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African-American Yield Comparison

Williams yields African-American accepted students at a lower rates than (some of) its peers.


Thanks to a commentator (who should join us as a blogger!) for pointing this out. He also shared (created?) this analysis:

QtPa0Ak - Imgur

1) Thanks for doing this! We need more peer comparisons at EphBlog. This topic would also make for a good Record article and/or senior thesis.

2) Although we compare poorly with Pomona, we do fine relative to many other colleges. So, maybe the glass is half full? I know that the Admissions Office has devoted a lot of time/money/personnel to African-American enrollment.

3) The unknown factor here is standards. The easiest way to get a very high yield among African-American students is to have much lower standards than your peer colleges. If Pomoma lets in a lot of low quality African-American applicants — high school students that Williams/Amherst/Brown/Dartmouth all reject — then Pomona is going to do very well in yielding those students.

4) The most outlier strategy among elite LACs when it comes to African-American applicants is Middlebury’s: admit/enroll fewer. In the class of 2020 (pdf), only 4% of the students are African-American. Thoughts on this?

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#1 Comment By anonymous On April 20, 2017 @ 8:14 am

#2 Comment By JAS On April 20, 2017 @ 9:48 am

It seems unlikely that Pomona’s standards are lower when their acceptance rate is so much lower (the ratio of Black acceptance rate to overall is more similar, but still lower for Pomona). We also do worse on yield than Wesleyan, despite Wesleyans much lower acceptance rate. And Wesleyan has almost the same (lower!) acceptance rate for Black students as overall.

#3 Comment By KSM On April 20, 2017 @ 10:28 am

I think it’s partly a matter of geography. Pomona, Swat, and Carleton are all on the outskirts of major metro areas. Williams is rural, and in one of the most lily-white places on the planet. Midd, of course, is in a similar situation. But unlike Williams, Midd does not enjoy numero uno status in the USNWR rankings. Williams (#1) and Amherst (#2) have ACT mid-50’s of 31-34; Swat (tied for #4 with Midd) is 30-34 while Midd is 29-33. Can Midd afford to lower its 25th percentile to 27 or 28 if it wants to maintain that coveted top 5 position on the USNWR list? They would certainly like to improve their African-American enrollment, but AA applicants with a 30+ ACT are in high demand and will have plenty of other attractive options.

There is a way both Midd and Williams could significantly increase their NAM enrollments while maintaining their ACT mid-50 ranges: eliminate athletic hooks.

It all comes down to what the school values most.

#4 Comment By hmm On April 20, 2017 @ 10:07 pm

The source above is a bit outdated (it’s fall 2014 data). Fall 2016 data would be more relevant: https://www.jbhe.com/2017/01/black-first-year-students-at-the-nations-leading-liberal-arts-colleges-2016/

I doubt Pomona is admitting lower quality students. Their black admit rate is just 16% compared to William’s 35%; they’re also admitting fewer black students, period, despite having more black applicants.

According to the CDS 2016-2017, here are their academic profiles:
Williams- 86% 4 year grad rate, 94% six year grad rate, 2000-2310 SAT, 31-34 ACT, 91% ranked in the top 10%, 46% of first years from diverse backgrounds

Pomona- 92% 4 year grad rate, 97% six year grad rate, 2010-2310 SAT, 31-34 ACT, 92% ranked in the top 10%, 61% of first years from diverse backgrounds

So somehow Pomona has a comparable/slightly stronger group of students than Williams, while being quite a bit more racially diverse. There could be a lot of complicating factors- athletics, legacies, demographics of the applicant/admitted student pool- which could explain the difference. But at the end of it, Williams still has a substantially lower yield for students from diverse backgrounds than those who’re white or don’t identify their race, and Pomona and Carleton only slightly so. I doubt location plays a huge factor; according to the JBHE yields, rural Davidson has a high 44% black yield, and suburban Swarthmore has a 29% black yield. I’m wondering if this this difference could be occurring from admitted student programs.