Apr 2, 2010

Ivy League Admissions Results Crash College Confidential

Unless my computer was playing some serious games with me yesterday afternoon, the College Confidential discussion board crashed under the weight of all the Ivy League admissions results that came flooding in.

The official explanation, while less direct, suggests I was right. “We’re still sorting out what happened, but it looks like a key part of our hardware infrastructure failed at the most inopportune moment,” said Roger Dooley, CC website administrator. “This is unprecedented in our 9 years of operation. We apologize for letting you down at this critical time.”

If you’re not in the business, you may not know about the tradition of posting admissions results within specific college or university “threads” on College Confidential. In fact, there’s a prescribed format that breaks into five general areas:

Decision: accepted, waitlisted, rejected
Objective (data): scores, awards, courseload
Subjective (data): extracurriculars, essays, recommendations, interview
Other: state, country, school type, ethnicity, gender, income, hooks
Reflection: strength, weakness, where else accepted

Thoughtful posters even include a description, if relevant, of the envelope and the date and time it arrived in a specific geographic area.

This year, the big day for results coincided with April Fool’s Day, which isn’t all that unusual for the Ivies. But the irony was not lost on the thousands of high school students desperately trying to log on to compare outcomes with others entered in the Ivy sweepstakes.

Even before the crash, results were looking grim. Over the weekend, Georgetown, which has stuck to the traditional snail mail operation, reported applications from 18,100 students, 3400 or 19 percent of whom received a green light to join a projected class of 1580.

UVa received 22,516 applications and admitted a scant 31 percent. Stanford and MIT admitted 7.2 percent and 9.7 percent respectively. While Duke’s applications went up by 12 percent, acceptances dropped to an all-time low of 15 percent. And with a 42 percent increase in applications, the University of Chicago reported that acceptances dropped from 27 percent last year to 18 percent for the class of 2014.

But the news that shut down College Confidential, no doubt involved the Ivy League. For the first time, Harvard applications numbered over 30,000 and acceptances dropped to 6.9 percent or only 2110 students for an incoming class of about 1660.

Yale accepted 7.5 percent or 1940 applicants out of 25,869 applicants and issued waitlist invitations to 932 students. Brown accepted 9.3 percent of 30,136 applicants, while Penn and Dartmouth accepted 14.2 percent and 11.5 percent respectively. And in New York, Columbia admitted 9.2 percent and Cornell admitted 18.4 percent of their applicants.

College Confidential slowly limped back on line throughout the evening. Responding to the official CC apology for technical problems, one student remarked, “Yeah man, don’t worry about it. [Two] hours is nothing compared to the 2 years CC has helped me!”

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