Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is Admissions Fair to Women?

We go through cycles in college admissions, it seems, and the topic of interest in recent days (at least based on my limited view on things) has to do with gender discrimination in college admissions.

Most men readily admit that women are smarter, especially when it comes to high school performance. Others point out that men score higher on standardized tests, which predict far less with regard to college performance than grades do, and probably shouldn't carry as much weight as they do.

The focus on the treatment of young men and women in college admission goes back at least as far as this article in the New York Times in 2006. And the topic has been popping up a lot lately, most recently when Patrick O'Connor sent me this article, and asked for my opinion.  I thought it would be an interesting idea to look at the data.  So I did, using IPEDS data from the Fall of 2012.

The story here is interesting: The thing that jumps out at you, or at least might jump out at you, is that women file far more applications than men, which drives the fact that 55% of college students are now women. (Note: The number of applications from women does not necessarily mean that more women are applying to college, although in this case it does.)

The second thing that might jump out at you is that this is not true at the most selective institutions, where men file about the same number of applications.  Why is this?  Lots of reasons you could speculate about, and almost none of them reflect well on our society.  I'll leave the answers to researchers.

Anyway, have at it.  Use the filters liberally here (you won't break anything); the top three charts show summaries, and the bottom one shows individual institutions.  You can choose by selectivity, state, Carnegie Classification, public or private, in any combination.

And the bottom filter allows you to see the places where men have the greatest advantage in terms of admit rates.  Enjoy.