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Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs Re: [HopperFu] Don't yell at me, but...: Edit Log


Jan 16, 2007, 11:42 AM

Views: 9871
Re: [HopperFu] Don't yell at me, but...


Respectfully, to the extent our most recent exchange is an example of something, it's that we're still talking past each other, and that whereas I think you assume bad faith in that (and clearly, and understandably, are losing patience with my loquaciousness), I do not see our disagreement as a matter of bad faith, stubbornness, or obtuseness.

I claimed "numeric accuracy" in the Indexes only as regards schools which have released their admissions data, as I don't think I'm obligated, or anyone is, to indulge the theory that schools are misrepresenting that data to the general public. As to data I did not have--such as the Cornell admissions figures, which Cornell independently decided not to release (one reason it doesn't seem fair to me to be ridiculed for my limited data by a Cornell student, when it is his school, not me, that is "to blame" [as much as that word is even appropriate] for any confusion)--I merely said that I would need more data to make the Indexes complete. What I think you're referring to, when you cite my "claim of scientific numerical accuracy," was my assertion that your words--"I'll point out that Cornell is, by a fairly large margin, the most statistically difficult school to get into" [emphasis supplied]--were not accurate. Specifically, I said that those words could not have been accurate because, "how could it ever be possible that Cornell, with that 20% larger class [sic]*, has 'by a fairly large margin' the lowest acceptance rate?" You'll notice I harped particularly on that "by a fairly large margin" claim.

[* = That was a clerical error on my part, and not one I made when I did the Selectivity Indexes. Cornell's poetry class is 4, and its fiction class is 4; Brown's class sizes are as follows: "five fiction writers, five poets, three playwrights and one electronic writer." So Cornell's class is smaller, and it is Brown's poetry and fiction classes which are 20% larger than Cornell's].

You're now claiming that Cornell's 1.5% acceptance rate (by the way, thank you for that information, which I do assume is accurate; can you source it anyway, though? I'd appreciate it) substantiates your belief that "Cornell is, by a fairly large margin, the most statistically difficult school to get into." [Emphasis supplied].

Except that your numbers don't substantiate that.

I never told you Cornell couldn't or didn't have the lowest acceptance rate in the country, I said that it couldn't possibly beat out Brown for the lowest acceptance rate in the country "by a fairly large margin," because that would require that it have well over a thousand submissions, which I speculated (correctly) it did not. Frankly, using the LJPW and the Selectivity Indexes one would have extrapolated (if one was forced to do so) that Cornell was most similar to Brown and Virginia in its applications/year (i.e., only Iowa has 1000+ applications a year, other top ten schools are, in a range of 350, between 325 and 675 applications/year each), and that Cornell would therefore likely have somewhere between the two schools (Brown and UVA) in terms of applications. Between the two, according to the hard data released by Brown and UVA, would be a little over 600 applications. Not a bad estimate, given that the reality is (as you say) 500 to 550. Knowing Brown and UVA's "hard data" (and knowing a little something about the popularity of those schools as compared to Cornell--i.e., the three are roughly equal in that regard) thus gave us a reasonably fair guide to Cornell's (at the time unknown) hard data, right?

So, Brown's acceptance rate is 0.6% higher than Cornell's. Respectfully, that's not "a fairly large margin." Nor am I playing games with semantics here. Prior to the LJPW, TKE, and TSE, if you had made that comment, don't you think people would have presumed, say, a 5% difference between the two schools' acceptance rates? I think so. Certainly, in the undergraduate realm, when someone says School X has a lower acceptance rate than School Y "by a fairly large margin," I'm thinking, what, like a 10% difference? Aren't you?

However, with the benefit of LJPW, TKE, and TSE, we can say that Cornell and Brown are more selective than their Ivy-League counterpart, Columbia, "by a fairly large margin." Which is a useful point to make, as before I did these rankings, I'm sure Cornell and Columbia students would have been very self-assured that their programs had more in common with one another than with Brown's (largely because of a decade-old "reputation" score). In reality, both Cornell and Brown are incredibly small programs with incredibly low acceptance rates, excellent funding, and excellent student-to-faculty ratios. I am frankly in awe of both programs, and didn't intend any of my analysis to suggest otherwise.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 16, 2007, 11:55 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 16, 2007, 11:50 AM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 16, 2007, 11:53 AM
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Jan 16, 2007, 11:55 AM

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