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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 56
    More: Asinine, Wall Street Journal, Amy Chua, onions, University and college admissions, bake sales, college application, disaster recovery, war correspondents  
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16147 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Apr 2013 at 9:45 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-04-03 09:56:08 AM
9 votes:
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.
2013-04-03 09:53:34 AM
8 votes:
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.
2013-04-03 09:52:52 AM
8 votes:
I think she has a good point.  There's a lot of hypocrisy in college admissions nowadays.  Students are rewarded for trying to be someone they're not, rather than for excelling at doing the things that they want to do.
2013-04-03 09:54:15 AM
7 votes:

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


Disagree, that was hilarious. And accurate.
2013-04-03 09:49:14 AM
6 votes:
Assuming the letter is real, she has managed to validate the wisdom of the institutions that rejected her.
2013-04-03 10:03:11 AM
4 votes:
Or you could just go to a regular school and be a normal well-adjusted human being instead of hyperventiliating over the fact that you're not super number #1 best amazing kid.
2013-04-03 10:02:16 AM
4 votes:
Funny ... I also graduated in 1989 and would have had no shot at getting in to the college I went to in 2013.  I spent every free second of time from the day I turned 14 working my ass off to pay for myself, and my parents were too busy with managing a failing business and taking care of two elderly parents who moved in with us to worry about driving me to some bullshiat after-school activity.  I like to think I did just fine in undergrad, and looking at all of my peers who were the product of "Tiger Moms", I can say with certainty I've been a far more productive adult.

The problem with college admissions - and "higher education" in general - is that it's run by people who on the whole have never, ever participated in the actual world, and have spent every moment of their lives from age 5 on wrapped in the suffocating, insulated world of "education".  They wouldn't have a clue what it takes to be an actual contributing member of society.
2013-04-03 09:58:11 AM
4 votes:

Nickninja: It hasn't been that long since I was accepted to college (10 years), but I don't remember it being that difficult... I took a few honors courses, didn't sit around and smoke weed all day every day, and surprise: I got into a good school!

Sure, if you didn't do anything in high school you might have had trouble, but those people didn't really want to go.  I don't think I knew anyone from my graduating class who wanted to go to college, but didn't get in anywhere.

As long as you're not ONLY applying to Ivy league status schools, you should be able to find a good fit.


I did some accounting/Excel temp work about a year ago for a foundation in Anaheim. They do medical stuff in Africa. One of the things that allows them to survive is the constant stream of unpaid interns, who are all 16-18 years old and still in high school. I talked to several of them, and they all validated what the lady said in her letter.
2013-04-03 09:54:18 AM
4 votes:

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.
2013-04-03 09:53:10 AM
4 votes:
That's a lot of douchebaggery in one letter...
2013-04-03 10:09:22 AM
3 votes:
If the institution of higher learning you're trying to get into is showing a preference for phonies and over-achievers, then maybe you should count your blessings that you won't be wasting your tuition dollars there.  Your local state college offers the same exact opportunity for learning (at the undergraduate level, surely) without all of the pretentiousness and at a fraction of the cost.
2013-04-03 10:08:55 AM
3 votes:

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

Disagree, that was hilarious. And accurate.


Accurate? She did NOTHING to prep for college, or she would have seen this all coming down the pipe. She deserves this. I'm not expecting her to have logged 4,000 hours of community service on 4 continents, I'm expecting er to have done SOMEthing, and to have known what was coming in advance. Instead, she coasts through school, doesn't bother to find out what's expected, then starts crying when she's told that she doesn't qualify. It's not like Ivy League admissions are some well-kept secret that only approved people are clued into.
2013-04-03 10:04:13 AM
3 votes:

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.


This.

Ivy Leagues Leagues do work well, however, for validating the expression "It's not what you know, it's who you know".  If you need a job that relies on the latter (like politicians), you may do better at an Ivy League.
2013-04-03 10:01:46 AM
3 votes:

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

Disagree, that was hilarious. And accurate.


With respect to Ivy League schools, I agree.  Their admissions process is a thinly veiled system of weeding out applicants who are academically where they need to be, but who are not the children of the "establishment".

There are a lot of excellent non Ivy league schools though which don't have this level of insanity in admission though.  The situation she's describing really only applies if you just haaaave to go to Haaaaavard.  U of M took me (and my B's and my extracurricular activities that just amounted to activities I actually enjoyed like Mock Trial and theater).
2013-04-03 09:59:49 AM
3 votes:

HMS_Blinkin: I think she has a good point.  There's a lot of hypocrisy in college admissions nowadays.  Students are rewarded for trying to be someone they're not, rather than for excelling at doing the things that they want to do.


Tough shiat.  Life is not a big invitation to do the things you want to do.  Or, if that's your goal, don't be surprised if people aren't lining up to give you the fruits of their own labor.

Life's hard.  It takes work.  And success, be it educational, financial, athletic, etc.., is the result of hard work and sacrifice.  That's sort of the opposite of what most people (all generations) would prefer doing.  The difference is the current generation is being given a different message.

To the author of the letter: It's easy to claim everyone else is faking it and it's all bullshiat.  The reality is others are probably working harder and sacrificing more to achieve their goals.  Is there some fakery and bullshiat? Of curse there is, there always has been.  Is it ALL fakery and bullshiat?  I suspect not.  Want to get into college?  Turn off HoneyBooBoo / Real Housewives / reality shiatshow du jour and read a farking book, you nimrod.
2013-04-03 09:56:12 AM
3 votes:
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?
2013-04-03 09:53:19 AM
3 votes:
It hasn't been that long since I was accepted to college (10 years), but I don't remember it being that difficult... I took a few honors courses, didn't sit around and smoke weed all day every day, and surprise: I got into a good school!

Sure, if you didn't do anything in high school you might have had trouble, but those people didn't really want to go.  I don't think I knew anyone from my graduating class who wanted to go to college, but didn't get in anywhere.

As long as you're not ONLY applying to Ivy league status schools, you should be able to find a good fit.
2013-04-03 01:40:30 PM
2 votes:
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 11:22:31 AM
2 votes:

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 10:23:00 AM
2 votes:

somedude210: art degree? If you're the next Picasso, a piece of paper isn't going to be required


You know, I used to think like that (then I took an arrow to the knee).

Then I spoke with a friend who did video game character design (including for Skyrim. Some of the gear is her handiwork, and I think she did some off-book VO work as well). I was talking about how I suck at art, and she countered: "You play bass, right? Were you this good when you first picked it up?" Another friend who majored in Set Design (I think) from Knox, Stephen Colbert's alma mater, told me that you can see all the art without a class, but to know why the art was important beyond "it looks good", you may need someone to explain it.

It takes hard work to be a good artist, but also good/the right tutelage. Even Picasso was taught by his father (who was an art professor).
2013-04-03 10:09:42 AM
2 votes:
I quit all extracurriculars my senior year and held down 3 jobs for both my Junior and Senior year. This was about 17 years ago so things may have been different, but I was sick of all the teachers pet extracurricular junkies. Their parents bought them everything. If I wanted a car or to go out on fri night I had to pay. I did have a great GPA 10th in class maybe that helped a little, but Admissions weren't solely about all this other BS.

My admissions essays all sounded like this girls letter and I got into every school I applied to including Carnegie Mellon and Yale(Chose Syracuse because I hated New Haven(and I wanted a party school LOL) and really only applied to Yale for an ego boost). My parents have a great deal of money too, but my father/mother thankfully raised me like they were poor and I love them for doing it. I cant imagine how exponentially more unbearable I would be to be around if I had been some spoiled brat.

On the other side of the coin, if you want to go help kids in Africa, go do it. Whatever floats your boat. Its alot more noble that what I wanted to do with my spare time over High School summer. Smoke weed, drink beer, try to get laid.
2013-04-03 10:09:31 AM
2 votes:
Universities have turned the admissions office into a profit center.  They market themselves to way to many students they could not possibly accept.
2013-04-03 10:08:38 AM
2 votes:

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.


So much THIS.  If you're going to grad school, don't bother with Ivy league. Hell, higher end non-Ivy private schools aren't necessarily any better than states.  If you know exactly what you want to do, find out what school specializes in your tiny little niche and go there. That'll give you the best bet.
2013-04-03 10:05:41 AM
2 votes:
I went to a state university as a non-trad on the G.I. Bill after dropping out of college a few years earlier because I couldn't afford it and I had a whopping 1.8 GPA. I didn't know what to do with my life, so I joined the infantry.

I can safely say that my alma mater didn't give a fark about my extracurricular high school activities.

Now, I review applicant resumes every day as part of my job. So long as you didn't attend a degree mill, I really don't even care where you went to college. There are just as many dumbasses attending Princeton as there are Boise State, believe me. Why get hung up on rejection?
2013-04-03 10:05:22 AM
2 votes:

somedude210: 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.


Work hard, take difficult, unpopular majors that have a proven track of financial success, such as engineering, accounting, etc.. Realize that you will stat on the bottom rung of the ladder and your first 5 years will be sucky drudgery, JUST LIKE EVERY GENERATION BEFORE YOU.  You will work long hours for low pay.  Realize that you will not: become CEO in your first year, invent Facebook, get a million dollar signing bonus, succeed as a professional actor/musician/athlete, etc..

This is as it has been, and should be.  Don't expect anything different.  And the next person that says, "just follow your dream, do what you like"?  Slap them.  Hard.  And ignore everything else they say.
2013-04-03 10:01:51 AM
2 votes:
These days, a nearly-perfect GPA is the barest requisite for an elite institution. You're also supposed to be a top notch athlete and/or musician, the master of multiple extracurriculars.  Summers should preferably be spent doing charitable work, hopefully in a foreign country, or failing that, at least attending some sort of advanced academic or athletic program.

So doing more than the bare minimum is too much work for this girl? Maybe if she had SOME kind of extra-curricular life to show that she was doing more than going through the motions, but from the sound of her letter, she lacks focus, drive and ambition. I'm sure a high end college wants those kinds of students. Yeah, maybe they have a ridiculous amount of expectations, but it sounds like this girl did absolutely nothing.

Regardless, this chick could have bothered to do at least the littlest bit of prep for her higher ed dreams. Seriously, it's like she didn't bother to talk to ANYONE about what might have been expected of her. I actually have zero sympathy for her.
2013-04-03 09:56:44 AM
2 votes:
I didn't volunteer, have internships, have a family connection, or any after school activities beyond golf and school newspaper.  I applied to two schools, Duke (sucks) and GT. I was never going to go to Duke, but I applied for the hell of it just to see if I qualified.

Got in to both and never bothered with another school application ever again.

How are people making it this difficult?
2013-04-03 09:53:46 AM
2 votes:
Or just volunteer you lazy biatch
2013-04-04 12:17:25 AM
1 votes:
It is a good point.  I only ever applied to one University and got in, as a junior, at 17, without even finishing high school (yeah, I went to college without a high school diploma; they let me finish my senior year at the same time as I took my freshman classes) - all because I bullshiatted them and made myself sound a lot better than I really was.

I wasn't rewarded too well for my moderate embellishments - I never graduated from that place, despite having more than ten thousand dollars in loans before I turned 18.  It's just silly that a teenager should look at the world around him and see that as what he's supposed to do.  My mistakes are my own, but it's a bad system.  I don't know what a better system would look, but I know this one isn't very good. 

Of course, I resent higher education itself these days, because it's more about getting pieces of paper so that someone can land a cushy job than it is about education, and such thinking surely influences how I see it.
2013-04-03 06:03:25 PM
1 votes:

LibertyHiller: 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.


Shouldn't you blame your admitted drinking... not your councilor..
2013-04-03 01:52:26 PM
1 votes:
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 12:19:32 PM
1 votes:

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 11:59:33 AM
1 votes:
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 11:27:18 AM
1 votes:
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 11:15:35 AM
1 votes:

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 11:11:11 AM
1 votes:

somedude210: babygoat: Stop acting like this advice is ubiquitous and realize that whoever sold you on it is an idiot. If you want to go into a certain career, find out what kind of education it requires and go from there. By the time you're 18 years old you should be able to come up with a better plan than
1) Get a degree in "anything"
2) See what happens next

dude, guidance counselors have been selling the idea of "get a degree, it's worth it" since at least the 90s. The college system has been selling it for longer. Remember the old "if you have a degree, you'll make $1 million dollars more over your life than someone who doesn't" posters? They failed to mention that most of that money would be spent paying off the debts you have from your education


How the hell did your useless degree program involve Calc 3?
2013-04-03 11:04:22 AM
1 votes:
The cost of education needs to come down significantly. I'm 27, trying to go back to school, but I have to cancel this term. I just can't afford it with my medical bills. Pre-financial aid, a single class costs about $360, plus books that can cost in the realm of $99 a pop.
2013-04-03 11:04:20 AM
1 votes:

Fano: HMS_Blinkin: Priapetic: Tough shiat.  Life is not a big invitation to do the things you want to do.  Or, if that's your goal, don't be surprised if people aren't lining up to give you the fruits of their own labor.

Life's hard.  It takes work.  And success, be it educational, financial, athletic, etc.., is the result of hard work and sacrifice.  That's sort of the opposite of what most people (all generations) would prefer doing.  The difference is the current generation is being given a different message.

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.

I never said that hard work and sacrifice aren't important.  The problem is that college admissions places too much emphasis on doing a whole bunch of things badly rather than drilling down and focusing on doing one thing really well.  Colleges would rather have a kid who did some BS volunteer work they didn't really care about + was crappy at 3 different sports rather than a kid who had a real passion for one extracurricular activity and excelled at it, or a kid who put in lots hours working a job through the school year and the summer.

This is true. It appears they prefer you join every club even if you don't do anything. Also, for you to have an elected post, as though that isn't bogus. I was voted president of pur model u.n. ... Because I was out of the room when they took the vote and nobody wanted the position.


Actually, I suspect they'd like some evidence that you're not a typical stoner, xBox baby or reality TV junkie.  You can provide this evidence by demonstrating you have enough self-motivation do do something other than the bare minimum to get by (which includes working part time, by the way).  This is important because in college, unlike high school, Mommy and Daddy aren't  there to drag your ass out of bed.  If you don't have enough motivation to do it on your own, you're going to crash and burn spectacularly and be a distraction to everyone around you.

Of course, there's also a percentage of bullshiat as well.
2013-04-03 10:41:31 AM
1 votes:

somedude210: I don't deny that something like graphic design isn't something that may require a degree, but degrees in painting and whatnot just seemed unnecessary. a few classes make sense, but not a degree program.


Don't read this as an attack, but what you've described is the difference between a hobby musician (like me) and Troy Sanders (of Mastodon). If you want to learn a skill, get a hobby. If you want a career, get an education.
2013-04-03 10:36:46 AM
1 votes:
The author's sister, Bari Weiss, is a former Wall Street Journal editorial features editor.
2013-04-03 10:24:05 AM
1 votes:

BEER_ME_in_CT: I quit all extracurriculars my senior year and held down 3 jobs for both my Junior and Senior year. This was about 17 years ago so things may have been different, but I was sick of all the teachers pet extracurricular junkies. Their parents bought them everything. If I wanted a car or to go out on fri night I had to pay. I did have a great GPA 10th in class maybe that helped a little, but Admissions weren't solely about all this other BS.

On the other side of the coin, if you want to go help kids in Africa, go do it. Whatever floats your boat. Its alot more noble that what I wanted to do with my spare time over High School summer. Smoke weed, drink beer, try to get laid.


These days, admissions is all about a perfect GPA, plus being a letterman athlete and a superior musician, and the master of multiple extracurriculars. Your summers should be spent doing charity work, preferably in a foreign country full of brown people. If you couldn't get a passport, you should have spent your summer doing advanced academics at the community college or participating in the Olympic tryouts.

Of course, this sort of thing favors kids from affluent backgrounds with the time and money to found a charity or establish a house band for the local disco. Kids who have to work to pay for gas/clothes have a hard time amassing these "enrichment" activities.

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.

So that's the current arms race of admissions. Everyone knows the score, everyone plays the game.

Luckily, both my kids got into top ten universities. And we did it the old-fashioned way: my daughter had a major donor intercede in her behalf (she knew the rich guy's daughter from cheerleading) and my son had a state senator pave the way (the senator's son was his best friend).

Frankly, the higher ed admissions game is the most lie-encrusted institution in American outside of  Congress. But as long as that diploma is considered the ticket to the middle class, the game will continue and every year a new class of future consumers of cheap Chinese textiles will move into the groves of academe.
2013-04-03 10:21:30 AM
1 votes:

somedude210: I always enjoyed seeing the business majors biatch and moan about a 5 page paper they have to write....in a bullshiat history class, I might add


Look, Physics 1101 was a hard class. And, don't even get me started on Calculus 2...what kind of person invents linear algebra?

On a side note, the Physics 1101 class I took ended up with 60% of the class getting Cs or worse. The two professors teaching that semester ended up getting suspended from teaching classes for a semester and the class was noticeably easier the next semester.

Bastards.
2013-04-03 10:20:21 AM
1 votes:

Kiwimann: Plan that whatever you learn, you're gonna be stuck doing it day in and day out until you retire, so pick something that's at least tolerable over the course of 40+ years. If you have no real interest in it except for the salary you think you'll earn, your days are gonna suuuuuck and your life is gonna suuuuuuck.


exactly, but we need to stop treating all degrees as equal. They're not. That general liberal arts degree isn't gonna get you anything. Don't get a degree because you want a degree in something, do it if you want to be a professional in that area but accept that that degree may not have the financial return you think it will because it's a degree
2013-04-03 10:20:11 AM
1 votes:

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.


Stop acting like this advice is ubiquitous and realize that whoever sold you on it is an idiot.  If you want to go into a certain career, find out what kind of education it requires and go from there.  By the time you're 18 years old you should be able to come up with a better plan than
1) Get a degree in "anything"
2) See what happens next
2013-04-03 10:19:48 AM
1 votes:
bulldg4life: "How are people making it this difficult?"

Because the writer's talking about Ivy League schools.
Which underscores the truly absurd part of this whole rant.

If they *weren't* ridiculously exclusive, she wouldn't have wanted to go.
But now that she can't actually get in, she's going to moan about how exclusive they are?

I mean, the entire Ivy League 'prestige' *revolves* around self-aggrandizing bullshiat.
If the clueless rant-writer *really* doesn't want any part of that nonsense, her even applying was a huge mistake and they've done her a favor.

But upon being rejected, she felt liking climbing up on the cross and having a nice little "everyone look at me" moment. 
Which makes it a *touch* hard to believe that she's actually a naive innocent who had her dreams stymied by a snooty club that wouldn't let her in.
2013-04-03 10:18:10 AM
1 votes:

bulldg4life: somedude210: can we also get rid of the idea that business majors are gonna be the cream of the crop? Cause most of them failed out of tougher majors (like engineering)

Hey, having to transfer from one of the engineering majors to management is a difficult choice. I mean, at GT that means they'll have to walk across the bridge to get to all the business classes. The engineering students have it easy since their classes are all on the main campus.


I always enjoyed seeing the business majors biatch and moan about a 5 page paper they have to write....in a bullshiat history class, I might add
2013-04-03 10:17:48 AM
1 votes:
She has some points, but in the end it's a basic problem of supply and demand.

Elite colleges get far more applicants than they can accept.  I work at a tier ~1.5 liberal arts school and we take roughly 1 in 3 applicants, and if you want to go to someplace with a better name those odds worsen rapidly.

Given that the vast majority of people aren't going to get in, what do you have that makes you special enough?  It could be a perfect GPA with a lot of AP courses.  It could be an extracurricular or sport.  (And talking to the admissions folks, it's a hell of a lot better to have one thing that you're really devoted to than 10 resume fillers)  It could be a life situation- minority, poor, interesting background, etc.  It could be work experience if you've done something other than work the fry machine at McDonalds.  (And yes, getting promoted after working  for a while at McDonalds is a good point in your favor)  If you don't have *something* you're not getting in.

That said, there are a ton of schools where you'll get a good education.  Work hard at a Cal Poly and you'll do just fine in life.
2013-04-03 10:16:55 AM
1 votes:

somedude210: Priapetic: Work hard, take difficult, unpopular majors that have a proven track of financial success, such as engineering, accounting, etc.. Realize that you will stat on the bottom rung of the ladder and your first 5 years will be sucky drudgery, JUST LIKE EVERY GENERATION BEFORE YOU. You will work long hours for low pay. Realize that you will not: become CEO in your first year, invent Facebook, get a million dollar signing bonus, succeed as a professional actor/musician/athlete, etc..

This is as it has been, and should be. Don't expect anything different. And the next person that says, "just follow your dream, do what you like"? Slap them. Hard. And ignore everything else they say.

I would also toss in that you shouldn't try and do engineering, science, accounting, etc. if you have no desire to do it. If you want to major in what you love and it has no real purpose in the corporate world, then accept that you're paying for something that won't have the return you think you'll get with a bachelor's in it.

can we also get rid of the idea that business majors are gonna be the cream of the crop? Cause most of them failed out of tougher majors (like engineering)

we need scientists, educators, engineers, doctors, nurses and accountants. Those should be your first priorities

/art degree? If you're the next Picasso, a piece of paper isn't going to be required


Plan that whatever you learn, you're gonna be stuck doing it day in and day out until you retire, so pick something that's at least tolerable over the course of 40+ years.  If you have no real interest in it except for the salary you think you'll earn, your days are gonna suuuuuck and your life is gonna suuuuuuck.
2013-04-03 10:16:32 AM
1 votes:

somedude210: can we also get rid of the idea that business majors are gonna be the cream of the crop? Cause most of them failed out of tougher majors (like engineering)


Hey, having to transfer from one of the engineering majors to management is a difficult choice. I mean, at GT that means they'll have to walk across the bridge to get to all the business classes. The engineering students have it easy since their classes are all on the main campus.
2013-04-03 10:14:56 AM
1 votes:
Solution: Take away all colleges ability to award derplomas and have state or nationalized tests based on the degree you want to challenge.  If you pass the test you get the degree.  I'm not talking some multiple choice crap shoot. I'm talking about a down and dirty real test.
2013-04-03 10:14:12 AM
1 votes:

Priapetic: Work hard, take difficult, unpopular majors that have a proven track of financial success, such as engineering, accounting, etc.. Realize that you will stat on the bottom rung of the ladder and your first 5 years will be sucky drudgery, JUST LIKE EVERY GENERATION BEFORE YOU. You will work long hours for low pay. Realize that you will not: become CEO in your first year, invent Facebook, get a million dollar signing bonus, succeed as a professional actor/musician/athlete, etc..

This is as it has been, and should be. Don't expect anything different. And the next person that says, "just follow your dream, do what you like"? Slap them. Hard. And ignore everything else they say.


I would also toss in that you shouldn't try and do engineering, science, accounting, etc. if you have no desire to do it. If you want to major in what you love and it has no real purpose in the corporate world, then accept that you're paying for something that won't have the return you think you'll get with a bachelor's in it.

can we also get rid of the idea that business majors are gonna be the cream of the crop? Cause most of them failed out of tougher majors (like engineering)

we need scientists, educators, engineers, doctors, nurses and accountants. Those should be your first priorities

/art degree? If you're the next Picasso, a piece of paper isn't going to be required
2013-04-03 10:12:23 AM
1 votes:

Priapetic: Tough shiat.  Life is not a big invitation to do the things you want to do.  Or, if that's your goal, don't be surprised if people aren't lining up to give you the fruits of their own labor.

Life's hard.  It takes work.  And success, be it educational, financial, athletic, etc.., is the result of hard work and sacrifice.  That's sort of the opposite of what most people (all generations) would prefer doing.  The difference is the current generation is being given a different message.


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.

I never said that hard work and sacrifice aren't important.  The problem is that college admissions places too much emphasis on doing a whole bunch of things badly rather than drilling down and focusing on doing one thing really well.  Colleges would rather have a kid who did some BS volunteer work they didn't really care about + was crappy at 3 different sports rather than a kid who had a real passion for one extracurricular activity and excelled at it, or a kid who put in lots hours working a job through the school year and the summer.
2013-04-03 10:10:00 AM
1 votes:
When did we stop looking at higher ed as both a privilege and something you got if you had the money to pay for it and start looking at it as a competition to see who could fluff their resume the most?
2013-04-03 10:09:59 AM
1 votes:

blipponaut: Or you could just go to a regular school and be a normal well-adjusted human being instead of hyperventiliating over the fact that you're not super number #1 best amazing kid.


see, now I don't think that's as widespread a mindset as you would think.

elvindeath: Funny ... I also graduated in 1989 and would have had no shot at getting in to the college I went to in 2013. I spent every free second of time from the day I turned 14 working my ass off to pay for myself, and my parents were too busy with managing a failing business and taking care of two elderly parents who moved in with us to worry about driving me to some bullshiat after-school activity. I like to think I did just fine in undergrad, and looking at all of my peers who were the product of "Tiger Moms", I can say with certainty I've been a far more productive adult.


Aren't tiger moms just overbearing "super helicopter moms"? Why in god's name are we advocating this crap. This is the crap that gave us "EVERYBODY GETS A MEDAL!!!" parenting. Fark, your kid isn't awesome and super and the best at everything, I'd be willing to bet that they want you to calm the fark down a bit and let them explore life on their own without you interfering in everything.

When we make "helicopter parenting" and "tiger moms" bad things to be, will our generations start to fix themselves.

It's like an entire generation got a giant rod up their ass and wants their kids to make up for the rod in their ass taking away the life they wanted
2013-04-03 10:07:53 AM
1 votes:
And right now those colleges are celebrating the fact that they won't have her passive aggressive bullshiat on their campuses for the next the semesters.
2013-04-03 09:53:05 AM
1 votes:

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


To quote the author of that pile "Hear Hear".
 
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