. Just discussing a topic you selected. If you don't want to limit the discussion solely to preferences given to certain groups and not others it's cool. It is, after all your blog. You da boss. But you do seem to have a bit of a thin skin today.

Darren said...

It's hard not to think you were ascribing a certain belief to me when you used my name in the preceding sentence. Perhaps, since lefties are so loathe to give offense, you should be clearer in your communications so as not to give offense.

(See how easy that accusation thing is done?)

Mavor said...

Funny, I don't feel accused.

Doug said...

Of course it's a red herring. It changes the subject. YES some (probably) qualified individuals were denied because of athletics. But what of the 3.99's that were denied because they are of the wrong demographics? A 3.0 with decent SAT scores multiple extra-curriculars may be more desirable to the school than a 3.99 with lower SAT scores and no extra-curriculars. You cannot compare the two. Sure, Some college admissions are skewed towards athletes (not all - see Ivy League, Service Academies, etc.).
I know 3 students that applied to Bezerkely. 2 (White Females, 4.0+ and lots of extra-curriculars) got in. 1 (Hispanic Male, 4.0+, few e-c's) denied.