Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Conservatives Ignoring UW-Madison

You wouldn't think it would happen considering UW-Madison is the flagship school in the UW System and also the largest of all the campuses.

In response to the new UW System admissions criteria, some conservative bloggers are all up in arms about the harmful results that they feel will surely ensue.

Kevin at "Lakeshore Laments" laments that smart, rich, white kids shouldn't even bother applying to UW schools anymore.

Brian at "Fraley's Dailytakes" claims this move simultaneously dumbs down the UW System and shoots up the cost of the system because surely more remedial classes will be needed to accommodate all of the new unqualified students going to college in the state.

Owen at "Boots and Sabers" calls it systematic discrimination.

In all this fury, no one commented on the fact that holistic admissions already have been taking place at UW-Madison for years -- this new change is about bringing the rest of the system up to speed.

So what's been the effect of holistic admissions at UW-Madison?

Systematic discrimination? A dumber campus? No more smart, rich, white kids?

Let's see...

According to 2005 figures, UW-Madison ranks as one of the least racially diverse campuses in the Big Ten with only 10% of its student body being African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian.

In 2006, US News & World Report ranked UW-Madison as the 8th best public university in the country -- which is about where the campus has been ranked for years. In terms of admissions selectivity, UW-Madison is consistently ranked in the top 10% nationally.

And as someone who recently worked on the UW-Madison campus, I can tell you it's definitely not lacking in smart, rich, white kids.

As I said before, these new admission criteria for the rest of the UW System will have little actual impact on the fundamental student make-up at the various campuses.

But it's already being made clear that the changes will provide more ammo for critics of the system and also parents who will be convinced their children weren't accepted because some less-qualified, poor, black student supposedly took their place.

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