Friday, April 11, 2008

In the Eyes of the Beholder

A Shout-Out to TNK, who labored in the Trenches with us When the World was Very Young and Newspapers Still Meant Something. We've increased the font size of The Blog a tad--hope this helps your weary eyes.

Don't adjust your set! We're Changing Topics in Mid-Blog. But not really--College Acceptance Rates also have to do with perceptions, don't they? Take V--smarter than smart, happy, well-adjusted; an All Around Just Plain Nice American Girl. She's active in her school and in her community. She's a Girl Scout, for God's sake! But don't sing V's praises to the 8 colleges to which this high school senior applied this year--she only got into one.

We're from the Baby Boom. Our children are the Baby Boomlet. Generation Next is having a honkin' hard time gettin' into college, y'all! Something like 70 percent of kids nationwide from the Class of 2008 who applied were accepted to a 4-year Institution of Higher Learning. In my state, the number of students accepted this year to in-state colleges is fewer than 50 percent. Unbelievable!

Take a look at these figures: UT-Austin (Hook 'Em!) received 27,237 applications from high school seniors this year--up from 14,982 last year. Rutgers has the same numbers problem: Their applications almost doubled this year, from 26,000 to 43,000. UVA received 18,526 apps for a Class of 2012 that will total 3,170 kiddos. James Madison University--also in the Old Dominion, and often referred to as "Just Missed UVA"--received 19,350 apps for 3,960 spaces in its Class of 2012.

When April 1--the Witching Hour for College Acceptances--rolled around, V checked online and opened the envelopes that arrived at the house. First she cried. Then she got angry. Now she's saying, "Why me?" And thinking about going to the University of Central Florida, which has rolling admission until May 1.

Some of this is the math--too many kids applying for too few spots. Some of it is financial--UVA, for example, accepts out-of-state students to fill at least one-third of the slots for each year's entering class (but don't ask this "selective"--read "snooty"--college if this is, in fact, the case. They'll deny it. We know--we've tried). Makes sense, except for those of us who pay taxes and wonder why our students are having a difficult time getting into state-funded schools.

But look at it from UVA's perspective--why take a kid from Roanoke at $8,500 a year when you can have one from East Brunswick, NJ at $27,515? And don't get us started on the Texas State Schools. For some reason, they're taking mostly in-state kids--something about keeping the Best and the Brightest at home (UT only accepts 6 percent from out-of-state now). They probably don't need the dinero--all that oil money in the Permanent University Fund. Look it up--the numbers are atrocious.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but what about smarts? What about justice? What about poor little ol' V?


Anonymous said...

I read an article today in the Washington Post (duh, online, I can't get it here) about a kid from NoVA who got rejected from every college he applied to (including JMU, his safety school) with 2720 SATs. And something like a 4.1 GPA the last two years of his high school career. Plus involved in a TON of extra curriculers. CRAZY. JMU's ratio is 70% in-state, 30% out of state, and they say it's to help pay the faculty etc. They also claim that they need to get a variety of instaters, so a kid from NoVA with a 2750 and a kid from St. Petersberg with a 1750, the kid from St. Petersberg will get in to promote "diversity." I think VA needs to reevaluate its college acceptances, and give a break to the instate kids, especially the ones from NoVA.

Melissa B. said...

We concur with you, anonymous! Are you from NoVa? The Post article also pointed out that JMU's out-of-state tuition is $8,693, which is incorrect. According to, out-of-state tuition at JMU is $17,386. They could go up $10,000 more for the out-of-staters, who would still pay the freight, as they do at UVA. Wouldn't the increased out-of-state tuition help pay for expanding the university, so it could admit more folks from the Old Dominion? We had an online convo with a dean in UVA's Admissions Office recently, and she denied having a quota for kids from NoVa, but with kids like Mr. Perfect SATs (in The Post article) getting rejected from JMU, and even more qualified candidates rejected and waitlisted at UVA, seems that there must be some NoVa quota action going on.


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