Thanks to ’10 for pointing out this event.

Saw this on WSJ frontpage — it’s a link to a chat tonight with admissions officers from a few top colleges, with a Williams rep among the group.

Here’s the blurb, with the link below:

Watch live at 7pm tonight as admissions directors from Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania,Wesleyan University, Williams College and four others answer your college admissions questions.

Here is a screen shot of Director of Admissions Dick Nesbitt ’74


The event seems too canned and broad to be of interest to EphBlog readers. Maybe things will pick up during the Q&A. Do you think they will take any submitted questions on tough topics like Affirmative Action? I would love to see their reactions to this post.

Fun note is that the moderator Jordan Goldman (and CEO of Unigo) was the dweeby Wesleyan applicant who lied about having been admitted to an Ivy League school as described in The Gate Keepers.

UPDATE: Nesbitt uses the phrase “consistency of excellence,” which has a nice ring but it probably more misleading than helpful to most parents.

The moderator is not doing a very good job but, in his defense, the subset of parents/applicants interested in Princeton does not overlap much with the set of parents/applicants considering Marquette.

UPDATE II: At 1:13, Nesbitt claims that standardized tests “really aren’t very good predictors of academic success.” Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. Or at least it relies on a highly misleading understanding of what the phrase “good predictors” means. I bet that the average math/verbal SAT score of students who graduate in the top 5% of the class is at least 200 points higher than those who graduate in the bottom 25%. Of course, there are also plenty of high scorers in that bottom 25%. No predictor (in the social sciences) is perfect, but the reason that elite schools use standardized scores is because they work.

Worst part was the Princeton story about the orchestra conductor asking Admissions for more horn players, and getting them. This is (I hope!) true, but is completely misleading as to the importance of things like musical talent in admissions. Recall:

As for the comparison with music, here’s a reality check: We are able to admit roughly 120 top rated musicians each year from the top of the academic reader rating scale–what we refer to as academic 1′ and 2’s (broadly defined as 1500+ SAT’s and very top of the class). By contrast, how many decent football players do you think are among the academic 1’s and 2’s? A couple of years ago, I checked. There were exactly 9 applicants in that academic range who had played 2 years of varsity football and wanted to continue in college (we’re not even talking about rated athletes here, just those who had an interest). We admitted 7 of them, and 2 matriculated. Both played for one year, then quit.

Thanks to Dick Nesbitt for the honesty in these comments. The Princeton football coach has more influence on admissions in just one year than all the conductors at Princeton have had in the last two decades.

UPDATE III: Nesbitt finished up with some discussion about Williams revoking admissions offers to students whose grades go into a “complete slide” during senior year. Harsh but true.

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