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The New York Times has released its list of the most (and least) economically diverse colleges.  How should this affect your application strategy?

 By Ben Feuer


 We here at Forster-Thomas have followed with some interest the ongoing furor over economic diversity at top colleges.  Simply put, are lower income students being given the shaft, and if so, what are colleges doing to change that fact?

 The New York Times has finally weighed in, releasing a long-awaited list of the top colleges for economic diversity, and the worst offenders. In case you are wondering, the top five are --

1.  Vassar

2.  Grinnell

3.  UNC Chapel Hill

4.  Smith

5.  Amherst

Wesleyan (my alma mater), Susquehanna and Rice (my brother's alma mater) also received positive nods. If you are a lower-income junior, you may be thinking to yourself, fantastic!  Now I know exactly where to apply.  Not so fast, cowboy.  If you want to apply to these five schools, fair enough, they are excellent schools, but consider an alternate strategy --

Aim for the bottom of the ranking.

Some excellent schools, including Wash. U in St. Louis, Caltech and Wake Forest, were publicly shamed (and in some cases named in the article) by this list.  You can bet your bottom endowment dollar those schools will be looking to climb in the rankings this year, so the smart money is that they will look favorably on Pell Grant applicants for the next few years, whereas some of the schools on this list with smaller endowments, such as St. Mary's, Susquehanna, and Kalamazoo, may be inclined to sit on their hands for a few years and pursue more profitable students.

Food for thought -- but whatever path you choose to take, the release of lists like this is a great thing for college admissions, and an important counterweight to that all-important *other* ranking system.


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