College rankings

by LauraFromBaltimore

This article follows up on a recent discussion we had:

College Rankings Fail to Measure the Influence of the Institution

The article and accompanying graphic seem to do a decent job of discussing the different ways to measure the value of a college degree, including the pros and cons of each. Personally, I like the “value added” approach they discuss (the revised Brookings approach in the article), because it tries to take away the impact of a number of factors that seem to be self-selecting (and I’m sure it’s, ahem, entirely coincidental that my own alma mater looks a lot better under that analysis than under the College Scorecard approach). But this crew seems to enjoy nothing more than data analysis and college education, so — discuss!

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169 thoughts on “College rankings

  1. These studies are too broad because they don’t break down the data for certain majors.
    For example, Manhattan College has a decent number of STEM students so that might drive up starting salaries. From my Wall St experience, you’re going to have a tough time getting a job coming out of Manhattan College. There are so many Catholic college alums all over the street, and they know (or make assumptions) about the type of kid that had to choose to study undergrad business at Manhattan. Unless you can make a compelling explanation about needing to stay close to family in NYC metro etc, it just isn’t the school that a lot of employers want to hire from if they have similar choices for young 20 somethings.

  2. Wow, Rhett, that seems just wrong. I know I thought your earlier projections were optimistically high, but I can’t believe HBS corporate CEOs/Presidents make less than $250K, or that the average grad almost 20 yrs out makes under $200K.

    Perhaps the 61 total respondents may have something to do with that. . . .

  3. When I see these studies, I immediately think that the absolute next step I would do in my statistical analysis package is break down the data by
    1) Student Major
    2) Zip code where student is employed
    3) Student IQ or incoming SAT/ACT score
    4) Whether student lives more than 50 miles from parents, showing “willingness to move for a job”

    That might give us some useful information. Lots of the bright people I knew who went to top-ranked schools did not have to consider the ROI on their education or student loans because of their family backgrounds.

  4. Manhattan College has an engineering program, which is very unusual for a small Catholic college in the NY area. I think Hofstra, which isn’t Catholic but competes in the same market, just started an engineering school. In any case, I am sure that drives up their students earnings.

  5. Little known factoid – Manhattan College is not in Manhattan. It is in the Bronx.

  6. The stats on that website are messed up because they don’t account for the mix of majors at a particular school, or for the geographic area. Most people can figure out that MIT and CMU grads will be mainly well paid engineers, but how do you figure out the mix of majors at Kennesaw State or Hofstra?
    For majors that are professsional in nature (engineering, finance, speech pathology, social work, teaching, nursing), I would prefer to see stats on the percentage of student employed in the field. If you have a lousy finance program, more students will end up in non finance position, and that is important to know. But how do you do that for history majors? And of course this is data that can’t be obtained from IRS data, so it is much harder to collect.

  7. Mooshi, I think you’d have to break out the % employed in the field by sex. Women are far less likely to be employed in engineering than men are, for example.

  8. I’ve had some friends from college go on to earn MBAs from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Dartmouth. Their current earnings are not what Rhett would expect, and they’re basically on par with the PayScale numbers. One recently left McKinsey and has jumped around in a series of start-ups. I think the attraction there is the potential for a astronomical return on equity.

    My takeaway is that wealth comes from ownership of capital.

  9. There is just so much complexity here. For example, the kids in my town tend to stay close to home for college. I went to the HS awards ceremony last year, where they presented the top 20 seniors of that year, and I was astounded that only 3 of them were going out of state to colege. Most were going to very good schools, but in state good schools (Cornell, NYU, Syracuse, Columbia). Two were going to CUNY, and the rest were doing Fordham, I think Hofstra, SUNY’s of various types, and some other small colleges. In general, I think a lot of our grads go to Fordham, Manhattanville, Marist, and so on. Why? I think it is the demographics of the town. We have a lot of families that own small businesses, often in the trades. They are doing well, enough to send their kids to private school, but they are closeknit and Catholic and traditional. The kid is going to inherit the business, so there isn’t any impetus to send him or her to an Ivy. I suspect schools like Fordham, Manhattan College, Manhattanville College, Adelphi, and so on, draw their student bodies largely from these families. And that will affect ultimate earnings. The demographic mix at a college, over and beyond SAT scores, is very important.

  10. I think the attraction there is the potential for a astronomical return on equity.

    That’s certainly true. But, I bet a lot of it is just that they enjoy the startup jobs more. More getting stuff done and less politics and bureaucracy, etc.

  11. Mooshi just made the point I was trying to make in a different way. Most wealthy people are not self-made. And part of the reason that wealthy people choose elite schools is because they enjoy the camaraderie of other wealthy people, not because they think that Stat 101 conveys different information at Private Catholic College than at Community College.

    Iowa’s multimillionaire farmers nearly always have that wealth because of the families they were born into, not because of their ag engineering degree from Iowa State. The degree helped them grow/manage what they already had.

  12. Mooshi,

    I also assume they go because that’s where “people like us” go. I bet certain companies also recruit there because they are looking to hire “people like us.”

  13. Rhett, agreed. And while our Wall Street bankers on the list may not see this, there are lots of NY C companies that prefer the kind of old school italian Americans who go to schools like Fordham or Manhattan

  14. In our area, there is such is so much soul searching, hand wringing, putting the kids in different educational settings through their school years, that unless you go to a school that is very focused on college prep, I suspect that parents are exhausted and just want their kids to go to college and lead a happy life. Now, lead a happy life as defined here, is more like Rhett’s per unit of effort definition than MMM’s.

  15. “Rhett, agreed. And while our Wall Street bankers on the list may not see this, there are lots of NY C companies that prefer the kind of old school italian Americans who go to schools like Fordham or Manhattan”

    Totally agree. My current department recruits heavily at DePaul, UIC, Loyola, etc – local schools that are probably comparable to what you guys are mentioning for the NY Metro. Other places that I’ve worked locally also recruited primarily at local and regional schools – flagship state U, some of the better directionals, Michigan State, Indiana, etc.

  16. Fordham is changing; it is a good example of the schools that are being “lifted” because so many other schools are too difficult to get into in this environment. For example, 30 years ago – if a kid couldn’t get into Gtown, Notre Dame or BC – then they probably could get into Villanova. Now, it has become much more competitive to get into Villanova, so now that same kid might consider Fordham. Also, there is a perception that the Bronx is much safer now AND Fordham built a campus in for business undergrads in Manhattan. One other big difference is that Fordham business and law alums are all over wall street in NY. They tend to recruit their fellow younger alums when possible. I just never saw this with Manhattan College because it isn’t viewed as strong as a school. It is another example of the type of information that just can’t be captured in a Brookings study.

    I went to a few Homecoming games this weekend so I was around a lot of HS parents. Lots of talk about colleges and SATs. It is always interesting to hear about schools that seemed like safety schools 20 – 30 years ago, and are now popular or difficult to get into in 2015. One name that seemed to keep coming up is Northeastern.

  17. Northeastern is really trendy. Back when I lived in Boston, it was seen as a lesser school, a commuter school, but no more.

    Manhattan College stresses engineering more, so you wouldn’t see them as much on Wall Street. Fordham is not strong in STEM

  18. “It is always interesting to hear about schools that seemed like safety schools 20 – 30 years ago, and are now popular or difficult to get into in 2015.”

    Has anything really changed? Are they that much more difficult, or is it just now that the parents have spent 18 years stressing about college acceptances, when their typical kids get into a typical school, they have a much more vested interest in asserting what a difficult feat that was.

    Otherwise, all those years of angst would have been wasted.

  19. Until you get down to a certain level, it is definitely more competitive. I had a friend who ended up at Stanford back in the same year I graduated. We were discussing this the other day because he is astounded how hard it is to get into these schools now. He had a 3.5 average, did not take any APs, and didn’t even take the PSAT. Yet he got in at Stanford.

    I think more kids aspire to go to top private schools now, and there are a LOT more international students going to those schools too.

  20. I once worked for a senior manager who had a Wharton MBA. That was well and good but she wanted to hire undergrads only from similar ranked schools. Well, the positions/salary attracted undergrads from BC, Babson, Bentley and Northeastern (at the time all were considered to be in the same tier by recruiters). She was most put out but her hopes brightened when along came a UNC alum. The UNC person decamped to greener pastures in short order.

  21. “I suspect that parents are exhausted and just want their kids to go to college and lead a happy life”

    Totally true with me!

    Regarding an increase in competitiveness, you can see it in the Texas flagships. UT used to be a safety when I applied to college–now it is a “low reach” for my DS.

  22. “One name that seemed to keep coming up is Northeastern.”

    Northeastern is on our radar for being very generous with merit aid, including to NMSF.

    Apparently they have very aggressively worked to upgrade their academic profile, and one way they’ve done this is with the use of merit aid. Their efforts seem to have been successful.

  23. “Regarding an increase in competitiveness”

    Common Application and US News rankings have changed the landscape a lot. It is much more common now for kids to apply to more schools; the Common App facilitates that, and US News rankings incentivizes colleges to maximize the number of applications they receive. I heard that at my kids’ school, 8 to 10 schools is typical. So at any given school, it can be more difficult to get in, because the kids are now competing against larger applicant pools. This is especially true at the schools with high US News rankings.

    In the bigger picture, while Common App and US News rankings don’t really affect the size of the total applicant pool, increasing overseas applications and an increasing %age of HS grads applying to college does tend to push the pool size up.

    OTOH, many lower tier schools seem to be having increased difficulty filling their classes. This suggests that the increase in competitiveness is limited to certain schools, but getting into college in general isn’t necessarily harder.

  24. Interesting look at the lives of those who manage to get into the top programs of the top schools to land the top jobs at the top firms:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/business/dealbook/tragedies-draw-attention-to-wall-streets-grueling-pace.html

    I thought this was also an interesting contrast in the differences between ownership wealth and high salaries:

    this one’s about the father:

    Finance was the Hughes family business. After a three-year stint on Wall Street, John took over his father’s small bank — Sleepy Hollow Bancorp — in 1986, and sold it to Tompkins Financial Corporation in 2008, before the onset of the financial crisis, for $30.2 million.

    and this of the son, who, the article implies, was driven to suicide by the stresses of the job:

    His father says he was well reviewed in December and received a bonus in the $400,000 range, on top of his $100,000 salary. John says he was amazed by his son’s compensation. “My jaw dropped!” he says. “I kept my mouth shut, but I said, ‘Hey, that’s good. They must like you!’

    All those weekends worked, and super long hours, and canceled or ruined vacations for about $280,000 in after-tax income?

  25. Louise, good to see you’re posting. How has the weather affected you? Are your kids staying home from school today?

  26. We were discussing this the other day because he is astounded how hard it is to get into these schools now. He had a 3.5 average, did not take any APs, and didn’t even take the PSAT. Yet he got in at Stanford.

    Was there another hook?

  27. The Manhattan College comments are interesting to me. A good friend’s daughter is there now, as an engineering major. She is from a Catholic school in the heartland and was offered decent merit aid. The prospect of college in NYC appealed to her over our state flagships, and the small Catholic nature makes it somewhat familiar. I had never heard of it prior to talking to this friend.

    Now that I’m on child two, and child one has transferred schools, I’m way more laid back on this topic. They should go, they should finish, they should get jobs. I think rankings, other than the very top tier, are much more a regional thing.

  28. From the article:

    “It represents a subset of students, and we’re looking closely to determine if it in fact tells us what it claims to.”

    I thought the Scorecard presented raw data, with no claim to tell anyone anything, but allowing anyone to analyze the data and draw conclusions.

    IMO, it was a great decision to put the data out that way. Perhaps some government agency can analyze the data and present some conclusions based on it, but making the raw data available, and starting with that, maximizes transparency.

  29. “He had a 3.5 average, did not take any APs, and didn’t even take the PSAT. Yet he got in at Stanford.”

    OTOH, the 3.5 average was achieved with a lot less grade inflation than exists today, and without weighted grades, and when high schools weren’t competing to get the highest number of students taking the highest number of AP courses, it wasn’t considered standard practice to take eight or nine of them through high school.

  30. Milo,

    All those weekends worked, and super long hours, and canceled or ruined vacations for about $280,000 in after-tax income?

    He would also be on the first rung of a tournament employment ladder that has a prize of $50 to $100 million by 40 if it all comes together.

  31. MBT, I like Manhattan College, and it has a good engineering program. It is semi suburban even though it is in the Bronx. It is right on the border near Yonkers. It is next to a very exclusive part of the Bronx called Fieldston and there are beautiful, expensive homes and private streets. If you walk in the other direction, you hit Broadway, the bars and the elevated subway train. It can be a nice location for a school, but it is not in the heart of NYC.

    Milo – it is definitely more competitive. I could NEVER get into my college. My husband doesn’t believe that he could get accepted to his alma mater or his grad school. There are so many more people applying to the certain schools. I am in the middle of doing the alumni interviews for the early decision applicants to my university, and I meet so many amazing kids. The problem is that many of them are trying to get into the same 50 schools, AND they’re competing with more kids from other countries too.

  32. Payscale data is self reported, which contrasts with College Scorecard salary data that came from the IRS. That link in the first comment is from business school graduates, and it appears the Payscale used for the article is from undergraduate schools. Of course, CS data only comes from students who received federal financial aid.

    So yeah, as pointed out above, these rankings would benefit from disaggregation of data, and must be considered in the context of the generalized results they report.

  33. The problem is that many of them are trying to get into the same 50 schools, AND they’re competing with more kids from other countries too.

    How does that impact recruiting? My understanding is the number of kids from the best schools going into tech is up substantially and the number going to Wall Street is down a corresponding amount. Since the number of top 50 grads doesn’t change year to year we can only assume that Wall Street has begun to take less stellar candidates.

  34. “The problem is that many of them are trying to get into the same 50 schools, AND they’re competing with more kids from other countries too.”

    This. I don’t doubt that it’s more competitive for top schools. With so many more students applying today, they are held to a higher standard in terms of APs, test scores, and activities. George Washington University is another example where admission is tougher today.

    “This suggests that the increase in competitiveness is limited to certain schools, but getting into college in general isn’t necessarily harder.”

    So true. As our high school guidance counselor likes to say, there’s a college for everyone.

  35. ” I heard that at my kids’ school, 8 to 10 schools is typical. ”

    My Lord things have changed… 17 years ago, when I was applying to colleges, I was told 3-5. I applied to 4. But we didn’t have the common app, and applications were not online (we had to send them in, either written by hand or typed on a typewriter).

    So I’m guessing I should be stressing about DS’s preschool apps now, just to prep him for the potential to apply to 15-20 colleges. Should he composing his first symphony now? Or after his first birthday… (figuring out which parenting-style to cross of the list first…)

  36. Milo, I remember when Mr WCE’s cousin won the award for most billable hours at the Manhattan office of a major consulting firm and we read about it in the family Christmas letter. Mr. WCE and I were dating and one of the ways we knew we were compatible is that we were both happy with our unremarkable, 40ish hour/week jobs. Our response to the Christmas letter announcement was, “Knock yourself out, Cousin.”

  37. “Most were going to very good schools, but in state good schools (Cornell, NYU, Syracuse, Columbia). . . . Why? I think it is the demographics of the town.”

    I think it’s the demographics of *any* town, and it’s been that way forever — people tend to go to what is familiar. Almost everyone in my graduating class went to U Md or UMBC, with a few of the high-fliers going to CMU or UVa, and a few of the athletic scholarships going to. Every once in a while, you’ll get a Harvard or Princeton. But the out-of-state versions of UMd or UMBC, or the farther-away versions of CMU or UVa, just never even made it to the radar screen.

    Which, personally, I think is pretty short-sighted, since you’re more likely to get good aid from an out-of-state school needing the right geographical mix.

  38. The schools also seem to be offering more in the way of facilities and student experience than when I was that age. (It’s harder to say whether the teaching would have changed.) We were watching virtual tour-type videos for some colleges that’ll be at a local college fair later in the month, including one for Colorado Mesa, a directional school that I thought might be of interest to my son (mountains, geology and comp sci, affordable). I was a bit surprised at how nice it looked. (My son liked it too.) We also looked at one for Colorado State, which my daughter is interested in because it has a top-ranked vet program, and it was just a step up from Colorado Mesa everywhere. And it’s not even the state flagship (Boulder doesn’t due WUE tuition), nor is it one that would have come to my mind as a top-flight public. I guess what I’m getting at is that what the schools are offering may have changed at the same time their selectivity has — the directionals may be more like the typical flagship land grant U of 30 or 50 years ago, in terms of selectivity (let ’em all in but flunk out a third), cost, and facilities, and the same is true as you go up the prestige and selectivity scale.

  39. “All those weekends worked, and super long hours, and canceled or ruined vacations for about $280,000 in after-tax income?

    He would also be on the first rung of a tournament employment ladder that has a prize of $50 to $100 million by 40 if it all comes together.”

    And this is where I step out. I can’t fathom doing all that for that life. Sure if you can make it, great. But what life do you have at 40 when your friends and family want nothing to do with you because you turned your back on them for the almighty dollar?

  40. “The schools also seem to be offering more in the way of facilities and student experience than when I was that age.”

    Yup. My alma mater is ridiculously swanky now. I think those dorms are nicer than my first apartment. And the facilities – wow. Plus all the connections for overseas study… makes me want to do it all over again. And I’m fairly certain I could still get in. (Grad school is another thing… the current cohorts have so much more in terms of pubs and research than I ever did…)

  41. But what life do you have at 40 when your friends and family want nothing to do with you because you turned your back on them for the almighty dollar?

    You make a new family with your hot 22 year old wife. Our neighbor the retired investment banker got married (to a hot 22 year old) after he retired in his late 30s.

  42. “But what life do you have at 40 when your friends and family want nothing to do with you because you turned your back on them for the almighty dollar?”

    You’re living out a life of doing whatever you want, whether in business, philanthropy, a slower-paced career, hobbies, etc. It usually involved a SAHP during those hectic years. I’ve seen it turn out pretty sweet, although it certainly has its downside. OTOH, I’ve seen couples age 60+ pinching pennies because they had too much fun during their working years.

  43. Rhett and CoC – that’s also if you’re alive… Milo’s article showed the underbelly – suicides. These kids are killing themselves (literally) for money they will never spend. Don’t you think those families and friends would like them around and poor?

    If you’re successful and do it – great. But how many people don’t? How many people never stop working those hours and work themselves into a grave? And it’s not just this field – we all know workaholics who abandon their families and friends for whatever glory they want… what’s the point if you have no one to share it with?

    I’ll take my crabby pants elsewhere.

  44. My BIL is a professor at Manhattan College, but I had never heard of it before he started working there. The most successful people I know seemed to have gone to big state schools for undergrad, but then did their MBA or JD (or both) somewhere more prestigious. But that may be just because I live in the south, so a lot of really smart people do go to the big state universities to have that experience.

  45. Re: the increasing selectivity: ITA that colleges seem more difficult to get into now, if you compare my “resume” at 18 with that of the entering freshman class now — it’s the expectation that everyone have as many APs as possible, a gazillion volunteering credits, and take leadership positions in multiple do-gooding organization. And play the lute in their spare time.

    But I wonder how much of that is “actually harder” vs. just the same thing by different titles? Ex: my HS offered zero AP classes; I think I was one of maybe 2 or 3 kids my senior year even to take an AP test (and that only because my advanced chem teacher took me aside and told me to). So if you compare that to today, I’m a slacker. But if you compare it to what was available at the time, almost no schools offered any APs, so even the top-flight SLACs didn’t require them. The schools just wanted you to take the hardest classes available and do well in them — so my one AP put me ahead of the pack. Similarly, my GPA was under 4, but that’s because 4 was the max; we didn’t have add-on credit for harder classes and such. If I were in HS today, I’d probably be benefiting from the same grade inflation we like to complain about here.

    So, interesting: I just looked up the statistics for my alma mater’s current freshman class, and my class rank and SAT scores would still put me in the top 25% (caveat that I have no idea how these SAT scores compare). So it seems to me that even if I were a student today, following the modern “college prep” path would steer me into the kinds of classes and activities that I would need to build that competitive resume to get into the same kind of college I managed back into the stone ages. Of course, in a world where kids send 10 applications vs. 2-3, I’d probably have less of a chance of getting into the same school — but assuming I also upped my applications to 10, I should have an equal chance of getting into an equivalent school.

    The part that scares me is the extras — i.e., the impression that it’s no longer ok to, say, make the chorus of the school play, play second-chair violin, and write for the school newspaper (not that, ummm, I bear any resemblance to that); no, you have to have “leadership roles” and/or Save the World by 17. That, well, I’d be screwed. OTOH, I’m fairly confident I could kick my competition’s ass on the essays, so I might still have a chance. :-)

  46. LfB, the disadvantage of attending a geographically remote college may include which companies recruit there if you want to stay in the same part of the country as your extended family. Part of me wishes I’d stayed in the Midwest after college. At the time, I didn’t realize how much of a commitment a move to the West Coast would wind up being. We are fortunate to be able to afford plane tickets back occasionally, but not everyone can afford to see family or prioritizes that expense. My Dad will fly; my MIL won’t.

  47. @WCE — yeah, good point. I wanted to move away to explore different areas of the country, which was fine for undergrad (since some sort of grad school was going to be required anyway). But a local law school would have been smarter had I known for sure I wanted to move back here — the number of times I heard “if you’re so smart, why didn’t you go to Georgetown?” was sort of depressing.

  48. The idea that “some sort of grad school would be required” wasn’t even on my radar. Teachers didn’t need master’s degrees at that time. I was pretty sure I didn’t want the crazy hours of a small town Midwest physician. I didn’t know anyone who had a PhD or MBA. My goal was to graduate from high school without getting pregnant and get the heck out of Dodge.

  49. LfB – I run into that here a bit since I didn’t go to law school locally – there are not many alums from my school up here!

  50. “I’m surprised this doesn’t happen here more.”

    That’s what the Pinkerton Detective Agency is for.

  51. “Since the number of top 50 grads doesn’t change year to year”

    I’ve read that at least some of the Ivies have recently increased their undergraduate enrollments.

  52. I know a lot of people that survived those analyst and associate programs. Most are still alive and it’s been 25 years. The one point that is missing from our discussion today is that the guy at Moelis had a substance abusers problem. If you combine this with no sleep, high stress job… Who knows exactly why he died.

    I’ve worked in that environment and it stinks. It’s exhausting, but it’s not so different from the hours that interns and residents used to keep until NY state realized that hospital patients were dying from mistakes.

    I totally agree that the hours in finance can be brutal and that some staff are abused. There should be rules, BUT the lifestyle shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s tougher to get into some of these training programs than the elite colleges we are discussing now.

    If the hours and life style are not for you, then look at the other 90 % of jobs available in finance. Trust me, you can still be part of the 1% with many other jobs in finance. Will you be a zillionaire, maybe not, but you can have a life outside of the office.

  53. RMS, my daughter really likes the look of it and is thinking of trying to talk a couple of her BFFs into applying there so they can all go together. Her other top choice is Edinburgh which I am much more dubious about. (Apparently it too has a good vet school.) Of course they’ve still got four years before applying anywhere.

  54. “I think I was one of maybe 2 or 3 kids my senior year even to take an AP test”

    I’ve told the story here before that the other only person in the room while I took my SAT achievement tests was the proctor.

    I wonder if that would still be the case at my alma mater.

  55. “caveat that I have no idea how these SAT scores compare”

    My understanding is that our scores correlate to higher scores today.

  56. A good friend of mine does private security. His clients range from politicians, CEOs, physicians and dentists, to summer camps and churches. It is quite lucrative, and the few stories he can share are very interesting. No doubt the Lehman guy had a detail.

  57. Rhett, yeah, no kidding. But she’s got almost a decade till she’d actually be applying to vet school, and meanwhile having that dream is an incentive for her to do well, especially in math and science.

    Finn, no, I was referring to the one on the 27th. I’ll have to look at the one you mentioned.

  58. Ah, found it. So they didn’t want to hang out in the big hall with all the hoi polloi, huh? Anyhow, thanks for drawing my attention to it.

  59. She’s an 8th grader, but they’ve been researching colleges and reporting to the class in a ‘life skills’ type class, as well as researching average salaries for different professions, cost of housing, food, transportation, etc., which explained the Amazon wish list hinting that she was planning to move out and furnish her own place.

  60. HM, DS went to that fair last year, and has been getting mail from several of the schools whose reps he talked to then. He took a look at the schools that will be there this year, and didn’t see any that he was interested in that he didn’t already talk to last year.

  61. HM – we had a similar thing in 6th grade… though this was pre-internet. We were asked to use store catalogs (like the old Sears catalog) to furnish our lives. We were also given a salary (I think we had to pick our occupation/salary out of a hat…) and had to create our own checks. We learned income/expenses/budgeting, etc. It was fun.

    Random thought – if we use income to mean money coming in, why don’t we use outgoing (outgo?) to mean money going out. Why expenses?

  62. Random thought – if we use income to mean money coming in, why don’t we use outgoing (outgo?) to mean money going out. Why expenses?

    It’s likely due to the Norman Conquest. Income is from the Old Norse innkoma while expense is from Old French espense.

    There was a very interesting BBC show about the history of the English language. I think this is it:

  63. I had to do a similar furnish-your-life project in Marriage class in high school. The requirement was that we had to live on minimum wage. My “husband” and I were both NMSF, so he spent most of the semester arguing with her that neither of us would ever be working for minimum wage, so it was a stupid assignment and he wasn’t doing it (after previously endearing himself to her with his Jesus as just a man/historical figure essay in our religion class) Being a dutiful student, I ended up doing 80% of it. We only made the budget because I declared the apartment came fully furnished, which it did not. Being able to pick a salary that corresponds to your career goals would have made it better.

  64. I read WCE’s article with interest. However, in my culture, if my children did not go to college, I would be viewed as a failure as a parent. Not only that, it would shame my parents. Unless my kid turned out to be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Then it would be OK.

  65. WCE, that article was very interesting. I think military service is another good option for young people struggling to decide the right path forward. From this blog, I’ve gained an appreciation for more vocational careers. My brother says his job could be done with no degree, but half of his friends seem to have gone to Ivies (and that network seems tone strong). My family expects my kids to go to college. My husband worked very hard to get from where he grew up to a comfortable life. He is adamant that they need masters degrees, and would not be open to them not having a degree. He is much more keenly aware of the challenges that life without a certain level of education can bring, though, and won’t let them choose to make what he considers to be a big mistake.

  66. The article does, however, provide an argument for prioritizing “will not leave you deeply in debt” over “will be your ideal fit” when looking at schools. I’ve gone back and forth with WCE before over whether it’s worth even looking at Harvard and other highly selective schools when her kids are at that age, but I don’t disagree with her that affordability is a very relevant metric.

  67. This is all front and center for me this year–not the minutiae of rankings but the how do you evaluate colleges? Second to a home, it’s the biggest purchase we make, but there’s so little reliable information. Not to mention relying on the whims of an 18 year old.
    Who’s also dealing with homework, homecoming, multiple extracurricular and cross country, so it’s not like he has a lot of time to think about this. Just a little stressed…..

  68. From WCE’s link:

    “And without a B.A., there is only so far you can reasonably expect to rise in this country.,”

    I’ve done OK without a BA, and know a lot of others without BAs who also have done well.

  69. “He is adamant that they need masters degrees,”

    Even after a BA or BS, followed by a PhD, JD, or MD?

  70. Also, the author of WCE’s article was a little harsh on the kid who accidentally took economics twice.

  71. “I’ve gone back and forth with WCE before over whether it’s worth even looking at Harvard and other highly selective schools when her kids are at that age”

    As have I.

  72. “all he could offer up was that the class had been taught by a different professor, and held in a different room.”

    I wonder if they both used the same textbook.

    ” He got a B both times around.”

    Sounds like either:

    -He almost instantly forgot what he learned the first time, and relearned it just as well the second time.

    -He was on total cruise control the second time.

    I’m still wondering about the author’s apparent obliviousness to the option of getting a BS rather than a BA.

  73. Reading the article, I couldn’t help but think that if Chef Jeffrey had picked just about any other field for vocational training (which would have brought more money), the author would have a very different conclusion.

    The other kid is a harder case to solve. That might be an example where part-time jobs from an early age would have been valuable. On the other hand, what’s so bad about working a call center. If he’s unmotivated for anything else right now, maybe he’s just unmotivated. Can’t really blame Towson for that.

  74. I nominate saac as the Totebagger kid most likely to attend a highly prestigious school, based on his combination of aptitude, application demographic and FAFSA.

    My sons will likely be upper middle class Protestant white boys, and no highly ranked US News school is experiencing a shortage of those. If I really want DS1 to get ahead, I should send him to cotillion and SMU- he has gorgeous blue eyes,

  75. My sons will likely be upper middle class Protestant white boys, and no highly ranked US News school is experiencing a shortage of those.

    My understanding is that white males do get a form of affirmative action as based purely on merit most elite schools would be predominately female with a size able percentage of those females being Asian. Your sons will in fact benifit from affirmative action.

  76. if Chef Jeffrey had picked just about any other field for vocational training (which would have brought more money), the author would have a very different conclusion.

    How do you mean?

  77. RMS, you should suggest he get an account with a taxi company and move to a state where possessing pot is legal.

    Colleges can do whatever they want to skew the outcomes toward men vs. women. NMSF used to be based on M+V and the formula was changed to M+2V to equalize the numbers of males and females. NMSF used to be two-thirds male.

    Should we judge a boy’s math aptitude based on whether he earns more Khan Academy badges than others (a competitive, aggressive method) or whether he writes more complete explanations on his first grade math homework than the Future Elementary School Teachers of America? Regular readers can guess when we win and when we lose.

  78. DS2 did not become comfortable reading until 6th grade. I think he will become comfortable writing this year or next. It’s a slow process for some.

  79. NMSF used to be two-thirds male.

    Amazing what happens when folks stop just assuming girls can’t do math.

    You seem unusually wedded to the idea that women doing well must be the result of some nefarious unfair advantage.

  80. @WCE – from my observation Math boys would be at a disadvantage when they are competing with girls who do get the Math (may not be at the highest level but capable of 90-95%) and who do well on the explanation part as well. My DS knows a few and is in awe of them.

  81. Since boys tended to do better on the math

    You seem to entirely discount the idea that this could have been caused by girls internalizing the traditional sterotype that girls aren’t good at math.

  82. The most interesting takeaways from that article:

    1. The gender gap narrows considerably at super elite schools where one would imagine the pressure for girls not to do well is the lowest.

    2. Girls are at a disadvantage as they are more sensitive to the social queues that would discourage anyone from competing in a math competition.

  83. Rhett, I knew a dozen girls who were both NMSF and AIME qualifiers. Most of these girls preferred English to math, at least sometimes, while virtually none of the boys did. Boys who qualified for ARML typically went. Only about half the girls who qualified bothered to attend. I went to college in an era when programs supporting women in science and engineering existed. I’m not sure how credible the stereotype threat research is, but as another female PhD in the EE department observed, “The EE professors aren’t sexist because they aren’t nurturing and supportive of women. They aren’t nurturing and supportive of anyone.”

    On the old SAT (linked to old scores), a 99th percentile SAT-M would be ~780 to 800 while 99th percentile SAT-V would be ~720 to 800. A student in the 99th percentile verbal and 98th percentile math would have a score of 720 verbal + 760 math = 1460.
    A 98th percentile verbal student with 99th percentile math would have 700 verbal + 800 math = 1500. That math, compounded over a million high school juniors, influenced the old distribution of male and female NMSF. http://research.collegeboard.org/programs/sat/data/equivalence/sat-individual

  84. WCE,

    Although, I can’t seem to find the data that shows the elite math gender gap over time. One would imagine it to have shrunk substantially over the past 30 years. If it has we can assume it was at least somewhat due to reduced gender stereotypes. If it’s remained constant that would indicate that at the extreme end of the bell curve males do excel.

  85. Most of these girls preferred English to math, at least sometimes, while virtually none of the boys did. Boys who qualified for ARML typically went.

    How much of that was due to social pressure to conform to gender norms? Keeping in mind that neurotypical people conform without it being a conscious choice in many (most?) cases.

  86. Re Rhett’s InsideHigherEd link, now I have an idea why DS is getting recruited so hard by Kenyon.

    From that link:

    “I wouldn’t apply there,” said Pollitt (who was admitted from an all-female applicant pool at Radcliffe College), “and the flip side is that if I was a boy, I wouldn’t want to apply either. Now we know that the boys who go there are stupid.”

    That seems ironic coming from someone characterized as a strong supporter of AA.

  87. WCE, I suspect your kids will not grow up to be violin-playing Asian males.

    I also suspect they will be at the top of their local applicant pool and thus will have a real shot at getting into highly selective schools. If current financial aid trends continue, that will be less expensive for you than flagship U, unless they go to flagship U with merit aid because they are NMSF.

  88. “but as another female PhD in the EE department observed, ‘The EE professors aren’t sexist because they aren’t nurturing and supportive of women. They aren’t nurturing and supportive of anyone.'”

    The problem is that you don’t need intent to influence the results. I think there is a fair amount of data that men do better in that learning environment than women. So you can have the best of intentions and all the “outreach” in the world, and you’ll still have women underachieving for their aptitude (or self-selecting out because they have other options and don’t want to deal with that environment). So if school actually care about improving the numbers of women in STEM fields — or just care about kids getting a fair chance to reach their potential, whatever that is — then they need to assume that just stopping overt discrimination won’t do it and take a hard look at the reasons why women who are capable of the work are choosing other options.

  89. LfB, if you ever go to silicon valley, you might consider making that case to tech employers. I wonder why we lose 80% of our women and only 50% of our men? Might it have to do with the expectation that you must be able to travel overseas on short notice to do your job? I’m sorry to rehash the same anecdotes (I only have a couple), but my Harvard-educated OB-GYN specialist was shocked at how badly women are treated in engineering compared to medicine, where he has watched “call schedules” improve everyone’s personal lives.

  90. LFB and WCE: The guys in tech don’t care if they’re losing women. If they did, they would change. They know exactly what’s going on.

  91. Rhett, I don’t know how much was lack of interest in ARML and how much was desire to conform to gender norms. Their rates of singleness in adulthood are much higher than the rates of singleness for comparable men, which should surprise absolutely no one.

  92. @WCE — exactly. We have similar attrition issues (though obviously to a lesser degree), and we’ve had a lot of conversations about those kinds of problems. It’s definitely more than a one-school or one-career-path issue. I don’t think there are any easy answers, but when what you’re doing isn’t working, you either have to re-evaluate some of your core assumptions — or just admit that you don’t really care enough about the issue to change how you do stuff.

    Honestly, I think most companies are in the latter category but just can’t admit it. Even here, we have always been really focused on diversity issues. But a few years ago, our clients started making hiring decisions based in significant part on diversity — not just “do you have a policy,” but “who is going to be working on our matters?” And that has really forced us to up our game, a lot. The thing is, most of this stuff is doable, but it takes time and effort, and so most people are just going to keep doing what has always worked for them until there is some competitive force that makes them change.

    Which, you know, I am sort of conflicted about at the corporate level, because That kind of stuff seems so stupid and short-sighted, but at the same time, the free market says if they really are stupid, then someone else can make a lot of money proving them wrong. But I find it pretty indefensible at the college level, where kids are paying a lot of money for their education; if the schools have their heads stuck so far up their butts that they’re not meeting the needs of half of their students, then they are flat-out not doing their jobs.

  93. LfB, I’m not sure if grad school should try to expose you to the reality of the culture you’re entering or not. Absolutely no one cares about the diversity of the engineers designing/generating their electrical power, so nuclear engineering is very old school, for example.

    I have been thinking often this week of the delta between corporate ideals and the choices that are actually made. My quote of the week: “Let’s not become the Volkswagen of western Oregon.”

  94. Ben, is you 18yo a senior now? If so, I’m a year behind you on this, but in a similar boat trying to evaluate colleges. DS has been trying to balance seeing college reps against missing class.

    BTW, I disagree about the dearth of information. I think there’s so much information that sorting through it can be overwhelming.

  95. It may appear that a racial/ethnic minority student from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background with high aptitude but not high achievement has the very good chances of getting into Harvard. However, the country is full of ethnic minority students with high aptitude and Harvard is full of white, protestant males, from upper class backgrounds.

  96. “the country is full of ethnic minority students with high aptitude and Harvard is full of white, protestant males, from upper class backgrounds.”

    But the country is not full of certain ethnic minority students with a high aptitude and a record of high achievement.

  97. A fairly long discussion among the quants on the board attempting to reduce human beings to numbers.

  98. It brings to mind the other favorite topic of the board: money, and leads me to see that as another quantification process. I am wondering if that is how we really think and feel or if it is part of the amount of disclosure we feel comfortable with on this board.

  99. Finn, yes DS is a senior. And I agree there’s a ton of info– it’s finding reliable info that’s hard, like finding out the college scorecard only looks at federal aid recipients and so may not translate. Or the article on Kenyon above, which makes it sound like it’s much easier to get in if you’re male. I looked at the most recent stats and it’s just a little boost, not all that significant. And some of it is just outside my world–I know a lot about picking a great undergrad for law school but nothing about evaluating CS programs.

  100. Rhett – thanks for the link!

    “LfB, I’m not sure if grad school should try to expose you to the reality of the culture you’re entering or not.”

    WCE – I’ve been contemplating this too. Academics have the leaky pipeline – that somewhere between grad school-post doc land, they lose women. The reason is fairly obvious – the tenure track is prime baby-making time. Some women can do both (my advisor is one), some women can’t/won’t/don’t want to. But it’s also what LfB said – lots of job tracks after grad school-post doc that aren’t academic (I’m part of the leaky pipeline… finished PhD and jumped to a non-profit).

    So the question is – what is the value of true career guidance at the grad school level? Should the student, the advisor, or the school make sure that the student is exposed to the career pathways, or shown the dirty parts of the ivory tower? If the responsibility is on the student, when should that student be thinking of their next step? First, second, fourth year? How do the advisors and school make sure that the student *knows* to ask those questions? Even if it’s the responsibility of the student to ask, a lot of fresh from college students have never asked themselves “what do I want to be, realistically, when I grow up?”.

  101. “I know a lot about picking a great undergrad for law school”

    This sort of thing could make a good twist on the old college topic. Picking colleges (and majors) for a specific career field.

    “money, and leads me to see that as another quantification process. I am wondering if that is how we really think and feel or if it is part of the amount of disclosure we feel comfortable with on this board.”

    What do you mean?

  102. “LfB, I’m not sure if grad school should try to expose you to the reality of the culture you’re entering or not.”

    Yeah, it’s a thorny issue. I think schools would be doing a disservice if they didn’t give some inkling of what various career paths require. But it seems like that argument is mostly used to defend crappy behavior/teaching — i.e., well, he’s a jerk, but hey, the whole profession is filled with jerks, so the kids might as well get used to it, because if they can’t take it now, they’ll have time to pick an alternate career path.

    I was thinking about this overnight. Assuming that we have to make a choice between good teaching that leaves the kids naïve vs. advance warning that weeds out the weak early on, I come down on the side of option 1. Because I have been impressed with what a little naiveté can actually accomplish. I mean, I worried about the “post-feminist” young women today who seem to believe that everything is now equal and they have the God-given right to fair treatment — they’re just so unprepared for the real world. But the reality is that for many, this sort of naïve self-confidence means they just sort of plow straight ahead and do what they want to do; they aren’t limited by their own expectations, and they get pissed — and vocal — when they aren’t treated fairly, in a way that many women of my own generation couldn’t afford to. And really, with 20/20 hindsight, that’s pretty much what I did, too. The job that I have now, and my whole career path to get here, didn’t exist when I started practicing.

    So if the choice is an earlier weed-out because that’s what the jobs will do anyway, vs. a solid education that risks leaving women a little unprepared for the real world, I’m going to come down in favor of the latter. Which is really funny, because I am just so pessimistic in most things, but here’s my one little happy ray of sunshine. I believe people can change things for the better when it never occurs to them that they can’t.

  103. I am wondering if we talk more about money here because we feel averse to sharing more personal areas on a public forum. I am also wondering if money is the way we quantify our lives and test scores are the way the lives of our children and implicitly children generally.

  104. I certainly don’t know exactly what A parent is talking about, but I do know that a major point of the Dept of Education College Scorecard was to give non Totebag type students better, if not perfect, information on future earnings and graduation rates for post secondary schools for which they might borrow money. It is not excessive quantification or a value judgment to give someone data indicating that borrowing 25K to attend a fly by night for profit trade school might be money poorly spent, or that borrowing 50K for an arts degree from a prestigious institution might preclude you from working in your chosen field for many years. It is also useful to see that other than some notable elite outliers, in terms of middle class earning potential, it is the completion of a four year degree or the choice of field more than the ranking of a particular institution that governs future earnings.

    I once told a full price parent wringing her precollege hands at my daughters’ elite prep school that i would gladly have traded 150 points on my child’s SAT for the certainty that I would be able to write the check twice a year until she graduated. The reason I don’t embrace MMM or I occasionally intone to a well off Totebagger, “Just buy the d-mn whatever”, is that the point of money is freedom, not a means of keeping score. And score can be the size of the nest egg or the family trust just as much as the size of the boat or the location of the vacation home.

  105. I share more with everyone here about my finances than I share with my neighbors.

    I can’t stand this small town thing and I try to share less with immediate neighbors. “Real” friends from college that I trust, that’s different.

    I care about money because I grew up without it. I’ve posted many times about how I don’t want to ever live that way. Lucky, finance is my thing and it happens to be lucrative. I know there are a lot of trade offs that come with the career path, but it is the right one for me.

    As I’ve gotten older, I care less about money and more about health. Two more friends have cancer, and I’ve been dealing with a lot of hospitals again with my mother.

    I’m completely aware that this all doesn’t matter without good health and mobility. It’s the reason that I’ve cut back so much on my projects. I’m trying to enjoy life more now while I’m still able to enjoy it.

    I admit that I care a lot about grades, and money. It’s just not the most imoprtant thing for me right now.

  106. LfB and WCE – but shouldn’t we try to change the culture of the field too, if the current state means that the barrier to entry (or retention) for some groups is unreasonably high? The shruggy attitude of “oh, everyone in this field is a jerk so we shouldn’t care about discrimination, it just means that people who succeed in the field will disproportionately be jerks” makes no sense to me.

  107. Benefits Lawyer: College Confidential has a ton of info on CS programs for kids from a variety of backgrounds. I learned about the forum here, and have found it very helpful in evaluating colleges. It also helped me understand AP v. IB, new SAT v. old SAT, and other interesting topics.

  108. I share more about finances here than I share with my own family (let alone friends and neighbors).

    I think most people here have a pretty good perspective on what money is good for and what it’s not. That said, I disagree that there’s anything wrong with using money or the size of the nest egg as a way of keeping personal score (or, better stated, like a metric of a personal goal or challenge). Comparing to others is mostly useless because so much varies based on situations, but accumulating a big nest egg as an end in itself is no less noble than training for a specific triathlon time, perfecting a fine art, or any other hobby.

    As for kids’ test scores, I’ve never understood the obsession with the NMSF.

  109. Milo, I agree with you on the money issue. I share more here than I do with my family or friends. I also get some much needed perspective from others’ comments, so I enjoy it when we talk about money.

    Regarding NMSF–there are some generous merit scholarships for those who make NMF. Other than that, it’s a marker for competitiveness. The Totebag community places a lot of emphasis on it, but it’s one of the many, many things that don’t matter after you get into college.

  110. “the point of money is freedom, not a means of keeping score” — Yes to everything you wrote, but especially this.

    “I’ve never understood the obsession with the NMSF”

    Maybe it’s partly because of the merit money potential. When you add that on to an accomplishment of a high score, it’s easy to become obsessed. (Unlike some, I believe a high score is an accomplishment.)

  111. “the point of money is freedom, not a means of keeping score”

    No, it’s about keeping score. The one true measure of a man is how well he provides for his family.

  112. Maybe it’s partly because of the merit money potential.

    It’s the pride that comes from imparting high quality genetic material.

  113. Rhett – maybe for you, but I am currently trying to talk DH out of taking a job with a big salary and upside potential because it is an office job (which he would hate) and I would NEVER SEE HIM. Not worth it IMO – he already makes enough.

  114. Rhett — I’m not sure what you mean, but I’ll admit I sometimes notice how much freedom I have compared to others.

    “The one true measure of a man is how well he provides for his family.” — Well, this is informative.

    “It’s the pride that comes from imparting high quality genetic material.”

    I believe most people have that type of pride, but the NMSF obsession goes beyond that. It’s partly about the money, IMO.

  115. “The one true measure of a man is how well he provides for his family.”

    Ignoring the political issues, that puts Donald Trump over Ben Carson.

  116. Houston–thanks, I’ve read some of that (and learned a lot from a certain poster there who is an alum of a prestigious UC). It just seems like even there it’s finding the wheat in the chaff. And it can be a real rabbit hole…..

  117. Rhett — I’m not sure what you mean, but I’ll admit I sometimes notice how much freedom I have compared to others.

    Being female, you’re not held to the same standard.

  118. Benefits Lawyer, I wholeheartedly agree. There’s only so much time a parent can spend perusing CollegeConfidential.

  119. Speaking of that – remember the discussion of the wife bonus:

    Under the agreement, as detailed in court documents filed last year in Cook County, Illinois, Dias Griffin was entitled to a lump-sum payment of $22.5 million as soon as the couple was married in 2003. After that, she was to be given $1 million in cash payments for every year of their marriage. Griffin’s filings state that he made those payments throughout the marriage, up until 2013, bringing the total to about $35 million.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/10/ken-griffin-divorce-prenup

    It’s fascinating how these things are done.

  120. Benefits–The problem is that CS is “hot” right now, so programs have become ultra competitive. However, once you get in, life is sweet. Lots of companies spending lots of money recruiting you for internships and jobs. Best of luck!

  121. “‘It’s the pride that comes from imparting high quality genetic material.’

    I believe most people have that type of pride, but the NMSF obsession goes beyond that. It’s partly about the money, IMO.”

    Well, and the fact that it’s one marker that can pretty much guarantee admission to a high-quality program, yes? I think the $ is an add-on to that.

    I think it is a marker of fear more than anything else. Our society puts a lot of pressure on getting the college degree to succeed; but college admission seems much harder than we remember, with even top students being rejected seemingly arbitrarily; information about costs and outcomes and good colleges to choose is overwhelming and hard to piece through; and best-case, we’re going to be paying a ton more than our parents did and don’t know how we can afford it.

    And yet there’s this one marker out there that generally means your kid can get into a good school and you can afford it — and all they have to do is nail one test. Why *wouldn’t* people overvalue that? It feels like the one available safe harbor.

  122. “Being female, you’re not held to the same standard.”

    I can agree with you on that!

  123. The thing about the NMSF obsession is that the prize money seems to be concentrated at schools that the applicant wouldn’t necessarily consider otherwise, and that might still make perfect sense, EXCEPT when we’re talking about families who are already comfortable paying for private K-12.

  124. Good point, Milo. Except how many families who actually can afford to pay for college really *feel* like they can comfortably?

    But I also may be falling prey to the logical fallacy that everyone thinks like me. It was a big deal for me, both in terms of getting admitted and getting extra $$ that we really needed (that extra $2K was @ 25% of the annual cost — and the place that had been my first choice didn’t offer NM scholarships). But, yeah, maybe not how everyone else views it.

  125. “how many families who actually can afford to pay for college really *feel* like they can comfortably?”

    Of the families who are already paying $25k or $30k annually for private high school? I would hope all of them!

  126. NMSF is one of the only purely numeric programs that doesn’t depend on extracurricular activities, etc. One of the talented female students in my AP chemistry class was an emancipated minor (mother’s boyfriend was an alcoholic and possibly abusive) who worked 40 hr/week at the auto parts store. The owner knew she did her homework during slow times and was happy to help her pay her rent and have an employee who could be trusted to work alone without stealing money or goods. Elite colleges aren’t seeking “people like her”. Other than standardized tests, I can’t see a way to compare students from mediocre or below schools with Totebaggy schools.

    In the long analysis I linked to, one of the points is that a difference of 4% by sex on an entering score metric generates a population that is 40% one sex and 60% the other. As a society, we are still puzzling over whether we want equal opportunities for men and women (which nature doesn’t give us) or whether we want equal outcomes. My third level manager is a single(?) female engineer who got her PhD in mechanical engineering from RMS’s undergrad and has worked in cities around the world as she rose through the ranks. She is from a town in rural Iowa and is evidence that my employer doesn’t discriminate against women. In a world where at least some people believe that “the measure of a man is how well he provides for his family,” it is easier for a woman to be a trailing spouse as her husband follows his career around the world than for a man to follow his wife around the world.

    Y’all know I love the 80/20 rule and I think for 80% of couples with major caregiving obligations (children or elderly parents or disabled siblings), the woman will take the hit when push comes to shove. I think Denver Dad’s transition from software engineer to nurse practitioner is very sensible. As a society, we’ve decided to fund healthcare with government dollars and not (so much) infrastructure and R&D. That makes healthcare a more stable, temporarily less competitive area than engineering.

    All the teachers at Baby WCE’s childcare are female and no one sees that as evidence of discrimination.

  127. “Elite colleges aren’t seeking “people like her”.”

    I’m not sure that’s the case. Her situation could be her hook; if she’s a NMSF, my guess is that her best bet for college would be an elite college, that would meet her full financial need.

  128. “As I’ve gotten older, I care less about money and more about health.”

    It’s pretty common for people’s health to decline and wealth to increase over time. It’s easy to not care about money when you have a lot.

  129. Finn, my story is now 20+ years old and elite colleges weren’t yet focused on socioeconomic diversity. Even if Harvard and Yale start a White Trash Diversity Initiative, there are still social barriers to people from such backgrounds in some professions. I wonder how many white or Asian young people in finance and big law are the first in their families to attend college. I think classism, not racism, is the greatest modern hurdle to social mobility.

  130. When I attend the annual interview training for alums, the university staff tells the audience that we do not want a room of students that looks like this room. They claim that they want the student population to reflect the current population in America, and this auditorium in Westchester county is filled with alums from 20+ years ago. The alum interviewers in the room are approx 80- 85% white even though the university hasn’t looked like that in a very long time.

    the population of my old school, and many other has changed a lot int he last 25 -30 years. I really do think based on the stats that I see that it is more diverse. By race, and certainly socioeconomic diversity.

  131. WCE, there have been a lot of articles about that issue, and how difficult it can be socially for many lower SES students at some of the highly selective colleges, especially those with strong blueblood traditions.

    Perhaps the current focus on true need-blind admissions can create enough ‘critical mass’ for low SES students to minimize that issue.

    Even though my family is not low SES, we’re not blue bloods either, and this is a concern for me, as it becomes less unlikely that DS might have the option to attend one of these schools. It would be even more of a concern for me if such schools become options for DD.

  132. ” It would be even more of a concern for me if such schools become options for DD.”

    Why?

  133. DS has a stronger sense of self, has always tended to be a leader more than a follower, and has been quite independent and self-reliant. He’s dealt well with things like being one of the last kids in his grade to get a phone, and still one of the few whose phone is not a smart phone.

    DD, on the other hand, is less of a leader and more of a follower, even at home, where she leans heavily on DS for things like help with schoolwork and tough violin passages. I see her as probably being more susceptible to the type of social barriers to which WCE referred.

    We are hopeful that she will get stronger and more self-reliant once DS leaves for college.

  134. Finn, your kids will be coming from a top private school. They are not going to feel like there’s a class barrier between them and their fellow students at an Ivy. A kid from Pahala who’s never even been to Honolulu, never seen a ballet or an orchestra, knows the rules for a chicken fight but has never heard of squash, shone in the classes available but has never heard of Chaucer and didn’t have calculus available to take, that’s the Hawaii kid who’s going to feel like they’ve landed on another planet.

  135. Finn – agreed 100% with HM. I knew kids from your kids’ school at my Ivy and they fit right in.

  136. Finn — One of my best friends at my Ivy college had been a scholarship student at Iolani. At college, she was also a scholarship/work-study student. She loved college and thrived there, both personally and academically. She had a lot of friends — including some east-coast blue-blood types. I don’t think you need to worry.

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