En­dorsed stu­dent ap­pli­cants ‘three times more likely’ to gain of­fer

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS - El­lie.both­well@timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­tion.com

Uni­ver­sity ap­pli­cants who are per­son­ally rec­om­mended are three times more likely than other can­di­dates to re­ceive an of­fer, a new US study has found.

A pa­per an­a­lysed in­for­ma­tion about 21,324 ap­pli­cants to an un­named full- time MBA pro­gramme over a seven-year pe­riod. The re­search in­cluded an anal­y­sis of the ad­mis­sions screen­ing sys­tem at the in­sti­tu­tion as well as in­ter­views with key ad­mis­sions staff at the busi­ness school.

It found that en­dorsed ap­pli­cants – those who had a con­tact who had

called or emailed the uni­ver­sity to per­son­ally vouch for the prospec­tive stu­dent – were in­ter­viewed about 82 per cent of the time, while those with­out en­dorse­ments reached the in­ter­view stage only 34 per cent of the time.

Among those who were in­ter­viewed, en­dorsed ap­pli­cants re­ceived of­fers to join the pro­gramme 64 per cent of the time, while those with­out en­dorse­ments got of­fers only 52 per cent of the time.

It means that, on av­er­age, more than half of en­dorsed ap­pli­cants (52 per cent) and less than a fifth of non-en­dorsed ap­pli­cants (18 per cent) end up gain­ing a place at the in­sti­tu­tion.

Ben Riss­ing, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of or­gan­i­sa­tional be­hav­iour at Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity and co-au­thor of the re­search, “Best in class: the re­turns on ap­pli­ca­tion en­dorse­ments in higher ed­u­ca­tion”, which was pub­lished in Ad­min­is­tra­tive Sci­ence Quar­terly, said that en­dorsed ap­pli­cants were no more qual­i­fied than other prospec­tive stu­dents, were of­ten con­sid­ered worse can­di­dates dur­ing the in­ter­view process, and did not per­form better aca­dem­i­cally or in the job mar­ket after grad­u­a­tion.

How­ever, both the em­pir­i­cal and in­ter­view data showed that they tended to sup­port the uni­ver­sity at higher rates by tak­ing on lead­er­ship roles as stu­dents and giv­ing more gen­er­ous do­na­tions as alumni.

En­dorse­ments “might be a way for de­ci­sion-mak­ers to iden­tify can­di­dates that in some ways want to give back to the or­gan­i­sa­tion [and] might feel some sense of rec­i­proc­ity”, he said, adding that ad­mis­sions staff said that th­ese can­di­dates seemed to “know some­thing” about the school’s cul­ture and “what’s val­ued there”.

He added that the “quite large” im­pact of en­dorse­ments show that “so­cial cap­i­tal” and “so­cial con­nec­tions” play a role in ad­mis­sions de­ci­sions, along­side ed­u­ca­tional cre­den­tials.

How­ever, Pro­fes­sor Riss­ing said that cer­tain groups of stu­dents – such as first-gen­er­a­tion stu­dents and im­mi­grants – “might not be aware of th­ese par­tic­u­lar chan­nels that might ad­van­tage their ap­pli­ca­tions”.

“One thing that ad­mis­sions staff or de­ci­sion-mak­ers in or­gan­i­sa­tions more broadly might ask them­selves is how to bal­ance the com­pet­ing goals” of se­lect­ing highly com­pe­tent, qual­i­fied in­di­vid­u­als and screen­ing in­di­vid­u­als who are go­ing to be sup­port­ive of a com­mu­nity, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.