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Knowledge is Power; AI? Not So Much

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Despite my affinity for charts, visualizations, and lists, I confess that I have mixed feelings about the public’s growing interest in college data. (Thank you, Ron Lieber, for the profile in the NYT!)

For selfish reasons, I am gratified. There’s nothing like demand when it comes to enhancing one's bottom line. More importantly, though, knowledge is power. Equipped with the right tools, families are empowered for a proactive college search.

My concern is that families will place their trust in data as a sort of proxy counselor. Nowhere can I see as much potential for harm as in college admissions. Students shape their high school careers around available admissions data. They have no way of knowing that test scores and admit rates lose predictive value with every admissions cycle.

I've made a list of considerations commonly referenced by admissions personnel or by the data companies which support them. Where applicable, I've also made notes about the availability of relevant data.

Take a look:

We work without the benefit of the whole truth, don't we?

A couple of questions come my way on a regular basis. The first is what my paid subscription product offers that they cannot get at no charge elsewhere. The second is whether or not I am concerned about artificial intelligence rendering my business obsolete. Ironically, the second question answers the first.

To provide useful data, one must operate from a deep understanding of its shortcomings and do everything possible to fill the gaps. In the case of admissions, Moore College Data cannot fill all the gaps. Holistic review, by definition, defies quantification. We do, however, give our users all we can find, parse, and analyze. MCD 2.0 (for lack of a better name) rolls out on July 15, and the counselor version will include the following information, in addition to the usual metrics easily found elsewhere.

  • Female admit rate

  • Male admit rate

  • Draw rate (Admit rate adjusted by yield rate--indicator of market strength)

  • % of the incoming class from the top 10% of HS class

  • % of the incoming class from the top 25% of HS class

  • % who submitted SAT scores

  • % who submitted ACT scores

  • Average SAT equivalent score of admitted students

  • Early Decision (ED) admit rate

  • Non-ED admit rate

  • ED students as a portion of all applicants

  • ED admits as a portion of the incoming class

  • # offered spots on the waitlist

  • # admitted from the waitlist

  • Portion of the class from the waitlist

  • Portion of all non-ED applicants who enroll (always a stunner)

If you have not already signed up for our mailing list, please do so! Our next newsletter will include information about the new counselor subscription product.

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