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How Colleges Really Make Admissions Decisions; Hispanic Admission Rates Fall in Texas

How Colleges Really Make Admissions Decisions. A new study from Rachel Rubin, a doctoral student in education at Harvard University, sheds some new light on the admittance process at some elite universities. Of the 75 elite universities she studied, most used an “institutional fit,” which “focuses on nonacademic qualities and favors underrepresented minorities and students who demonstrate exceptional talent.” Still, the majority of the schools surveyed based their initial admissions cuts on grades and test scores, while 21 percent made the first cuts based on student essays. “There is a great deal of inconsistency across institutions,” Rubin said, “potentially creating the illusion that student selection is arbitrary.” [TIME]

Hispanic Admission Rates Fall in Texas. The journal Race and Social Problems published a report recently that found a direct correlation between the drop in Hispanic students admitted to the University of Texas–Austin and Texas A&M after the schools replaced race- or ethnicity-conscious admissions with class-rank based admissions.  The study used statistics from 1993 through 2003 when race conscious admissions were banned and replaced with automatic admittance to any state school for graduating in the top tenth of their class. The University of Texas–Austin, where officials want to continue using race-conscious admissions in an effort to guarantee the diversification of their campus, is at the center of a lawsuit the Supreme Court will hear later this year. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

“First Generation” Film Shows a Difficult Path to College. With the college admissions process increasing with difficulty, the path to higher education for first generation college applicants is growing harder, too. “First Generation,” which premiered at NYU on Wednesday, documented four California high school students’ academic journey to become the first person in their family to attend college. The film captures the struggles of taking the SAT, filling out applications (which some applicants couldn’t afford), and applying for scholarships with little guidance in the process. [New York Times]

College-Educated Women More Likely to Marry. A new study from sociologists at NYU contradicts the belief that women who pursued higher education were more likely to pass “marriageable age” while pursuing their education than their less-educated counterparts.  Researchers wrote: “[Now] by age 40, the well educated have caught up with the less educated and even surpassed them in the percent that have married. Thus, ultimately the more educated are as likely or even more likely to marry as any other group.” [Slate]

Leor Reef is a journalism intern with Campus Progress.

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