Tag Archives: US colleges and universities

Still at a Disadvantage

By Jake New, March 6

Throwing another wrench into the belief that higher education is the great equalizer, a new paper suggests that African-American graduates from elite institutions do only as well in getting jobs as white candidates from less-selective institutions.

The study, published in the journal Social Forces, shows that while a degree from an elite university improves all applicants’ chances at finding a well-paid job, the ease with which those jobs are obtained is not equal for black and white students even when they both graduate from an institution such as Harvard University. A white candidate with a degree from a highly selective university, the paper suggests, receives an employer response for every six résumés he or she submits. A black candidate receives a response for every eight.

White candidates with degrees from less-selective universities can expect to get a response every 9 résumés, while equally qualified black candidates need to submit 15.

“Most people would expect that if you could overcome social disadvantages and make it to Harvard against all odds, you’d be pretty set no matter what, but this experiment finds that there are still gaps,” said S. Michael Gaddis, the author of the paper and the Robert Wood Foundation Scholar in Health Policy at the University of Michigan. “Once you get out, you still have to deal with other human beings who have preconceived notions and misguided stereotypes about why you were able to go to this college.”

The paper is based on the results of an experiment Gaddis conducted in which he created more than 1,000 fake job applicants and applied to jobs online. The fictional candidates graduated from either highly selective institutions (Harvard University, Stanford University and Duke University) or less selective state universities (the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of California at Riverside and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). They all had similarly high grade point averages.

Gaddis gave the candidates names that were likely to signal to potential employers what their races were -- black male applicants were named Jalen, Lamar and DaQuan; black female applicants were named Nia, Ebony and Shanice; white male applicants were named Caleb, Charlie and Ronny; and white female applicants were named Aubrey, Erica and Lesly.

White job applicants with a degree from an elite university had the highest response rate at 18 percent. Black candidates with a degree from an elite university had a response rate of 13 percent, with white candidates holding a degree from a less-selective university following closely at nearly 12 percent. Black applicants with a degree from a less-selective institution had a response rate of less than 7 percent.

Black graduates at elite colleges not only had a response rate similar to that of white graduates from less-selective institutions, but the employers who responded to black applicants were often offering jobs with less prestige and with salaries that trailed those of white candidates by an average of $3,000. “Education apparently has its limits, because even a Harvard degree cannot make DaQuan as enticing as Charlie to employers,” Gaddis wrote.

While the experiment could not measure the odds of applicants landing a job after getting an initial response, Gaddis said, gaps this large at just the first step of the process demonstrate that “a bachelor's degree, even one from an elite institution, cannot fully counteract the importance of race in the labor market.” How welcoming a company is to diverse applicants once they meet and interview them means little if they can’t even get in the front door.

“It’s quite possible that these differences are not suggesting that employers are going about trying not to hire black applicants, but there is something going on this lower level,” Gaddis said. “I hope that maybe this research will make people stop and think about what processes we are using when hiring.”


Spring Admission to US Colleges and Universities

Want to study in the US? Want to gain admission to a top university in the USA? Best advice: Start early! Unlike other countries, admission to US universities takes a long time.  Not only that, applying to US colleges and universities is complex.  They need a number of documents, like visa, transcripts, letters of references, essays, test scores, and financial documents. Many international students think they will wait till they get their test scores. This is not recommended. Top universities in the US have deadlines as early as December for admission for next August! So if you want to study in the US and if you want to get admission to a top university in the US, start the process at least 10 months in advance! Have questions? Visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PlanetGPA) and post your question. You will get a prompt answer!

Dr. Gupta is CEO of PlanetGPA.com, a company that helps international students who wish to study in the US.

Scholarships to Study in the US

International students often state boldly,"I want a "full scholarship" and "full financial aid" to study in the US. Often they will ask, "Can you guarantee that I will get a full scholarship?" There are a few simple truths about scholarships for international students in US universities:

1. There are very few scholarships for international students.

2. These are merit-based, not need-based. In other words, rarely will a student get a scholarship because they "need the money."  Scholarships are given out based on merit and accomplishments.

3. Most scholarships are awarded AFTER the student is admitted, not as part of the acceptance letter.

4. You must have good communication skills to get a scholarship. This means you must be able to speak English and write English well in order to qualify as a meritorious student.

If someone tells you that they can "get" you a scholarship because they have "connections" in US universities or know how the "system works" well heck, then I am the Queen of England writing this blog post.

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the CEO of USAsiaEdu, a consulting company that recruits students for US universiteis. www.USAsiaEdu.com She can be reached at exec@usasiaedu.com

I have never heard about this university!!

International students and their families sometimes wrongly assume that if they haven't heard about a college or university, it must be a bad university. That is like saying if you have not heard about a city somewhere in the world, it must be a terrible city. The United States has close to 3500 colleges and universities. Even people born and brought up in the US often don't know or have not heard about all the 3500 institutions. It doesn't mean they are bad or not worth getting to know. It simply means YOU have not heard about it. 


London, Paris, New York and a few other cities in this league are like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and MIT. Everyone (almost everyone) has heard about these cities and these institutions. But there are many great places in the world (that is why travel magazines sell so well!) that no one has heard about and yet are great treasures. This is true for universities as well.

Advice: Don't disregard a university because you have not heard about it. Research it and then decide what you want to do! The most important lesson for those interested in study abroad is to keep an open mind!

Dr. Uma Gupta is the President of USAsiaEdu. She blogs about study abroad and international students.

I want to get into a ranked university

Every student I know (almost everyone!) I know wants to gain admission to a ranked university in the US. Students with high GMAT or GRE scores and students with low GMAT or GRE scores - everyone (really!) wants to get admission to a "good" university or a "ranked" university - preferably in the Top 50, most students say to me. One of the reasons these universities and colleges are ranked among the best in the world is because they are HIGHLY selective. If you have low test scores, the chances of you getting admission to a highly ranked university is pretty slim. In fact, even if you have high test scores, there is no guarantee that you will get admission into a top ranked university. In some cases, the rejection rate is 75% or higher. In other words, only 1 out of every 4 applicants may get in!

This does not mean the end of the world. This does not mean that universities that are not on the "ranked" list are bad or that you won't get a good education if you attend a university that is "non-ranked." Some very fine universities and colleges do not appear on the ranked list for reasons that have nothing to do with quality. While ranked universities are renowned for their quality, the opposite is not true. In other words, simply because a university does not appear on the ranked list, does not mean it is a bad university. 

Advice: Aim high but be realistic. Otherwise, you will set yourself up for disappointment