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(The Daily Beast)   The Wall Street Journal goes full Onion as it publishes an open letter from a high school senior to all the colleges who rejected her application   (thedailybeast.com) divider line 168
    More: Asinine, Wall Street Journal, Amy Chua, onions, University and college admissions, bake sales, college application, disaster recovery, war correspondents  
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16156 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Apr 2013 at 9:45 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-03 11:15:35 AM  

Lollipop165: OldManDownDRoad: The hard fact is that every admissions officer I've spoken to (and I've worked in higher ed for more than 20 years at several different universities) hates this dynamic. They even admit that the "cool" thing nowadays is to have some enlightened thoughts about the sufferings of the underprivileged, not actually being underprivileged. This "proves" that the candidate will want to do something to improve the world, but we all know that the university hopes they will make a pile of money to "give back" when the time comes. And, of course, get their kids into the institution as well. It's the circle of life, of sorts. The boomers who had enlightened thoughts about themselves on their admissions essays, now coach their kids to have enlightened thoughts about the poor folks in Kenya, or wherever.

Had I known that was the secret I would have gotten into everywhere.

That being said it always bothered me that I got shiat for not having extra curriculars. I came from quite a wealthy background but it was sure as hell expected of me to have a job. I've been working since I was 14.  I never understood why having a job isn't considered as being as well rounded as someone who, say, plays softball or whatever.

My parents may have bought me a brand new car, but I sure as hell was expected to put the gas into it.


Wow. That is your argument? You got a brand new car, but had to suffer to work for the gas, and sports were too much?
 
2013-04-03 11:17:10 AM  

Thunderpipes: Columbia just hired a convicted cop killer/terrorist to teach there.

Maybe Snowflake should apply to Columbia?


Columbia may well be one of the schools that rejected her. Her sister is a 2007 Columbia graduate.
 
2013-04-03 11:17:20 AM  

somedude210: Lollipop165: I graduated the same year as the kids in that article and it was a real eye opener for me. I showed it to one of my "Heading to Harvard" classmates and it was straight cognitive dissonance on why they thought the kids in the story didn't get in.

what were their reasons. This sounds like there's an amusing punchline coming ^_^


lol, not really. It was more along the lines of the Harvardians patting themselves on the back that "they worked so hard". Obviously the kids in the article didn't work as hard as they did, so that's why they didn't get in.

Oh and if I remember correctly, one of the kids in the article actually had to drop out like junior year of HS to care for a sick parent. That just would never happen where I grew up.

It's a great article, it came out every June from 1994-1998 with updates on the kids.
 
2013-04-03 11:20:12 AM  

somedude210: daily beast/WSJ aside, the letter does make a good point. The higher-ed industry is a ridiculous place.

The higher education system needs to be reformed. We need to stop making it all about profits, we need to educate our kids about how you don't need to go through college if you're gonna waste it on a degree that'll get you as far in life as not having a college degree at all (I'm looking at you, philosophy majors). We need to stop the stigma of vocational schooling in lue of high school. We need to stop compounding so much debt on the kids who do want to go through college so that they don't have to keep paying off the loans until they're in their mid-40s.

The younger generations are completely screwed with our education system. We keep going on and on how we absolutely, positively need to have an bachelor's in something,anything, as long as it's a bachelor's. and then, 3 years into our 4 year degree, we get told that the degree is utterly useless and you were better off going into this degree or that degree, or hell, if you just worked your ass off in a factory or something, you'd be making a shiatload more and without all the student debt by now.

Stop treating us like children on the realities of education and give us honest answers as to what we can expect in life if we choose this path or that path.


We have been telling you idiot kids that your stupid major won't get you anything but debt for years. It isn't our fault that you won't listen.
 
2013-04-03 11:22:31 AM  

Thunderpipes: Kathy Boudin. Spent 22 years in prison, part of Bill Ayers' group the weather underground. She drove the getaway car in which 2 cops and an armored car guy were murdered. 22 years in prison. She now is an esteemed professor at Columbia.


Is she teaching Subversiveness or Criminal Justice? Driver's Ed or Social Work?

// I'll save you the trouble: it's Social Work
// based on what she did in prison, and her subsequent earning of an Ed-D (from Columbia), I'd say she's qualified
// a felon who turned her life around, and you'd rather she rotted in jail...because you like wasting money on corrections?
// I assume you have the same hate for Ollie North, Gordon Liddy, John Yoo or any of the businesscriminals that teach business at our many fine universities
 
2013-04-03 11:22:36 AM  

Skarekrough: I think she just wants a participation ribbon for filling out all those applications.

If we give her one, will she shut up and go away?


The parents created that monster, not the kids. Most people that are part of that generation would've loved it if their parents didn't smother them with "WHY DIDN'T JOHNNY GET ANYTHING! HE WAS HERE" crap.

Mithiwithi: To my understanding, there's a subtle but important difference between "tiger moms" and "helicopter moms" - the latter kind tries to remove all obstacles in their child's path, the former kind leaves the obstacles and pushes the kid over them.


ah, makes sense. Still rather stupid to push your kid as hard as that to live vicariously through them.

Mithiwithi: The "tiger mom" strategy isn't good for all kids, by any means - but I'd say that I had a "tiger mom", and if I hadn't, I'd be flipping burgers today. I've got high talent but also tend to be lazy, and if my mom hadn't tried her damnedest to scour the lazy out of me, I'd never have amounted to anything at all.


that's different. That's "get your kid off his ass to be a productive member of society", Tiger moms are more "push your kid to do everything because they are the best and I failed in my life's dreams by having them"

Thunderpipes: Kathy Boudin. Spent 22 years in prison, part of Bill Ayers' group the weather underground. She drove the getaway car in which 2 cops and an armored car guy were murdered. 22 years in prison. She now is an esteemed professor at Columbia.


ah yes, I figured it had something to do with Bill Ayer's. although I'm pretty sure getaway driver is a pretty loose definition of "cop killer" unless she ran them over when she drove away. Looking her up, it seems she really cleaned up her act though, helping the sick and doing social work. It doesn't forgive her sins but I applaud her for actually doing something worthwhile while in prison. Still don't see why the snowflakes should go there in particular, unless you're trying to make a connection between the Weathermen and snowflakes outside of a clever weather metaphor.

Thunderpipes: Colleges really are BS, especially Ivy League ones. But, the piece of paper can make you a winner.


True, some degrees are legitimately worth more than others, but the idea that all degrees are equal is a lot of crap that we've been fed for 30+ years
 
2013-04-03 11:24:22 AM  

babygoat: How the hell did your useless degree program involve Calc 3?


electrical engineering. I never said mine was useless, I was talking about all the liberal arts students/business majors
 
2013-04-03 11:25:43 AM  

Thunderpipes: Lollipop165: OldManDownDRoad: The hard fact is that every admissions officer I've spoken to (and I've worked in higher ed for more than 20 years at several different universities) hates this dynamic. They even admit that the "cool" thing nowadays is to have some enlightened thoughts about the sufferings of the underprivileged, not actually being underprivileged. This "proves" that the candidate will want to do something to improve the world, but we all know that the university hopes they will make a pile of money to "give back" when the time comes. And, of course, get their kids into the institution as well. It's the circle of life, of sorts. The boomers who had enlightened thoughts about themselves on their admissions essays, now coach their kids to have enlightened thoughts about the poor folks in Kenya, or wherever.

Had I known that was the secret I would have gotten into everywhere.

That being said it always bothered me that I got shiat for not having extra curriculars. I came from quite a wealthy background but it was sure as hell expected of me to have a job. I've been working since I was 14.  I never understood why having a job isn't considered as being as well rounded as someone who, say, plays softball or whatever.

My parents may have bought me a brand new car, but I sure as hell was expected to put the gas into it.

Wow. That is your argument? You got a brand new car, but had to suffer to work for the gas, and sports were too much?


Huh? My point is even having grown up in a wealthy lifestyle I was taught the value of money - I had no choice but to work (even though my parents could certainly afford me not working).  I was very lucky to be in that position - the fact is MOST kids in HS have to work. It's not an option. Money doesn't grow on trees. Not that there's anything wrong with extracurriculars, but the fact is colleges don't view HS jobs in the same manner as they do HS clubs. I actually think jobs are generally more telling of a person than "art squad" or "German club" is.

Looking back I don't think more than 10% of my fellow classmates had jobs in HS - I was an outlier.
 
2013-04-03 11:26:21 AM  

Dr Dreidel: And I know that HS guidance counselors are useless, but the one time they earn their keep is in college prep. Assuming they're worth a damn at all, they will have all kinds of info worth having. And don't wait until senior year to stack up those creds - I think part of the reason community-service requirements started appearing in schools is to help with that (I had to do 36 hours for each year in order to graduate - not even court-mandated!).


/CSB time:

Guidance counselors are farking useless. Thanks to them, I let myself get talked into engineering school, and permanently hamstrung my GPA.

When I applied to Stanford (ca. 1980), my guidance counselor (we'll call him "Doug Don't") sent in the form blank, Stanford returned it to me and I took it back to Doug, who finally got around to sending it in, but I can't remember if any deadlines were missed.

Thanks no doubt to Doug's paperwork bungle, Stanford waitlisted me, so I wound up going to my top choice within 1500 miles of home, and it all worked out in the end. (In retrospect, I could very well have flunked out of Stanford; I was so eager to get out from under my parents' thumbs that I sacrificed my freshman fall term to Bacchus. As is turned out, the school I went to shook me up, but I'd landed myself in a house with enough premeds that by the end of my junior year, an adjunct prof planned to include one of my papers in her assigned readings for the next term. Then her contract wasn't renewed, and instead of academia, I went into IT ops instead.)

Guidance counselors are farking useless. Thanks to them, I let myself get talked into engineering school, and permanently hamstrung my GPA.
 
2013-04-03 11:27:18 AM  
Few have pointed out the subtle racism of wishing she was "more diverse" suggesting she should have worn a burka or been born 1/32 of a preferred minority.

Yes, college admissions is a ridiculous dog and pony show. But all that stuff is more in the applicant's head. They just want to see that you are motivated and intelligent. Presumably they can see through all the bs activities kids try to make up.
 
2013-04-03 11:28:51 AM  

umad: We have been telling you idiot kids that your stupid major won't get you anything but debt for years. It isn't our fault that you won't listen.


Ha, when? I was in high school from 04-07 and I never heard anyone discouraged from going into liberal arts or business (philosophy aside, everyone shiat on them). Hell, some of the less than stellar students were encouraged to go to college for a crap degree because "that degree will make you look good when you go for a job"
 
2013-04-03 11:29:23 AM  

Fano: Few have pointed out the subtle racism of wishing she was "more diverse" suggesting she should have worn a burka or been born 1/32 of a preferred minority.

Yes, college admissions is a ridiculous dog and pony show. But all that stuff is more in the applicant's head. They just want to see that you are motivated and intelligent. Presumably they can see through all the bs activities kids try to make up.


That's why I married a Pacific Islander. It'll make our future kids look good for their Harvard applications.

/couldn't find myself a Kenyan
 
2013-04-03 11:29:36 AM  

Necronic: I wish someone would clue high school kids into the fact that Ivy Leagues are a waste for undergrad.   First off, if you're looking to be a top dog academically, then no one cares about your undergrad, it's grad school all the way.  And, while it's better to have an Ivy League undergrad if you want to get into an Ivy League grad program, if you take the time to research the rankings Ivy Leagues are usually outranked, or closely followed, by high end state schools in almost every technical discipline.


Going to an ivy will greatly increase your chance of getting a job on WS straight out of uni. So if that is your goal, it is a good choice.

And if my kids are (college-level) athletes, I will be pushing them very hard to look at the ivies. Ivy League athletes can get jobs at Funds around the world or on WS with relative ease.
 
2013-04-03 11:31:21 AM  

Moopy Mac: Necronic: I wish someone would clue high school kids into the fact that Ivy Leagues are a waste for undergrad.   First off, if you're looking to be a top dog academically, then no one cares about your undergrad, it's grad school all the way.  And, while it's better to have an Ivy League undergrad if you want to get into an Ivy League grad program, if you take the time to research the rankings Ivy Leagues are usually outranked, or closely followed, by high end state schools in almost every technical discipline.

Going to an ivy will greatly increase your chance of getting a job on WS straight out of uni. So if that is your goal, it is a good choice.

And if my kids are (college-level) athletes, I will be pushing them very hard to look at the ivies. Ivy League athletes can get jobs at Funds around the world or on WS with relative ease.


I agree, and it isn't just the Ivies. Name schools are very helpful for the first year or two out of college particularly in certain fields (finance being one of them).
 
2013-04-03 11:40:49 AM  
You're a fool if you near a University or College

Repeat ... fool.
 
2013-04-03 11:47:36 AM  
So what is Blair Hornstine doing these days?
 
2013-04-03 11:50:02 AM  
The bit of backtracking that she attempts to do at the end of her real letter is hilarious.

You have nobody to blame for this but yourself, yet here you are trying your damndest to blame everybody else under the guise of blowing off steam or satire.
 
2013-04-03 11:53:49 AM  

Lollipop165: Fano: Few have pointed out the subtle racism of wishing she was "more diverse" suggesting she should have worn a burka or been born 1/32 of a preferred minority.

Yes, college admissions is a ridiculous dog and pony show. But all that stuff is more in the applicant's head. They just want to see that you are motivated and intelligent. Presumably they can see through all the bs activities kids try to make up.

That's why I married a Pacific Islander. It'll make our future kids look good for their Harvard applications.

/couldn't find myself a Kenyan


Darn it. I'm marrying an Indian, I think they make it into colleges without such considerations. Hopefully our kid will have interesting stories to tell.
 
2013-04-03 11:59:33 AM  
Last I checked a number of top schools count things like after school jobs as extra circular activities (on the grounds your family might be poor, so you have to work).  I have one child who was accepted at Stanford, with a high school history of playing on a sports team, working 10 hours a week, and graduating with a 4.0 and plenty of AP Credits.  Number two went to Michigan on an athletic scholarship (so that doesn't exactly count for getting admitted) and Number 3 was just accepted at Michigan with a history similar to #1's.  So I tend to consider these kind of letters and complaints bullshiat, more than likely she has academic problems, doesn't have AP Credits, and/or did poorly on at least one standardized test.   #3 did have the advantage of being black though, whereas #1 was half white, half Asian.

Frankly it isn't that hard to get out of high school with a near 4.0, at least a few AB level AP Credits, and one decent standardized test score, so if you don't have that prepare yourself for the wait lists.

/had one admissions person tell me that actually liked seeing kids with jobs, since anyone can form a high school charity group and lie their ass off about what they accomplished whereas if you can hold a job you have to at least have some level of personal discipline, even if it just pulling the fries out every time you hear a ding
//admissions people have bull shiat detectors too
 
2013-04-03 12:14:49 PM  
I remember going to a friend's kids graduation party a few years back. The Valedictorian had done more in her 16 years than I had done in 40. No joke! I could only think to myself: Did this child have a youth? They were doing genetic research at 16 years old, graduating from high school and had already completed most their Freshman level courses for Harvard, the school they had been accepted to with a full ride scholarship. The ones that didn't make Valedictorian were just as impressive on paper. Then they all spoke.

Flat jokes, little understanding of cadence in their speeches, hum drum lighthearted pokes at their schools and classmates... these kids had plenty of regurgitated knowledge that they applied on a daily level, but very little life experience. They were awkward, they were out of touch, they were social pariahs. They would move forward in life faster than most folks, and most likely be leaders in their fields in another 20 years, but they will have spent almost 40 years of their lives not knowing the joy of things like going sledding, or vegging out watching cartoons, or know the simple tasks like how to put gas in their cars or how to change their oil or how to go grocery shopping. They had been forced to achieve by their parents so hard, they missed out on all the things that make childhood great. I guarantee none of them have scars from being a normal kid, or broke a bone trying to be a daredevil. They simply did the rote studies and regurgitated the knowledge endlessly, and for that I feel sorry for them

Make no mistake, I was envious as shiat that they got to go to Harvard, experience an Ivy League setting, and if they don't burn out halfway through to getting their Doctorate in 7-9 years, they'll never have to worry about the things I listed in the paragraph before because they'll be set for life. I should also mention all the kids with the honorifics and graduating early were Middle Eastern and Asian.
 
2013-04-03 12:19:32 PM  

somedude210: babygoat: How the hell did your useless degree program involve Calc 3?

electrical engineering. I never said mine was useless, I was talking about all the liberal arts students/business majors


Then why are you acting like you got bad advice?  And exactly what kind of jobs were liberal arts students made to believe they would land when they graduated?
 
2013-04-03 12:25:41 PM  
Let's watch at the precious, unique snowflake dantily flutters to earth and finds itself in a blizzard.
 
2013-04-03 12:25:46 PM  

babygoat: Then why are you acting like you got bad advice? And exactly what kind of jobs were liberal arts students made to believe they would land when they graduated?


to be fair, I probably did get bad advice. I was a 2.7GPA student in high school, I was told to go to college. It was only when they asked what I did in my spare time that I said "well, I build computers. I kinda want to go into that" that they went "Perfect! computer science is all the rage!" I got into most of my schools for computer science. Only the school that I went to did I apply for Computer engineering. I switched from Computer to electrical engineering in my sophomore year because I hated programming, but I enjoyed the building aspect of hardware.

My issue is more of that the guidance counselors pushed to get into college no matter what, regardless of whether you actually wanted to go into something that had a job that you actually needed the degree for. I have friends about to graduate that are in for english or communications and whatnot and they're not entirely sure they can get a job with the degree, at least one they couldn't get without the degree.

Just because I'm not in the same boat because I had a technical ability, doesn't mean I can't stand up against the crap being fed to those coming into the system.
 
2013-04-03 12:40:28 PM  

somedude210: daily beast/WSJ aside, the letter does make a good point. The higher-ed industry is a ridiculous place.

The higher education system needs to be reformed. We need to stop making it all about profits, we need to educate our kids about how you don't need to go through college if you're gonna waste it on a degree that'll get you as far in life as not having a college degree at all (I'm looking at you, philosophy majors). We need to stop the stigma of vocational schooling in lue of high school. We need to stop compounding so much debt on the kids who do want to go through college so that they don't have to keep paying off the loans until they're in their mid-40s.

The younger generations are completely screwed with our education system. We keep going on and on how we absolutely, positively need to have an bachelor's in something,anything, as long as it's a bachelor's. and then, 3 years into our 4 year degree, we get told that the degree is utterly useless and you were better off going into this degree or that degree, or hell, if you just worked your ass off in a factory or something, you'd be making a shiatload more and without all the student debt by now.

Stop treating us like children on the realities of education and give us honest answers as to what we can expect in life if we choose this path or that path.


I wonder what we could call this higher-education reform program.  ObamaSchool?  Obam-lege? Obamersity?
 
2013-04-03 12:42:21 PM  

Babwa Wawa: sinanju: Assuming the letter is real, she has managed to validate the wisdom of the institutions that rejected her.

The real letter shows that it was tongue in cheek, and the writer admits underachievement.

Regardless, this young lady's unworthiness of an ivy league education doesn't make college admissions policies any more sensible.  The overvaluation of extracurricular activities have contributed to income disparities in top colleges, as well as outright fraud in the application process.  It's been this way at least since the 80s, possibly longer.


I am quoting to affirm your position.  I am going to add that GPA is still the most important factor of getting into any school.
 
2013-04-03 12:48:59 PM  

somedude210: My issue is more of that the guidance counselors pushed to get into college no matter what, regardless of whether you actually wanted to go into something that had a job that you actually needed the degree for. I have friends about to graduate that are in for english or communications and whatnot and they're not entirely sure they can get a job with the degree, at least one they couldn't get without the degree.


I got my degree in Communication after washing out as a CS major (like you, the programming killed me). I have also worked in IT for the last 6 years.

Unless your degree is specialized knowledge (like EE) your degree doesn't mean as much as what skills you can add to it. Even then, like if you're an EE who is a luthier on the weekends, you'll be more attractive to employers.

// apparently, knowing both IT and how to talk to people is a useful combination of skills
// I also have a small chip on my shoulder about people who knock "soft" degrees like COMM
 
2013-04-03 12:50:07 PM  
GoodOmens:

Ivy League undergrad can land you a first job that will make you almost a shoe in for a top grad program.  If you had two students applying for a top MBA program with the exact same GMAT scores and one had a kick-ass recommendation from McKinsey - who would you choose?


Having worked with McKinsey folks for about 8 years, I would take the other person.  But, as was said above, the college admissions game is more about future contributions to the endowment than anything else...
 
2013-04-03 12:51:06 PM  

somedude210: daily beast/WSJ aside, the letter does make a good point. The higher-ed industry is a ridiculous place.

The higher education system needs to be reformed. We need to stop making it all about profits, we need to educate our kids about how you don't need to go through college if you're gonna waste it on a degree that'll get you as far in life as not having a college degree at all (I'm looking at you, philosophy majors). We need to stop the stigma of vocational schooling in lue of high school. We need to stop compounding so much debt on the kids who do want to go through college so that they don't have to keep paying off the loans until they're in their mid-40s.

The younger generations are completely screwed with our education system. We keep going on and on how we absolutely, positively need to have an bachelor's in something,anything, as long as it's a bachelor's. and then, 3 years into our 4 year degree, we get told that the degree is utterly useless and you were better off going into this degree or that degree, or hell, if you just worked your ass off in a factory or something, you'd be making a shiatload more and without all the student debt by now.

Stop treating us like children on the realities of education and give us honest answers as to what we can expect in life if we choose this path or that path.


Having a double major in philosophy I take offense at your statement :p
(mind you I also got a finance degree to balance out my existentialist ponderings.)

That said - I really wish I had just gotten an electrician apprenticeship :(
(would have been less fun but.)
 
2013-04-03 12:57:28 PM  
The whole business of looking for kids with fake charities, foreign volunteer experience  extracurricular etc is all about screening for wealthy parents.

Kids of average means, don't have the money to do all of that stuff.  Parents of kids with average means won't make a lot of donations to the school.   They might even ask for Financial Aid.
 
2013-04-03 01:02:08 PM  

Dr Dreidel: somedude210: My issue is more of that the guidance counselors pushed to get into college no matter what, regardless of whether you actually wanted to go into something that had a job that you actually needed the degree for. I have friends about to graduate that are in for english or communications and whatnot and they're not entirely sure they can get a job with the degree, at least one they couldn't get without the degree.

I got my degree in Communication after washing out as a CS major (like you, the programming killed me). I have also worked in IT for the last 6 years.

Unless your degree is specialized knowledge (like EE) your degree doesn't mean as much as what skills you can add to it. Even then, like if you're an EE who is a luthier on the weekends, you'll be more attractive to employers.

// apparently, knowing both IT and how to talk to people is a useful combination of skills
// I also have a small chip on my shoulder about people who knock "soft" degrees like COMM


True, I'm a terrible electrical engineer, but I know how to problem solve and talk to people as well as have a competent understanding of math, electricity and engineering. . One of my first tasks after landing my internship with the military this past summer was to write up a tech report for a conference (that never happened because of travel restrictions but I still wrote the paper) and my boss, who has read hundreds of these papers from my team was quite pleased by my ability to write and actually make coherent observations. (The two other people that write a lot of papers that she reads aren't great. One will make a point and go on...and on...and on...and on about it. The other, she swears translates it from Portuguese in her mind to English before writing)

Langdon_777: somedude210: daily beast/WSJ aside, the letter does make a good point. The higher-ed industry is a ridiculous place.

The higher education system needs to be reformed. We need to stop making it all about profits, we need to educate our kids about how you don't need to go through college if you're gonna waste it on a degree that'll get you as far in life as not having a college degree at all (I'm looking at you, philosophy majors). We need to stop the stigma of vocational schooling in lue of high school. We need to stop compounding so much debt on the kids who do want to go through college so that they don't have to keep paying off the loans until they're in their mid-40s.

The younger generations are completely screwed with our education system. We keep going on and on how we absolutely, positively need to have an bachelor's in something,anything, as long as it's a bachelor's. and then, 3 years into our 4 year degree, we get told that the degree is utterly useless and you were better off going into this degree or that degree, or hell, if you just worked your ass off in a factory or something, you'd be making a shiatload more and without all the student debt by now.

Stop treating us like children on the realities of education and give us honest answers as to what we can expect in life if we choose this path or that path.

Having a double major in philosophy I take offense at your statement :p
(mind you I also got a finance degree to balance out my existentialist ponderings.)

That said - I really wish I had just gotten an electrician apprenticeship :(
(would have been less fun but.)


Electricity is enjoyable to learn, actually. And you can make a shiatload being an electrician.

That said, the only real, possibly difficult business major (from what I've heard from business majors) is accounting :P
 
2013-04-03 01:03:09 PM  

xanadian: I wonder what we could call this higher-education reform program. ObamaSchool? Obam-lege? Obamersity?


Please, it's gonna be my generation that actually bothers to try and reform higher ed. So it'll be Somedude-a-school
 
2013-04-03 01:09:51 PM  
Get a precocious-sounding title to put on your resume. "Assistant Director of Mail Services." "Chairwoman of Coffee Logistics."

Executive Vice President In Charge Of Intergalactic Business  Development of Nothing Much
 
2013-04-03 01:10:22 PM  
Huh?

At 15, I had no less than six different colleges extending scholarships to me.

I went with Portland State because it was close to home. And I was already taking classes with their math department.

Things must have been different in the 70's
 
2013-04-03 01:24:21 PM  

HMS_Blinkin: But when young people who do work for money during HS rather than non-paying work, that gets looked down upon by college admissions people.  The problem isn't that "kids these days" aren't working---it's that the admissions process values some kinds of work more than others.


The thing, though, is it isn't. Regular work can be just as beneficial as super-intern-fun-time-molestation-go! You just need to know how to spin it properly. If you're working at an ice cream shop every summer because you feel like slacking off and having spare change for pot, booze, and the occasional prostitute, of course colleges are going to look down on that. If, on the other hand, you are bravely sacrificing your summer to help your family survive a devastating layoff and put your grandmother through cock-sucking camp so that she can finally earn her keep, than that's as good as an internship at Surprise, Butts, X Partners, LLC.


And the reality of the situation is that colleges HAVE to do this. Because there are only a handful of Ivies, and there are a shiat ton of students coming out every year with perfect 4.0GPAs. Hell, the median GPA at my school was 3.75. MEDIAN. Granted, I went to a highschool that pumped out Ivy grads like McDonald's pumps out burgers, but still. There are a hundred public high schools just like mine, each releasing 100's of students with 4.0's (and sometimes higher, depending on how AP classes are weighted), with perfect SAT scores (because really, it's not all that difficult). And that's not even taking private schools with massive legacies and direct hotlines to admissions into account.

Obviously, top-tier universities don't have room for all of these over-achieving little bastards, so they have to rank them somehow, and extra-curricular are one way to do that. And if you think back to the late 90's/early 00's when I was in HS, many people were PRAISING the move to ranking life experience, extracurriculars, work, etc. more because it helped to offset the test-taking/education gap that was growing between white students and minority students. This was supposed to be the solution that gave equal footing to the kid who had to work three jobs to support his disabled single mother. This was supposed to be the solution that let Little Suzy, who loves saving whales but hates algebra, get into the marine biology program by listing her time blowing up Japanese whaling ships with Sea Shepard as a critical life lesson. And it was supposed to be the solution that allowed for some touch of humanity into the admissions process. No longer were you just a series of numbers and a name; finally your personality, your achievement, your passion would help you to achieve bigger and better.

So yes, some people clearly lie on their admissions application. Some people have parents who buy them everything they need in little pre-packaged single-serve disposable containers (contents: 3 years worth of internships, 1 semester foreign exchange, 2 charitable activities, one violin, one pair running shoes, 4 year prescription for adderal, one little poor asian kid from the state school to do nightly SAT tutoring). Some people had everything handed to them. So what? That's life. There are ALWAYS people who game the system. In fact, the people who game the system, and who are good at it, will ALWAYS do better than you. The liars, cheats, scoundrels, thieves, backstabbers, and general douchebags will ALWAYS succeed at a level that you NEVER could. So you have four options: join them as best you can, and use the farking brain you were given to compensate for their advantages, you can do the best you can with what you have and put as much effort into it as possible (what, exactly, stopped this girl from finding a sport she loved, or a charity where she could volunteer weekends, or an internship/job in her future studies, or really any activity that let her excel at being who she was?), you can change the game and keep score in a way that's meaningful to you so you're not competing against the assholes (go to a state school, do something you love, do it really well, and be satisfied with topping out your salary at 100k), or you can cry about it and blame everyone except your own damn lazy self.

We know which one she went with. I also strongly suspect, based on her writing, that her admissions letters absolutely sucked.
 
2013-04-03 01:31:56 PM  
Kids have it rough today.  I made the Natl. Honor Society, so I was deluged with college catalogs and application forms; had a stack about two feet tall without lifting a finger to get them.

Any app form longer than 3 pages went in the trash automatically.  So did anything requiring use of my own paper for an essay.  The school I eventually attended had a one-sheet, two-sided form and a prepaid return envelope.

Plus, the catalog had many pics of bikini-clad coeds frolicking on the beach and a good overview of the student beer/wine bar; drinking age was 18 then. Another factor in my choice was the school's lack of a Students for a Democratic Society chapter.  I didn't have time for any nonsense.
 
2013-04-03 01:32:21 PM  
Having just been on the admissions committee I can say that this is mostly a smoke-screen.

You want a good school ?   The top requirement is good marks in hard classes.  That is the number one predictor or a successful applicant.  Show us you can pick the right classes, and ace them, repeatedly, for your high school tenure.   Get drunk when you can, but show up and perform.  Next is your references.  They have to tell us you rock, that you are better than their peers.   They won't say you suck usually, but we can tell the difference between "yes, this is a student I know and don't despise" and "You are an idiot if you reject this one"  that's it.

We use all that life experience stuff when figuring out grants and endowments and scholarships.  Really.
 
2013-04-03 01:39:12 PM  
somedude210: That said, the only real, possibly difficult business major (from what I've heard from business majors) is accounting :P

Yeah that's what I did, with a large splattering of economics.

Playing with electricity would have been a better long term prospect (the philosophy part sort of dampened my buy-up-all-the-life-jackets-on-a-sinking-ship mentality that is essential to make it big in the corporate world.)
 
2013-04-03 01:40:30 PM  
Yes, of course getting into a top college requires doing a bunch of worthless crap that has nothing to do with how good of a student you would actually be.  Guess what?  That's not just school, it's life.  Want to get a top job at a leading company in your industry?  You're gonna need a resume that's padded with loads of crap; certifications which you will never use, degrees which you will hardly use, worthless awards, meaningless recommendations, etc.  Want to advance from that position to an executive one?  Same deal, you're gonna have to do all kinds of stuff that has nothing to do with how well you actually do your job.  A lot of it is simply scratching the right peoples backs, checking off all the right boxes, etc.

While one could certainly make the argument that this stuff is all pointless another argument could be made that jumping through all these hoops demonstrates a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.  Do you want your division head to be the guy that will do the minimum work to meet the job goals?  Or the guy who will spend 6 months studying Chinese for 4 hours a day so that when you have a meeting regarding the $50 million deal your trying to land with the Chinese firm he can have a conversation with them in their native language, even though they all speak English?  Of course you don't HAVE to do these things.  You also don't HAVE to go to an ivy league school and you don't HAVE to be a CEO.  But if you WANT to win the game then you do have to play by the rules.

If this girl understands the game as well as she seems to think she does then why didn't she do what was necessary to get in instead of not trying and writing a whiny letter after the fact?
 
2013-04-03 01:44:48 PM  

swankywanky: so your parents never gave you an extracurricular activity, except swimming and karate which you quit on, and you couldn't go find something on your own that interested you.

That's all I'm getting form this, anyone else reading something else?


I don't get this either. My parents didn't make me do anything and I CHOSE to play hockey, do marching band, trivia team, math club on my own.

Still she totally has a point and her letter was funny.
 
2013-04-03 01:52:26 PM  
I always love these threads where the fark super intellectuals get to tell us how they sacrificed their childhoods/teen years worrying about colleges and grad schools and 4.0 GPA's blah blah blah. We've got 70 years on this earth if we're lucky I'm focused on my pursuit of happiness - fark your ivy league prestige and your engineering firm.
 
2013-04-03 01:54:36 PM  

room at the top: GoodOmens:

Ivy League undergrad can land you a first job that will make you almost a shoe in for a top grad program.  If you had two students applying for a top MBA program with the exact same GMAT scores and one had a kick-ass recommendation from McKinsey - who would you choose?


Having worked with McKinsey folks for about 8 years, I would take the other person.  But, as was said above, the college admissions game is more about future contributions to the endowment than anything else...


Completely agree.  But unfortunately it's what happens.
 
2013-04-03 01:54:42 PM  

HST's Dead Carcass: I remember going to a friend's kids graduation party a few years back. The Valedictorian had done more in her 16 years than I had done in 40. No joke! I could only think to myself: Did this child have a youth? They were doing genetic research at 16 years old, graduating from high school and had already completed most their Freshman level courses for Harvard, the school they had been accepted to with a full ride scholarship. The ones that didn't make Valedictorian were just as impressive on paper. Then they all spoke.

Flat jokes, little understanding of cadence in their speeches, hum drum lighthearted pokes at their schools and classmates... these kids had plenty of regurgitated knowledge that they applied on a daily level, but very little life experience. They were awkward, they were out of touch, they were social pariahs. They would move forward in life faster than most folks, and most likely be leaders in their fields in another 20 years, but they will have spent almost 40 years of their lives not knowing the joy of things like going sledding, or vegging out watching cartoons, or know the simple tasks like how to put gas in their cars or how to change their oil or how to go grocery shopping. They had been forced to achieve by their parents so hard, they missed out on all the things that make childhood great. I guarantee none of them have scars from being a normal kid, or broke a bone trying to be a daredevil. They simply did the rote studies and regurgitated the knowledge endlessly, and for that I feel sorry for them

Make no mistake, I was envious as shiat that they got to go to Harvard, experience an Ivy League setting, and if they don't burn out halfway through to getting their Doctorate in 7-9 years, they'll never have to worry about the things I listed in the paragraph before because they'll be set for life. I should also mention all the kids with the honorifics and graduating early were Middle Eastern and Asian.


Farkers here will applaud the 16 year old - I just feel sorry for her. That isn't living and I don't care what anyone says. There is so much more to life than academia...
 
2013-04-03 02:00:27 PM  

somedude210: you don't need to go through college if you're gonna waste it on a degree that'll ge


I completely disagree, I feel the the peoples tax money is better used oppressing people in other countries rather than helping youth in our own
 
2013-04-03 02:20:35 PM  
/CSB

I applied and was accepted to WSU and I remember my essay section verbatim. Just prior to applying, I had seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, so when the essay section came up, it was as follows:

What would you like to get out of your education at Washington State University?

My answer:

Illumination.

I was accepted, which I found hilarious, and subsequently attended briefly. College was the biggest waste of time and money of my life to date (outside of a few of my exes, but women aren't an investment, they're an expense).

/College dropout
//Ironically, also a college professor for a couple of years
///Make much more money than my college grad friends.
 
2013-04-03 02:21:56 PM  
If she thinks this is bad, just wait until she tries to get a job.

It turns out that if you're just as good as the next guy for the job-skill in question, but they have additional skills, or more experience, or better social skills, or are more confident, or have better, more weightier recommendations, then they are more likely to get the job!

It's just like college admissions, only you have less knowledge about what it is they're looking for, and less control over providing it!

That's because the whole idea of a competitive system is rigged! It's a total sham and people won't even bother to lie about it!  They'll tell you that it's deliberately biased so that the more qualified, more valuable person wins!  Should be illegal, right?

...
There may be problems with the college education system, but claiming that it's unfair because admissions can be merit based is not one of them.  Saying that it's biased towards the rich because they have free time and such is also a cop-out.  It may be unfair that one person lacked the opportunities that another had, but when the line is drawn on merit (which may include ability to pay), circumstances are irrelevant.

... now if only we could actually have it be truly merit based, that'd be great.
 
2013-04-03 02:31:22 PM  

keepitcherry: I always love these threads where the fark super intellectuals get to tell us how they sacrificed their childhoods/teen years worrying about colleges and grad schools and 4.0 GPA's blah blah blah. We've got 70 years on this earth if we're lucky I'm focused on my pursuit of happiness - fark your ivy league prestige and your engineering firm.


Enjoy working minimum wage and never retiring so you can pursue your happiness in shiatty living conditions with shiatty toys. I will cry myself to sleep tonight on my 2400 threadcount pillowcase while I contemplate about how much my life sucks.
 
2013-04-03 02:32:56 PM  

keepitcherry: I always love these threads where the fark super intellectuals get to tell us how they sacrificed their childhoods/teen years worrying about colleges and grad schools and 4.0 GPA's blah blah blah. We've got 70 years on this earth if we're lucky I'm focused on my pursuit of happiness - fark your ivy league prestige and your engineering firm.


No one is doing that.  Fark your too-lazy-to-read attitude.
 
2013-04-03 02:34:04 PM  

umad: keepitcherry: I always love these threads where the fark super intellectuals get to tell us how they sacrificed their childhoods/teen years worrying about colleges and grad schools and 4.0 GPA's blah blah blah. We've got 70 years on this earth if we're lucky I'm focused on my pursuit of happiness - fark your ivy league prestige and your engineering firm.

Enjoy working minimum wage and never retiring so you can pursue your happiness in shiatty living conditions with shiatty toys. I will cry myself to sleep tonight on my 2400 threadcount pillowcase while I contemplate about how much my life sucks.


And fark your pillowcase.  No one cares about your stuff, especially your pillowcase.
 
2013-04-03 02:41:06 PM  

babygoat: umad: keepitcherry: I always love these threads where the fark super intellectuals get to tell us how they sacrificed their childhoods/teen years worrying about colleges and grad schools and 4.0 GPA's blah blah blah. We've got 70 years on this earth if we're lucky I'm focused on my pursuit of happiness - fark your ivy league prestige and your engineering firm.

Enjoy working minimum wage and never retiring so you can pursue your happiness in shiatty living conditions with shiatty toys. I will cry myself to sleep tonight on my 2400 threadcount pillowcase while I contemplate about how much my life sucks.

And fark your pillowcase.  No one cares about your stuff, especially your pillowcase.


Somebody is grumpy. Are people not tipping well at the coffee shop today?
 
2013-04-03 02:41:32 PM  

babygoat: And fark your pillowcase. No one cares about your stuff, especially your pillowcase.


Au contraire.

I find 2400 count pillowcases make excellent toilet paper.

// assuming I can't find 3 shells from endangered marine life
 
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