Join Early Retirement Today
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Colleges padding their application stats? I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.
Old 12-16-2011, 10:26 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,564
Colleges padding their application stats? I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.

Almost every U.S. Naval Academy alum has heard of Bruce Fleming. For everyone else, he wrote a book: He's also a popular guy with the press: The Military

By day he's a tenured professor teaching English to midshipmen. But outside the classroom he's a fearless crusader for academic standards. He feels that USNA has "dumbed down" their admissions guidelines and may even have let "other" criteria creep into what should be an objective search for the highest quality. I can't tell what angers him more-- sports stars or candidates with low scores.

The problem is that service academies use an elusive standard called the "whole person multiple". USNA already has one of the country's highest SAT standards (600 minimums) and diminishing returns kick in pretty quickly above that. Although it would be nice to have a brigade of Braniacs, what Navy's really seeking is leaders. Leaders don't necessarily have to be literate, let alone elite, but they have to be able to form teams and "win". I can't tell you who'll make a better watch officer or platoon leader just based on test scores. Bruce Fleming's logic flaw is correlating higher scores with better leaders.

After 20+ years of tenure, you'd think that he'd be tired of the self-imposed hostile working environment. He can't be fired without egregious misconduct, but he hasn't had a raise or any other USNA reward for years. I don't think he'll ever be asked to rejoin the admissions committee, and chairing the English department is probably not in the cards either. The life of a professional gadfly must be a lonely one, but he seems to thrive on conflict. I'd yearn for a life beyond work, or at least a personal life, but he just keeps pounding away at his one-note piano keyboard.

However I would think that he's a known quantity who responds quite predictably to certain stimuli. If I was a large bureaucratic public institution, then I would feel that it's worth my time to avoid provoking him. I can't blame Bruce Fleming for being what he is, but I can hold USNA at fault for doing dumb things to attract his attention.

The latest example is this Military Times article:
Professsor says academy overstates applicants - Military News | News From Afghanistan, Iraq And Around The World - Military Times
An academy admissions official Dec. 5 used this standard to boast that the school had 18,651 applicants so far this year, saying it put the school on track for a record year for the Class of 2016.

The academy’s number of completed applications is much lower. For example, the Class of 2015, which began training during the summer, had 5,720 completed applications; the academy cited its applicant number as 19,145 — more than three times the number of completed applications.

Using the higher numbers puts the academy at odds with other schools, which typically use only completed applications to show their acceptance rate. It’s not enough, a spokesman from another college maintained, to merely start an application.

An official with U.S. News & World Report, which ranks colleges annually, said it’s “very atypical” for schools to use such a benchmark.
Fleming actually filed a whistle-blower suit over this issue, including a FOIA request for the applications data which he supplied to Military Times.

It'll be interesting to see how the service academies handle this, and how the rankings change. It's a very small part of the ranking's calculation, but they apparently decided to run full speed into a brick wall to continue the policy. I may not agree with Fleming, let alone support him, but in this case he seems to be doing the right thing to an institution that desperately needs to be reminded how to do the right thing.


The book written on, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-16-2011, 10:59 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Htown Harry's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,508
Sorry for your troubles. Our troubles, really, as we all have a big stake in the success of the service academies.
Htown Harry is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:51 AM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.