Comparing highly selective vs. selective vs. nonselective colleges

Comparing highly selective vs. selective vs. nonselective colleges

November 6, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


– We’re here today with Sean Logan, Director of College Counseling
at Phillips Academy. Sean, one big question
that students often have is how selectivity should weigh
on the college search process. Can you talk through
how selectivity matters? – [Sean] Sure. So, colleges tend to fall in
three different categories; non-selective schools, and
with a non-selective school, that generally means that if
students meet a minimum GPA and have typically a set of courses that that school is looking
for and an SAT score, that they’re gonna be admitted. So, if they meet the
minimum, they’re admitted. That’s the great majority of
schools that are out there. There are selective schools. Selective, by definition, means
they have more applications than spots at their school, so they have to make some decisions. Selective is generally categorized of say admitting between 40% and
80% of their applicants. Then finally, the last
category is highly selective. These schools tend to
have many more applicants than they have spaces,
so they have to make very difficult choices. They’re typically admitting less than 40% of their applicants all the way down to, the most selective school
in the country last year admitted 5% of its applicants. So, those are the three
different categories that are out there. – [Voiceover] Great. Can you talk us through, in
each of these categories, maybe in a little bit more detail, who is it that makes it into
a highly selective school versus a selective,
versus the non-selective? – [Sean] Sure. So, I think in terms of a
non-selective school, it is, if you meet the minimum
criteria that they put forward, and again, it’s probably
gonna be a certain number of classes in History,
in Math, in Science, and Languages and so forth,
you’re going to be admitted. Again, that’s the great
majority of schools that are out there. When you get in to the
selective and highly selective institutions, I think both
of those are gonna start with your academics, right? What I mean by that is,
have you challenged yourself in your current high schools? Have you taken a very
strong academic program and gone above the minimum? Again, if it only requires
two years of Science, have you taken four? If you haven’t, what have
you taken in place of that? Are they good, strong
academic classes and so forth? So, both selective and
highly selective schools are gonna look at the
strength of your academics. The better student you are, so if you’re sort of an A, A- student in a very good program
in your high school, you’re probably gonna be
a pretty good applicant for a highly selective school. If you’re a B, B+ student
or solid B student in your high school in a good program, you’re probably gonna be
competitive for a selective school. That’s a very broad generalization,
but just to give you some context that’s certainly part of it. And then from there, these
schools are also gonna look at a number of other things,
that may include things like your teacher recommendations, your extra-curricular activities, they may also look at your
SAs if they require them. All of these things will go into their decision-making process, but in general, if you’re sitting
out there trying to decide what kinds of schools
should I be looking at, it certainly would be academically driven. Test scores, again, specially
if you’re a low income student tend to be looked at within the context, just like everything else will be. So if you’re a student
from a low income family, the school is gonna look at
you in context of the resources you have and really evaluate
your testing based off of that. If you’re from a high income
family that’s high educated, you’re gonna be evaluated
based on that type of thing. So, testing is something for any student. They should study. They should work at to try to
get the best scores they can, but they will be looked at in context. – [Voiceover] Great. And Sean, implicit in this conversation is the idea that it’s
beneficial to go to more versus less selective schools. Can you talk us through what
some of the benefits are of if you are academically ready going to a more selective school? – [Sean] What I would say to you is, there are a lot of benefits just sort of pushing yourself. You already have done that
in your high school context. If you are gonna be
competitive for a selective or highly selective school, you’ve already taken good courses, you pushed yourself,
you’ve done those things to put yourself in the position to apply to these kinds of schools and these schools have benefits that may really benefit you in what you want your college experience. Those things tend to be things like really good financial aid packages. I’ve had many students
who’ve actually gone to very expensive schools and paid much less than they would’ve
at their local public school. The opportunities there, in
terms of what the school has, a two billion dollar endowment versus a hundred million endowment, the resources are very, very different in what you can expect at
that school in terms of laboratory spaces, in
terms of dormitories, in terms of the student body that’s there. The population of who you
will be going to school with at the these schools tend
to be much more diverse on a lot of levels;
socioeconomically, racially, geographically, and a
lot of different ways that will benefit you and
your educational process. So, again, thinking about pushing yourself and applying to these selective
and highly selective schools can really open doors for you that you may not know exist right now. They tend to have
opportunities in terms of their career resources that …
Career services, I mean. So as you’re leaving school, in fact, a lot of these schools now are starting in freshman year
with you and getting prepared, preparing, helping your
prepare your resume, getting you to do interviews,
and really thinking about, as you go through your four years, also thinking about
your career after that. Again, they have the resources to do that. University of Chicago has
up boards of 40 people on their career resource center to help students with their career after, and that’s just an astonishing number. – [Voiceover] Great.
Sean, thank you so much.