Posts Tagged ‘college admission’

Proposed bill would make cheating on SATs a crime

Categories: Admissions Advice

After students were caught cheating on their SAT college admission exams in New York, legislators have proposed that this should be a felony crime, reports The Washington Post.

The suggested laws were proposed by Senator Kenneth LaValle earlier this week. Students caught paying other students to take their tests for them would be prosecuted as felons, while forging tests would be a misdemeanor. Other measures suggested by Senator LaValle include more rigorous photo identification of students taking the SAT to avoid instances of cheating.

"I would say to you that we’re in a new era," said LaValle, as quoted by the news source. "There are new rules, and if we need to use legislation to spell that out more clearly, we’ll do that."

According to Fox News, the students who were caught cheating paid other people to take their tests for them. Students were paid between $500 and $3,600 to take the SAT or ACT exams for others. The news source reports that officials suspect that as many as 40 students were involved, but that they cannot prove it for some of them.

Cheating on any exam, especially a college admissions test, is never a good idea. Doing so can seriously harm your academic future. Studying hard and achieving good grades honestly is always the better option. 

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Ranking Colleges the Moneyball Way

Inside Higher Ed‘s Ryan Craig recently penned an article about implementing the same principles the Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane, used to form a better baseball team on, ahem, valuing colleges. It’s called Moneyball, or in this case, Moneycollege.

The concept of  “moneyball” was that Beane hired and fired his players based on statistics that, although reliable, were generally being ignored by the Old Boys’ Club in favor of less reliable facts and mere opinions.

So how does this relate to college?

Well, Craig argues that just like baseball in the recent past, higher educations focuses on “what’s easy to measure.” In baseball, values of players were assigned based on many superficial “numbers”–height, physique, age, speed of pitches, you know, all the pretty things in life. In higher education, Craig says we’re basically focusing on the equivalent to what they were wrongly concentrating on in baseball: research, rankings and real estate. These are all countable measurements and easily comparable. But unfortunately, those don’t even come close to the measurements that should be taken into account like, uh,  student learning and student outcomes. Duh. Aren’t you curious to know how your college ranks in getting its students hired and happy and healthy following college graduation?

While so many schools are pouring energy into these antiquated measurements, like how many big buildings they have or how much research their faculty can produce in the smallest about of time, they are ignoring what is actually occurring in the academic landscape. States are cutting their budgets, people are afraid to go into debt for an education they’re afraid isn’t worth the reward, and more and more people are taking their education online.

Just like Billy Beane was struggling with a paltry budget to create a World Series-winning team, colleges with small budgets are in the same boat. How can they compete in this game of rankings if they don’t have the research, rankings and real state of colleges with bigger budgets? Well, maybe in the future they’ll be able to beat the system by playing moneycollege. If they can gather the data showing the right stats–students on-base percentage, or in academic terms,  student success rate, who knows how the higher ed game can change.

Which college statistics are most important to you?

What parts of your college application really matter?

Categories: Admissions Advice

Completing a college application often involves providing a lot of different information. With universities asking for so much as part of a college application, it can be difficult for prospective students to figure out which parts of the application carry more weight with college admissions officials. Which parts of the college application are the most important, and why?

One thing that college admissions officials will pay close attention to is the courses you've taken. Although nobody expects you to have it all figured out by the time you enroll in a degree program, they will want to see some thought behind larger career goals. Maintaining a sense of direction in your elective choices shows college admissions officials that you're at least thinking about how they fit into your long-term plans.

The grades you've achieved are also very important. Again, nobody is expecting you to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA, though if you can, it'll look good on your college application, but you should work hard and strive to achieve the very best grades you can. Your GPA is more important than your SAT and standardized test scores, because grade point averages demonstrate a progression of academic achievement over time, as opposed to how you did on the day of a test. That doesn't mean you shouldn't study hard for your SATs, but test scores are becoming less important to many colleges than they used to be.

Letters of recommendation will be examined closely. Think carefully about who you want to approach to write a letter of recommendation. Your teachers are obvious choices since they know you well, but you should also think about asking your principal, student adviser or the president of any after-school clubs or societies you may belong to. Whoever you ask, your recommendation letters should reflect well on you as a person and as a student.

Your essays and personal statement are two of the most important aspects of your college application. They provide you with the opportunity to tell the college admissions adviser who you really are, what you want, and where you're going. Don't write overly formally or try to impress the college admission officer. Be yourself, write clearly and expressively, but avoid writing in a voice you wouldn't ordinarily use.

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