1. The KillerFrogs

OT- Admissions "Environmental Context Dashboard"

Discussion in 'Scott Nix Frog Fan Forum' started by Billy Clyde, May 17, 2019.

  1. I am becoming more persuaded by the day that we may be overcorrecting for past societal ills in many areas. HOWEVER- I'm not looking for a general [ hundin] session about the plight of the poor, maligned OWG. Rather, I'm hunting for constructive info on this new "tool" (apt) in the college admissions process being floated out there now.

    I believe there are posters in here involved presently or formerly in the college admissions process. I'd love to hear from folks with expertise on this thing, about what the practical implications are, and what might be some useful tactics in response. I have a 9-year-old, and just trying to figure out [ What the heck? ] I'm supposed to be doing to position him for success in college and beyond, given what seems to be a pretty dramatic paradigm shift on college campuses now underway.

    I look forward eagerly to a flood of useful input with absolutely no histrionics whatever.
  2. Good luck with all that.
  3. High hopes, modest expectations
    Frog-in-law1995 likes this.
  4. Nothing will ever beat good grades, high SAT or ACT scores, well-rounded activities, and ample volunteerism in my opinion. It also doesn't hurt if they are at least moderately beautiful/handsome. A lack of arrests and expulsions is a must. It will also help if they are an underrepresented minority or identify as one.
    Big Frog II and Boomhauer like this.
  5. [​IMG]
    tcumaniac, jake102, HFrog1999 and 5 others like this.
  6. "Not so fast, my friend!"
    The whole impetus for the underlying question here is a conscious effort by the admissions gods to minimize those things because of Implicit Bias's close cousin, "inherent unfairness."
    I even heard an interview this morning on NPR where the person involved in this effort made mention of a "Non-Test" process... The view being that somehow a timed objective test is not an accurate predictor of ability or success.
    Again, this is not me saying these things, but it sure looks like the concept is being taken very seriously by people who matter.
  7. Used to, you could photoshop your son/daughter onto a row boat and send it to the coach. With a wad of cash.
  8. I think you have to look at each school individually and talk to them about what is important - thus why I think having an early interview is so important for the places a student really wants to go.

    To your point, TCU does try its best to look beyond just the numbers in an attempt to not become the next "Rice" for example. We have had the applicants to have a all high numbers only freshman class for the last few years but while Rice and a few other schools like it have great academic reputations, they suffer greatly in the on campus atmosphere and it results in less Alumni involvement and support later.

    For example, I heard a story from admissions about a incoming student that went to a small school in the Rockies with less than 10 in the graduating class. So class rank was irrelevant and GPA was less of a true measure just like they are both quickly becoming for kids out of private schools. The admissions office spent time reviewing the content of the application, the essay and requested an interview before accepting the student - but didn't just throw out the app because this student wasn't "Top 10" (only the valedictorian was in the class) or hadn't taken 5 AP classes (didn't have AP at the school)

    But even in that instance, they did look at the SAT/ACT scores and the other metrics were not out of range. So for schools that are competitive to get in - there will always be some level of metric that is used as a first layer of evaluation because frankly you can't interview everyone.
    Billy Clyde likes this.
  9. #10 TCUdirtbag, May 17, 2019
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    This view of most in higher ed is that these tests are not truly objective. SAT/ACT do often identify very capable and very risky students. In the middle, though, where a lot of students test, it’s a big mess. The test makes own test prep industries that are hugely profitable. Some populations can afford test prep, tutors, etc. Others cannot, have family experiences that do not know the impact or value those expenses the same as others, or don’t have time to study for supposedly “standardized” tests due to family or financial obligations. For those segments on the ends of the socioeconomic spectrum (and family education history spectrum) the test is anything but objective.

    The real problem is no one has come up with a distinctly better approach short of a near impossible deep dive into every single application. There just isn’t time for every admissions office to start with a blank page and evaluate tens of thousands of applications.

    For most colleges and universities all this talk doesn’t matter. TCU is honestly just on the lower fringe of schools it does matter to. Not in any way close to the same way it does at a Harvard, Stanford, etc. But it’s still an interesting problem.

    IMO we should spend less time worrying about testing and more time looking at holistic reviews of potential. Sure look at test scores but they aren’t the end-all be-all, and their inherent flaws should be understood and considered.

    Let the 25-50 hyper-competitive schools figure it out and keep doing what we’re doing at places like TCU until and unless someone finds a clearly better way. Let those schools pilot (as they are at places like U Chicago) no-test-score reviews and see how those new ideas work. If they work there, we can give them a try.
  10. Oh the good ol' days.
  11. They can preach all they want about not caring about grades and scores, but in the end, the people that make the decisions want students who have a track record of success and will go on to represent the school well. They will always take a chance on a few "flyers" but if they have a whole school full of these types, they will have a disaster on their hands. People who have a track record of success tend to succeed at a far greater percentage than the flyers will. I truly believe that the schools will be open to taking some non-traditional students who may be a bit risky, but this will be a small percentage of the class, if they are wise. I have worked in medical education for a couple of decades. You really want proven bright entities as the vast majority of your group. The occasional risk student is okay. You take too many of them and your life will be miserable. In my experience, the ones who struggle with grades and standardized tests will be the same ones who will struggle at the next step with the same issues. They rarely have an epiphany where they suddenly decide they are tired of not putting in the effort and suddenly decide they are ready to be wildly successful. Every time we have a trainee that struggles academically, we are able to look back and say, "well, that should not have been a surprise." The more challenging issues to predict are the interpersonal skills and maturity levels. Therefore, my philosophy has always been, interview the ones who are academically capable of success and then accept the ones who are hard working, mature, and kind.

    In the end, institutions of higher learning get graded on how successful their alumni are. For me, it is all about how many go on to achieve board certification. The board certification process is made up of a couple of written standardized exams. Therefore, the ability to do well on a standardized exam cannot be ignored. For personality and maturity reasons, though, it cannot be the only factor that is looked at. Sometimes the best test takers are some of the most dysfunctional people. A mentor of mine used to specifically aim for people who were at about the 80th percentile on their standardized exams who appeared to have good and functional social skills. She said, you don't want the super smart dysfunctional people and you don't want the ones who cannot succeed. She felt like 80th percentile was the sweet spot.

    That is my opinion on this issue. These higher ups talk a good game about these changes, but if they go in head first on this for 100% of their students, they are fools and they will not be around for very long. Hopefully, they will get canned before permanent and irreparable damage has been done to the institution. I watch the level of incompetence at the high levels of education where I work, and it is baffling. People truly do rise to their level of incompetence.
  12. #13 ticketfrog123, May 17, 2019
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    I knew plenty of students at TCU who were “valedictorians” at their very small school and talked about how ACT/SAT scores weren’t good predictors due to their high GPA, low score predicament.

    Anecdotal, but those students didn’t return for sophomore year (grades) or took 5-6 years to graduate.

    Point being, I saw plenty of “average/not top 10%” students from McKinney, Plano, etc. kick the poop out of those students in the classroom. Even some Chancellor scholars with full-rides were total misses.
    tcudoc likes this.
  13. Very true. The inverse also happens a lot — mediocre grades and a great test score. You often see this combo with a kid that was super involved, too. Schools like TCU take a lot of “risks” on the mediocre grades because of their holistic “potential.” Sometimes they hit home runs. Sometimes they’re just smart but lazy and the same tendencies to slack in the classroom in high school repeat in college.

    College admissions is a tough deal. There’s no good objective way to admit students. There are seemingly safe strikeouts, seemingly risky home runs, and a whole lot of meh. All you can do is look at as big of a picture as possible and decide which risks are worth taking.
    WhiteHispanicFrog likes this.
  14. [​IMG]
  15. #16 ticketfrog123, May 17, 2019
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    I’m not going for the “pick one” between grades and test scores. My point was that from my experience, students from smaller schools with (artificially) higher grades tend to perform at a lower level academically than the students from a rigorous, larger public school.

    Direct quote from a friend
    “My dog could’ve graduated #1 from that private school” referencing a school near the DFW airport and no it wasn’t the Deion Sanders one.
  16. Baylor?

    Oh sorry, you mean high school.
  17. If you are saying the t0p 20% percentile graduating from a large public school in Texas (or most states) has a better academic record in college than the top 20% percentile graduating from one of the better private schools - all of the historical reporting at the universities I have been involved with around admissions would prove you wrong.

    Top tier kids tend to be self driven - regardless of educational background - so the top 3-5% is almost the same. The first quartile below that however demonstrates that children coming from higher rigor private programs have better study habits and ability to execute in the classroom than similar groupings from public schools. and that second quartile tends to be a sweet spot for second tier private universities like TCU, Baylor, SMU.

    There are always exceptions - and I assume you are referring to Cistercian - but much like TVS, FWCD, etc - the academic results of their graduates shows a better than average result in college. And St Marks kids knock it out of the park a lot more often than the struggle by a long shot.

    Now how often those kids have problems adjusting to a more open social environment on a college campus is a different discussion - they do seem to struggle more often, especially at larger schools because the bubble is gone. One reason why TCU has more success with those kids than some large state schools.
    Billy Clyde likes this.
  18. I think the university also needs to allow students to "walk-on academically" the same way an athlete can earn a scholly. I had average SAT (1080 back in 1996) and middling class rank (17%) in high school. Not good enough for any financial assistance other than loans. I got to campus and had a 3.9 after my first two years and was in the Honors Program, but TCU would not offer me any merit-based scholarships, because those are only doled out to high school students. Luckily, tuition was low enough back then that my job and a slight contribution from mom and dad meant I was fortunate to have TCU education and degree without a mountain of loan debt.
  19. TCU announced a new scholarship today for "women affected by missing or murdered indigenous people of North America". A minimum of $5,000 per year....
    I wonder how someone qualifies? Men affected by missing or murdered indigenous people need not apply....

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