September 2022

The Problematic Math of College Admissions

Mathematical Association of America Math Values blog
The Problematic Math of College Admissions

Our Dana Center partners David Kung and Josh Recio reference findings from Just Equations’ report Calculating the Odds in this MAA Math Values blog about the role of calculus in college admissions.

Maria was a promising high school student with a love of history. Some of the supportive teachers at her Rio Grande Valley high school planted the idea of going to college, maybe even one of those “elite” schools far from South Texas. With an eye toward that goal, she buckled down and tackled the list of challenging courses her mentors suggested. Despite not having an interest in STEM fields, she persisted in the advanced math track, making it through AP Calculus and getting an associate degree (magna cum laude) in mathematics, her golden ticket in the college admissions game! She was accepted to an Ivy League school, where she graduated with majors in history and English.

What does Maria think of her high school math experience? “I grew to really like calculus,” she reports. “But looking back on it, learning more statistics would have been more useful for me.”

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