Posts Tagged ‘ college admissions ’

The Infinite Ladder: Elite College Admissions

By Amanda Bertsch

This essay was originally written for a Tri-City Prep class. It represents only the views of the author and not necessarily those of the editorial board, Denobis staff, or Tri-City Prep. The Study Spot column, published bimonthly, aims to shine a light on issues surrounding education and offer assistance to students.

This spring, colleges across the country will be notifying high school seniors about their admissions decisions. Students will rejoice, eagerly accepting offers to their top choice schools or poring over generous financial aid statements. Those lucky few that receive acceptances from the most renown schools in the country will be especially grateful. These students are part of the 10-15% of high school graduates competing for spots at the most selective of schools, typically those that admit less than 30% of applicants (Deresiewicz 40). In the game that is college admissions, and by extension high school, these students have “won.” They earn bragging rights, not only for themselves, but for their parents and schools and communities as well. Applying to highly competitive schools has become a rite of passage for college-bound seniors, a tradition followed religiously by many, but it is hardly one without downfalls.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Does College Board have too much power?

By Amanda Bertsch

 

As college application season gets into full swing, there’s one name that appears just about everywhere students turn. The College Board is a huge conglomerate that holds a near-monopoly on the testing industry. What many don’t realize is that this organization’s fingerprints can be found in every step of the admissions process.

College Board’s most well-known (and extremely profitable) endeavor is the SAT suite of tests. Sophomores and juniors take the PSAT in preparation for their college admissions tests; juniors and seniors take the SAT and send the resulting scores to colleges. Some particularly ambitious students take SAT 2s, also known as SAT Subject Tests, for a chance to show off particular skills to colleges.

Other College Board programs include the CSS financial aid profile used by top colleges and the CLEP series of assessments to test out of college courses. College Board also runs the AP program, where students can take tests at the ends of high school courses to earn college credit.

To fully understand the impact of the College Board on a student’s academic career, let’s examine a typical high-achieving student applying to Cornell Engineering— call him Sam. The following account tracks Sam from his sophomore year of high school to the end of his freshman year of college.

Continue reading