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This Week in Admissions News | Week 37

30 SEPT 2021

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students planning to apply to universities, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. We’ve rounded up the latest news and given our take on what it means for future and current college students. Check back each week to see what’s new!

1. Ambitious high school students in the UK are shifting their sights away from Oxbridge in favor of chasing Ivy League dreams

We’ve seen lots of news in recent months of Oxford and Cambridge making a concerted effort to admit more students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including an influx of public school pupils with lower family incomes. While this news has been largely well-received, the shift has planted seeds of doubt in some high-flying students you might expect to be typical admits at such prestigious unis as they worry that their places are being offered to underrepresented applicants instead. As such, private school students in the UK are increasingly looking to the US for higher education — often guided by consultancies like Crimson!

Crimson’s Take: This trend is not a surprise to us as we’ve watched it unfold over the years — and although Oxbridge are amazing universities, there are many equally amazing options across the pond! Crimson student Fara (now studying at Stanford) told The Times that as one of the many high-achieving UK students doubting the likelihood of her acceptance to Oxbridge, “Crimson helped trim and shape [her] application to make it perfect” and her family saw working with Crimson as an “investment” that was worth “the opportunity to be at Stanford.”

2. Student-athlete admissions come further into the spotlight as Operation Varsity Blues trials get underway

In two-and-a-half years since the Operation Varsity Blues admissions scandal came to light, universities all over the US “pledged to add safeguards to prevent another high-profile breach of the college admissions process.” Now, voices of authority in the higher ed sphere are asking whether or not anything has really changed. Some say ‘yes’ as most of the schools ensnared in the scandal have released statements detailing new measures to “protect the integrity” of athletic recruitment. However, others point out “the scandal hasn’t really eradicated fundamental inequalities when it comes to college admissions and sports” as open spots for athletes “are still more likely to go to students from wealthy families.”

Crimson’s Take: Crimson CEO Jamie Beaton was cited in TIME’s article on this subject noting that while elite schools with abundant resources are taking precautions to ensure that sports recruits are legitimate, likely to avoid finding themselves in an FBI investigation, overall “the frequency of verification prior to Varsity Blues, and the frequency of verification post-Varsity blues, doesn’t appear to have changed that much.” We concur that while stricter measures may be in place to prevent another scandal like this, there are inherent inequalities in student-athlete admissions that give wealthier students an advantage — which is an unfortunate truth we hope will change in the future.

3. Football resumes for the Ivy League after an unprecedented 665 days without any competition

In March 2020 when the Ivy League cancelled its football season, it couldn’t have anticipated repeated cancellations for nearly 18 months to come — so when the conference’s first kickoff took place after 665 days, Harvard’s head coach said “it was like Christmas morning for all of us.” Coaches from several other Ivies expressed their anticipation, excitement and relief about football’s return to The Washington Post, which noted “The word all coaches came back to time and again was a simple one: joy. The joy of competing again, of playing a game they love, of getting back the camaraderie of the locker room, of helping freshmen — many of whom didn’t play last fall as high school seniors — mesh with older teammates.”

Crimson’s Take: We’re thrilled to see sports returning to college campuses, and especially at Ivy League schools, who have adhered to strict limitations since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that many student-athletes were devastated by the cancellation of their sports seasons last year, and while we are of course happy to know how glad coaches are for football to be back, we’re even more excited on behalf of all the students who get to dive back into the sport they’ve worked so hard to be able to play at the collegiate level! We know we’re still a ways off from putting the pandemic behind us, but find this news encouraging nonetheless.

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