Thursday, May 11, 2006


The Chicago Tribune had an article yesterday that talked about the plan being implemented by the University of Illinois to improve its statistics with regard to the student body. People are up in arms because the plan involves cutting the size of the freshman class and increasing the percentage of out-of-state students enrolled. Illinois is falling behind its peer schools on both counts. The quotes in the article are mostly from people complaining because their kid did not get into U of I and they expected the kid to. The refrain seems to be, don't favor out-of-state kids over locals!

The funny thing is, in a very fundamental sense I agree that the school's mission needs to be to educate the kids of the state of Illinois. However, the "increase" the school is targeting is going from 10% out-of-state to 15% out-of-state. Pretty at the margins. The smaller freshman class is, in fact, a return to historical norms, with the increase in the last few years being unusual. In other words, the number of people who will be impacted by this who are Illinois residents is very, very small. 6500 total freshman is a historically appropriate number. Ten percent of that is 650. 15% is 975. Thus, the entire issue is whether your child would have been one of the last 325 (5%) students admitted.

My advice to the parents who are so up in arms about this: being in the last 5% admitted is always a bad place to be. You are always vulnerable to the whims of the administration. Maybe you ought to talk to the local high school about the classes and activities they offer to allow your kid to try to get out of that last 5%. Alternatively, maybe it is time to be more realistic about this whole Tom-Cruise-safety school business and recognize that Illinois is a very good institution and Johnny might just not be an appropriate candidate.

P.S. You might also consider moving to Chicago and having your kids score grade points and ACTs from a city school similar to those of the kids at the nice suburban schools. My ACT of 30 coming out of a Chicago Public School was worth much more than the 30 coming out of New Trier. Something to think about...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad idea moving to Chicago. You will cause the children incredible harm by removing them from an environment that is vital in helping them to fully develop their sense of entitlement and social status.

11:27 AM  

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