Exploration: UC Statfinder

The UC Office of the President has this statfinder app running at statfinder.ucop.edu and it lets you generate tables with statistics about student admissions at their schools.

Big whoop. The thing is, when the numbers get real small, their program merges categories to ensure that student privacy is protected. Also, they won’t give access to the raw database nor will they let you select more than 3 categories to compare at once. So data mining this is a bit difficult.

I will update this page as I continue this exploration.

Update 1: I have plotted a couple of data points and find that SAT and GPA scores can be modeled with an exponential function fairly well. Each ethnicity of a specific school has only slight variations in the model coefficients.

A graph of GPA by Ethnicity.

It’s likely that many of the statistics about a specific student will yield statistics in the same approximate range. This is simply the nature of correlated statistics. A carefully weighted average of these probabilities should be a pretty good estimator of the actual admission probability.

Update 2: If certain colleges are supposedly more difficult to get in to, or have strong gender bias (CoE), how do I compensate for that? I will certainly need to pull data from outside sources to assist.

Update 3: The GPA curves fit exponential curves very well. The thing is, at extremes you get unrealistic values like probabilities greater than 1. To curb this, the maximum value is set at an unattainable high and bounds are placed near the ends. Typically, a value gets so close to 100% or 0% that any significant digits procured by regression are unimportant.

I have also implemented models to adjust for international status, ethnicity, field of study, high school state-wide API rank. The weighted, capped GPA that UC schools use will reflect UC-approved honors courses as a measure of rigor.

In truth, a large part of interpreting the results is up to the user. If they feel that their AP courseload is too easy or their IB programme is very challenging, then they should reflect that in their interpretation. This is turning out to a pretty good estimator of admission, even though it is only a historical comparison.

Update 4: I have completed a proof-of-concept design for the calculator under UC Berkeley. I am now collecting data for other schools. Merced is difficult, as it is nearly impossible to be rejected. Additionally, I must implement some check for the 3.00 GPA eligibility requirement for UC’s. I did not realize that I would have to go so low for some schools.

The finished product is up at rogerhub.com/uc-undergraduate-admissions-calculator.