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College Pulse Week (1/4)

When someone asks me, “What do students think of that?”, the best that I could do until recently is hazard a guess. However a new web-based app, College Pulse (see an overview), which has been created by Terren Klein ‘17 and lead programmers Ben Packer ‘17 and Robin Jayaswal ‘18, seeks to systematically and efficiently survey Dartmouth students about their experiences and opinions:

Users logs in with their college netID and select the poll that they wish to take. Upon completing a poll, community members may visualize and filter the data by various demographics directly on the platform. Unlike existing survey platforms, students receive points for every survey they complete. These points may be cashed in for rewards of the students’ choice, anything from free pizzas to a donation to a charity of their choice. Every poll is recorded on students’ profile, leading to increasingly comprehensive data and cross-referencing between polls. Poll administrators are able to target their sample based off of demographic information or answers to previous polls.

The genesis of the app was the November 12 BLM library invasion. Did students support the demonstrators’ in their protest, or were people opposed to such aggressive behavior? Who knew? Students sought to make sense of what had taken place, what they believed, and whether or not their beliefs aligned with those of the larger community. No reliable, student-centered opinion platform existed to provide clarity, leaving both administrators and students without insight. Needless to say, Yik Yak was not up to the task.

Campus Pulse.jpgJust as the founders of Uber saw an opportunity when they could not find a cab, so did Terren and his mates sense a hole in the market. And they felt that new technology could give them a way to question large numbers of students at a low cost/query. They got to thinking, and they got to coding.

This week we’ll look at the result of several College Pulse surveys to achieve a better understanding of the state of the College. Let’s start with Admissions information. Pulse’s survey asked students a variety of questions, including at what other schools they had been accepted and rejected. The poll was sent to a randomized group of 2150 Dartmouth undergraduates on October 28th, 2016; 974 students responded.

At a recent faculty meeting, Phil noted that when given a choice with other Ivies, we very rarely come out the winner. He was right. Pulse’s repondents’ experience showed that only as against Cornell do students consistently choose to come to Dartmouth; 15.5% of respondents admitted in the regular decision pool could also have gone to Ithaca. And only a very loyal few picked the College over HYP:

Pulse Acceptances at Other Schools.jpg

Of the Dartmouth students who took the survey, Yale admitted 2.3%; as did Princeton (the same people?); and Harvard accepted 1.7% (click on the image to enlarge it).

‘Twas not always so. I chose Dartmouth over Yale. As did plenty of other people in the day: we wanted a smaller institution with plenty of contact with members of the faculty (not that Phil cares in the slightest about that).

Conversely, around a third of Dartmouth students were rejected at HYP, and a goodly number were dinged at the other Ivies:

Pulse Rejections at Other Schools.jpg

Conclusion: Wright/Kim/Folt/Hanlon have done a lot to turn the College into a safety school.

Addendum: As Terren works the kinks out of the app, he is happy to do surveys if they seeming interesting. Pulse’s website invites anyone to suggest ideas for future polls.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


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