"A College Admissions Rat Race"

Troubling piece in the New York Times about the pandemic and college admissions.

The pandemic seems to have exposed and perhaps worsened a recent trend in college admissions: Selective universities have seen extraordinary interest from applicants this year, after waiving test scores. But smaller and less recognizable schools are extending deadlines and expanding outreach to attract students.

Many institutions outside the top tier have struggled for years. The pandemic has made it worse: American colleges and universities have endured losses of more than $120 billion and a few have even shut down permanently. For those that remain, landing fewer students — and losing critical tuition dollars — could mean further distress.

No mention of international applications. Maybe it’s no longer worth coming to the US for school unless you get into an elite university. Could an unwillingness to travel to the US for school account for part of the gap?

I heard someone say that the pandemic is just accelerating existing trends. A company already on an upward trajectory gets a huge boost while another company starting to slow down will crash. It makes sense and it looks like higher education is in the same boat.

We should all be worried, even the privileged few at the elite places. A truly uneducated society will eventually topple even the tallest ivory tower.


Jim Bagrow
Jim Bagrow
Associate Professor of Mathematics & Statistics

My research interests include complex networks, computational social science, and data science.