Admissions Coverage -- Elsewhere and Here

Mizzou's shrinking class, annoying Ivy hype, a worthy prom date, TOEFL scam.

May 8, 2017

Missing at Mizzou

Many colleges rush this time of year to boast of record numbers of students sending in deposits for the class enrolling this fall.

The University of Missouri at Columbia's press release notes that about 4,000 freshmen are expected. Further, the press release quotes the interim chancellor saying that “a class of this size gives us the ability to think carefully about our long-term enrollment planning." That may be true, but Missouri newspapers drew attention to what the press release largely glossed over, pointing out what The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called a "steep drop."

The current projections for the fall class would represent a 14 percent drop from a year ago. And that total was a drop from 2015, when about 6,000 enrolled. The Columbia Daily Tribune noted that there are visible signs of the decline on campus. Three dormitories are being mothballed.

Generally articles attribute the declines to the protests of minority students and others two years ago over a range of issues. While Mizzou's protests were indeed among the most visible, do readers have thoughts on why the declines would be so steep there when other colleges that had intense protests are not seeing such declines?

Ivy Hype: Is This Really a Success?

This time of year many publications feature a certain genre of article: "Local teen admitted to all eight Ivies" (and usually 20 other colleges too). Here are some of them, including some who only got into seven of the eight: Here and here and here, to cite just a few of the many examples out there.

No doubt these are talented young people who deserve to be applauded. But is it remotely logical for these students (or anyone) to apply to all the Ivy League colleges? Dartmouth College and Columbia University both have much to praise about them, but they are different in so many ways that someone just applying to both as they are Ivies would seem to perhaps not be getting the best advice. Similarly to those boasting about getting into 20 or more colleges (Ivies plus equally prestigious counterparts).... Most college counselors could help students like that apply to a more limited number, still including their dream college and a safety or two.

And constant articles about the very best students applying to more colleges than they need just encourages more fear and irrational behavior by students and their parents.

And important reminder this time of year: Re-read the National Association for College Admission Counseling's most recent State of College Admission report, which says (as it does every year) that most colleges admit most of those who apply.

A Harvard Admit to Watch

While we frown on all the stories of the glory of getting a Yes from Cambridge, here's a piece we liked from Mic:

No one asked Priscilla Samey to prom. So she took her Harvard University acceptance packet, and quipped that her date "was pretty low maintenance, so I didn't have to pay for his dinner."


Inside Higher Ed has considerable interest this week in news about the arrest of four Chinese nationals on charges of engaging in fraud on admissions tests that allowed three of them to obtain admissions to American universities and visas to study in the United States. A Justice Department announcement said that one of the four, a student at the Hult International Business School, in Massachusetts, took the TOEFL exam and reported her scores as if they were the scores of the three others. TOEFL is among the tests taken by international students to demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency to succeed at American colleges. Based on those TOEFL scores, the Justice Department said, the other three were admitted to Arizona State University, Northeastern University and Pennsylvania State University's Erie campus. Then the three were able to get student visas.

Here is a background article about 15 arrests in 2015 in a similar scheme.

See articles about which we should write next week? Let us know: [email protected]



We have retired comments and introduced Letters to the Editor. Share your thoughts »

Today’s News from Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed’s Quick Takes

Back to Top