What do counselors think about test-optional admission?
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
2w ago
Last week, we conducted a--well, not a survey, exactly--of high school and independent counselors, asking them what they thought about test-optional and test-free admission policies.  This is more a testing of the waters of those interested enough and motivated enough to respond. So, before the fans of tests (who can do their own testing of the water at any time, of course), point this out, file this under "interesting, but not definitive."  It might drive discussions, but it won't make a decision for us.  And it shouldn't for you, either. We received about 440 responses, mostly ..read more
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Do test-optional policies increase diversity?
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
1M ago
If you want a definitive answer, you can stop now.  As Mark Twain allegedly said, "I was gratified to be able to give an answer right away.  I said I didn't know." However, critics of test optional like to trot out this study from 2014, suggesting test-optional policies do not increase diversity. There are a couple of problems with using that paper to prop up this argument, however: First, the study included about 200 liberal arts colleges, and nowhere does it suggest that the conclusions can be generalized, or even that the results are reflective of reality every where else.  S ..read more
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Enrollment trends, 2011-2021
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
1M ago
Fresh IPEDS data dropped this week, and my evenings have been busy downloading, cleaning, and structuring the data.  Since it's the holiday season, I won't even complain that IPEDS could make this all easy for anyone who wants to get the data, but then I suppose I'd have to shut down the blog. This is pretty easy, I think: Answer almost any important enrollment question you might have about the last eleven years (as long as you don't want information about even-numbered years, of course). There are two types of controls here: The ones in the blue boxes allow you to select only certain ele ..read more
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Finding your major
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
1M ago
This is a popular post with anyone who works with high school students, and I've just updated it with fresh data from 2021 graduates; it's mainly helpful for two types of cases: Students who are looking for very uncommon majors Students who want to see which colleges have the largest departments in their specific major This is pretty straightforward, and I've put the instructions in tool tips; just hover over the icons in the shape of an I you'll see on the visualization. There are three ways to filter to get just the results your student needs: At top left, you can choose the academic e ..read more
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Are graduation rates and input or an output? (redux)
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
1M ago
This is a refresh of a popular post I've done a few times, asking the important question in the title. People tend to think of graduation rates as an output of the institution, and of course, in some sense, they are; they are certainly measured that way.  But what if I told you that a college's six-year graduation rate (and, to a lesser extent, its four-year graduation rate) can be easily predicted by a single variable that we know before a student ever sets foot on campus? I bet you'd want to see the proof. The variable is the mean SAT (or ACT) score of the incoming class of first-year s ..read more
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Private colleges and discount, 2020
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
3M ago
Discount rate is a hot topic among private college leaders, and although it's an interesting measure, it's not as helpful as some people might think it is.  And it's a little hard to grasp and hard to explain.  But I'm going to try. Discount rate can be helpful when measuring yourself against yourself over time; and it can be helpful when measuring yourself against similar peers.  But as a thing unto itself?  Pretty worthless, actually.  Here's why. First some definitions: Discount rate measures the amount of institutional aid you award as a function of how much gross ..read more
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Yes, your yield rate is still falling, redux (2021)
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
3M ago
I've been creating this data visualization, or some form of it, for several years now.  I think it's most useful for higher education enrollment professionals who have to explain to people at their university why their yield rate is falling.  The short answer is that applications and admits are increasing faster than student populations: If a student today applies to an average of seven colleges, compared to four colleges twenty years ago, yield rate almost has to go down.  I'm sure AI will fix this, and all our problems, very soon. But I've spoken to others who use this other w ..read more
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The Top 10 Things I Wish Tableau Would Announce
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
5M ago
This is a sort of a lull for Higher Ed Data Stories.  It's summer, for one, and the data release cycles have not yet geared up. So instead, I want to write about the ten things that would make it easier to produce HEDS on those occasions when there is good data to work with.  You know I use Tableau to create the data visualizations you find here. It's been a tool that has changed my career: The value of being able to answer questions with a click (especially when you're in a room with someone up the hierarchy and that person is doing the asking) can't be overstated. The original visi ..read more
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The Last AP Post?
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
6M ago
I'm not sure if this will be the last AP post I make, but it sure seems that way, unless people (including those of us who are members of the, you know, membership organization called College Board) put enough pressure on them to continue providing data in the detailed format like they've always done. In case you don't know, College Board used to put very granular data on its website, for anyone to download and examine.  You could look at data by state, by student ethnicity, by specific exam, and by AP score.  For instance, this was a sample from one of the years showing the state of ..read more
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Does the admissions process favor men?
Higher Ed Data Stories | Jon Boeckenstedt
by Jon Boeckenstedt
7M ago
There is another article making the rounds in higher education about the advantages men have in the admissions process.  It's sort of interesting, because while you can look at the available data a lot of different ways, you'd really need to look at the data you can't see to draw the conclusions everyone seems to have drawn. Here is the article, and what you'll probably notice is that the headline--the part everyone reads--is sort of walked back in the article.  I know the people who write the headlines are not the same people who write the article, but sometimes it seems like the tw ..read more
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