Ivy League

The Coalition for Access

The Coalition for Access

A number of colleges don’t like the current admissions process.

What ignited their angst and reform desires was the launch of the new Common Application (called CA4) in 2013, which was so buggy that early application deadlines had to be extended, and worse, many colleges were exclusively tied to the Common Application: they had no alternatives.


Science Study at the Small College

Science Study at the Small College

If you’re a serious science student, one who might want to someday get a PhD, teach, research, become a member of the National Academy of Sciences, or vie for a Nobel Prize, it might best serve your interests to attend a major research university, such as UCLA, USC, Stanford, Northwestern, Yale, or Duke.

Small liberal arts colleges just don’t have the resources available to do meaningful research. Don’t, though, feel too confident in this belief. Just review the resources available to undergraduates at, say, Hamilton College’s Taylor Science Center and the list is enough to dispel the resource limitation concern.

The Admissions Game

The Admissions Game

Some people apply to the most selective schools as if it were the lottery.  

One such recent case is that of Kwasi Enin. The son of Ghanian immigrants, Kwasi hit the proverbial jackpot by first applying to all eight Ivy League schools, and then, having scored a 2,250 on his SAT and placed #11 out of a class of 647 at William Floyd School, a public high school on Long Island, getting in to all eight.

Go Midwest Young Man

Go Midwest Young Man
Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune in 1871 told RL Sanderson, a correspondent, to go West, ‘where men are wanted, and where employment is not bestowed as alms.’ Had Mr. Greeley been around today, and the question was finding solid educational opportunities, he might well have altered his direction to the Midwest.

Of Major Importance: Student Designed Majors

Of Major Importance: Student Designed Majors

A perennial question arises with each admissions cycle: ‘does the major I declare on the application affect my candidacy?’ Point blank answer: in approximately 99.6% of the cases, no. Most admissions officers realize that 80% or more of their freshman class will change majors at least once before the end of sophomore year.

Writing the Common Application Supplements

Writing the Common Application Supplements

If you’re applying to the Ivies, Stanford, or many other selective schools, there is a good chance you’ve already come face-to-face with the Common Application. Some of the 414 member schools, such as Washington & Lee or Carleton College in Minnesota, have no supplements, in which case you merely submit the main application, with one short and one long essay and, from an essay standpoint, you’re ready to apply. 

There is, however, another type of essay that challenges students, and it’s usually found in the school’s supplemental application. It’s a matchmaker essay, a persuasive essay where you tell the school why you love it, and it should love you.

Unfolding the Common Application

Unfolding the Common Application

The college admissions process creates untold stress. Just the effort to get organized is tough. There are numerous details and losing track of any one of them might lead to a sleepless night: teacher recommendations, counselor recommendation, transcripts, test scores, mid-year reports, secondary school reports, art portfolios and, athletic information. This is a lot to keep track of.

Bellwethers of Ivy Quality

  • The website “What they will Learn” and the importance of a core curriculum
  • Ratemyprofessor.com site’s ranking of Ivy League professorial staff teaching
  • Collegeguide.org and the politicization of the classroom

How much would you be willing to pay to attend a school that had no official general education requirement (or, possibly had one or two areas spottily covered) across the following subject areas: composition; literature; foreign language; US government and history; economics; mathematics and; science?  Posed a little differently, assume you were selecting a high school and it didn’t require English (writing), history, math, science, foreign language, or literature. How much would you be willing to pay to go to such a school?  A better question is how much money would you pay to avoid going to the school?   

No one, currently, is paying money to avoid going to Ivy Leagues schools. Yet, if you examine their curriculum, teaching quality, and freedom of inquiry in the classroom, you might wonder if such a scenario might be a reality in the future.

 An examination of the curricula of the schools can be found at the site ‘What will they Learn?’ http://www.whatwilltheylearn.com/. On site is a letter from the former Dean of Harvard, Harry Lewis:  “On some campuses, it doesn’t matter at all what courses are chosen, as long as they are in the right categories…At its best, general education is about the unity of knowledge, not about distributed knowledge. Not about spreading courses around, but about making connections between different ideas.” The site then grades each campus’s core curriculum.


Brown                                                                    F

Cornell                                                                   F

Columbia                                                               B

Dartmouth                                                            C

Harvard                                                                 D

University of Pennsylvania                           D

Princeton                                                              C

Yale                                                                         F


Turning to another study regarding the quality of teaching, a recent report from the Center of College Affordability and Productivity compiled reviews from ‘Rate My Professor.com’ of professors at 610 universities. No Ivy League school ranked in the top 100:

 QUALITY OF TEACHING (ranking of 610 universities):

111. Princeton University

152. Columbia University

187. University of Pennsylvania

196. Brown University

213. Yale University

247. Harvard University

294. Dartmouth College

414. Cornell University

Details are at “Are Ivy League Professors Good Teachers? By Lynn O'Shaughnessy”  http://moneywatch.bnet.com/saving-money/blog/college-solution/are-ivy-league-professors-good-teachers/3881/ Some might discredit these findings as students might skew results if they have a vendetta against a certain professor, but this sample size is too large to be easily manipulated by students or others.

CollegeGuide.org (it is the site of the ISI which reviews, in detail, the curriculum and teaching at over 250 colleges and universities) gives campuses traffic light ratings based on how ‘politicized’ the curriculum is. Specifically: “If a school’s American history course casts the Founding in a dark light, pushes socialistic views of the economy, or claims that the Cold War was a U.S. scheme to rule the world, it is politicized.” If the curriculum is considered highly politicized it receives a red; mildly, a yellow; and open to free inquiry, a green light. 


Princeton                                                                Green

Harvard                                                                   Yellow

Dartmouth                                                             Yellow

Brown                                                                      Red

Columbia                                                                Yellow

University of Pennsylvania                            Yellow

Cornell                                                                    Yellow

Yale                                                                         Yellow

Three different studies covering the scope of core curricula, the quality of the teaching, and the politicization of the classroom across some of the most selective schools in the country come up with alarming findings. Taking Brown as an example, it gets an “F” for its general educational program (it doesn’t have one); barely places in the top third among the 600 schools sampled in quality of teaching; and gets a red light for having an extremely politicized classroom.  If Brown were a student, would you accept it? Ironically, during the recent admissions cycle it accepted less than 14% of its applicants. The recent round of early decision applicants increased over 20%. 

Don’t misinterpret this article. There are huge swathes of academic excellence throughout the Ivy League, if you know where to find them. You need to do your homework before you attend, to discover what it is you want to get out of a university. Learn about the best courses, the best professors, and the top majors Do not go in passively expecting to be served up excellence. Even in the venerable Ivy League that is a possible recipe for disaster.

 아이비 대학의 우수성을 알아보

“What they will learn”싸이트에서 알아보는 핵심교과목의 중요

“Ratemyprofessor.com”에서 아이비 대학 교수 등급 알아보

“Collegeguide.org”에서 알아보는 교실의 정치

 여러분이라면 일반 교양과목 (작문, 문학, 외국어, 미국정치와 역사, 경제, 수학, 과학)이 빠진 (혹은 한 두 과목만 수강) 학교에 돈을 내고 다니겠는가?  달리 말해서, 영어, 역사, 수학 과학, 외국어나 문학을 가르치지 않는 학교에 다니겠는가?  이런 대학에 등록금을 내겠는가?  아니면, 이런 대학에 안 다니기 위해 다른 대학에 돈을 내겠는가?

 한편, 아이비 대학에 다니기 위해 기꺼이 돈을 내지 않을 사람이 없다.  그러나, 만약 교과목, 교수의 질, 교수의 자율성을 따져 본다면, 고개를 갸우뚱할 수 밖에 없다.

 먼저, 교과목에 대해 알아보기 위해 “What will they Learn?”(http://www.whatwilltheylearn.com) 싸이트를 조사하자.  그 곳에서 전 하버드 교무처장이었던 Harry Lewis의 글, “어떤 캠퍼스에서든, 학생들이 바른 선택을 한다면, 어떤 과목이든 상관없다…즉, 일반 교양과목은 분산된 지식이 아닌 지식의 결집이다.  과목만 나열하는 것이 아닌, 여러 다른 사상들을 연결해야 한다.”  이 싸이트에서는 대학들의 핵심 교과목의 점수를 다음과 같이 주고 있다.

 핵심 교과목 점수:

-Brown: F

-Cornell: F

-Columbia: B

-Dartmouth: C

-Harvard: D

-University of Pennsylvania: D

-Princeton: C

-Yale: F

 다음, 교수의 질에 관한 연구는 ‘Rate My Professor.com’에 나와 있는 Center of College Affordability and Productivity에서 조사한 610개 대학들의 교수 질을 살펴볼 수 있다.  100등 안에 든 아이비 대학이 없다.

 교수의 (610 대학 중에서)

111. Princeton University

152. Columbia University

187. University of Pennsylvania

196. Brown University

213. Yale University

247. Harvard University

294. Dartmouth College

414. Cornell University

또한 Lynn O’Shaughnessy의 “아이비 대학 교수들은 좋은 교사인가?” (http://moneywatch.bnet.com/saving-money/blog/college-solution/are-ivy-league-professors-good-teachers/3881/ )의 글에서도 알 수 있다.  물론 어떤 학생이 특정 교수와 반목관계에서 나쁜 평가를 내릴 수 있지만, 자료의 샘플량이 매우 커서 이러한 영향은 배제할 수 있다.

다음, CollegeGuide.org(이 싸이트에서는 250여 개의 대학들의 수업과 교과목을 평가하고 있다)싸이트는 과목의 정치화 정도를 신호등 불로 나타내고 있다.  예를 들면, “미국 역사 과목에서 정착단계를 경제적인 사회주의적인 견해에 따르고, 냉전이 미국이 세계를 지배하려는 음모라고 주장한다면 이 과목은 정치화되었다.” 그래서 과목이 매우 정치화되었다면; 빨강, 보통은 노랑; 자유 토론이 가능하다면 녹색신호등이다.

교실의 정치

Princeton: 녹색

Harvard: 노랑

Dartmouth: 노랑

Brown: 빨강

Columbia: 노랑

University of Pennsylvania: 노랑

Cornell: 노랑

Yale: 노랑

 위의 세가지 기준으로 명문대학들의 놀라운 평가를 할 수 있다.  브라운 대학을 예를 들면, 일반 교양과목에서 F (한과목도 없기 때문), 교수의 질에서 겨우 196등이며, 교실의 정치화에서는 빨강불이다.  여러분은 브라운 대학에 가겠는가?  풍자적이지만, 이 대학은 입학률이 14%이하이며, 응시자 수는 얼리 디시젼에서 20%이상이 증가했다.

이 기사를 잘못 해석하지는 말자.  아이비 대학의 학문 우수성을 찾을 수 있다면, 다양한 면에서 찾을 수 있다.  그러나 여러분이 대학에 들어가기 전에 대학을 나올 때 무엇을 원하는지를 생각해야 한다.  최고의 교과목, 최고의 교수, 최고의 전공을 알아보자.  무조건 최고의 서비스를 받을 것을 기대하지 말자.  대단한 아이비 대학 일지라도 여러분에게 재앙일 수 있다.


How Colleges and Salaries Match Up

There will always be endless debates about whether an Ivy League school or other highly selective school is worth the price of admission. Now, however, there is hard evidence about the actual payback for attending a certain school. Not that this information is the last word in these debates, but it certainly supplies the numbers one might want to see  when sharpening the pencil and figuring out what are the probable returns associated with attending an UC San Diego instead of a Princeton.