Episode Title: College News Fit to Digest. May 23, 2020
Episode summary introduction: Making sense of the College News of the week curated by Alma Matters. Coronavirus continues to drive the news. Shveta Bagade, College Counselor gives us her take on the news.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Our Guest: Shveta Bagade, College Counselor based in Silicon Valley California.
Resources referred to in this episode:
Episode Transcript: Please visit almamatters.io/podcasts.
Transcript of the episode’s audio.
Hello, and welcome to yet another episode of College News Fit to Digest. Every week, we pick a few news items relating to US Colleges and discuss it with our own Shveta Bagade, College Counselor. Alma Matters curates the news daily relating to US Colleges, and makes it available on alma matters.io/coronavirus. We pick a few news items from that curated list, and discuss it every week here in these podcasts. Now, without further ado, on with the podcast!
Hi, Venkat, how are you today?
Doing well. And you?
Doing great. Another crazy week.
Another crazy week. Memorial Day weekend coming up. And seems like time’s flying by, really fast.
Definitely. I actually forgot it was Memorial Day weekend. So thank you for the reminder.
Yeah, the only reason I'm, I know, is that everything around you is saying that, you know, talking about how fewer people are going to travel, you know, that sort of thing. It’s a sign of the times. I guess it's the unofficial start of summer.
Um, well, summer means a lot of things, you know, getting decided, not this year though.
So I think we have some interesting, developing news to discuss at least a few of them. So I think the big news is the University of California, I guess just announced yesterday that they plan to drop the SATs and the ACTs for good. And they're going to, over some time by 2025 or something, replace it with something else.
Sounds pretty big to me. So what do you think,
Oh, this is huge! This is something that, I go, I attend the UC counselors convention every year. It comes up every year. “Are you considering dropping”, and excuse me, with “the COVID it just sort of accelerated the plan. It's just something that's always been on the table but nothing really kind of forced. And the plan they have places to go test optional first couple of years, then they're going to go test blind. And then evaluate how they want to do any, any measurement, whether they create their own test or explore some, something else. But it looks like they're leaning towards, the way I interpret it, looks like they're leaning towards creating their own. Because they're seeing the, they're seeing the bias.
Now, there's a lot of pushback from some of the campuses that want the, at least the option to look at it. So like Cal [UC Berkeley], and UCLA are the two big ones. [UC] Merced, is one of the most diverse campuses, and they're really seeing great successes in trying to have that diversity without relying heavily on the SAT score. So they look at it, but they don't weigh it as heavily as some of the other campuses do, because all the UC campuses are required to use I think it's like 14 criteria they look at and but they can weigh each of those criterias differently as a campus, what's important to them. So the UC system kind of mandating this across the board is really big news.
So, Remind us again, what is test blind as opposed to test optional?
So test blind, The way I interpret that, is more of they're not using the test, but they're collecting the data. And they're looking at their population as they're accepted afterwards. So that they have the data for the students, okay, but they're not using them at all. And they're going to use them after the fact based on their admissions. And see how that creates there because ultimately, the UCs are trying to create a diverse population of representation of the state, so that's of California. So that's why that is so important to do that.
Well, so um, so you know, they have, you mentioned 14 different attributes or parameters they look at for admission, so, so I guess GPA, the other quantitative thing, you know, assuming they don't have a test for the next three, four years, it's going to be the GPA, and then everything else that they collect about the student. So a GPA, is reasonably I mean, they're not standard in any way. So they'd have to evaluate it based on the school and courses and all that right.
Well, so when you apply to a UC, there's one standard form and they have you input your courses accordingly. But they do factor in the school you attend. So if you attend a school that has, you know, let's say 12 different AP classes, and you've only taken two for an engineering major, but, versus another student who's taken two at their school, but their school only offers four. Oh, they factor those criteria into the GPA.
Okay. Fair enough. So they have some way of normalizing it.
They, they try. I mean, it's not foolproof, but, they I believe they do a very good job in trying to do that.
Yeah. So I guess the next question would be after UCs who, you know, is this something that you think is going to spread to others public colleges at least or is this a one off?
Oh, that's that's a hard one to really answer because you look at the, the UCs have in the country, they're like the top six highest number of applicants, they get you look at the each of the campuses individually. So this impacts them greatly.
But would this affect a system like the University of Texas System? I really, I wouldn't even venture a guess. I think universities are going to look at what works for them and what their goals are for their campus or campuses.
So I think what should be interesting is the California State System. How they may or may not follow that process, and the California State system you know, just to clarify Those are like the San Jose State. Cal Poly Slo, San Diego State those schools. They rely heavily on the standardized testing scores, whether it's CT or a CT. And right now this year, they're going optional on it as well. Mm hmm. But how that will continue to play out in the future is unclear.
Okay, fair enough.
So, yeah, I guess so this, this is something that we're going to see unfold over the next year or two then across the country, depending on what different colleges decide on to do or not to do.
Definitely, definitely. It's crazy.
Another one, another topic that I thought was getting a lot of play is around deferrals and different colleges, having different policies to different students. And obviously, there's a lot of talk about that given the COVID-19 and the situation around it. What, What do you, you know, okay, shed some light on that what is what people have to think about?
Well, this is interesting for current students who are looking at their admissions as their current seniors. And then this is important for a lot of the juniors to also kind of keep in the back of their mind, kind of mentality, because this deferral program at each university is so different. If, if they have it at all, the UCs are good example. They don't have a deferral system. So you're either starting or you are looking to apply later.
And so, if that is important to you, have that option, then it's going to be equally important for you to find out if the universities have something in place. And also, if they're changing it based on what's happening now. schools that may not have been flexible are becoming more flexible.
So a lot of the private schools tend to be much more flexible than the state schools, which makes sense their funding is not relied on the government, whereas state schools are, these public schools. So it's really important to know that because there's a lot of students who are out there saying I'll just defer, and they plan on going to UCLA and UCLA doesn't do deferrals. So it's really important to know what that is and then weigh out what's important to you to figure out your next plan.
and I think this complicates things for international students, right? For visas and all that.
Yeah, Oh, definitely. Definitely because international students have a whole another layer of dealing with visa and travel and, you know, commitment to these programs. So it's gonna, they have to take on the extra layer of asking all the right questions for their specific situation. And of course, this varies from country to country. So it's really important for them to be diligent and making sure they're asking all the right questions and getting as much information as possible before they make a final decision.
Great. Well, um, I guess that's it for today. So, enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. Sure, we Need a little break here?
Yeah, definitely. Thank you to waiting for what comes up next week with the college world.
Yeah, that one can't wait. So this is like one of those soap operas, it's a neverending story.
Yes, the hits keep coming.
Okay, fantastic. Thank you again, Shveta.
Talk to you real soon. Take care.
Hi again, hope you enjoyed this conversation with Shveta Bagade on this week's College News Fit to Digest. Stay connected with us by Subscribing to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters].
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Campuses, Deferral, GPA, Students, College, UC, University of California, UCLA, Test Optional, Test Blind