Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why At Least One Person Wasn't Admitted to Harvard

Just moments ago on the Channel Five newscast, a story complete with graphic breathlessly headlined the fact this year was the most selective Harvard had ever been in its admissions process, with only 9 percent of applicants accepted.

The story did allow as how this was also a record year for the number of applicants to Harvard, with over 23,000 kids applying for the roughly 2000 spots in the freshman class. This led me to remember a bit of fourth grade math.

If the number being divided stays the same, and the number divided into it grows, then the result, or dividend, will be smaller. Harvard wasn't any more selective, just more popular, a fact apparently not snappy enough to lead a Channel Five story.

Heaven help us if the station ever chances upon the mysteries of bond prices and bond yields. Or the earned run average for that matter.


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