News US university admissions scandal

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Klystron

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Why? I'm asking in a serious way. In what specific ways as your education second-rate? I am not blind to reality, but if your instructors used the same textbooks, if you went through the same course content, if you were held to the same standards, then why would you denigrate your program? What does that say about you?
There are substantial qualitative differences between state university and more expensive colleges just in the San Francisco Bay Area. Computer facilities were worlds apart, instructor qualifications so different that some 'state' instructors would not even be admitted to a graduate program at Stanford. Many, if not most, 'state' students commute with little time for conferencing or even cooperating on labs. Guest lectures and IT conferences were meager to non existent compared to UC Berkeley or Stanford even if working students had time to attend.

Even getting to classes at San Jose or SF State required running a gauntlet through 'bad neighborhoods' compared to Stanford in Palo Alto or the spacious UCB campus. This is NOT denigration but factual description based on experience. Personally, I was safer as a foreigner walking dockside in Bangkok than trying to get to classes at SFSU. Warning posted prominently in cafeteria "NEVER leave your backpack or books unattended. They WILL be stolen!".

Greg's post says that he is honest and forthright in his assessment; willing to appreciate the humor of the situation. It is laughable to equate computer science programs at 'state' campuses to MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, or probably any better funded university, ignoring the connections, cachet, and contacts available at the latter.
 
Greg's post says that he is honest and forthright in his assessment; willing to appreciate the humor of the situation. It is laughable to equate computer science programs at 'state' campuses to MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, or probably any better funded university, ignoring the connections, cachet, and contacts available at the latter.
And of course it's a gradient, I mean, there are some VERY good 1st tier state schools like University of Wisconsin in Madison. I went to UW-Milwaukee, a very average city university. Even more so, claiming say a community college opportunities are comparable to MIT etc is bizarre. I'm not saying someone can't be successful going to a community college, of course they can and some more than at MIT, but on average the stats will speak for themselves.
 

Andy Resnick

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Then of course there is the point about students who may have been rejected because a cheater took their spot. I don't know how real this is for the case where there were 6 cheaters in the incoming class at USC; I doubt they manage the number of offers they extend to that precision, but I could easily be wrong.
This is actually a very interesting point- I do not know how my institution (or any institution) sets the size of their incoming Freshman class, nor do I know how 'elastic' that number is.
 

russ_watters

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I am unaware of any correlation between any Novel Prize recipient and their undergraduate institution; likewise for Supreme Court Justices, CEOs of large corporations, etc. What is your data?
For Nobel Prizes, it's faculty (researchers), not undergrad students and for USSC, it's law schools. These are just the most obvious I could think of quickly. Here's the data:
https://www.bestmastersprograms.org/50-universities-with-the-most-nobel-prize-winners/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_schools_attended_by_United_States_Supreme_Court_Justices

The top school for both is the same: Harvard. For the USSC, the difference is most stark: All of the justices currently on the bench are from Harvard or Yale (or both). It's a heavily discussed issue/"problem" every time a new USSC justice is nominated.
Don't you understand that by defining 'success' as a binary option: either a Nobel Prize or failure, either the Supreme Court or failure, you are only guaranteeing your own misery? Do you consider your life a failure?
Huh? I've done no such thing! There are many levels of success and I'm quite happy with mine. You're going to extremes with your interpretations. The only purpose I had for picking these extremes is because of the [relative] data I knew off the top of my head and hoped others would as well. Extreme cases tend to be well known.
 

Andy Resnick

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Greg's post says that he is honest and forthright in his assessment; willing to appreciate the humor of the situation. It is laughable to equate computer science programs at 'state' campuses to MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, or probably any better funded university, ignoring the connections, cachet, and contacts available at the latter.
Yes he is and that's good, I'm trying to be as honest and forthright. As I said, I am not blind to reality. Obviously, 'who you know matters as much as what you know'- humans are social creatures, our social environment has real effects. My point is that you (you as a student) have agency; you have some control over what choices you have available to you. Life is not a binary win/lose game.
 

Andy Resnick

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TeethWhitener

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Unless I misread the list, that's a list of Nobel laureates' 'current home'. Not a list of where they received their BS degree.
You misread it. It's a list of all affiliates (profs, research assistants, grad students, undergrads). Scroll down further.
 

Andy Resnick

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Wouldn't your argument still be the same if I went to a community college? textbooks, standards etc?
Was that my argument? I believe I clearly qualified the question:

"I am not blind to reality, but if your instructors used the same textbooks, if you went through the same course content, if you were held to the same standards, then why would you denigrate your program?"
 

russ_watters

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Why? I'm asking in a serious way. In what specific ways as your education second-rate? I am not blind to reality, but if your instructors used the same textbooks, if you went through the same course content, if you were held to the same standards, then why would you denigrate your program? What does that say about you?
Andy, please. You're taking/making this way too personal and not thinking it through. It's not denegration, it's obvious logic. *In reality* neither the course content nor the standards will be equal for different universities. If standards were the same, nearly everyone at Harvard would get all A's and everyone at a lower tier univeristy would get F's.

And because the students are *not* equal, the pace of learning is different and therefore those with better students tend to learn more. That's precisely the reason that different levels of classes exist in high school, for example. That stratification does not suddenly go away when you go to college.

The stratification of professers is a real thing too, but IMO it is less important because of the demands on the professor; better outcomes are primarily a result of better students, not better teachers.
 

TeethWhitener

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Again, not sure that maps to where they earned their BS or BA degree.
Just trying to help. If you want answers that badly, I suggest you do your own research.
 

Andy Resnick

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You misread it. It's a list of all affiliates (profs, research assistants, grad students, undergrads). Scroll down further.
I think you need to parse the lit a little better: For example, the Yale alums include people who earned PhD and MD degrees.
 
The stratification of professers is a real thing too, but IMO it is less important because of the demands on the professor; better outcomes are primarily a result of better students, not better teachers.
Who grooms the student into being a good student? Teachers? I was horrible at algebra, great at geometry. The teacher was the difference.
 

russ_watters

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Who grooms the student into being a good student? Teachers? I was horrible at algebra, great at geometry. The teacher was the difference.
Granted. I've had good and bad teachers too. But I see two reasons to count them lower(though not totally discount):

1. Students (and in high school, parents) always have the most direct control over their learning.

2. In college (particularly STEM), professors are not typically hired for their teaching skill, but rather their research. And I don't think the two are well correlated. So I don't expect the teaching quality to be as stratified as the student quality.
 

jasonRF

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This is actually a very interesting point- I do not know how my institution (or any institution) sets the size of their incoming Freshman class, nor do I know how 'elastic' that number is.
Most colleges have very little, if any, elasticity in class size. The college I went to is the same size as when I applied about 30 years ago. However, they now have three times as many applicants and a much higher yield (a larger percentage of the admitted students accept the offer); thus the admission rate is about a quarter of what it was when I applied (about 10% now instead of about 40% back in my day). The credentials of the current students are most likely significantly higher than the credentials of my peers when I was there. A student like me would never gain admission today, even though they could do the work; the curriculum looks updated but no more rigorous than it was back then. This massive increase in applicants to a very small number of "elite" universities is either a symptom or a cause (or both in a feedback loop?) of the current college admissions insanity.

I'm glad my kids have no interest in my alma mater so they will never wonder if they only gained admission due to legacy status, although realistically rejection would be expected. They also won't have to try and compete against a student body that is now incredibly competitive; I was reading about some student-run clubs on campus that have single-digit admit rates. Yes, you apply to clubs now. Jeesh!

jason
 

russ_watters

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Here's pay by undergrad university:
https://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/bachelors

A couple of caveats:
-Military academy grads spend at least 5 years as officers before entering the workforce, so that may skew their rank.

-STEM-only schools may outperform liberal arts or broad-based schools simply by their mix of majors. This likely explains why MIT(2) ranks higher than Harvard (6).
 

Andy Resnick

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Andy, please. You're taking/making this way too personal and not thinking it through. It's not denegration, it's obvious logic. *In reality* neither the course content nor the standards will be equal for different universities. If standards were the same, nearly everyone at Harvard would get all A's and everyone at a lower tier univeristy would get F's.

And because the students are *not* equal, the pace of learning is different and therefore those with better students tend to learn more. That's precisely the reason that different levels of classes exist in high school, for example. That stratification does not suddenly go away when you go to college.

The stratification of professers is a real thing too, but IMO it is less important because of the demands on the professor; better outcomes are primarily a result of better students, not better teachers.
You are right- I am taking this personally. As a parent of a 6th grader, I deal with clear evidence of parental overinvolvement in academic assignments all the time. I'm an educator who deals with cheating students on a regular basis- and the reason they cheat is because of the fear of a B+. I deal with students who have a hard time performing because they are products of a social and educational system that has told them, explicitly and implicitly, that they are not going to be successful.

I regularly deal with the fruit of parental/social fears about 'meritocracy'. And don't think that this type of cheating is limited to academic admissions- consider how the fear of failure results in manifold ethical violations in research.
 

Andy Resnick

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I was reading about some student-run clubs on campus that have single-digit admit rates. Yes, you apply to clubs now. Jeesh!

jason
Yep- there are years-long waiting lists for *kindergarten*. Life has become a competitive sport.
 
I deal with clear evidence of parental overinvolvement in academic assignments all the time.
My wife is a Montessori teacher for 3, 4 and 5 years olds and this is an issue for her. It starts even that young!
 

Andy Resnick

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My wife is a Montessori teacher for 3, 4 and 5 years olds and this is an issue for her. It starts even that young!
I know! This is the systemic problematic belief I have been (over)talking about- that if you don't get your kid into the 'right' school, they are doomed for life.
 

russ_watters

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You are right- I am taking this personally. As a parent of a 6th grader, I deal with clear evidence of parental overinvolvement in academic assignments all the time. I'm an educator who deals with cheating students on a regular basis- and the reason they cheat is because of the fear of a B+. I deal with students who have a hard time performing because they are products of a social and educational system that has told them, explicitly and implicitly, that they are not going to be successful.

I regularly deal with the fruit of parental/social fears about 'meritocracy'. And don't think that this type of cheating is limited to academic admissions- consider how the fear of failure results in manifold ethical violations in research.
Ok, but I don't see how any of this relates to the side discussion about *real* (vs fraudulent) stratification. Do you think that because we see real stratification exists that we condone the fraud?

Frankly I was sensing your personal reaction was due to your own job and school. Stratification exists in society whether we like it or not. But we don't need to measure ourselves in it to find happiness.
 

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