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Submitting Scores? Excerpts from Jeff Selingo’s "Next"

“In the spring, Hannah Wolff, a former college counselor at Langley High School, a top-ranked high school in the wealthy suburbs of Washington, D.C., heard from admissions counselors at several public universities that a few Langley seniors who were rejected might have been admitted if they had not submitted their SAT scores, which were in the 1350 range. While a 1350 would have been considered a good score in the past at those schools, now, when the only applicants submitting scores are mostly those well above the average, the expectations of admissions officers have risen with the scores — especially for applicants from wealthy academic powerhouses like Langley.”

As a result, there is no good advice—even from counselors and admissions deans. “Two years in, counselors have no idea: What is a good score? Do I submit a score or not? And if so, should all colleges on my list get my score?"

—As Jeff Makris, director of college counseling at Stuyvesant High School in New York, told me, "'the more we tell [students] what to do, the more we become scapegoats when they don’t get in.’”

I (Pamela) work with Stuyvesant students and understand why this is a Catch-22 for Makris. They generally apply to Ivies and Ivy overlaps. About the same number of his students are admitted to Ivy League colleges now as six years ago, though many more apply.

What might surprise students and parents from a few years ago, however, is the next set of colleges Makris mentioned: Northeastern, Case Western, and Boston University. In 2016, 298 students applied to Northeastern, and 91 were admitted; last year, applications jumped to 422, but only 49 were admitted. In 2017 and last year, 129 Stuy students applied to Case Western, but admits were almost cut in half to 36. In 2016, the BU acceptance rate for Stuy’s students was 43 percent; last year, it was 14 percent."

Who wins? Highly rated public universities like SUNY Binghamton. Only 50-75 Stuyvesant students typically enroll, but 124 enrolled for fall 2022.


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