I can’t believe we’ve waited this long for an admissions simulation. As the Chronicle reports ‘College Scholarship Tycoon’ is an exciting admissions-based game in which you, as the Admissions Czar, decide which students to admit and which to reject based on their entry qualifications and family backgrounds.
If you get the balance ‘right’ (which mainly seems to involve discriminating against poorer students) then you move up the rankings…
Well timed for the height of application season, the game offers a peek at the trade-offs selective colleges make, and an accompanying article summarizes how the competition for wealth and prestige in admissions can skew institutional priorities. The interactive game doesn’t attempt to capture all the intricacies of the selection process (admissions officers would tell you that’s impossible to do), but it might expose a larger audience to some of the inner workings of a misunderstood trade. Still, some enrollment realities do get lost in the shuffle.
So, it’s possibly a tad simplistic, and really doesn’t capture the nuances of the admissions process, as the Chronicle piece goes on to explain:
[E]nrollment management, widely vilified for many ills, isn’t as simple as giving thumbs up or down to applicants based solely on test scores and family income. Who are those applicants? Where do they come from? What do they want to major in? Answering a college’s many wants and needs is a much more complex pursuit than this rendering suggests. As any enrollment manager could tell you, for example, the yield rates for different kinds of applicants vary, a nuance that any critique of the process should acknowledge.
And, as the real Admissions Czars who the Chronicle tested this out on attested, it really is not terribly realistic.. But there might be something to be said for developing a simulation like this which, if more accurately presented, could be deployed in a useful way to inform the admissions and widening access debate and to help universities understand the impact of their admissions policies and practices.
I’m sure the OfS will be wanting to have a look.