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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tagging and College Admissions

Hey all. I just got back from break... Ok, I've been back for almost a week and been slothfully neglecting my precious blog.

I've been spending, oh, lets say every waking minute of the last six months, thinking about college admissions [read more of my thoughts on it here]. In fact, if anybody was linked here by my recently submitted application, greetings, thanks for coming, and referring to what follows, I certainly don't presume to know how you do your job, nor the chutzpah to tell you how to do it.
I had this idea tonight, and excuse me if it was already in place somewhere, that del.icio.us or technorati style tagging might be helpful for colleges to organize their applicant pool.
Let's say that a hypothetical admissions team at a hypothetical college has narrowed down their pool 2000 kids who could all fit in quite comfortably at their school. They have 1200 spots, and expect about 400 to actually enroll. So they're looking at all these applications trying to figure out how to create the "well-rounded and diverse campus community" colleges seem to desperately want. They want certain percentages of genders, races, religions, interests, locations, etc. In their system, each student has a page in the tagging program. The first reader tags the application with the salient details about the student. Then these applications can be easily reviewed and organized through tags.

I'll use myself as an example. After reviewing my application, I might be tagged as follows; Male, Illinois, Urban, White, Private_school, Jewish, Gay, Film, Writing, Blogger, Socialism, as well as some choice adjectives that seem to fit me based on the essays and an interview as well as my GPA, and SAT/ACT scores. Now that my key demographic details, including my interests and extracurricular's (I'm vice-president of our schools Young Socialist Club, which is half a joke and half not), are in the system, these admissions officials can easily compare me to kids with similar interests or demorgraphics
There might be 500 kids tagged writing, but only three tagged Socialism. Or you be picking which/how many kids you want from Illinois and looking to see which demographics you can capitalize on. For example, you could look and see that of 250 Illinoisites, there are 100 Urban, 139 Suburban, but only a few Rural kids, and those lucky bastards are now the ones who stand out. Since the school wanted to branch out and include some Rural kids, I'm now getting a thin envelope, unless when reviewing, they also decide "You know what we need, a couple more queers." They draw up all the gays kids, and my acceptance letter is in the mail.

This is just an idea for how to use a new technology, I would not at all be surprised if something very much like this already occurs and I'm curious about how it's actually done. When I think about the mindbogling amounts of information that have to be processed, well, you know, it boggles my mind.

On the other hand, this sort of system is exactly the thing I hate about the application process. Instead of being judged based on your character, it turns into a numbers game, balancing demographics and numbers. People with high test scores can be admitted just to inflate percentages and make a school look more prestigious, and every school loves to boast about how many nations are represented on their campus. I'm sure that being Austrian or Burmese gives you at least a leg up.

Lots of demographically generic kids with average test scores & grades are really smart, dynamic and interesting people, while lots of SAT-2200, 3.8 GPAs, with impressive extracurriculars with impressive sounding interests and extracurriculars, will bore the pants off you.

Sidenote: If I could bore the pants of someone, I would get so much action. Haha. awkward sexual pun.

On that note-- Goodnight

1 Comments:

Blogger Wuttisak said...

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December 08, 2007 6:08 PM

 

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