Lion of the Blogosphere

Truth about college admissions and fake news in the NY Times

I am totally outraged by the misinformation and HBD denialism in this NY Times article about college admissions.

The only part of it that’s probably true is that even though colleges claim their admissions are “need blind,” secretly they are trying to rig things to get wealthy students whose parents can not only afford to pay full price, but are also more likely to donate extra money on top of that.

The implication is that the worst demographic to be in is a poor white person. Because the colleges have quotas for each race, if you’re in the white race you are competing against the rich whites. Based on the way that colleges measure “diversity,” a poor white person adds no diversity, just a burden on the college’s finances.

The article does demonstrate the truth of the phrase “get woke go broke.” After Trinity College implemented the woke Hispanic admissions director’s more woke admissions guidelines, their ranking among national liberal arts colleges dropped from 38 to 46.

By the way, doesn’t everyone know that the purpose of mid-tier and below liberal arts colleges is to be a place for less academically gifted rich kids to go to school? I don’t think that a degree from Trinity College is any sort of magic ticket to a good job. I never heard of the place before reading the NY Times article. So if poor kids can’t get into that place, they are not missing out on that much.

I do believe that a bunch of professors wrote a letter saying they loved the students admitted by the more woke admissions policies. That’s what SJW professors would say even if it wasn’t true. You can’t believe anything that SJWs say.

The article is pushing the falsehood that SAT scores only measure how rich the test-takers parents are. In fact, SAT scores are pretty unbiased measures of genetic ability, especially when all test takers have relatively the same opportunity to prep for the test. What has happened in the United States is that a century of meritocracy has caused all of the smart people to rise into the higher classes, and then they pass on their high-IQ genes to their children. The elite in this country, consequently, are genetically smarter than the non-elite. On average, of course. There are still kids, like myself, who came from prole parents and aced the SAT.

Actual scientific research shows that the article is dead wrong. The College Board research report, which was mentioned in the article, but which the author of the article either didn’t read or didn’t understand, has a lot of interesting information.

Historically, it has been known that high school GPA (HSGPA) alone predict first-year college GPA (FYGPA) better than SAT scores alone. And the NYT article repeats that, but actually that’s no longer true. When the writing-section score is included with the SAT score, then the SAT score alone now predicts FYGPA better than HSGPA alone. This is new.

The biggest surprise to me in reading the College Board research report is that the writing section (SAT-W) alone has the highest individual predictive power for FYGPA over either of the other sections alone. Given that the writing section has the least precise grading, two humans read it and each assign it a score of 2 to 8, I figured it would be less predictive than the more precise scores on the other sections of the SAT. Also, of all sections, the writing section seems like it would be most subject to prepping, because the test-taker must learn the “correct” way to write an SAT essay which isn’t necessarily obvious. And the only way to know if your practice essays are good or bad is to have an experienced human grade it, which costs money, while you can know how well you are doing on multiple choice tests based solely on self-grading your work. So if there’s any advantage to having rich parents, I would assume that the writing section would be the section on the SAT where that advantage would manifest.

I thought about this, and concluded that for people who take college classes where the grades are based primarily on essay exams, then the SAT-W is the best at predicting FYGPA because scores on an essay exam are the best at predicting scores on other essay exams. I would expect that for people majoring in subjects where the tests are more objective, such as STEM and some business majors like Finance, then the multiple-choice sections of the SAT would be better at predicting grades. However, this is something that was not explored in the College Board research article.

Another thing we learn is that all of the predictors significantly overpredict grades for blacks, and also to a lesser extent they overpredict FYGPA for poor kids. This is the opposite of what liberals would think. Liberals would think that the SAT is biased against blacks and the poor, and that when they went to college their college grades would reflect their true unbiased abilities and they’d do better than predicted by the SAT. But the opposite happens and they do worse. Because the SAT isn’t biased, it’s accurately showing that blacks are less intelligent than whites.

I thought about this, and I believe the reason why there is such a large overprediction for blacks is because of affirmative action and because grades are curved, so it’s much harder to get an A at Harvard than an A at Trinity college (assuming that both schools have the same percent of As, Bs, Cs, etc.). Because blacks are being accepted into schools where they have much lower SAT scores than the average white students, they are going to get lower grades.

However, I also think that there are some economic stresses that can make it more difficult for students from poor families to focus on their college education.

The College Board report also shows us that for applicants whose families are poor (have less than $40,000 per year income), their HSGPA overpredicts their FYGPA relative to their SAT scores. The obvious reason for this is that kids from poor families usually go to crappy high schools where you can get good grades just by showing up and doing the assignments. Good grades at a crappy high school doesn’t mean that the student is ready for college material.

The report also shows that SAT scores overpredict FYGPA for males, and this is as I would have expected. Girls get better grades than boys in high school because they are more conscientious and agreeable, and they carry that over into college as well.

* * *

Steve Sailer’s more satirical take on the NY Times arcticle.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 10, 2019 at 12:02 PM

Posted in Biology, Education

74 Responses

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  1. Seems like your writer’s block was very temporary. Don’t be the Lion-that-cried-wolf.

    TorontoTraveller

    September 10, 2019 at 12:53 PM

  2. “I would expect that for people majoring in subjects where the tests are more objective, such as STEM and some business majors like Finance, then the multiple-choice sections of the SAT would be better at predicting grades.”

    Unless you’re an engineer (and to some degree even then), first-year GPA is going to mainly be determined by core classes, not classes in your major.

    I AP’d out of most of my core classes. Even so, although I majored in a quantitative subject, I took more classes in the humanities. Why? Because they’re easier, I have broad interests, and I figured that GPA and listed major are the two most important things about my diploma — no one is going to review my transcript. So I spent a lot more time writing essays than equations throughout college.

    Wency

    September 10, 2019 at 12:56 PM

    • Yeah, people are no doubt too lazy to really look over the transcript, they will just look at the GPA and the major.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 10, 2019 at 1:05 PM

      • Like the HR department. If you depend on a jib to survive, you are slave to its arbitrary demands.

        Brazilian

        September 10, 2019 at 5:17 PM

    • But “core”is calculus, physics and even chemistry for some majors. CS at my school had a year long overview that weeded out a lot of freshmen.

      Mrs Stitch

      September 10, 2019 at 5:02 PM

      • Most schools I think this is only true of engineers (which I alluded to). My school had engineers take 1 humanities course, which they normally knocked out early. Not sure how common that is.

        But I think at most schools liberal arts majors (including non-engineering STEM) normally don’t even declare a major until sophomore year.

        Wency

        September 11, 2019 at 7:19 AM

  3. “What has happened in the United States is that a century of meritocracy has caused all of the smart people to rise into the higher classes, and then they pass on their high-IQ genes to their children.”

    Yeah, doctors and lawyers don’t marry their secretaries any more.

    And first year performance, I think is determined by emotional maturity. Lots of smart kids CANNOT handle living away from home and dealing with dorm bullshit. Then they have a nervous breakdown.

    fakeemail

    September 10, 2019 at 1:12 PM

    • I, personally, was way more studious in law school than when I was an undergraduate.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 10, 2019 at 1:14 PM

    • “Yeah, doctors and lawyers don’t marry their secretaries any more”
      And that’s logical!! Are you by any chance advocating that educated white collar people to suddenly start marrying blue collar trades people?

      mpt

      September 10, 2019 at 4:24 PM

      • Before smart women were encouraged to become doctors and lawyers, they’d work as secretaries until they got married and had children (in that order).

        But today, secretaries come from the lower classes. And they are called “administrative assistants,” not secretaries.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 10, 2019 at 4:26 PM

      • And where would our GDP be if productive women dropped out of labor force to have kids?
        One of the big contributors to our booming economy is double income families.

        mpt

        September 10, 2019 at 5:46 PM

      • > Are you by any chance advocating that educated white collar people to suddenly start marrying blue collar trades people?

        Judging by the upper-middle class epidemics of autism and auto-immune problems I would suggest exactly that. A higher earning person should go out of their way to marry the hottest, healthiest spouse they can possibly land regardless of class or income. Optimize for orgasms.

        One or two screwed up kids and your extra income has gone down the toilet.

        bobbybobbob

        September 10, 2019 at 10:16 PM

      • Double income families don’t add to the GDP, they just artificially increase house prices. Most women don’t create businesses and jobs, they don’t invent anything new, not involved with technology, not with any physical work that actually create something tangible and not with any dangerous jobs, they don’t even create rock bands. They mostly work for the government, in caring jobs and in what the lion calls value transference jobs where they get payed by taxes which is wealth created by men in the private sector. The are basically one huge cost centre.
        We are paying them too much in average, the pay gap should have been 25% to the dollar, not 75% if it had to represent the true economic value women generate. We just pay them more than they worth due to forced legalisation or just the men tendencies to give women resources in return for their magic capability to bring children, we just do it collectively instead of within the family.
        Women in average would contribute much more to the economy had they done housework instead of another “diversity relationships officer” or whatever other crap title they invite to their secretarial role, but because we are bleeding value by them going out to “work” we have to bring cheap slave labour from Mexico to cover up the loses.

        Hashed

        September 10, 2019 at 11:42 PM

      • @Bobbybobbob:

        The increase in things like autism is more likely to be:

        (1) A lot of the kids who would’ve previously been classed as some form of “retarded” now being classed in a less embarrassing – for their families – category. Remember, most autistic people have very low IQs.

        (2) The (rightful!) rejection of the “refrigerator mother” hypothesis. Autism is (rightfully!) no longer regarded as a sign of bad parenting.

        (3)(a) Older fathers. Gregory Cochrane has shown that the older the biological father, the more small mutations he passes on. That creates a “sand in the gears” phenomenon, which builds up and either immediately or later (remember, the kids pass the genes on and the propensity to have kids later is heritable) ends up in an increase in genetic problems.

        (Older mothers tend to have more dramatic, “spanner in the gears” issues. But that doesn’t let men off the hook.)

        (3)(b) The aftershocks of the 1950s. Traditionally, a significant minority in Western societies wouldn’t pass their genes on. That fell apart from 1947-~1963, when 95% of the cohort had kids.

        The immediate effects were felt in the massive increase in crime from 1968 on, when the Boomers hit the system, most dramatically in serial killers. (Yes, the relaxation of law enforcement played a role, but that was the bad luck of the public consciousness still assuming a population of the Greatest Generation’s characteristics. That generatiom’s parents had had both the percentage of people having kids, and the number per couple, drastically reduced by the economic downturns.)

        Assortative mating is a good thing. It has been the norm in western societies since at least the early 1600s, with one wildly unrepresentative gap in the Long Fifties. Don’t let the anti feminist doctrine lead you down a bad, bad road.

        Jesse

        September 14, 2019 at 9:23 AM

  4. A troubling aspect of Blue America is this lifelong obsession with college admissions minutia.

    Lion is pushing 50, and he still cares intensely about a topic that entrances ambitious 15-year-olds.

    In a healthy society, people would finish college (or not), and then get on with their lives, with nary a look back.

    Justice Duvall

    September 10, 2019 at 1:18 PM

    • The problem is career tracks. Your first job, which in turn is heavily influenced by the eliteness of your college and the grades you got in college, determine your whole life.

      If my life sucks now, everything traces back to things I did wrong or personal failings when was between the ages of 17 and 22.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 10, 2019 at 1:23 PM

      • If career trajectory was the most important thing in life, then Anthony Bourdain would still be alive.

        But the fact is there are plenty of guys who went to directional state schools and still have great careers. Look at the alma maters of Fortune 500 CEOs. You can always take another shot at using MBA school to rebrand.

        It is true that a “stitch in time saves nine”. If you want a high-powered career, better to figure it out at age 15 and not age 25. If you’re late to the party, it might mean you have to work harder, and you might end up doing investment banking at Bank of America instead of Goldman, and you have to come in as a late 20s associate rather than early 20s analyst. I know many guys who followed trajectories exactly like this, after going to crappy schools and working crappy jobs for most of their 20s, with nothing to their credit but decent test scores and hunger.

        Someone is going to be on top, and it’s usually going to be the people who always had their eyes on the prize, who were obsessed with getting there and had the talent to make it happen. If you’re obsessed with being on top but aren’t prepared to do what it takes to get there, then the problem is in your head. Get some balance and perspective.

        Wency

        September 10, 2019 at 3:09 PM

      • …everything traces back to things I did wrong or personal failings when I was between the ages of 17 and 22

        Methinks thou dost overstate the case.

        bomag

        September 10, 2019 at 3:21 PM

      • I’d like to propose the insulting possibility that you are living up to your potential. You seem like more of an engineer than a diplomat, and more of an introvert than an extrovert. The high status jobs you covet are for people with temperaments different than your own.

        MoreSigmasThanYou

        September 10, 2019 at 4:35 PM

      • I do tax returns for lawyers. Got a couple we’re doing a projection for who make about half a million each. Maybe your typical New Yorker doesn’t think that’s rich but in the midwest it’s living very well and they went to boring state schools for undergrad and nothing I’d think of as top tier for law school.

        everybodyhatesscott

        September 10, 2019 at 4:36 PM

      • Lion, by your long post history, you werenot that bad. Probably you will have a middle class life until your grave. If you gad children, then you d have a big trouble.

        Brazilian

        September 10, 2019 at 5:20 PM

      • > career tracks

        There are people who by their mid-40s have serious cash producing capital and then there are various stripes of worker drone. Who cares about a “career” as some firm “partner” cruising for a heart attack at 58. “Partners” are getting laid off left and right at major firms now (cf. goldman sachs): it’s totally meaningless. Meanwhile, there’s a young beaner McDonald’s franchisee here with tens of millions in net worth and no degree. I know guys who lucked out in the start-up equity game.

        If you’re optimizing for “career” you’re doing it wrong. You need to optimize a path to direct personal ownership. The most likely path is studying highly quantitative subjects and then taking on quite a bit of risk, in terms of being willing to accept low salary for equity or learning opportunities.

        bobbybobbob

        September 10, 2019 at 10:32 PM

      • Having “serious cash producing capital” by mid-40s happens because of being in the right career track.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 10, 2019 at 11:06 PM

      • Lion, I understand your point/obsession even if it might be a bit overstated.

        Most people are absolutely clueless between the ages of 17-22. It is not right that that period should so determine one’s whole life. Why should wiser adults be fucked simply because they sucked during their youth? Is there any alternative?

        fakeemail

        September 10, 2019 at 10:53 PM

      • “Why should wiser adults be fucked simply because they sucked during their youth? Is there any alternative?”

        Yes, what a great way of stating it.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 10, 2019 at 11:07 PM

      • > Having “serious cash producing capital” by mid-40s happens because of being in the right career track.

        There are approximately zero “career tracks” that result in having serious cash producing capital. One must take on serious risk and do something entrepreneurial, which runs entirely counter to the concept of “career track.” State Department employees have career tracks.

        bobbybobbob

        September 10, 2019 at 11:57 PM

      • “Most people are absolutely clueless between the ages of 17-22.”

        Thanks to Pink Floyd I was worried about failing to launch. Good thing I bought the album.

        “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.” Time by Pink Floyd on Echoes.

        Curle

        September 11, 2019 at 9:59 PM

      • “Thanks to Pink Floyd I was worried about failing to launch. Good thing I bought the album.”

        Same here. I’d also recommend “Cat’s in the Cradle”. Most songs are mindless drivel but those two are a wake-up call that should be heeded.

        destructure

        September 14, 2019 at 12:12 PM

    • College admissions is a problem when there is a huge income gap between college graduates.

      Brazilian

      September 10, 2019 at 1:48 PM

    • I care too and I’m 70.

      Still going over what I did wrong.

      Mrs Stitch

      September 10, 2019 at 5:06 PM

  5. FYGPA is such a weird measure. My experience was that it had nothing to do with how smart you were, and everything to do with who was staying up late drinking going to parties. Anyone who could stay sober enough to do a reasonable attempt at their homework and show up to class every day passed their classes easily, the rest didn’t.

    Maybe they should change the college admission process to include a summer camp, where kids get to live away from their parents for a while, and you can find out who’s still able to get things done without their parents overseeing everything.

    ack-acking

    September 10, 2019 at 1:29 PM

    • College is 4 years of parties so people can get the credential they need to get a job that doesn’t suck.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 10, 2019 at 1:37 PM

      • I once had a stint in a BIGLAW work environment. The people didn’t strike me as elite too me, but many of them were a-holes, jockeying for a higher pay, higher position, and partnership for the law associates.

        Law firms like any other value transference scheme, are just people who want to live a life based on positional goods. You need a society with lot of dumb proles and NAMs to create a society with this defining trademark.

        One can make a point that our elites are significantly more concerned about their position in life relative to others, rather than seeing others rise to their level, given the prole drifting and non-white immigration in America.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        September 10, 2019 at 1:59 PM

    • I think it’s suspicious that first-year GPA is used so commonly that there’s an acronym for it. Why only count the first year? Is it because they get “better” correlations when they use it?

      NSFP

      September 10, 2019 at 5:51 PM

  6. “it’s much harder to get an A at Harvard than an A at Trinity college (assuming that both schools have the same percent of As, Bs, Cs, etc.)”

    Funny you should say this, as I have an anecdote that pertains to this situation. In the late ’80s when I was a TF at Harvard (that’s the snooty term they use for TA), I happened to have a conversation on day with a couple of undergraduate majors in my department about grade inflation. There was a certain professor with a reputation for giving out easy grades, and in connection with him I expressed the opinion that giving out easy A’s cheapened the grade for those who actually did the best work. The undergraduates rejected this notion, and I have a clear memory (whether accurate or not who can say after all these years?) of one of them saying that they all deserved A’s because they were smarter than other people. I replied that they should be evaluated against the other students at Harvard and not against those attending Bunker Hill Community College. That point of view didn’t go over well with them.

    Here’s an article from the Crimson from a few years back arguing that grade inflation at Harvard is no biggee:

    https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/12/9/stats-grade-inflation/

    Here’s an article from the WP a few years ago denouncing Harvard for passing out high grades to would-be donors and doing so to fluff their self-esteem as members of the elite:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/09/19/how-harvard-helps-its-richest-and-most-arrogant-students-get-ahead/?noredirect=on

    FWIW, I happen to know something about the author and the program cited in the article, and what she says sounds completely contrary to my own experience, where I perceived no faculty interference in “TF” grading at all. But that was long ago at a university far away, so what happened then has little to do with current practice there.

    Harvard Students Think They're Better than You

    September 10, 2019 at 1:45 PM

    • They all take the same bar exam

      everybodyhatesscott

      September 10, 2019 at 4:38 PM

      • No one cares that you passed the bar exam, it’s definitely not any sort of ticket to getting a job.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 10, 2019 at 4:42 PM

    • I care too and I’m 70.

      Still going over what I did wrong

      I’m not close to 70, but am close to early retirement, and I know what stalled my career – a couple of untimely layoffs & blown opportunities, crushing competition, and my own risk aversion, Today, I’m earning exactly what I earned in 1999. Fortunately, a few serendipitous real estate investments turned out to be very lucrative.

      Bunker Hill Community College

      I took a bartending course at Bunker Hill in the mid-80s. LOL!

      E. Rekshun

      September 13, 2019 at 1:36 PM

  7. Tangentially related – I just bought a book that Sailer’s been touting for a couple of years. It’s called “Ghettoside,” by L.A. Times reporter Jill Leovy. As the book opens, we’re folllowing a 6’4” white homicide detective who’s been working South Central for 20 yrs. and who’s viewed as sort of a kook by his superiors for never transferring out,

    In the first 7 pages, the author tells us 3 times that the reason murder in the U.S. is so disproportionately black is that institutions are indifferent to black-on-black killing, I.e. that blacks in L.A. wouldn’t have started killing each other in such massive numbers in the ‘80s and ‘90s if cops had been more energetic decades before. She quotes some Southern sheriff from 1907 or thereabouts to the effect, “one less nigger,” like it must have determined west coast policing. At this early stage anyway, I’m amazed any alt-righter could have raved about this book.

    Marty

    September 10, 2019 at 1:45 PM

    • “the reason murder in the U.S. is so disproportionately black is that institutions are indifferent to black-on-black killing,”

      Can these institutions be any more indifferent than the blacks themselves? Can we expect them to be?

      I gather there’s a documentary coming out showing just how indifferent Trayvon’s parents were to his well being.

      Curle

      September 10, 2019 at 10:04 PM

  8. Excellent essay here by Jim Kalb, although I don’t share his optimism.

    https://isi.org/intercollegiate-review/out-of-the-antiworld/

    CamelCaseRob

    September 10, 2019 at 1:48 PM

  9. But, Lion, why are you suprised? An elite college stays elite when the admission requirements are geared for wealthy people.

    When it accepts predominately poorer people, the college doesn´t become elite anymore.

    In the early 2000s, our elite universities, that are the public ones, started with affirmative action and NAM quotas to copy the USA. What is happening? They are losing budget money and the elites are going to private expensive colleges.

    It happened in Argentina too. Its most important university, the University of Buenos Aires, slashed the admissions. The university that once served the children of Argentinian landowners are now trashed and the Argentina elite is in very exclusive private universities with tuition to keep off the rifraff.

    Brazilian

    September 10, 2019 at 1:56 PM

    • City College in Harlem used to be sort-of-elite when it was full of smart prole Jews, but became crap after it went open admissions.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 10, 2019 at 2:05 PM

      • If it was filled with prole Jews it’s equivalent to Touro

        Harmony Pax

        September 10, 2019 at 9:15 PM

    • If you have money, you have to pay more for the same thing. This is how it works everywhere. If you see something that does not work this way, it is only temporary.

      My 2¢

      September 10, 2019 at 2:10 PM

    • “with tuition to keep off the rifraff.”

      That’s why I switch my children to private schools for 7-12. They’re good schools but by no means elite. Just expensive enough to keep out the riffraff. I’d have to ask my wife but I think tuition is about 10K per student plus the government pays the school another 10K or so for every student. Elite schools do cost more and have smarter students on average. But schools don’t make students “smarter”. So sending one’s children to an elite school is not going to make them smarter. In my opinion, the point is not to send one’s children to the highest ranked or most elite schools one can but to send them to the school that’s best for them. And I don’t think that’s always going to be the most expensive or elite school.

      However, there’s such a thing as a crappy school. I went to one and got a very high SAT. But I struggled to adjust to university because I’d never had to work for my grades. There were a few other students from crappy public schools who also said they found it hard to adjust. And that’s the real reason I send my children to private schools. That and because I don’t want them in coed schools. I want them focused on academics rather than teen drama that will mess with their heads and teach them bad habits. There’s plenty of time for that later when they’re more mature.

      destructure

      September 10, 2019 at 5:04 PM

  10. If you believe it’s hard to get an A at Harvard, you are seriously misinformed. Far and away the hardest part about Harvard is getting in, and it has been notorious for that fact now for many years. Schools like Caltech or Bryn Mawr, on the other hand… As for Trinity – Trinity College in Connecticut, I assume? – that has been a well-regarded school for a long time and definitely does not deserve to be sniffed at. In my day, it was considered nearly on the same level as Wesleyan, Williams, etc. and certainly on the same level as schools like Colgate, Hamilton, and so on. There are some small liberal arts colleges out there that can provide an excellent education, or at least could before such schools started going extinct. I was accepted at Dartmouth myself, but didn’t go because I could go tuition-free at the school where my father taught (and which is consistently ranked in the top 30 national universities, but which you’d no doubt sneer at also). You’ve got to get over this neurotic worship of the Ivy League – especially considering your age – might I recommend therapy?

    Mister Triple 800

    September 10, 2019 at 1:58 PM

    • Did you go to Harvard that you know this personally?

      My take is that it’s easy to pass, but hard to get an A because Harvard is full of super-achievers and only a certain percent can get an A because classes are graded on a curve.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 10, 2019 at 2:06 PM

      • C’mon, Lion, it’s absurd and sad for a 50-year-old to care about the grading practices of a college he did not attend.

        One problem of this system is that people who did not attend a glamorous college spend the rest of their lives feeling like also-rans.

        Justice Duvall

        September 10, 2019 at 3:26 PM

      • One problem of this system is that people who did not attend a glamorous college spend the rest of their lives feeling like also-rans

        The chicks at State schools are a lot hotter. I had an acquaintance who went to notre dame. He was off the charts bright. I asked him “How are the girls?” Ugly “What about the girls at st. marys, they’ve gotta be a bit better?” They’re ugly and stupid. Every other girl at my big state school was a dime.

        everybodyhatesscott

        September 10, 2019 at 4:43 PM

      • “The chicks at State schools are a lot hotter.”

        I believe this to be true, but it’s a bad reason for picking a college.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 10, 2019 at 4:55 PM

      • That could be somewhat true:

        Here’s the grade distribution at Harvard by year:

        I never took a class at Harvard, but about ten years ago I was taking computer science classes at a university which had higher rankings than Harvard in computer science. Every time something was graded we got to see the curve that it was graded on.

        The distribution of raw scores on assignments looked like this:

        I’m guessing it’s pretty much the same if you go to college in Boston.

        MoreSigmasThanYou

        September 10, 2019 at 4:53 PM

      • Grade inflation isn’t just a problem at elite American universities. It’s a problem at elite universities in other countries, too. It’s so bad in England that the government is going to regulate it. If you search, you’ll find a ton of articles on it from all the major publications.

        View at Medium.com

        destructure

        September 10, 2019 at 6:37 PM

      • >“The chicks at State schools are a lot hotter.”

        >I believe this to be true, but it’s a bad reason for picking a college.

        Actually, this is the best reason for picking a college. The purpose of undergraduate studies is to party, meet superficially fun people your own age, get used to being responsible for yourself as an adult, get stamped with a credential certifying your conformity and ability to follow instructions, learn (through trial and error) to drink responsibly, and—above all—meet and marry a suitable wife.

        owentt

        September 10, 2019 at 10:09 PM

      • >The distribution of raw scores on assignments looked like this:

        >[mostly 90% right]

        >I’m guessing it’s pretty much the same if you go to college in Boston.

        That’s odd. In physics and theoretical math classes, the top score in the class was often under 70%; anything over 45% was an A. Lots of smart people studied hard and ended up with scores under 25% (and had to transfer to engineering).

        owentt

        September 10, 2019 at 10:12 PM

      • Grade inflation is rife in the Ivy League. In some courses, they virtually all get A’s. There’s been lots of articles written about it. And I have known quite a number of Harvard graduates and their take on the difficulty of their classes is the source of my information, and that take is quite different from those I have known who have attended other highly selective universities whose “credential signaling” heft was less than Harvard’s but whose academic focus is much more intense. My sister graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr, and earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Harvard, and she told me the work there was much easier. She was also not terribly impressed with the quality of the Harvard students she encountered as a T.A. I happened to have worked with at least a couple of Harvard boys in my career as an IT consultant and the consensus of my colleagues was that I could code circles around them. Not too long ago, I overheard a conversation between two Harvard freshmen on the MBTA (you will no doubt sneer at me for not commuting to work in a limo like, say – ha! – you) and those kids seemed very ordinary. In fact, I was appalled to learn that one of the little darlings didn’t realize New York state was not part of New England until he arrived at Cambridge. A Harvard degree does confer godhood, regardless of what you might think. Get a grip.

        Mister Triple 800

        September 11, 2019 at 1:56 PM

    • Harvey Mansfield, Harvard professor of gov’t., himself once said that the average grade at Harvard was A-.

      Vipltd

      September 10, 2019 at 4:41 PM

  11. You can tell right from the opening paragraph that the subtext is that a bunch of Episcopalians seized some magic dirt in Connecticut and build Trinity College on it, then unfairly excluded NAMS, preventing them from realizing the benefits of said magic dirt which all human beings are entitled to.

    Hermes

    September 10, 2019 at 2:03 PM

  12. It is not that bad here yet. We cannot speak freely, but we can still move around freely. Kids can apply to different colleges. After college, they can choose where to live, except for medical school graduates that often have to accept a shithole residentship.

    My 2¢

    September 10, 2019 at 2:05 PM

  13. In India, the country my parents emigrated from, the highest ranking and most prestigious universities reserve fully 50% of all seats for students who are euphemistically described as belonging to “backwards classes”. A lot of the remaining 50% of seats are divvied and snapped up by the children of well connected families and politicians. The competition for the remaining merit based seats in the country’s top universities is so severe that it is generally acknowledged to be harder than entry into Harvard, Yale or MIT. So India—which is poor and desperately needs to development—gives fully half of its top university seats to dumb kids from impoverished backgrounds and another 10 or 20% to dumb but well connected kids, and then has the temerity to wonder why it’s still poor and underdeveloped. India—more than anywhere in the world—has taken multiculturalism and the leftist policies underpinned by multiculturalism to their logical extension and it looks like the US and the rest of the developed world wish to head down the same path.

    Roli

    September 10, 2019 at 2:58 PM

    • An university that reserves so many seats to non elite people is not so prestigious. Why the rich people who decides the budget to universities would give more money to universities where probably their children will not attend?

      The elite and prestigious are universities where the elite isolates itself with sky high fees. Sooner or later they become the Harvards.

      Brazilian

      September 10, 2019 at 5:05 PM

    • Universities that depend on public money but have too many poor people become poor universities. The elite is somewhere else.

      Brazilian

      September 10, 2019 at 5:07 PM

    • Roli.

      UPDATE: Just checked that even IIM has 50 percent reservation. F*”‘()))(($ me. All my knowledge is about 20 years old.😬

      SO glad I did not hit submit before googling reservation in IIM. This was not the case when we were students in India. The disgraceful “reservation” system only applied to govt jobs then.

      —– EARLIER REPLY—————

      You are very much mistaken. It’s not top colleges but government jobs that have “affirmative action”. Let me explain.
      Top institutes at undergrad level are the IIT’s and for masters are the IIM’s. Both of these group of institutes hire based on entrance exams. For the former it’s called JEE (joint entrance exams) and latter is CAT (common admission test). No bullshit about grades or resumes or application or essays. Just an exam. For IIM there is an interview though if u qualify in the exam (where supposedly people with work experience get bonus points). There is negligible number of “Reservation” (colloquial term for affirmative action in India). It’s as pure of merit based as it gets.

      Now government based jobs, that’s a different story. I have heard that almost 50 percent (some places more) of government jobs are reserved for backward classes (SC/ST/OBC). It’s almost impossible for non backward classes to get government jobs.

      But it doesn’t matter. You know why? People graduating IIM’s don’t work for government. They get extremely high paying jobs working for foreign multinationals, Indian conglomerates etc. Banking, management consulting you name it. And IIT grads either go directly for masters in IIM or move to USA pursuing masters or good jobs in various big companies.

      mpt

      September 10, 2019 at 6:16 PM

      • But it doesn’t matter. You know why? People graduating IIM’s don’t work for government.

        That should matter a lot. Might explain quite a bit.

        bomag

        September 11, 2019 at 9:17 AM

    • “acknowledged to be harder than entry into Harvard, Yale or MIT”

      Only be people that have no idea how Harvard, Yale, and MIT admissions work.

      owentt

      September 10, 2019 at 11:02 PM

    • ” India—more than anywhere in the world—has taken multiculturalism and the leftist policies underpinned by multiculturalism to their logical extension…”

      But India was already “multicultural” if the word has any meaning. The US and Europe weren’t and for some weird reason turned themselves into multicultural nations.

      Mike Street Station

      September 12, 2019 at 1:42 PM

  14. Lion, I very much enjoyed this article and having graduated from father to grandfather with 2 grandsons entering college this fall. Both are bright young men one of them (Nolan) took the SAT once, scored 1485 and doody dooded through HS with a 3 .65 GPA. As far as I know he didn’t study at all for the test, just walked in and took it. Some how he received a scholarship at Pacific Lutheran University Which is expensive but not particularly highly regarded. His family is rather poor, his father is an alcoholic bozo who is separated from my daughter.

    My other grandson Kendan who a certified genius IQ166 and so far has been sheparded through life by his mother who is a tiger mom of the best sort. He scored 1585 the first time he took the SAT and then he wanted to get a perfect score and dropped to 1545, the second time. He, with the assistance of his mom has always been a bit of a grind and finished with a 3.95 GPA I wrote about him last summer when he attended Harvard summer school and got all A’s. He thought he was a lock but surprise he wasn’t a all. He still doesn’t know why.

    He was rejected by Harvard and for the first time in his life failed at something academic. Still he has landed on his feet. He has been involve with music since he began HS and his goal I to be a professional opera singer. To this end he has been taking voice lessons for the last 4 years. To make a long story shorter his voice teacher also teaches music at PLU and so like his cousin Nolan he too has been gifted with a full ride at Pacific Lutheran U. So it’s not Harvard but the price is right for both boys.

    Both boys a big lads around 6′ 3″ and 260 lbs, neither are very athletic Nolan ran the mile for his HS track team so he didn’t have to take PE and spent 4 years finishing last in nearly every race he ran in. he still can’t beat me at 5K. Kendan got cut from his schools football team as a freshman and that was it for sports. Both have become rabid D & D players. I have no Idea whether either is any good at the game but suspect both are excellent.

    Oden's Raven

    September 10, 2019 at 8:53 PM

    • “So it’s not Harvard but the price is right for both boys.”

      I get the price thing, but there’s a pretty big gap between PLU and Harvard and with those scores he could have gotten a good break on tuition out of Whitman College in Walla Walla (ranked 70 average freshman SAT) or even Reed (if it hasn’t gone completely bonkers). And then there’s UW (low hundreds ranking average freshman SAT).

      He should attend school with people closer in IQ. He could, I’d venture, transfer into Duke, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Berkeley.

      Curle

      September 10, 2019 at 10:20 PM

  15. “By the way, doesn’t everyone know that the purpose of mid-tier and below liberal arts colleges is to be a place for less academically gifted rich kids to go to school?“

    Lion, I thought you understood this better. Mid-tier liberal arts colleges, like virtually all competitive prep. academies, are designed to have a small minority core of rich kids of indifferent talent with whom a much larger cohort of the gifted sons and daughters of the middle classes attend school for the explicit purpose of permitting the rich kids a degree from a school made prestigious by the smart middle class kids. The schools remain mostly middle class. There aren’t that many rich kids to go around.

    Curle

    September 10, 2019 at 9:44 PM

  16. Overprediction for blacks and poor kids is mostly due to measurement error and regression towards the mean–if you get two people with the same SAT score, it is probable that if retested, whichever is from a higher-IQ group would outscore the other person; the true, latent score of the lower-IQ-group person is likely to be lower. This is known as Kelley’s paradox: http://www-stat.wharton.upenn.edu/~hwainer/Readings/3%20paradoxes%20-%20final%20copy.pdf

    Matt

    September 11, 2019 at 3:36 AM

  17. Curle, point well taken. I learned yesterday that he’d been accepted Dartmouth this summer but decided to stay in the Pacific Northwest. Neither boy in enrolled in he school’s IB program and so far neither boy is impressed by their fellow students. By the way Nolan’s room mate is a black kid Who went to Kendan’s HS and travelled to Europe last summer with Kendan to perform with the school band. He and Nolan seem to get along just fine.

    Oden's Raven

    September 11, 2019 at 1:46 PM

    • FWIW – I’d think seriously about transferring him to Whitman. Much better academics, nice bucolic setting and much smarter students. He’ll make connections that can help him down the road. And, it’s only a five hour drive.

      I have a friend who was a prof. at PLU. I’m certain he’d tell you the same thing.

      Curle

      September 11, 2019 at 10:25 PM


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