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View Diary: To (All) The Millions of High School Seniors with Sour Grapes, Especially Ms. Weiss… (141 comments)

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  •  Trying to do the math here (9+ / 0-)

    Great points.  This is a big, big country, and the total number of very bright people in each age group are high.  Using the number of SAT test takers probably understates the number of very bright people.  

    Another way to approach this is to start with the 2010 census figure for 18-24 year olds: about 30,672,000.  Divide that by 7, and you get roughly 4,382,000 18 year olds in the US in 2010.  

    Assume the same number for 2013.  If you want to look at the top 10% of intelligence in that group, you are looking at 438,200 people; the top 1% number about 43,820.  If you want to define the top 3% as very bright, that would be about 131,460.

    On top of that, factor in the very bright foreign students who get some of the places in each class in each elite university.

    It's easy to see why admissions officers at places like Yale and Harvard say they could fill up three or four classes from their annual pool of applicants, with no decrease in quality.

    It's also obvious that the overwhelming majority of very bright 18 year-olds do not apply to the Ivy league schools that Suzy Weiss wrote about.  If they did, the application numbers at those universities would be many times higher than they are now.

    It seems to me that the only rational response to these numbers - whether one is admitted to a so-called elite university or not -- should a large dose of humility, gratitude for the opportunities that one gets, and realization that admission to university is not an achievement in itself but the beginning of a larger challenge.  

    •  there aren't 20,000 fiirst year students.... (0+ / 0-)

      at Wisconsin, Michigan or Illinois.  They have enrollments that are around 45K with about 20-25K coming from grad students.  So maybe the first year class is admitting 10K but not expecting them all to attend or last to graduation.  And big state schools do give preference to state residents in admission.  And that preference is spread around the state- as University of Virginia how many come from Northern VA?

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:17:38 PM PDT

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      •  sorry if i was unclear, the 20K referred to those (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        3 unis combined.

        interestingly, there are twice as many seniors as frosh at some of these schools -- the increment is due to the kids who can't afford to attend while working on their general ed requirements.

        as to in-state vs out-of-state, the word on the street, at any rate, is that many of the state schools are preferentially taking out-of-state students, who are more profitable. might be an urban legend, i don't know, but it doesn't have any bearing on my assertion, which is that the children of the middle class are being priced out of the flagship unis by the children of the upper middle class. although you might be surprised to see how many kids from New York and the Chicago burbs attend UW-Madison, I'm speaking less about them than about the kids of the gladsacks in Waukesha -- the ones who aren't good enough to attend the elite schools of choice (typically in these parts, Notre Dame ...).

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:47:05 PM PDT

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        •  The MI legislature passed a law (1+ / 0-)
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          mandating how many instate students U of M had to admit because it seems they were taking too many out of state students for the tuition increase.

          •  Love it. (1+ / 0-)
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            VA Breeze

            You must take this percentage of in-state students, but we're going to cut your funding so you can't make up the balance by taking more out-of-state students (because we're p-o'd that you negotiated union contracts).

            I feel sorry for my University.  Probably going to have to contribute some money to help make up what Republicans are short-changing the school for.

    •  what about the movie stars and the olympians.... (4+ / 0-)
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      wintergreen8694, ER Doc, caul, ColoTim

      who get into Yale or Stanford or Harvard?  Didn't Tiger Woods get in on a golf scholarship to Stanford?  Natalie Portmann went to Harvard and Jodie Foster went to Yale as famous young actresses.  Honestly, complaining about the advantages that anyone gets over you, poor little smart girl, won't impress these folks.  Maybe top 3% academically just isn't that impressive when they can take other amazing skills into consideration.  

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:29:13 PM PDT

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      •  of course they won't be impressed. (17+ / 0-)

        but then, they already rejected her, so it doesn't really matter whether they're impressed or not. i don't think she's hoping they'll change their minds. she's just ticked off because she's realized that nothing she did was was going to get her into the school she wanted to attend -- she could have worked half as hard, had twice as much fun, done almost as well, and still gotten in to any number of her other choices.

        what's really at play here is a republican suddenly realizing that she's been sold a lie: if you work real hard, your dreams will come true, because all of those other losers whose dreams aren't coming true just didn't work as hard as you are willing to work. except, she hasn't yet realized that the reason is because harvard can only accommodate 1500 new students each year, regardless of how hard the top 3000 kids in the country work. so she blames affirmative action or whatever, when the reality is that no matter how much she put into it, in the end she was rolling the dice.

        with enough introspection, it might occur to her that this is the ultimate condemnation of competitive capitalism. there are always going to be losers, the system demands and enforces this result, regardless of the overall virtue of the population.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:55:27 PM PDT

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        •  it's a similar situation to unemployment (7+ / 0-)

          Given the structural changes in our economy, it's a pretty good bet that most of the 10% or so unemployed in the US wouldn't have jobs no matter what---the jobs themselves are disappearing.  So even if everyone in the USA had a Harvard MBA, ten percent of us would still be unemployed.

          The old "Horatio Alger" mythology has ALWAYS been pure bullshit. It feeds on our lottery mentality--the hope that even though the odds are tremendously long, we MIGHT win anyway. And we never do.  (shrug)

          •  Indeed, I was specifically thinking of (5+ / 0-)
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            GreenMother, emal, JBL55, ColoTim, ebohlman

            unemployment when I wrote my comment.

            Unremitting competition -- to be judged relative to others, rather than on one's own merits -- is the weapon the bosses use against the rest of us to keep us frightened, stressed out, and at the grindstone, instead of living worthwhile lives.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 05:36:38 AM PDT

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          •  Anyone who's read Horatio Alger will recognize (2+ / 0-)
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            ebohlman, orestes1963

            the truth in this comment. I haven't...but I did read Sennett & Cobb's The Hidden Injuries of Class many years ago, in which they pointed out the key fact that the poor boy (always a boy o'course) never "makes good" on his own.

            What happens is that the p.b.'s industriousness & moral worth is fortuitously brought to the attention of a Scrooge McDuck who, impressed by the lad's sterling qualities, makes a conscious choice to take him under his wing ;) & smooth for him the flight path to his own personal Money Bin.

            S&C also point out that life imitates art (if you can call HA stories "art") in that (1) Socioeconomic classes exist in the US, (2) boundaries between them are far more rigid than even those who admit their existence will grant, (3) the probability of an individual rising well above his SEC is small & highly dependent on sheer luck, but (4) the possibility allows TPTB to point to a few well-known examples & say to those still stuck in the lower depths, "See, anyone can make it in America, so what's wrong with you that you didn't??", thereby (5) throwing the responsibility for success or failure (& the concomitant arrogance or guilt) back onto individuals rather than questioning the social order that sets them up for socioeconomic failure.

            I would extend this analysis to note that the guilt of "not having made it" combines with the general insecurity of existence to (6) generate feelings of inadequacy leading to neurosis, which (7) consumerist society conveniently persuades them to assuage by buying stuff, thereby further enriching the 0.1% relative to the 99.9%, &/or dissolving themselves in movements or religions that provide a frequently-bogus sense of belonging while supporting the Algeroid mythos that keeps the system in place.

            But maybe that's just me.


            by Uncle Cosmo on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:26:19 AM PDT

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        •  Maybe she'll also learn (4+ / 0-)
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          UntimelyRippd, emal, JBL55, ColoTim

          Who you know is more important than what you've done. Case in point - George w bush.

          Welcome to the real world.

          Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

          by walk2live on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:20:45 AM PDT

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        •  Boom. (5+ / 0-)
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          GreenMother, emal, JBL55, ColoTim, ebohlman

          Hard work entitles you to two things in this world:  Jack and shit.  

          Hard work is (almost always) necessary for success, but it is not sufficient. You need talent, gumption, and some luck as well as hard work.

          Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

          by nominalize on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 05:55:07 AM PDT

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          •  generally speaking, luck is more important (3+ / 0-)
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            alice kleeman, ebohlman, orestes1963

            than any of the others.

            our fields are full of men and women and for that matter children who work much, much harder than almost everyone else in the country, and few of them are ever likely to enjoy even reasonable physical comfort, nevermind anything approaching security -- entirely because their parents were who they were.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:37:06 AM PDT

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          •  But they have a huge leg up (1+ / 0-)
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            Well, there are a lot of talented people with gumption who are lazy. So hard work definitely gives you a leg up on them! Lots of people like Weiss think they can get by in life on account of their shining personality and a sense of entitlement. And school is one of those places where hard work pays off in the form of higher greats and greater understanding. She could have used some of that. She came from a family with money and connections and was taught a far amount of "gumption." Turns out it wasn't enough to get her in to the college of her choice!

        •  Sorry, but the times have changed (0+ / 0-)

          Pedigree has become tantamount once again.  When I went to school, it wasn't nearly as strong a force as it is today because at the time (1981) education was still being opened up to more and more of the middle class- and there were state and federal grants to help pay for your higher education.  In an increasingly small and competitive workplace, the school you attended can determine which doors will be open to you to a greater extent.  The belief that you can make your own destiny regardless of background or pedigree is increasingly becoming a fiction.

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