Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Uncertainties of College Admissions

            For my Junior Theme I was interested in doing something within the realms of looking into how the college admissions process has transformed so drastically over past few years.
            I read through the article "The Thin Envelope" by Louis Menand which was featured in the New Yorker in 2003. Although this may seem outdated I think it had a lot of relevant information and ideas. 
            The article basically talks about how unpredictable the admissions process has become in the past few years and highlights many of the aspects that go into the decision of accepting and denying students at top schools. 
            I found it particularly shocking how much the numbers have changed over time: "In 1932, 1,330 people applied for admission to Yale. Seventy-two percent-nine hundred and fifty-nine-were accepted. Eight hundred and eighty-four students enrolled;twenty-seven percent of them were the sons of Yale graduates"(Menand 3). This quote shows how the college admissions process used to work in the early 1900's. You only applied to top schools like Yale if you were wealthy enough. Most students who attended schools like the Ivies were rich and as a result of their college education they would go on to get good jobs and continue to be wealthy. This creates a cycle of the same demographic of people who are applying to college and that is why we see such a high percentage of Yale students admitted in 1932 that had their fathers also attend Yale. 
            In 2003 Yale had 15,466 applicants and accepted 2,009 and of this number 16% were legacies. It is very interesting to me to see that there is still a high percentage of legacies that are accepted and enrolling into the same top colleges. This further proves the idea I stated earlier that there is a cycle that is repeating itself year after year. This causes me to wonder if the wealthier are truly given a leg up in the college admissions process.


1 comment:

  1. Clare- I agree with your idea that the wealthy do have an "upper-leg" in the college admissions process, especially when applying to elite, very expensive schools. I have certainly heard of people not applying to schools that they would love to go to and would probably get into just because they can't afford it. How do you think this should be changed? How can we make it so that every high school student in the U.S. has an equal opportunity at a college education?