From the Poly Pulse, May 27, 2014
By Mike Muska (Dean of College Relations; History)
College Results for the Class of 2014
We are pleased to share with the Poly community how well the Class of 2014 has done in the college process. They are off to schools across the country and Scotland, ready and excited for what lies ahead.
Though I am not the biggest fan of college rankings, they are a reality of the process, and they provide a frame of reference that demonstrates the success the Class of 2014 achieved. Twenty eight Poly seniors will enroll in universities ranked in the US News & World Report’s Top 25: Princeton (1), Yale (3), Chicago (1), UPenn (5), Dartmouth (1)—(that’s 11 to the US News Top 10 schools)—along with Johns Hopkins (2), Brown (1), Cornell (4), Notre Dame (3), Emory (2), Georgetown (1), Carnegie Mellon (2), University of Southern California (1), and University of Virginia (1).
An additional 29 members of Poly’s Class of 2014 will attend schools that fall into the next group of highly ranked schools, according to US News & World Report: Tufts (4), New York University (4), Rochester (1), Penn State (2), Lehigh (5), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (3), Wisconsin (2), Miami (1), George Washington (4), and Tulane (3). Three other students will attend St. Andrews in Scotland, which would easily fall in this group if schools outside the United States were included in the US News & World Report, which would give us a total of 60 to these schools, or just about 50% of the class.
You will note a similar breakdown in the list of liberal arts colleges, as 32 Poly seniors will attend these highly respected schools in US News & World Report’s Top 50: Williams (1), Amherst (3), Bowdoin (1), Middlebury (1), Pomona (1)—(that’s 7 students to the Top 5 ranked liberal arts schools)—along with Hamilton (2), Wesleyan (2), Bates (1), Colby (1), Oberlin (2), Barnard (2), Lafayette (1), Trinity (3), Bard (1), Dickinson (1), Franklin and Marshall (3), Skidmore (1), Denison (1), and Gettysburg (4). If you use the Barron’s rankings as well, you will see we have 73 seniors attending schools in Barron’s highest category, and 15 in their second highest group, which adds Poly seniors who will enroll at Rhodes and SUNY-Geneseo to the above group.
The remainder of the class will travel far and wide, with many choices based on finances or special interests. They include Catholic (1), Eckerd (1), Elon (1), Emerson (1), Fairfield (3), Hobart and William Smith (2), Hofstra (1), Howard (1), Lewis & Clark (1), Loyola of New Orleans (1), Muhlenberg (2), Southern Methodist (2), Stevens Institute of Technology (1), SUNY Albany (1), SUNY Cortland (1), Syracuse (1), University of Colorado (1), University of Connecticut (1), and the University of Delaware (4). A handful of seniors remain on waitlists, which we hope to have resolved in the next few weeks.
Strategies for Maximizing College Application Success
I believe our students, both in early and regular decision rounds, did a great job working with us and listening to our advice. In today’s competitive admissions market, how we prepare our applicants to present themselves, both in person and in their applications, is critical. Seniors must define how their accomplishments or who they are—via an academic interest, a special talent, or a dedicated commitment to a cause—might separate them from the masses of other applicants and share this information with colleges they apply to. Demonstrated interest in a particular school is also a reality today that is gauged by how often a student is in contact with the school-at a college fair when a college representative visits Poly, during a campus visit by the student, and even the extent of email correspondence with a particular college. Clearly, applying early decision enhances a chance for admission, but demonstrated interest in a particular college, and even how a student answers the question of why they want to attend that school, are critical. The likelihood a student will enroll at a particular school if admitted and, often, the ability to pay are also key factors in today’s admission process.
The added component of a very strong international pool of applicants, who are able to pay, has caused many schools to expand their international population, leaving less space for our domestic applicants. We saw incredibly low admit rates at the most competitive colleges this spring as they often bragged about taking less than one of 10 applicants in regular admission.
At Poly, our philosophy has been to take advantage of the early programs that give students an earlier decision, often by December 15. It makes for a great holiday season, if successful, and is a great way to relieve the stress of the process, knowing one is in school somewhere, and a great way to enjoy the rest of their senior year. We reported to you back in January
that our early results (early decision, early action and rolling) played a major role in the success of this class as more than 50% of our students had a home for next year thanks to the early rounds of admission. The Class of 2014 also had the largest group of early decision applicants (which is binding for both the applicant and college) apply in my 12 years at Poly Prep, and, with positive decisions, 40% of the class were finished with the college process early. We will continue to encourage our students to utilize the early options available to them as admit rates for many schools continue to get tighter and tighter in the regular rounds of admission.
Poly’s College Counseling Office
I would like to thank the other members of the College Counseling Office. Rita Lee has stepped in as administrative assistant and done an admirable job. With her efficiency and skills along with her warmth, charm and bowl of candy, she has become a favorite with our students. Pam Pratt-Galik (Form VI Dean; Senior Associate Director of College Counseling; World Languages) has accepted a job in Texas for the fall to join her husband, who was transferred there earlier in the year for work. She will be missed, and we wish her the best. Senior Associate Director John Rearick P’10, ‘14 (English) will take on additional responsibilities next year and we are pleased to welcome Nick Soodik (Form III Dean; English) into our office. Dean of the Faculty Susan Beiles also continues her excellent work with us. All of us will be available throughout the summer to assist the seniors with their transition to college and to counsel the Class of 2015 as they move forward in their own search.