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Statistics, Data Analysis & Probability in Real Life

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  • 0:01 Real Life Math
  • 0:49 Statistics of Going to College
  • 2:35 Data Analysis of Baseball
  • 3:52 Probability of Winning…
  • 6:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

In this lesson, we take a look at how statistics, data analysis, and probability can be incredibly useful in modern life. In fact, they very well may change your mind on everything from getting into college to winning the lottery.

Real Life Math

You probably hear time and time again, how important math is to real life. But let's be honest. Do you really see yourself having to use the quadratic equation to go grocery shopping? Now, I'm not trying to minimize the importance of math in a variety of daily roles. However, wouldn't it be nice if someone said that, and could have some solid evidence to back it up? Luckily for you, I do. In this lesson, we're going to look at the very useful math involved in statistics, data analysis, and probability. Along the way, we'll calculate your real chances of getting into a great college, and enhance your appreciation of America's pastime, and even check the probability of winning the lottery. Don't get your hopes up about that last one, by the way.

Statistics of Going to College

Let's face it. Applying to college is stressful. You've got the campus tours, the interviews, standardized tests, and all those other things that make you want to pull your hair out. Also, you have those pesky little acceptance rate bullet points on all the information that you hear from the colleges you're interested in. It's intimidating. For example, thousands of valedictorians get rejected from top universities every year. So, what makes the rest of us stand a chance? Simple. The statistics are scary, but they shouldn't be. Remember that those acceptance rates are out of the entire body of applicants that a college receives. From the triple-legacy valedictorian who plays three sports to the kid whose helicopter parent is making him apply, everyone's application counts in that pile. While it sounds harsh, a lot of those applications just don't cut it. What's more, a surprising number of applications are even incomplete. However, it all counts toward the number of students who applied. Therefore, it could very well be that every student with a 3.0 GPA gets accepted, but so many students with a 2.2 GPA apply that it brings the average down. In short, it's much better to look at one of the other numbers colleges provide, like the range of GPAs or standardized test scores. Or, better yet, look at the GPA ranges of accepted students. Colleges often give these out as a range from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile. In other words, 25% of the accepted students will have a lower GPA, while 25% will have a higher GPA. With this knowledge, you can determine where your GPA falls when compared to students who actually got in.

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