Clout Goes to College: U. of I. more ...

Clout Goes to College: U. of I. more difficult to get into

There are 169 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from May 31, 2009, titled Clout Goes to College: U. of I. more difficult to get into. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

To understand why someone applying to the University of Illinois would seek help from a trustee or legislator -- as detailed in a Tribune series that began last week -- consider how the battle for admission has changed over the last 25 years.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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Denise Alcantar

Chicago, IL

#1 May 31, 2009
Poor kid. Has to go to Iowa. I think my napkin got a degree from there.

Chicago, IL

#2 May 31, 2009
How our state school can continue to take state money and accept 17% of their students from out of state over well qualified residents is beyond me. If the school isn't willing to settle for Illinois' best and brightest, then they might as well become a private institution and stop ripping off the taxpayers.
Nikko Henry

Chicago, IL

#3 May 31, 2009
High School students I know adults will say that "Your teenage years are the best in your life. You can do anything." This is a true thing. You can do anything you wish to do; yet if you want to get far in the future your freetime will be spent filling in applications and attending summer college courses. I know this because i'm a "High Schooler".

Des Plaines, IL

#4 May 31, 2009
Welcome to the real world ...

I guess mommy and daddy cannot provide everything for their little darlings!

Lombard, IL

#5 May 31, 2009
Look, U of I is the state's *flagship* university. It's going to be the toughest school admissions-wise, as well it should be. In addition, with the rampant grade inflation in today's schools ("oh, a C might lower little Johnny's self-esteem"), A's and B's aren't that hard to come by. The ACT and extracurriculars are how you set yourself apart.

U of I isn't for everybody. ISU, Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western, UIC, UIS, etc., etc., all exist for a reason (and there's no shame in going to school at any one of those places). Welcome to the real world - you don't always get everything you want. Make the most of the opportunity you do get.
Stan Stitzel

Cantua Creek, CA

#6 May 31, 2009
Try to get a highly selective CA public school...You need near a 4.0 and at least a 28 ACT

Woodridge, IL

#9 May 31, 2009
So why are these Illinois universities knuckling under to pressure from politicians? Someone is getting paid under the table.

Chicago, IL

#10 May 31, 2009
Why are all these U of I rejects getting into Iowa and Indiana? Shouldn't it be harder to get into an out of state school than an in state school? Is Illinois that good or do Iowa and Indiana just have lower standards?

Oswego, IL

#11 May 31, 2009
they definitely have lower standards... still good schools just not as good
Idzan Ismail

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

#12 Jun 1, 2009
What about U of C, Notre Dame or Loyola or other schools in Illinois.
Is it also hard to get into?
Jon A

United States

#13 Jun 1, 2009
It's a matter of supply and demand, and the perception of having a good product to sell. The U of I boasts of a great many things, chief among them a massive library, top-ranked academics in a wide variety of fields, especially engineering, and a very strong research faculty. But wait! There's more. If you order now, you'll be able to see Big Ten football and basketball teams that are increasingly competitive on the national stage. It's a fun place to go to school, and a lot of parents want their kids to go there. I went there because it was cheaper than the private schools. If I'm an intelligent young student looking at professional or graduate school, I think to myself, save some money on undergrad while still getting a good education, then spend the big bucks on law school or medical school.

U of C is much the same as U of I. They have a very solid academic program in many subjects, solid sports teams, a good reputation, and even a number of celebrity graduates, just like U of I.

Not every school can offer all that. Loyola can't offer the basketball team, but their academics are indeed top-notch as are their faculty, and they have a very real commitment to education that produces results - the kind parents are willing to pay for for their kid's success.

What these schools have in common is serious name recognition, a great product, and there are a lot of people who want it. The more applications they get, the more selective they can be, which drives up the admissions standards. When you have 26,000 applicants, you can pick and choose who you want to take.

If you think that's bad, you should look at medical and veterinary school admissions standards. They are considerably more difficult to get into, and competition is fierce. Many schools boast acceptance rates of less than 10% of applicants. If you don't have the basic numbers, your application won't even be read at some universities. Universities understand grade inflation occurs and expect to see A's, and then impressive extracurriculars on top of those. They expect this because they simply have enough applicants who do have what they're asking for to fill their classes.

This will only continue to be reality as a college-level education becomes required for an increasingly demanding job market. Students (and especially parents) understand that by investing in a good education, you're investing in your career, future, and likelihood of success in the job market. As we can see, much like the job market, admissions can sometimes be a matter of _who_ one knows rather than _what_ one knows.

Chicago, IL

#14 Jun 1, 2009
Bob wrote:
How our state school can continue to take state money and accept 17% of their students from out of state over well qualified residents is beyond me. If the school isn't willing to settle for Illinois' best and brightest, then they might as well become a private institution and stop ripping off the taxpayers.
I totally agree! It is a crime for qualified Illinois students not to be accepted!!!

Wheaton, IL

#15 Jun 1, 2009
U of I is looking for students that are the best. They are classified as a highly selective school just like Univ. of Chicago and Northwestern at a bargain price. I have no complaints about U of I they gave me son one year of college credit from the advanced placement courses he took in high school.

Milwaukee, WI

#16 Jun 1, 2009
What this article fails to explore is grades are inflated and national tests are easier. Helicopter parents have pressured teachers into higher grades and have their kids over-scheduled with activities.

Chicago, IL

#17 Jun 1, 2009
here is thing you have to start asking, is U of I shifting who it let's in based on costs. Is there a % of out of state they let in because of costs. So an equally qualified in state student is being denied access because the University wants the out of state student money.

Trib start asking the questions-- the answers you are going to find is yes there is a formula

Casa Grande, AZ

#18 Jun 1, 2009
Instead of continually printing stories about corruption in IL, perhaps they could look for something in your state that isn't corrupt. Just think of the trees that could be saved by the elimination of paper use.

Danville, IL

#19 Jun 1, 2009
Bob wrote:
How our state school can continue to take state money and accept 17% of their students from out of state over well qualified residents is beyond me. If the school isn't willing to settle for Illinois' best and brightest, then they might as well become a private institution and stop ripping off the taxpayers.
They admit out-of-state students because it's a money maker. They need money because the percentage of the U of I's budget that comes from "state money" is actually less than a third of its operating budget; in the 60s, it was about 60 per cent.
That's what's really ironic about the idea that General Assembly members think they should be able to have all this influence on admissions; they clout their friends into the freshman class, but they don't come through for the U of I. At least when you pay off the mob for protection, you actually get protection.
Not one thin dime

Plainfield, IL

#20 Jun 1, 2009
At a time when the legislature literally thumbs its nose at voters over ethics reform, with one Gov in jail, another on his way, a city and county ruled by the polluted gene pool of hereditary entitlement, my Alma Mater will not receive one red cent of my donor dollars until there is a thorough ethics investigation, and full report. This glaring example of The Rot at The Top demands a full disclosure of any inappropriate Trustee, Administrator, Lobbyist, and Lawmaker activity. Every party found to have violated the University Undergraduate code of conduct must be fired immediately, and some modicum of propriety restored to our 'Flagship University'.
Defender of Freedom

Grayslake, IL

#21 Jun 1, 2009

Not saying right or wrong, however, when the schools accept out of state students, keep in mind they pay out of state tuition, thus, more revenue coming into the university. Range one - 9 hours of more can differ by $5000.

A few years ago when Wisconsin legislature wasn't properly funding their universities, there was a backlash of sort where the schools began accepting numerous out of state applicants to bring in revenue, and the residents of Wisconsin needless to say were not pleased. The legislature changed their ways quicly.

Darien, IL

#22 Jun 1, 2009
It is only ok when black kids with 2.0 GPA get accepted. These are quotas set up by affirmative action and is considered fair.

When white kids like whoever is related to (insert white politician's name here) get accepted with subpar grades this is considered unfair practices.
Or how about this,
'Unfair' housing is usually a white neighborhood if you go by HUD standards. So to make the housing 'fair' HUD buys homes in the white neighborhood and integrates black families to let them live there for a drastically reduced rate. This is considered 'fair' to HUD standards. So gangbangers get to destroy the neighborhood on 'our' dime thats 'fair'.
Stop the ethnic cleansing on the southside! HUD is pushing all the whites out at record pace!!
Rip: Riverdale, South Holland, Country Club Hills, Dolton, Lansing, Harvey, Evergreen Park, Calumet City. Once fine citys before the ethnic cleansing begun!

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