College Acceptances in a Weird Year
Just wanted to email to tell you I got into Stanford!! Thank you so much for all your help and support – I couldn’t have done it without you! HH, Class of 2021, Palo Alto High School
Thank you so much for helping our son get into The University of Chicago. You were a great help to him and we cannot thank you enough! Parent (2021) St. Peters Prep, Jersey City, New Jersey
I want to reiterate how grateful I am for the help you’ve given my daughter over the last couple months. I think her perspective on the college application process, her engagement in her part of her path to college and, maybe most importantly, her confidence in herself, have all really benefited dramatically from working with you. It’s been fantastic to see. Thank you!!! I. Smith, Parent 2022, Santa Barbara High School
There is no doubt 2020-21 was one of the weirdest years in the history of college admissions (at least in the 30+ years in which I’ve been in the field!)
COVID co-opted the world and the world of college admissions.
I’m not sure I could have predicted the results we got, exactly. I knew that once the majority of schools across the country, even the University of California, the largest public university system in the United States, went test optional, there would be chaos. And chaos there was. Recently, in the Wall Street Journal, there was an article trying to account for the changes in this year’s admissions season. The single biggest variable was the option to opt out of the SAT’s/ACT’s:
Ivy League schools and a host of other highly selective institutions waived SAT and ACT requirements for the class of 2025, resulting in an unprecedented flood of applications and what may prove the most chaotic selection experiment in American higher education since the end of World War II.
The article goes on to cite these unprecedented numbers.
More applicants than ever applied to top-tier schools.
Harvard University received more than 57,000 freshman applications for next fall’s entering class, a 42% year-over-year jump. Yale, Columbia and Stanford universities were so overwhelmed they also pushed back the date to announce admission decisions. The University of Southern California’s applications pool beat the prior record by 7%. And New York University topped 100,000 applications, up 17% from last year.
Of course, the silver lining is that making the standardized tests optional leveled the playing field.
The only problem is, this happened suddenly, in the middle of application season, and resulted in unpredictable returns for many students.
With less focus on standardized tests scores, which numerous studies have shown are correlated with family wealth, that could mean accepting more low-income students from under-resourced high schools. Colleges say that without SAT or ACT results they’ll give greater weight to teacher recommendations and signs of intellectual curiosity, and judge candidates in the context of their environments.
The “signs” of intellectual curiosity and context can only be “read” via the college essays which, in my view, will rise to the top (as they should) as the single most important element of the college admissions puzzle.
I have seen, regrettably, that those students who happened to take the SAT’s in January 2020, and who reported their scores, seemed to have faired better, which throws a shadow of hypocrisy across the test-optional option. Seems that when given the chance, some schools did end up relying on that traditional, but unreliable predictor of success. (It’s fairly well-accepted at this point that SAT scores, rather than being predictors of academic success, are reflectors of socio-economic status. Recently, NPR’s This American Life, did a segment on this very subject: The Campus Tour Has Been Cancelled.)
Indeed, this is a long-winded preamble to my yearly post listing New Vision Learning’s acceptances. It’s been a weird year. And I think it should be acknowledged.
Where before my top students would have gotten into the Ivies and/or their top-choice schools, this year, almost all were waitlisted (we know what that means). Many were deferred, only later to be accepted or waitlisted. And some, but fewer than usual, got accepted into the school(s) of their dreams.
Out of the twenty-five or so students I worked with this year-of-COVID, here are the acceptances we received. No word yet on where these students will choose to go, but here is where they got in:
Brown, Williams, Tufts, Stanford, UCLA, Cal, UCSD,UCSB, UCSC, University of Michigan, UW, Colgate, Barnard, Columbia, Cornell, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Whitman, Oberlin, Kenyon, UChicago, Northwestern, Univeristy of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado College, UVM, Bard, SUNY Purchase, Stony Brook, Sarah Lawrence, Clark University, Lewis & Clark, Yale, American University, Georgetown, Boston College, Northeastern, Boston University, Skidmore, Clark College, Wesleyan University, NYU, Pomona College, Scripps, Wellesley, Amherst, Smith, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Colby, Duke, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, SMU, Tulane, University of Texas, Austin, Occidental College, Claremont McKenna, University of Oregon, Arizona State University, University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne, Georgia Tech, MIT, Grinnell, University of Maryland, College Park, Penn State, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, Vanderbilt
Congratulations to New Vision Learning students!
My prediction is that next year will be equally unpredictable. Stay tuned!