Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Business insider's 2014 top 50 law schools

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Business Insider released its annual top 50 law schools.  Check out what has changed in recent years.

Another year, another top schools list.  Pretty soon we're going to need a top 50 list of top 50 school lists.  Business Insider releases information on a range of professional programs, including law school, and their new list just came out.  We gave it a once-over and came away with some interesting impressions.

While the top five has remained fairly steady year over year, there are some interesting shifts in the top 14.  U. Penn and Chicago have both dropped substantially in the rankings since 2012, while Duke, a (somewhat inexplicably) hot school in pretty much every ranking lately, soared to #5.  NYU dropped a few slots in the rankings as well, although it remains the top school for tax, and still boasts an extremely impressive 97% employment rate after graduation.  Michigan Ann Arbor and Northwestern both dropped a bit (Michigan's employment numbers are in the mid 80s, not a sparkling number for a T14 school) and UCLA dropped precipitously, from just outside the T14 to 21.

Overall, however, the differences are mostly minor, musical chairs more than sea changes, and any school in the top 25 remains an excellent destination for a prospective legal scholar, assuming he or she is prepared to put in the hard work and graduate in the top 50%->25% of his or her class.

 

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A fascinating new Poets and Quants article explores the best and worst things about top MBA programs from the point of view of perspective students.  How can this help you with your applications?

Poets and Quants released an interesting article last week quoting students' real impressions, positive and negative, of their schools.  We here at Forster-Thomas decided to translate that into all-important "fit",  which many schools consider one of the most important factors in a candidacy.  How can you present yourself as a good 'fit' for a target school?  Use these helpful tips!

HBS.  HBS is a great fit for outgoing, self-confident, diverse students with proven leadership ability, either in their workplace or extracurriculars.  Harvard is looking for exceptionally strong academic performers, partly because their quantitative coursework is considered questionable by some, and partly because they can.  HBS is very large, so you have to prove that you have the ability to stand out from the pack, or at least be comfortable getting lost in a crowd a little bit.

Stanford.  GSB is looking for people with diverse work backgrounds (IE not just entrepreneurs ...) and inclusive, humanist personal attitudes.  Stanford is extremely academically rigorous, and although entrepreneurship is far from the only thing to do at Stanford, the large amount of available opportunities mean that self-starters, team-builders and natural leaders with warmth and kindness are bound to be looked on favorably.

Booth.  Chicago is a top-notch conventional business school, feeding a lot of banking and consulting, but very interested in out-of-the-box thinkers with unconventional backgrounds and ideas looking for a fresh start or a new direction.  Creativity is important, as is the ability to make friends quickly and securely.

Wharton is the oldest and most academically rigorous of the top programs, with an excellent (if occasionally a bit stodgy) reputation.  Wharton's quantitative demands are high and it focuses on finance, although entrepreneurship is on the rise there.  A strong Wharton candidate will present a stellar work and academic history and a reasonable ability to 'make nice' socially.

Kellogg.  Northwestern is a friendly school with a true Midwestern feel, a strong marketing reputation, and a collegial and supportive student body.  It can be a bit slow paced and does not have the fanciest facilities, but there are tremendous experiential learning opportunities for self-starters and a tight-knit alumni network for glad-handers.

Columbia.  A top-notch school with unparalleled industry access.  Driven students and strong multitaskers fit well here.  There are a wealth of opportunities, but this can overwhelm certain students.  Columbia has at times been seen as stern and a bit unwelcoming, and is consciously making efforts to counter that impression.

Tuck.  Dartmouth is perhaps the most close-knit school among the top MBAs.  There is a certain sense of cloistered isolation from the world, which strengthens that impression even further.  Ability to play nicely with others is tremendously important here.  Academic requirements are a little more relaxed than at some other top schools, with more allowance given for interesting work history and overall fit.

Duke.  Fuqua is an approachable, slightly easygoing MBA experience, a particularly strong choice for future consultants.  Emphasis is placed on gentility and the ability to fit in with the relaxed, thoughtful culture.  The '25 Random Things', in particular, is a strong indicator of a prospective student's ability to laugh at himself a little.
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 The QS TopMBA Global 200 has been released for 2014-2015.  With its international focus and emphasis on employability and recruitability, this continues to be a useful tool in determining which business schools are worth the money.

Hot on the heels of Bloomberg, this year’s QS Topmba rankings have been released.  These rankings focus almost exclusively on surveys of global employers, and as such, should be seen in a very different light than any other ranking out there.  QS did add 15% for “academic reputation” this year, but it had little to no impact in the top six: Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg and Columbia are safe yet again.


In North America, certain trends jump out.  Yale climbed the QS ranking and the Bloomberg ranking this year — a coup for the school, it would seem.  Yale is ranked 11th, up from 17th, this year in QS.  Canada overall sank in the rankings, with its top school, Rotman Toronto, dropping to 14 from 8.  One shocking loser in this year’s QS rankings is Vanderbilt Owen, which plummeted from #37 to #86 — a testament to the volatility of ranking by survey.  Owen’s drop in the Bloomberg rankings was much less precipitous, from 25 down to 30.  USC Marshall and UT Austin McCombs also made substantial gains in this year’s rankings.

One of the most eyeball-grabbing figures in the 2014-2015 QS rankings is the precipitous drop in overall score after Rotman at #14.  It plummets from 90 to 78, a massive 12 point drop, and by rank #17, Desautels McGill, the overall score is down to 71 percent.  This suggests that somewhere around this point in the rankings, the limitations of the survey size probably began to make themselves felt, and fluctuations in the lower 70-80 percent of the rankings should be taken with a large grain of salt.

The international trends are equally fascinating.  While business schools in the US and Europe remain the most popular study destinations among MBA students, schools elsewhere in the world such as those in Asia are growing in popularity.  According to the QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey 2014, over 50% of MBA students are choosing schools based on the country in which they wish to work — a very sensible decision, if you ask us.

In Europe, IE, IESE and IMD (the magic Is) were slightly displaced by (relative) newcomers like HEC Paris and Judge school in Cambridge.  SDA Bocconi in Italy continues to do well in QS rankings.  Again, there are massive overall score dropoffs at #11 and #14.

In Asia, INSEAD Singapore borrows name and reputation recognition from its powerful European sibling, scoring more than 35 points higher than any other school in Asia overall (although still much lower than the top European and American business schools).  The highest ranked mainland Chinese school, Beijing BiMBA, has an overall score of 25.3, and there are only 30 schools in the Asia ranking. 

Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have 15 total schools to offer out of the top 200, none ranking higher than 23.5 points overall, mostly suffering by dint of professional name recognition.  As the economy continues to globalize, the reputations of these schools will undoubtedly continue to improve.

Overall, it's worth remembering not to place too much emphasis on this (or any) particular ranking, but rather to consider them holistically, as part of a spectrum of information about top schools.  That said, as the importance of global business school rankings continues to increase, we can only hope that the rigor of QS's methodology will increase along with it, making this a reliable ranking for years to come.


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MIT is planting its flag firmly in the soil -- education's future is going to be more interactive and more student-driven. So what kind of student will succeed in these future schools?

In a revealing article published yesterday, MIT's director of digital learning advocated for what he sees as the future of education -- a blend of traditional lectures and interactive components, with online and massively online coursework playing a much greater role.

The first thing to point out about this article, of course, are its inherent contradictions.  MOOCs and massive online lectures are, if anything, MORE distancing and less engaging than in person lectures.  Interactivity, which should be an absoutely integral part of the online learning experience, has been a while coming.  It's clearly not going to be an overnight transformation.  EdX is aware of this problem, and is working on it.

Assuming these issues get ironed out (and there's no reason to think they won't), the future of school might indeed look very different.  But what will the ideal STUDENT for those schools look like?  How will admissions change, and how will it stay the same?

Standardized tests aren't going anywhere.  Love 'em or hate 'em, standardized testing is here to stay.  Until sentient AIs are capable of judging a million applicants in a nanosecond, there's no practical way for schools to make holistic judgments on large numbers of students.  Standardized testing is the next best thing.  So your aspiring MIT grad should focus on making good grades wherever she is enrolled (school name matters less than GPA) and acing those SATs and ACTs.

Differentiation through individual achievement, accomplishment and leadership will matter more.  Every mentor seeks a worthy apprentice (just ask Obi-Wan Kenobi).  If you want to appeal to the faculty of MIT or fill in the blank school of the future, you'll need to look for interesting things to do, situations where you can take initiative and have an impact.  Locally, unconventionally, where will you be able to make a difference?  National Honors Society isn't going to cut it anymore.

An affinity for technology is a must.  This might sound a bit obvious, but a great way to appeal to a futuristic school like MIT is to be well versed in future technologies like 3d printing, Virtual Reality, and Web APIs and programming.  If you programmed your own little game in your spare time, or if you win your science fair with an innovative 3d printed experiment, that's going to count for even more in the 'apprenticeship' model MIT is describing.

Whatever the college campus of the future looks like, and however much time students actually SPEND on it, it's absolutely certain that college will continue to be an essential tool for people to advance in society.  So crack those books and get to work!

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New reports on the cost of four year colleges show that things are only getting worse.

The Chronicle of Higher Education released an  new report on the long-term costs of attending college.  This chart traces tuition increases from 1998 to 2014.  Unsurprisingly, the trend is as dramatic as it is disturbing.


At the most expensive four year undergraduate colleges, which are Sarah Lawrence, Harvey Mudd, Columbia, NYU and U.Chicago, tuition has increased at a rate of around $1000 per year ABOVE the rate of inflation.  Looked at another way, if you are earning the median income in America, $50,000/year, and you have gotten inflation-appropriate raises every year (a generous assumption) you would still be paying an additional ~ 1/3rd of your yearly salary, every year, on college tuition alone.

Schools claim they need this extra money, that they cannot manage without it.  The numbers tell a different story.  Students are, of course, only one source of University revenue.  At small liberal arts colleges, they account for a much higher percentage of total revenues.  But at top research Universities, tuition is a small slice of the pie indeed.  The top five most expensive colleges had an average endowment of 6.6 billion dollars in 2013 (note that the range is extreme — a mere $74 million for Sarah Lawrence, a whopping $8 billion for Columbia), and earned anywhere from 6 percent to 17.5 percent on those endowments.  Research universities also make a lot of money from their attached hospitals, and from private gifts.

Take U. Chicago, for example.  This past calendar year, U. Chicago earned 6.6 percent on its endowment for a $447.15 million profit.  According to its website, that accounts for approximately 12% of its operating budget.  

Assuming all students paid full tuition last year, and all students paid the undergraduate tuition rate, (both fo which are obviously optimistic assumptions), U. Chicago earned $943 million in tuition last year, which would account for around 25% of its operating budget.  (An interesting aside -- this also means that U. Chicago is earning billions of dollars from its hospital, land, private gifts and other sources.)

According again to its own web reports, Chicago’s assets were valued at $371.3 million more than last year, and it also showed an operating budget profit of $6.1 million.  Combined, these numbers mean U. Chicago became $378.4 million dollars RICHER last year.

If tuition was suddenly returned to 1998 levels, would that still be the case?

U. Chicago would make $737 million from students …

and would STILL be $172 million dollars richer than last year.  So yes, it would.

Colleges aren’t charging more because they have to.  They’re charging more because they CAN.  We have placed private colleges at the epicenter of American life, and they are profiting handsomely from it.  Food for thought for employers and students who are still obsessed with ‘brand names’ in education.  You are paying for it.

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Hang onto your hats, things are about to get  wild around here.  Bloomberg released its newest ranking of MBA (and undergraduate B-school) programs this week.  We can see the headlines now -- Death of HBS?  Duke ascendant?  Take it easy.  Let's look at this more closely.

 

 By Ben Feuer

The first thing to consider when evaluating any ranking of schools is the methodology.  Bloomberg relies primarily on surveys of students and employers, and secondarily on faculty article publications.  This method has some obvious flaws -- there will be a tendency by students to rank their school more highly to try to make their school appear more prestigious, and since the methods of the ranking are publicly known, it would be completely conceivable for a lower ranked school to 'game' the rankings.  Bloomberg claims to correct against this by having psychologists evaluate the data.  The survey of employers seems more reliable, but ultimately basically amounts to a 'who is best known' contest.  Finally, the ranking by article publications is naturally going to favor schools with more prominent journals, since it is easier for Harvard professors to get published in Harvard Journals, Duke professors in Duke journals, et cetera.

So with those caveats in mind, what conclusions can we draw from the striking changes in the 2014 rankings?

In a post-online world, will Harvard's name brand dominance finally be challenged?  The most striking jump is HBS, from 2 down to 8.  Is this the beginning of the end of HBS's rankings dominance?  Hold your horses there, cowboy.  In their description of this year's ranking methodology, Bloomberg explains that this year’s ranking will show more change than previous rankings have done because previous years of data weigh less heavily on the current scores -- A LOT LESS.  This year's student evaluation counted for 75 percent up from 50 percent, and the 2010 survey was eliminated completely from the ranking.  The reason Bloomberg used to incorporate multiple years was to prevent 'outlier years' -- of course, this new methodology seems destined to create many outlier years (and many headlines).  Ultimately, it is far too soon to ring a death knell at HBS based on this survey alone.  All of what we just said for HBS also applies to MIT, and in almost precisely the same manner.

Holding Steady ... In some ways, given the radical difference in methodology, it's more striking to note what did NOT change.  Three of the top four -- Booth, Wharton and Stanford -- are materially identical to last year, with slight changes.  Wharton continues to hold a higher place in Bloomberg's ranking than Stanford.  Lately some pundits have been quick to bury Wharton as outdated -- not the trendiest of top MBA hotspots.  I think this ranking shows that from an employment and student satisfaction standpoint, at least, Wharton is still a top three school, year after year.

Up and Coming?  Duke and Yale have long had well regarded MBA programs, but this might mark a watershed moment for both schools.  Duke is probably benefiting from its exceptional regional reputation, since the methodology of the employer survey this year incorporates regional and industry-specific recruiting more effectively than past surveys, and also devalues pure 'name brand recognition' somewhat (a battle HBS, Stanford and Wharton will win every year).  Yale's ascendancy is the most striking -- a quantum leap from 21 to 6 -- and could mark the beginning of a big two years for Yale's business school.  Given the strong name brand recognition of the undergraduate program, it's hard not to feel optimistic about Yale's chances for climbing higher in future US News rankings.

Conclusion.  Overall, it would be a mistake to read too much into Bloomberg's biannual rankings.  They change a lot every time they're done, and this year in particular, the major shifts in methodology produced a lot of upheaval.  The healthiest approach would be to look at this as one more data point in a long line.  Perhaps it will make some students reconsider strong programs they might otherwise have overlooked, like Tepper, Yale and UCLA Anderson.  That alone would be a fine outcome for this ranking.

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UC Berkeley Haas's goals essay this year is tricky.  It is going to trip up a lot of applicants.  Don't be one of them.

By Evan Forster

Earlier today I received a call from Brenda about the Haas MBA goals essay—

What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? In your response, please specifically address sub-questions a., b., and c.
a. How is your background compelling to this company?
b. What is something you would do better for this company than any other employee?
c. Why is an MBA necessary and how will Haas specifically help you succeed at this company?
(500-600 word maximum for 3a, 3b, and 3c combined)

Brenda’s amazing—a transportation industry titan-to-be. So why was her essay so flat?

We have been writing about the archetypal MBA goals essay (and other professional why Law, Med, Architecture, etc.) for years now.  After a while, it all starts to sound the same.

“Start with a story about you, followed by the difference you want to make in your short and long-term goal—and be specific. Zero in on why that School or program is right for you and how you’re a fit. Close by bringing at all around to your short and long-term goals, blah, blah, blah….” Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Anyway, Brenda sends me this response to Haas’ prompt #1. I can easily spot the fact that she’s being vague and cautious. There’s not a lot of power in telling an adcom, “I can help manage the way that X company deals with changing guidelines and law…” I suggest making it more “active”, but I’m not seeing a way to squeeze my square peg methodology into this round hole—Still, I’m trying. God forbid I should contradict myself, after all.  I’m supposed to be the expert!

After our call, I think more about the question.  Desired post-MBA role and company.  Simple enough.  McKinsey? Bain? Accenture? It’s just another goals essay.  And yet

And then, BAM!  I fall in love with the question. It’s not about locking yourself into the right company (although it should be reasonable given your industry background), but revealing your ability to spot needto figure out what stands between a company and unbridled success.  Get it?  They are looking for people to take on making a difference … WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL!

Sneaky, huh?                                                                    

For Brenda (and you) to ace this Haas goals essay, you have to be the guy who, without ‘permission,’ finds a way to make a team work better.  Brenda did this naturally as a college volleyball playerand somewhere, at some time, you did too.  So dig down deep.  Find the version of you that is fearless.  Decide to expand the transportation division of McKinsey, improving how it handles its infrastructure and government clients.

 Don’t worry about being wrong or seeming arrogant.  There are no Haas goals police. Declare your intention.  State the change you will make. That’s what leaders do, and that’s what great programs like Haas are really looking for.

Like Haas itself, this essay is about a way of being. You see what’s missing in a company. You (because of your particular background) and leadership-ability can usher in that change. And you recognize that you need help, what you need help in, what skills you need to bolster and—in each one of thesehow Haas specifically can help you.

So in the end, this IS just another goals essaywith added specificity, asked in terms that only a few people will get. Be one of them.

Auntie Evan’s 5 steps to Haas Goals Dominance

A)     Look at your current history/industry and remind yourself of what you’re best at.

B)      Decide where you can be of service to that industry.

C)      Know which companies are missing out on a possible growth area (you should know this because it’s your professional background)

D)     Figure out where you are in need of growth

E)      Invite Haas and its community (via specific classes, clubs, etc.) to join you in your endeavor. 


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School Nickname: UW

Median MCAT: 31

Median GPA: 3.70

Dean: Stella V. Yee

More about the school: Also read this

Founded in 1946, the University of Washington School of Medicine is a regional resource for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho - the WWAMI states.

It is recognized for excellence in training primary-care physicians and for advancing medical knowledge through scientific research. The school's students, staff, faculty and alumni demonstrate commitment to community service through volunteer activities.

Top Residencies: Primary care, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics

Application: More here.

Two-stage.  First stage must be done through AMCAS.  The UWSOM secondary application follows, including additional statements, letters of recommendation, course requirement workshop and TRUST application.  The secondary application deadline is December 1, 2014.

Prescreening: Applicants with approx. 2.9 GPA AND approx. 20 MCAT score will be rejected
        International students without US citizenship or permanent residency will be rejected
        Applicants who have three previous applications will be rejected
Typically more than 95 percent of UW School of Medicine acceptances are applicants from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana or Idaho (WWAMI).

Required Courses: full list here
    •    Four semesters of social sciences
    •    Six semesters of chemistry and biology
    •    Two semesters of physics
    •    Non-applicable social sciences or humanities: “how to courses”, English composition, English grammar, foreign language composition, foreign language grammar, journalism, leadership, music composition, music lessons, performance (dance, instrument, voice, etc.)
    •    Non-applicable science courses: laboratory courses, research, courses taught by a department other than basic science (for example, courses taught by the nursing department and listed as NURS rather than BIO on your transcript)

Secondary Statement Questions:
An autobiographical statement which should include (250 word limit)
    •    the origin and development of your motivation to be a physician
    •    your prior experiences in health care
    •    steps taken to explore a career in medicine
    •    your eventual goals as a physician
    •    and other issues of importance
The Personal Comments section of the AMCAS application may be used to satisfy this requirement, or an additional autobiography may be submitted with your secondary materials.  Your AMCAS personal statement will already be on file with our office.

At first blush, this is a pretty intimidating prompt.  The list of things they want to know is longer than the allowed word count all by itself!  But notice that they view this as a supplement to your AMCAS personal statement.  The most important thing, then, is to add to what you wrote for your general AMCAS statement any material that is specifically relevant to UW.  Did you have regional experiences or professional goals that would be of particular interest to them?  Is there anything that did not make sense for a broader audience but would for the more targeted audience of UW?

3 additional short essays (250 word limit each)

    •    How have your experiences prepared you to be a physician?

This prompt runs the risk of being doubly redundant with your AMCAS statement and your UW supplement.  Avoid this pitfall by focusing in on two specific experiences that you can discuss in depth, subjects that you did not analyze deeply elsewhere.  The experiences you choose don’t have to be professional, by any means, but they should have prepared you, either in terms of experience, values or character, to be a good doctor.


    •    What perspectives or experiences do you bring that would enrich the class?

This is a ‘diversity’ prompt — whatever makes you stand out as a person, be it your personality, your ethnic, racial or geopolitical background, or your experiences working with (and ideally bringing together) a wide range of different people, is fair game for this type of prompt.

    •    What obstacles to your goals have you experienced and how have you dealt with them?

Again, the prompt asks for multiple examples of obstacles, so don’t pick just one.  Do, however, limit yourself to two, as otherwise this would be extremely difficult to answer in 250 words.  In this case, the school is asking for obstacles you have overcome already, and how you overcame them should be the focus of the essay, rather than describing the situation, or worse still, the build-up to the situation.

For re-applicants: From your most recent application until now, how have you strengthened your application?
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Many parents of aspiring doctors have asked me how they can choose the optimal college for medical school acceptance.  The answer is simple -- there is no answer.

 By David Thomas, Photo by Damon Sacks

Recently, the mom of a high school student asked me if I could, as an educational consultant, supply her with a list of colleges and universities that had high rates of acceptance to medical school. She had found a number of them via Colleges That Change Lives. She stumbled onto others via internet searches.

In my capacity as both a college and medical school admissions consultant, I have been asked to supply lists like these many times. The problem is always the same; it's impossible.

Why?  Many colleges boast high medical acceptance rates that are practically meaningless, since each school uses its own methodology to calculate the statistics, creating wildly misleading results.

Some colleges only calculate the number of students who were accepted to medical school using the college's officially sanctioned Pre-Med Committee. So if 100 students declare freshman year that they are applying to medical school, 50 drop out after not doing well on prerequisites, 20 get a high-enough GPA to qualify for a Committee Letter, and 18 of those 20 get into medical school. So the school claims a 90% acceptance rate, but could as easily claim a rate of 18%.  Cornell is a great example of a school like this.

But wait, it gets more complicated.  Some of the students apply without a committee letter -- let's say 30.  And 10 of those get in, meaning out of the ACTUAL APPLICANTS to medical school, 28 out of 50 got in, which yields a 56% acceptance rate.  So depending on how you look at it, 18%, 56% or 90% of Cornell applicants get into medical school.

And of course, some colleges do not have a Pre-Med Committee. In those cases, schools usually publish simple acceptance rates.  Because of the statistical gamesmanship, these schools can appear to have worse rates of acceptance but actually have BETTER rates!

The sad truth is this; MED SCHOOL ACCEPTANCE STATS ARE UTTERLY MEANINGLESS. Medical school admissions usually starts with a computer-screening process, and computers don’t weight GPAs differently (at least, not yet). In other words, a 3.9 GPA from Fresno State will always trump a 3.5 from Cornell in this process. Once the Secondary Essays are received, and humans begin to get involved in the screening process, then the subjective factors are considered (as in all admissions).

So what is important? DO WELL AS AN UNDERGRAD—wherever you are. How well you do in college is more important than where you went to college. And the existence of a premed committee doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get better advising there. In fact, the advantages and disadvantages of a premed committee can balance each other out.

Medical school admissions is incredibly nuanced and tricky, and I've just barely given the tiniest example of its complexities. But first and foremost? Ignore the acceptance-rate stats. They are meaningless.

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A study exploring the correlation between expensive and elite colleges and future earnings raises intriguing questions about the efficacy of higher education. 

We here at Forster-Thomas are busy little bees, always improving ourselves for your future benefit.  You're welcome.  Recently, a study came to our attention that we thought was worth passing along to you.

The study looked at two things -- how much does a school's selectivity impact students' future earnings, and how much does a school's cost impact students' future earnings.  The correlation you probably expected to see was nowhere to be found.  At least for the class of 1972 (upon which this study is based), students who were accepted to Harvard but chose to go to Kenyon wound up earning the same amount, on average, as those who actually attended Harvard. 

 However, there was a correlation between cost and future earnings, meaning that those students who were accepted to Harvard but chose to go to San Diego State U. to save money wound up earning less in the future.

This finding, quite frankly, is strange, and it's hard to know exactly what to make of it.  It's easy enough to make up reasons for it to be true; richer students going in tend to earn more money going out, for example.  But what it really suggests is that further study is needed.

It would be particularly helpful to know how this has evolved over time, since 1972 was a period of relatively low cost AND selectivity for all colleges, and the entire admissions landscape has transformed rapidly since then.  We'll keep our ears to the ground for you.