It's hard to judge your chances of getting into college based just on numbers. The average GPA and test scores that colleges share often don't tell the whole story. Sometimes they skew those numbers to improve their status in the college rankings. And even when you're reviewing a school who shares its numbers honestly, if the college asks for other information, like activities, essays, letters of rec or an interview, then there's a human element to the evaluation that numbers don't measure.
But accurate numbers still have their place. When one of our Collegewise students wants to know how she stacks up to applicants at Duke or Washington or Boston U or DePaul, we start by looking at the data for the class we worked with last year. What were their GPAs and test scores? How many AP or IB classes did they take? And of course, where did they get in? It adds a scientific element to the process that helps us be even more accurate as we help our students pick appropriate schools.
Allison in our Irvine office is working on a behemoth project right now to bring together all of the admissions results from our four offices for the class of 2010. Here's a peek at the project (I blurred out the names and high schools for each student).
When she's done, we'll have data on over 200 students from four different states, totaling over 1,500 college applications submitted for the class of 2010.
We still think there's an art to picking the right colleges with kids based on factors other than numbers. But the art works a lot more effectively when you've got the science right.