Was losing Rolling Admissions beneficial?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by RLTW, May 24, 2013.

  1. RLTW

    RLTW Member

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    Now that this years’ admissions cycle appears to be pretty much at an end, I’m curious if anyone has any thoughts on the change removing rolling admissions. I’m not on the field force (or any force) and don’t have a prospective candidate in the game so I’m just interested in what others thought.

    My thought has been that I don’t really see a clear benefit especially if it was done away with to help USMA stay radically more on target regarding class size. No insider view on its real purpose but in observing the execution it seems like many were in the dark way past when they were before, past May 1 which is such a critical day for engaging on a vast majority of traditional Plan B options, and it looked to me like not as many service-connected appointments were made.

    Just my tiny observations. Based on those, I wish they’d bring back rolling admissions. Seems a lot more rational in the larger context of both getting qualified candidates and letting people engage on Plan B, and I can't see how any intended benefit actually played out. Unclear that it was the only or even best way to fit the class size so firmly (if that was the goal).

    Other thoughts would be interesting to read. Just curious.

    Thanks,
    RLTW
     
  2. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    I am on the Field Force and am a BIG supporter of the Rolling Admissions process.

    In my view, the purpose of the Rolling Admissions is to "lock-In" outstanding candidates early - before they make the "mistake" of going to other schools.

    In my experience of many years, I think it is relatively easy to ID the most outstanding candidates early. These outstanding people are clearly very strong in every area. A typical profile of these people looks something like this:
    700+ on all SAT scores-highest score on math
    Top 5% of Class
    Captain of Football Team and/or Wresting team
    President of Student Body or Class President
    Head of one or more Clubs
    Boys State Senator
    Great Interview Results
    Attended SLS with good reviews
    Great School recommendations
    etc
    Believe it or not but there are more of these candidates that you might think. I see no reason to not offer these outstanding candidates early admission.

    The candidates that are strong but not the very top candidates are also easy to ID. I can normally tell with about 90% certainty by September-October each year who from my Congressional District will get an offer.
     
  3. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    Just based on my observations of cadets who got in very early in the rolling admissions cycle, I think its a good thing that they are gone.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That's a pretty bold statement. Care to elaborate?
     
  5. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    My congressional district coordinator said we lost a lot of great candidates this year because of the program. That is only 1 congressional district, though.

    West Point will easily be able to compare the stats from this cycle with previous years to see if rolling admissions was beneficial or not.
     
  6. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I am not a fan of the LOAs/rolling admissions.

    More than likely, the stats (SAT, GPA, whatever) are still good. I see it MD a lot where qualified candidates don't even consider West Point. Still, the quality of kids from MD going to West Point are still as good as ones going to Navy. So not sure what LOAs/rolling admissions accomplish for the majority of candidates?

    Not sure what we lose by waiting until we have more applicants to consider/compare. With LOAs/rolling admissions, the admissions office can't undo a selection if more qualified candidates appear later for that nomination category.

    I know the admissions process is not fair, but do we want uses when a candidate completes the application as a significant factor?
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    It is a zero sum game, your Congressional district's lost is another's gain. The admissions process is not perfect, but our goal should be having the most qualified class, not having most appointments from wherever.
     
  8. RLTW

    RLTW Member

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    some additional clarity on changes to the whole process -- esp. the schedule

    OK, not trying to hijack my own thread, but I want to open up both points of discussion: (1) no rolling and (2) relatively late bulk offers)

    I want to add some clarity to my original post, sorry I did not make this more clear. Part of the changes made this year included what seemed to me a very late schedule of rolling out appointments, so in the linked but indeed separate discussions of both rolling admissions (not done) and rolling out appointments (meaning only the schedule they are offered) I want to make sure I was clear that I’m interested in the impact of both changes.

    For example, if you want to kill rolling admissions, fine (or not) but I still think the process could have started much more in earnest in the Nov/Dec timeframe and basically gotten to the point of the last hundred offers by mid Feb rather than mid May. Tying those two together meaning no rolling admissions and yet still making a huge portion of offers come out in a kind of traditional “we usually do this after early rolling admissions but even when we are not using rolling admissions we are not adjusting the rest of the schedule” kind of way (geesh that sounds clear as mud) it just seems like they should have still had an earlier schedule of massive offers, so people could make decisions more in tune with other opportunities (i.e. Plan B schools).

    Sorry for any confusion. Comments welcome.
    RLTW
     
  9. 845something

    845something Member

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    Since most congressional nominations don't come out until December, the difference is really only two months (late December to late February). The ones that it affected - service connected nominations which for Presidential were essentially done at Thanksgiving the previous cycle versus into March this year giving those that weren't complete and medically qualified early a better chance. Also consider that holding offers until February gives college reapplicants a chance to finish (they need their fall transcripts) before most spots are filled.
     
  10. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    From memory, one of the changes mentioned Spring 2012 by the head of admissions was that the USMA admissions cycle timing would be adjusted to be more in alignment with the very competitive schools. Not the be exactly the same, but to account for the timing of the other schools. And specifically, that the acceptance cutoff for USMA would be after the main notification by the Ivy's, etc.

    I don't fully understand the logic, but it was very clear that they had a reason for moving the timing later. And that they felt it would allow them to retain some extremely competitive candidates that they were losing to other schools.

    Personally, I see a couple of different buckets where LOA's were used. One problematic, the other not. So the usage of LOA's is not a simple yes/no, I believe there are cases it's to USMA's benefit and some cases where they appeared to work against long term USMA interest / strategy.
     
  11. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    I think I unfairly lumped everyone who got an LOA into one big group. In my limited experience, it seems like a majority of the non athlete/minorities that got in early are here more for the education than for the Army.
     
  12. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Huh. So those damn minorities are screwing it up. Gotcha.

    I know you've been a cadet for 5 minutes now, so like all college kids you know everything, but allow me to give you a breaking news update:

    1. Selfish and self-serving people come in all varieties, including white.
    2. You have literally no idea who is there for what. The most gung-ho Army lovers in your class will be out in 5 years and the Too-Cool-for-Everything Corps Squad guy will become a brigade commander. Wait and see.
     
  13. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    Gee, I thought saying non-athlete/minorities would make it clear that I wasn't talking about athletes or minorities :rolleyes:
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    No, it made it sound like you were saying non-athletes and minorities.

    Nonetheless, I stand by my point, and you'll see this in time: you never know who is there for what. Only time will tell. Why someone goes there at 18 means nothing. What they do at 27, 37, 47...that's what matters.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    "Mistake"...Really
     
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Couldn't agree more.
     
  17. Falcon74

    Falcon74 Member

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    Rolling admissions

    In a normal year, rolling admissions seems to work well enough; however, if the admissions target changes (decreases) after the process starts, rolling admissions could make it awkward to get the right appointees. As long as there are a lot of well qualified nominees, USMA retains more control by getting away from rolling admissions while retaining some limited waiver options.
     
  18. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    Some good and pro arguments. I still feel that there are some exceptionally outstanding candidates who can be easily IDd early and should be given early appointments.

    Of course, being an outstanding candidate does not assure success as a Cadet or as an officer.

    In my class - and I have seen studies form other classes - Cadet rank and high class standing have little to do with predicting success in the real Army (If you measure success by the highest rank achieved in the Army). Many of our high ranking Cadet Captains were quickly outperformed by classmates who did not have high Cadet ranks.

    My stats might be a little off, but as I recall, only one of the 12 people in my class to make General Officer rank was a Cadet Captain. The First Captain and the Regimental Commanders (highest ranking Cadets) did not make General Officer rank.

    However, we must still use the Whole Candidate Score as the predictor of success until we devise a better system.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  19. GoBlue1984

    GoBlue1984 Member

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    Only Time and WP Admissions Can Make That Call

    I'm not military, or an alum - just the parent of a CO2017 appointee (won't say "New Cadet" until R-Day just in case the unthinkable happens) but I'll provide my perspective ...

    IMO discontinuing both Rolling Admissions and LOA's has been both good and bad.

    The Good:

    1. It seems to have given the academy a chance for a complete look at all the candidates on a nomination slate. With an overall smaller class size, there are fewer NWL offers available. Consequently once a candidate is picked from a slate, there are fewer options for other candidates on that slate. So now there seems a greater chance that an early LOA could keep out a more rounded or qualified candidate whose application is completed later. With reduced class sizes, it seems more likely this could happen than a few years back where more NWL slots were available.

    2. It doesn't seem like there has been any loss of candidate quality - both academically and in regards to leadership and athletics. Every appointee I've either met or read about has stellar credentials and deserves admission. The same could be said of candidates who did not get appointments.

    3. If someone did a BINDING EARLY DECISION application to BigNameU, I would question if they really were sold out to USMA and to serving in the Army. I emphasized over and over again to my DS -- only go to an academy if you are determined to have a military career. If USMA "lost" them, I'm not sure it was a significant loss (yes, I am aware that many who are committed now will only serve the minimum before all is said and done). IMO, the academies need those who are committed first to service and leadership. Lee was high; Grant was low but both made great leaders of men in battle.

    4. Most schools allow deposits to hold slots through May 1. Only a few CO2017 appointees appear to have been offered after that date so it doesn't seem like there should have been a loss of candidates because of that. In contrast, I know we will gladly "lose" the deposits we have made for DS' backup plans as WP is his commitment.

    5. I've seen a few posts where an appointee has turned down WP for one of the other academies, and vice-versa. The other academies also allowed acceptance through May 1st so the bulk of USMA offers were already made prior to that decision point. I'm sure this happens every year so I see no significant change there. In fact with smaller class sizes looming, I fully expect we will see USNA and USAFA reduce LOAs and cut back on rolling admissions in the future.

    6. The fact that admissions stated they were not offering appointments until late Feb actually kept the anxiety down until the end. That has to be good. In contrast, my DS was accepted in March to a school that has rolling admissions, and had already sent many acceptances. For that school, the lack of a decision was actually more stressful for him as he really would have wanted to attend there had an academy appointment not come through.


    The Bad:

    1. The waiting was a killer. As a parent and in observing my DS while waiting, Feb 28 could not get here fast enough. DS was admitted to every school he applied to - largely on his academic credentials but I believe also because of how well rounded he was. An LOE, although not a guarantee, from USMA was something he could at least take encouragement in.

    2. The uncertainty that even with the LOE, he might not get a BFE. Another applicant from our district was a classmate who lettered in Football and Baseball and had solid academic and leadership credentials. A third classmate was a recruited athlete (and is headed to USMAPS). Other applicants came from premier schools in the area and competed against my DS in track and cross country (one actually earning a Div 1 X-Country scholarship). All of this weighed on my DS' and probably more Mom and Dad's minds.

    3. The need to pursue as many other "Plan B/C/D" as possible. DS did have an AROTC scholarship and that was his real Plan B, but he also felt compelled to pursue non-military connected scholarships just in case a DODMERB DQ happened. But I suspect this is common in years past too.

    4. There was, even as recent as a couple of weeks ago, still uncertainty for some candidates. I feel for them and their parents. But I also realize that EVERY year there are a handful of last minute appointments. So I'm not sure that is a big change.

    5. If the BFE was not going to come, it would have been nice to have been mentally prepared for that. As Feb moved on, there was a lot of "hoping" that USMA would send a BFE. If the BFE had never arrived or a QNS letter received instead, it would have been a short-term disappointment but (given his AROTC opportunity) not devastating.


    Overall Comments

    I can see a place for rolling admissions and I can see a place to announce decisions all at once. Overall I think that rolling admissions are no longer necessary to insure a great, competitive class. Same comment regarding LOA's for most candidates.

    If they DO NOT revert to rolling admissions, I'd encourage Admissions to continue the use of the LOEs, while keeping them somewhat selective. I'd also tell them to give LOA's sparingly and only to candidates that may have service connected appointments where deployment may hang over the candidate.

    The firm date to expect news was reassuring. I wish more schools, and the other academies, would do that as well. I think it is just as important for the academy to send out QNS letters as soon as possible as well, so as to give finality to candidates.
     
  20. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    I will make one last comment. I think that relatively few people (150-200) should get early admission. These clearly outstanding people are going to get an offer since their Whole Candidate Scores (WCSs) are super-high. These few offers will not upset any later offers or class balance.

    For example - The most outstanding people with Presidential nominations should not have to wait for the Congressional nomination process - they are competing with the other Presidential nominees for the allocated 100 slots.
     

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