TCU analyzes admissions numbers


    Every two to three years, university admission statistics are audited to ensure accuracy and truthfulness.

    According to Dean of Admissions Ray Brown, many schools across the country "cook their books" to seem more competitive or appealing to prospective students.

    "We're [auditing the statistics] because we think it's the right thing to do," Brown said.

    The Washington Post reported in early February that five colleges had misreported their admissions statistics to U.S. News & World Report.

    According to the article, Bucknell University, one of the five, confessed to inflating its reported SAT scores of incoming students for several years.

    “Three things get cooked,” Brown said. “Numbers of applications, admit rate (numbers of offers of admissions) and test scores.”

    By running the audit, not only is TCU not "cooking the books," but the university is also making sure no mistakes are made, Brown explained.

    Nearly every year, auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers finds that the university under-reports its SAT scores by one or two points rather than inflates them, he said.

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said another reason why it is important to hire an auditor is the university's explosion in applications over the past few years. 

    Five years ago there were about 5,000 applications compared to about 20,000 for the class of 2016, he said.

    "If you look at those [numbers], you might question them and think 'Wow. That can't be possible,'" Boschini said.

    However by auditing this data, the university shows that it is doing what it says, he explained.

    Brown said he has invited a number of colleague institutions to learn about admissions auditing, but he said he received little response. 

    Part of the reason might be the price tag, he said. Running the audit each year through PricewaterhouseCoopers costs the university about $12,000

    Kristin Vaughn, director of college counseling at Fort Worth Country Day, said she thinks hiring an auditor for admissions statistics is a good idea.

    Vaughn said it is difficult to advise high school students and their parents when colleges falsify their statistics.