Friday, September 22, 2006


The NY Times has a recent article covering the use of online "dating" services which are meant to help match college applicants to schools. The article tells the story of Annie Allhoff, who is a freshman at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. Annie had never even heard of Pomona when she was looking at schools, but learned about it after going through the matching algorithm at Counselor-O-Matic. This seemed interesting enough, so I thought I'd take it for a whirl myself, trying to remember what I was looking for in a college when I applied way back in the nineties. (This was harder because I had to come up with SAT scores, which (a) I don't remember and (b) have been rescaled twice since I took them in high school.)

Anyway, I went through the process, pretending to be a high-school senior deciding where to apply. The program asks about your grades, class rank, high school name, location and geographical preferences, courseload, activities, possible majors, interests in clubs, sports, etc, feelings about male/female ratio, etc. It's a lot of questions, but I'm sure that all of this helps the match. Here's what came out for me:

Good Matchs:
  1. Gettysburg College
  2. New York University
  3. Trinity College
  4. Boston College
  5. Brown University
Reach Schools:
  1. Pomona College
  2. ?? (This one came up blank... some bug in the program, I guess)
  3. Dartmouth College
  4. UCLA
  5. Georgetown
Safety Schools:
  1. UMass-Cambridge (just kidding)
  1. Washington College
  2. Marlboro College
  3. Marist College
  4. St. Lawrence University
  5. Clark University
Some things of note:
  • NYU came up at #2, even though I specified I wanted a school with an ice hockey team, and I ranked an urban environment as undesirable. So I wonder what is driving that placement?
  • The extended Good Match schools include many schools I looked at, as well as Brown, the school I attended. So, kudos.
  • However, Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA came up as a good match. This is probably not a good match, as Wellesley would never take me, since I am not female. (And clearly marked myself as male in the survey.)
  • Overall, though, it was fun. I think I may do it again, stating what my current preferences would be (if I was 18 and knew what I know now, mainly that I would want to study economics).


Blogger BW said...

Apparently, I blew it. I should have been at Brown with you (or at Carnegie Melon, Harvard, Princeton (they didn't want me though), or UCLA).

9/22/2006 1:49 PM  

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