Harvard Admits a Freshman Class and Whites are the Minority

For the first time in its nearly 400-year history, Harvard has admitted a majority nonwhite class, The Boston Globe reported.

Official figures released by the college show that the entering class of 2021 is:

• 22.2% Asian American 

• 14.6% African American

• 11.6% Hispanic or Latino 

• 2.5% Native American or Pacific Islander 

Of the entering freshman class, 50.8% are from minority groups, an increase from the 47.3% figure last year, The Globe reported.

The news comes just as the Department of Justice indicated it planned to review a complaint of discrimination at Harvard University related to its admissions process.

An anti-affirmative action group called Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit against Harvard in 2015, alleging that the college and other Ivy League institutions use racial quotas to admit students to the detriment of more qualified Asian-American applicants. The group includes a coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups.

Can Senioritis or Senior Slump be Fatal?

Can senioritis or senior slump be fatal? The answer is YES, at least with regard to college admission decisions.

Every year students are unaccepted or put on probation for a significant drop in grades  or for behavior deemed inappropriate. Below is a link to an article about 10 Harvard students who were recently notified they had been unaccepted for offensive online postings:

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/6/5/2021-offers-rescinded-memes/

This phenomenon is not unique to Harvard. Colleges reserve the right to withdraw offers of admission for a significant dip in grades or a lapse in decent behavior. A student’s college acceptance isn’t a ticket to check out of the last few weeks of high school. Students need to consider whether their actions after an acceptance are worth the price they may pay for them.

Some warnings of behavior to stay away from in general, but especially late in senior year:

Note: Performing well on AP exams may mean that a student can graduate college early, saving thousands of after-tax dollars and enter the workforce earlier. This will increase lifetime earnings significantly. Not doing well on AP exams takes away this opportunity.

Failure to live up to the expectations that you will finish your senior year blemish-free can have some grave and costly consequences:

March Madness is Choosing a College

March is a month for nail-biters – fans on edge with basketball madness and high school seniors anxiously waiting to hear from colleges. Choosing a college is a big decision, one that impacts the next four years of a student’s life and a lot of money, typically $120,000 for an in-state public college or close to $260,000 for an out-of-state or private college.

When researching colleges, families may not ask some of the most important questions – What percentage of students graduate in four years? If it takes longer than four years to graduate, that’s more than four years of tuition. UNC has a four-year graduation rate of 76% vs. Oregon with a 44% rate. Some of the other colleges that lost earlier in the tournament had even better four-year graduation rates. Bucknell’s four-year graduation rate is 86%.

Another important question is What percentage of students return for the second year? This statistic is called retention rate, and there’s a 10-point difference this year in retention rates of the colleges in the final four! Nationwide 27% of students do not return for year two. When students transfer, not all their credits are likely to transfer, thus adding to the cost of that college diploma. No one wants to pay for an extra semester or year of college at these prices.

So, remember choosing a college to attend is not the same as choosing your favorite March Madness pick.

Nosy Questions: How to Avoid Them.

The college search and application process begs unavoidable questions – questions from nosy friends, gloating frenemies, adults, even from annoying relatives. What did you get on the PSAT test? What did you get on the SAT/ACT/AP/Subject test? Where are you going to college?

OMG, you want to know what?

You don’t have to answer; you don’t have to discuss it with anyone but your parents. It’s your business. There’s no up side to answering. It draws stress, anxiety and unhelpful comparisons. There’s more to a college choice than grades and test scores. The answers to these questions are incomplete glimpses and do not reflect the whole picture. Most rankings are little or no value in understanding how a college will meet your needs. The right fit is what you seek, and the important thing is selecting colleges that will give you the opportunity to succeed.

As for the nosy questions, sidestep them with a statement that politely shuts down or re-directs the conversation, a skill you will be able to use again and again:

‘What did you get on the SAT/ACT?

Why should I answer?

If you do engage in a conversation, don’t always believe what others tell you; not everyone will tell the truth. Ultimately, once you get to college, no one cares about SAT, ACT, or high school GPA anymore.

‘Where are you applying or Where are you going to college?’

These are just the first in many nosy life questions – What are you majoring in? What are doing after you graduate? When are you getting married?

Being prepared with answers that redirect the conversation helps relieve the stress of the uncertainty these questions bring up.

Donations in the College Admission Process or Can I Buy My Way In?

Many parents love their alma mater and choose to show their appreciation through gifts to a college or university.  In doing so, many donors hope, perhaps even expect, some sort of advantage when their child applies for admission to this college.

Money does play a roll in admissions. College is a business.

Money does play a roll in admissions. College is a business.

Caution:  this should not be the expectation.  Colleges are not required to offer reciprocity for donations or in-kind gifts.  Many families fall into the pit of expecting colleges to admit their child simply because a parent attended this college or donated to the annual fund.   In hopes of dispelling this rumor and better educating families on the admission process, please consider these points in regard to donations in the college admission process:

  1. Legacy status rarely trumps all in the admission process. Yes, if a student has an alumni parent, this may help an application, but rarely does the legacy status outweigh strength of curricula and grades.  In sum, the applicant must still present a competitive record for the college in question.  Moreover, “legacy” is defined differently by each college (parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, etc).
  2. If parents are in a position to donate to a college or university, they should do so with direction and purpose. In other words, donate to a certain academic department, athletics team, scholarship fund, etc.  This will show a college that the family is committed to the success of one of its beloved programs or teams.  It also creates a measure of impact the family has made on the college.
  3. Develop a relationship with a development officer. Work closely with this development officer as you plan and execute gifts to the college.  This relationship can be helpful as parents help their child prepare an application to the college.
  4. Never expect a “trade.” Parents cannot simply write a check and expect admission to a college.  It does not work this way.
  5. Development in the admission process is about relationship building, nothing more and nothing less. Parents should use this opportunity to get to know the college better so that they can counsel their child on whether or not this college is the right fit.
  6. What one college may see as a significant donation, may not be at another. Donation can take place in terms of money, art, time or access to the right firm/organization/people. There are significant tax and legal issues when donating, a family needs a team of qualified individuals before moving forward.

College Acceptance Notification via Snapchat

The University of Wisconsin at Green Bay has begun notifying applicants that they have been accepted through the messaging app Snapchat, WBAY reported. The university still sends traditional acceptance packets to students by mail, but admissions officers said using Snapchat means reaching students faster — and also lets them know when students have viewed the message.

By Carl Straumsheim

See College Solutions founder, Larry Dannenberg, on Fox 25 News.