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The essay “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me”, originally published by the Wall Street Journal, by Suzy Lee Weiss, has been making the rounds on social media platforms. She’s even had an appearance on NBC’s “The Today Show”, in which she claims a 4.5 GPA, a 2120 SAT score, and a position as a US Senate Page should have helped her get into the college she wanted. Sadly, Ms. Weiss was not accepted to her first choice Ivy League schools. In her essay she claims that if she constructed a fake charity, was a minority (she is white), or had a tiger mom she would have been accepted to a school she was hoping to attend. The essay Ms. Weis wrote is tone deaf, and she has been called “privileged” and “racist” in comment boxes across the web. All of that is a shame, but Ms. Weiss, and her essay, are indicative of the most damaging challenges we face in this country.

The greatest threat to America today is not terrorism, climate change, North Korea, gun control, or even herpes. The greatest threat today is the perception of education, not the education system itself (that is another story) just, simply, the perception of education. Kindergarten through high school is most certainly a right in this country, and is approached from a factory system developed during the industrial revolution. Do something for an hour, a bell sounds, and then you go and do something for another hour until another bell sounds, and so on and so on, a conditioned response. This can be a good thing, as it is a great way to learn basic math. If my breakfast taco and coffee cost $4.95, and I give $5.00 for the goods, I would like a nickel back with as little analysis as possible. This is schooling.

However, education is subjective, experiential, messy, and odd. It is rarely 2+2=4, it is 2+?=?, and doesn’t lead to definitive result. This is why matters such as affirmative action are so important to higher education. A college education is not a right. It is a privilege. Colleges invite various students from all walks of life, backgrounds, experiences, and even test scores to create a diverse experiential environment. Colleges are not looking for each student to have a 4.5 GPA, what good would that be? Higher education is aware that a student will learn some in the classroom, but will primarily learn from collaborations and experiences with fellow classmates. Simply adding things to your resume, like fake charities, will not help, nor should it.

Ms. Weiss claims in her NBC interview that she wrote her essay as satire, like an episode of “30 Rock” but like each episode of that show there is a truth in joking. The threat that Ms. Weiss has brought to light is that education is something quantitative. I have good news for Ms. Weiss, higher education, and the world for that matters, is a fascinating and complicated place. No one cares too much about your GPA. Of course, the bad new for Ms. Weiss is that this world, and college, is a fascinating and complicated place. No one cares about your GPA. When I look at this young lady’s behavior on “The Today Show”, I wonder what her interviews at those reject colleges where like. Perhaps Ms. Weiss should take a year off school, work at Burger King, or at homeless shelter, or a community garden, watch, listen, and gain some perspective. Perhaps more high school seniors should do the same.

Originally posted to Timothy Braun on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 07:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I didn't see her on TV (29+ / 0-)

    but with her attitude it is very hard to see how she would come across well when being interviewed for a college place. Very hard not to give off an air of both arrogance and entitlement.

      •  MI? I'll tell my daughter to steer clear! (12+ / 0-)

        Funny thing is every year IL recognizes the top 10% of seniors. My daughter had no GPA related honors at her high school but was recognized as top 10% by the State. Her friends who had the top GPAs honors at her high school weren't recognized by the State. I'm not sure the criteria they use because her friends had higher GPAs, lower ACTs, similar sports, and much less volunteer work.

        Most of her friends got into WI and IL, but not MI. My daughter was rejected by WI -- when she would have been 3rd generation -- and deferred by IL. Yet she was accepted in the first batch of MI students. At the time she would have preferred WI over MI, but when she went to visit her friends at WI she realized that that she would have been very unhappy there.

        I think most schools know what they are looking for and have a feel for who will succeed at their school. It just frightens me that MI picked both this woman and my daughter!

        •  U of M alumna here (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emal, ColoTim, CharlieHipHop

          I was a resident of MI at the time and only applied to state schools (my parents put 6 kids through college).  There was no essay.  I had a 3.8 and somewhere between a 1240 to 1280 (I took them several times and can't remember) SAT and my ACT was very high too.  I applied early and was accepted by early November.  

          I don't know what criteria universities use, and they are probably all different.  I do know they want geographic diversity so that is probably why this east coast kid got into midwest schools.  But families in the northeast especially place high priority on the IV league.  If you just look at the number of applications, not everyone with a 4 point or higher is going to get in.  A kid with a high gpa and SAT's will get into a top university, just maybe not the one at the top of the list.

          That said, this kid is obnoxious and clueless.  Surprise, there are minority kids with high IQ's, high gpa's and high test scores.  Universities do not want clones.  And the whole idea that it's a rat race and that if you are the top of the top, you will get into whatever university you want is not true.  Legacies with big donor parents (think W) take precedence over your little SAT score.

      •  Arrogant entitlement is about the sum of it. (25+ / 0-)

        Claiming it is satire when there simply is no satire evident doesn't work for me. It's a bill of complaints against "everyone else."  

        Princeton has a 7% admission rate. So, she thinks that she is "more qualified" to win the "rat race" and be admitted?

        And let's stop and think a bit. Is this some poor downtrodden youth with no access to the socio/economic ladder?  Hell no. She was a Senate Page and has a close relative employed at the Wall Street Journal, not the least of which to mention is the fact that her "poor little discriminated against white girl" screed fits too neatly into the Fox/Murdoch 24x7 racist agenda.


        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:17:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ah--"has a close relative employed at the Wall (9+ / 0-)

          Street Journal"...that explains how-come we're even listening to this.

        •  I feel for these kids (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dfarrah, emal, boji, ColoTim, orestes1963

          The college admissions process is a giant scam. And The College Board benefits. Kids are told to take AP classes, tests are $87 each. They are urged to take the PSAT and the SAT over and over to improve scores. The. When it's time to Pply they spend money and time on those when many aren't even looked at.

          After they finally get into a school it costs a fortune. I can see how a kid might finally wake up,after driving the self hard for 4 years and realizing they are the same as 60,000 other applicants to their dream school and saying WTF?

          Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

          by voracious on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 07:12:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly. They try to live these perfect lives, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            have been successful, and then everyone, in this case rejected her.

            Great letter. There is some satire here too. Two moms ...

            She is making fun of the liberal make up of the selection committee.

            Did she deserve it? Who knows. They reject many students with perfect SAT scores every year.

            College has become a total scam. According to one study, 47% of students have no increase in skills after 2 years.

            Another study estimated that 85% of jobs don't need any of the skills learned in college.

            Student debt hit a trillion last year, and it is going up all the time faster than inflation. The colleges are spending much more on recreation and sports than education. Professors are much more likely to be non-tenured than any time in our history.

            If we have a problem in education, it is the college scam be taken on our students and parents.

        •  She is bad at math, that's for sure. (9+ / 0-)

          She applied to 3 Ivies and Vanderbilt.

          Let's say each has a 10% admission rate.

          What's the chance of her getting rejected by all four? (.9 to the 4th power = 65%)

          Why the surprise?

          •  Because she felt she was so much better than (0+ / 0-)

            the other 90% of the applicants at each of the schools.

            Whiny self-pity party definitely.  She can express herself very well in an interview on national TV, which would result in many high-school age kids not being nearly so capable of carrying on intelligent conversation.  Still, I probably commend the Ivies and Vanderbilt for choosing other people and I'm wondering if she will deign to follow through on the offer of admission at my alma mater.  I certainly expect her fellow students to very quickly learn that wherever she attends, it is not her first choice and I hope they treat her appropriately.

            •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

              Students at colleges that weren't their first choice are deserving of the opprobrium of their fellow students?  I don't know that your alma mater would be very proud of your attitude.

              •  You're assuming "appropriately" means badly. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm referring to it in the spirit of "education".  I received a lesson in a variety of people and cultures that I had only read about starting with my first day on campus.  She needs to also learn that there's a whole variety of people at a state school.  If she brings her self-pitying attitude of having to "settle" for one of the best institutions in the whole world, just because it's not her first choice (but is ranked higher in a recent study than at least one of her schools, though overall ranking doesn't mean as much as ranking in her field of study), I really don't have much sympathy for her and I really wouldn't expect the students to either.  This girl needs to learn there's a real world out there, and I think her education will be much more than what she now plans on.

                •  Yeah, right (0+ / 0-)

                  If that were your intention, you failed miserably.  Perhaps you should have gotten more "education" at university.  

                  But I think you are merely equivocating.  What, pray tell, should her fellow students teach her?  You know nothing about her background or her exposure to others.  Your comments evince a personal animus towards a teenager you do not know.  Sadly, your education at one of the best institutions in the world (that's a large category you are creating there; perhaps you're not terribly aware of the number of excellent global universities) didn't teach not to draw broad conclusions on minimal information.  

                  •  I was basing the rating off the report published (0+ / 0-)


                    The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings employ the world's largest invitation-only academic opinion survey to provide the definitive list of the top 100 most powerful global university brands. A spin-off of the annual World University Rankings, the reputation league table is based on nothing more than subjective judgement - but it is the considered expert judgement of senior, published academics - the people best placed to know the most about excellence in our universities.
                    I'd also say your conclusions about how much I know about her and that I have animus towards her are evidence that you, yourself, judge without information.  I suspect we will continue to disagree about that so no point in carrying that further.
          •  Excellent point. (4+ / 0-)

            Even if you apply to 10 schools with 10% acceptance rates, you still have a 35% chance of being rejected by all ten.

            I think it's a matter of focus.

            From her point of view, she's the smartest kid in her high school. Highest test score, high grades, blah blah blah. Now she can't understand why she didn't get in.

            But look at it from the colleges' point of view. I'll bet the Ivy League schools get thousands or tens of thousands of applications from "the smartest kid in the school." There are lots of high schools out there.

            "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

            by Dbug on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:23:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Big Fish in a Small Pond Syndrome n/t (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dbug, helpImdrowning

              Writing in all lower-case letters should be a capital offense

              by ebohlman on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 02:52:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Exactly. There are a lot of these big fish-little (0+ / 0-)

                pond kids out there who are just not prepared for the reality of the big bad world. On the other hand, she did get her essay in the WSJ and landed an appearance on a nationally televised morning show, so the little fish has done alright.

                "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy -7.8., -6.6

                by helpImdrowning on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 04:49:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  But how would a high school kid know all this? (0+ / 0-)

              Of course there are lots of high achievers out there -- but top of the class is a big deal in any school.  Teachers and parents push kids to extreme achievement and foster improbable expectations. Maybe someone should point out the dangers of fighting for things everyone else wants, and instead encourage kids to find their own best paths. Kids can have fun and learn during their high school years.  This aspirational circus and its attendant industries cause unnecessary disillusionment for too many sweet, smart kids.

            •  Aren't you projecting a bit too much? (0+ / 0-)

              It appears she was angry and disappointed when she was rejected, but seems to be quite articulate and reasonable in that interview.  A lot of seniors probably had the same reaction on that fateful day.  Give her a break.

    •  I laughed out loud when I read her essay..... (32+ / 0-)

      ...because it struck me instantly as "vey iz mir" satire. As a Pittsburgher, I grew up with that kind of humor, as penned by Beverly King Pollack (Quoth the Maven) and spoken by comedienne Esther Lapiduss (her daughters are Hollywood comedy writers).

      The truth behind Suzy's "plight" was best summed up by the Gypsy Rose Lee character in the Broadway show "Gypsy," with the song "Ya Gotta Have a Gimmick." And that's what I think she was getting at. When fewer than 10% of the qualified applicants are accepted at the school of your choice, you really do have to have a gimmick. Of course, the best gimmick is being born into a rich alumni family, but the nine extracurriculars, three varsity letters, two moms, and a partridge in a pear tree was a funny (to me) way of saying that if you don't really have a gimmick, "yourself" won't get selected.

      Of course, there is another lesson here Suzy. And it was best expressed by another rich kid, Jack Kennedy. "Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded, and some never leave the country, and some men are stationed in the Antarctic and some are stationed in San Francisco. It's very hard in military or personal life to achieve  complete equality. Life is unfair."

      Suck it up, Suzy. I don't think you're a bad kid at all. You worked hard and did your best and didn't get into an Ivy League School. And you wrote a piece that got published and made a lot of people laugh and a lot of people angry and got you more than 15 minutes of fame. You have never known hunger or want, and you probably never will. Michigan is a terrific school. You'll be fine. Good luck. Go Blue!

      And lighten up, folks. She's a good kid who really, really wanted something and didn't get it. It's not like she's stealing or doing drugs or screaming about "tyranny." She made an attempt at humor, and maybe you didn't find it funny. There's so many other things in this world to get worked up over. Leave the kid alone.

      •  My limited experience with admissions offices. (5+ / 0-)

        Every admissions office loudly proclaims that they are looking for diversity. And rightly so.  

        A problem however exists in that admissions offices themselves seem to lack diversity.  They all seem to have the exact same sanitized vision of what diversity is. As such their efforts fail to help to produce anything but a vanilla/bland form of diversity.

        Its a bit ironic.

        It’s a shame really and has the effect of making those without a “gimmick” feel a bit left behind and somewhat cheated.

        Just IMHO

        •  Implicit discrimination (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A problem however exists in that admissions offices themselves seem to lack diversity.  They all seem to have the exact same sanitized vision of what diversity is. As such their efforts fail to help to produce anything but a vanilla/bland form of diversity.

          That's pretty much spot on.  It seems like most elite colleges and universities tend to focus on a certain version of diversity.  I've read that people from rural areas tend to be underrepresented, partly because they don't even realize that they should be applying but also because reps from the colleges don't necessarily visit/recruit from these areas.  Also asians tend to be underrepresented when considering test scores and similar things; e.g. if you're asian you probably need to score significantly higher than other groups to get in. For example, the median scores for asian students at an ivy is apparently about 150 points higher on the SAT than the median score for caucasian students.

      •  I'm glad someone else saw it this way. (6+ / 0-)

        I'm from a lower middle class background, but have gone to schools with kids like her, and taught quite a few as well. I would make bets she would not be the kid pulling rank and slacking off. I might make her read "A Modest Proposal" and examine why satire must be a little more obvious to be effective, but at least she's not sombrely quoting Nine Inch Nails on being a rat in a cage. She's a high school kid, she'll be fine.

        You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

        by northsylvania on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 02:26:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  She is young and naive. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emal, ManhattanMan, Dodgerdog1, ColoTim, Larin

        She will learn some lessons throughout her life, and look back on this one day, and perhaps cringe a little, or maybe if we are lucky, use this as a jumping off point into something truly profound- find a better way to express her frustration.

        She can afford to go to college? Her parents can send her? She is very lucky. Time to learn to want what you got sweetie.

        If you can learn to do that, you will have truly accomplished something.

      •  Agree she is young (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And I was willing to cut her some slack due to that and due to the fact she was frustrated and venting that her dreams were just dashed when she wrote this.

        That said..she should have realized it was still a huge lottery crap shoot and the odds were not in her favor...and as you said, nothing in life is guaranteed. ...except death and taxes.

        In addition, she seemed to have some insight about the fact the whole college admission process is a huge RAT RACE..perhaps  more reflection about the ridiculousness of it all might be in order. It's a huge marketing money my gut is that it's here to stay..unless you are savvy to understand it may really not be worth it in the long run...not to play the game. Welcome to the ReGilded Age!

        Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

        by emal on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 08:56:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is she kidding? (0+ / 0-)

        I mean, I didn't get into my first school, or my second, or my third.

        However, I do know one girl who got into five of her top six schools, and was wait-listed at Harvard.

        She finished a BS and MS at MIT in five years.

        But you're right.  Michigan?  They're the next level of entitled.  She should have gone to Duke; it's a whiter school.

        What an entitled jerk.  Life's not fair.  Sorry.

        "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

        by MikeTheLiberal on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 03:22:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Do they still do interviews? (0+ / 0-)

      That was being phased out when I applied to college back in 1981.  And if interviews are used, it is another means by which good applicants are discriminated against.  My parents couldn't afford to send me to schools for interviews.  I didn't even have the resources to visit the campuses of the schools I applied to.  

      I think one needs to avoid the ad hominem fallacy in addressing this essay.  I think it is criminal that kids these days have college coaches or are engaging in activities out of a craven desire to make themselves look good to colleges.  And it happens a lot- among the privileged.

  •  what bugs me the most about her (68+ / 0-)

    is that all the while complaining about the "advantages" that URM's, gay, poor students have in the college application process she neglects to mention that her sister is on staff at the Wall Street Journal and I'd be willing to bet that helped her get her diatribe published. Those connections will give her many more advantages in life than the kids who are given a boost in the college ap process.

    •  It's always bugging the ever loving sh!t (47+ / 0-)

      out of me that people see built-in "advantages" for the disadvantaged. Both of my kids have a host of learning disabilities and as a result, they are both on an IEP (individual education plan).  The IEP states that they get some accommodations that are designed to bring them up to the standard. My eldest is dyslexic, so she gets extra time on her tests. My youngest has an anxiety disorder, so she can take tests in a smaller group. They both get smaller classrooms moving at a slower pace.

      Yet I continually read about the "advantages" the Special Ed kids get and how parents are trying to get those same advantages for their kids. Why should dyslexic kids get extra time for tests, just because they read so much slower due to a disability!?!?! These people can't seem to understand that we are merely bringing our students on par with other students.

      It's the same here -- it's not fair that all those disadvantaged students are getting so many advantages! A university can look at a whole person, consider that s/he went to a bad school, lived in a horrible area, had overcome some personal tragedies, etc, and decide that may be more impressive than a 4.5 GPA at a top school in a wealthy town. I don't think joining ten clubs instead of three is going to give her the life experience that the university is asking for.

      Maybe working for an actual charity (instead of considering constructing a fake one) would have improved her odds. Maybe she should have used her considerable knowledge to tutor underprivileged kids. Maybe that would have popped the bubble she seems to be living in.

      First the thing is impossible, then improbable, then unsatisfactorily achieved, then quietly improved, until one day it is actual and uncontroversial. ... It starts off impossible and it ends up done. - Adam Gopnik

      by theKgirls on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:08:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, they should see them (0+ / 0-)

        We should see advantages for the disadvantaged, because they exist. And they should.  Because when you give an advantage the disadvantaged, you make things fair from that point on, irrespective of what happened before that, which, essentially was not the student's responsibility.   It's not like they're disadvantaging an advantaged person--- the advantages are still there, they just aren't as strong as they were.  

        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 05:51:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My younger child has an LD (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theKgirls, ColoTim, VA Breeze, Larin

        and was accepted to 6 out of the 8 colleges she applied to.  She still gets accommodations in college.  These kids work so much harder to learn.  She would gladly trade places with a student with no learning disability.  Anyone want to take her up on that?  The idea is to test what the student has learned, not to make it harder for that student to demonstrate that.

        Of course, she didn't apply to IV league or super duper top universities.  There are many good colleges and universities out there doing their part in giving students a good education.    She still struggles to get a B, but she works like a dog for that B.  Quite frankly, there were many times when she was in elementary and high school that I thought she'd never be able to go to college.  So I'm just so thrilled she's doing as well as she is.  

        This is part of the reason I cannot muster much sympathy of Ms. Weiss.

      •  A memorable reply by a special ed expert... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theKgirls, ColoTim, Larin a video lecture I saw many years ago had to do with the same idea, i.e. that because some kids get more of the teacher's time and energy, or receive special accommodations, it's "unfair" to the other kids. His reply was, "Fair doesn't mean everyone being treated the same. It means everyone gets what they need."

        As for the girl in the interview, I hope she'll get what she needs in college once she gets over grousing about not getting what she wants. I think she's at least a bit entitled, but hopefully she can use it as a learning experience. The tone-deaf quality of her social commentary suggests that it may require some humility on her part, which she might need to struggle a bit to attain, as a privileged kid who doesn't get how privileged she is.

        •  I'm hopeful her fellow students at wherever (0+ / 0-)

          she goes to college help her to learn about their efforts, and maybe will teach her some humility along the way.  They'll Google her just as they'll Google all the rest of their classmates and this is one person who will stand out for having much more than just a Facebook account.

    •  Says you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Her connection is an advantage.. yes.

      But who's to say which is more important?

      And its silly to assume that the first group you labeled will not have the same mix of associative relationships as she does.  

    •  Look to the adults in her life. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, alice kleeman

      She is asking why things are not going "her way," and looking for a reason. I doubt she came to those conclusions all by herself.

    •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ManhattanMan, alice kleeman
      she neglects to mention that her sister is on staff at the Wall Street Journal
      Even better.  I wonder if she has any idea how much irony drips from her obliviousness.

      "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

      by JBL55 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:03:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  True (0+ / 0-)

      but the point of the piece is that there are others who also have that advantage in the admissions process.  I don't think she was decrying actual minorities, but rather the jacking up of one's admissions package by, for example, claiming minority status because you are 1/32 of a minority by blood, but do not live a minority in the US.  The proliferation of college coaches and fake charities, etc. to get into a college is cynical and offensive to me.

  •  This is why I support affirmative action based on (34+ / 0-)

    socio-economic status, rather than purely on race.  

    President Obama's daughters do not need affirmative action, regardless of their race.  A poor, inner-city child born to a teen=aged high-school dropout mother deserves special consideration, regardless of race.  And I think it would cause a lot less resentment by people who are passed over for those students with a less-steller academic record but whose background demonstrates that it was more difficult for them to get that academic record.  

    If you want to see resentment when you base affirmative action on race, talk to some in the Asian American community.  Because they tend to be over-represented (compared to their population in general) in high-achieving high school students, they are the ones who often "lose out" when colleges take race into account in admissions.  

    Frankly, the idea that "I would have gotten in to that college if I were a minority" is pervasive among top college applicants, and it's corrosive.  "I would have gotten in if I were poor, and didn't have parents who worked with me on homework every night, and didn't go to that great private high school" is far less corrosive.  

    •  Maybe also (5+ / 0-)

      consider the high school itself...i.e., what percentage of the families live below poverty?

    •  I agree on most points but (0+ / 0-)

      her resentment is immaterial.  

      "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

      by sujigu on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:20:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wanted to share my support for your post beyond (5+ / 0-)

      simple “rec”.

      Your post reminded me of one of my friends from high school.  He was reasonably smart, poor, half broken family and white (and male).  Obama’s  very wonderful children will turn out just fine , because they have a loving a very intelligent family.  

      This situation made me think “if only”  someone disadvantaged child organization had reached out to him perhaps life would have been a bit more kind to him.  I think some organization could have really made a difference.

      I personally feel that admissions departments as a whole have become intellectually lazy chasing a vanilla form of diversity while they hold a magic wand which can help make or break your career.  

      The system really needs to become more transparent.
      Transparency would either vindicate the system or usher in much needed change.

      Both would be positive.

      Right now it just seems to pick winners and losers. Great for the winners but the "losers" are just left with resentment without really ever knowing what could have been...and why it did not happen.

    •  Yes. Although, (0+ / 0-)

      Most schools are already one step ahead, and will do things like admit the top X percent from any high school in the state.  This not only covers socio-economic status, but also ensures that rural students who went to small high schools (that might have no AP courses at all) get a shot to prove themselves.

      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 05:52:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nominalize - this is a plan that some state (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        schools, including the University of Texas system, do use but I don't think it has become so common that we could call it "most". I also don't think any private colleges or universities use the "top 10%" rule.

        Personally I do prefer the "top 10%" rule as a way to create diversity at state colleges and universities rather than other race based plans.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 08:26:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Ivies are under no such plan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VA Breeze, alice kleeman

        and they were the ones who rejected her application.  The state schools did accept her, even though she wasn't from a high school in their state.  Perhaps that's a reason why they accepted her - an out-of-state student whose family can afford the out-of-state tuition is valuable, especially in Michigan where the legislature just voted to cut 10 or 15% of the University funding for having the temerity to negotiate union contracts before legislation forbidding that from happening took effect.

  •  There is a widely accepted mistaken notion (22+ / 0-)

    that there is a place for every talented student in the country at an elite college.  There are not.  If one were to add up the number of freshman slots available at the 50 top colleges and universities, make that 100 or 200 top colleges if you like, there are not enough slots for everyone with good grades, high SAT's and extracurricular activities. There is rationing. The rationing may be fair or unfair, but there has been and will continue to be rationing.  Some people will just have to get used to the idea that for whatever reason they will be going to Mid-State U and not MIT. And for the most part those who go to Mid-State U will do just fine in life, in fact they may learn a valuable fact of life earlier than those who go to MIT.

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:50:52 AM PDT

    •  Really? (13+ / 0-)

      The top 100 colleges must bring in an entering freshman class totaling about somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 students (assuming you believe the large flagship public unis like Michigan, Wisconsin-Madison, and Illinois-Urbana are in the top 100 -- those three alone accommodate 20,000 or so first-year students.

      according to the college board, there were about 1.7 million test-takers each year. thus, about 170,000 will be in the top 10% of the SAT composite score. Ms. Weiss' SAT score, if legitimate, puts her in the top 3%, or about 50,000 students total. sure, the entering class at yale or harvard is small compared to that. but the top 100? i doubt it. with her grades and her extracurriculars, Ms. Weiss by any reasonable quantification of academic capability and achievement, must be close to, if not in, the top 1%. No, that still isn't enough to guarantee her a slot in her first choice. Nothing is good enough to do that. But a slot in a top-flight school? Somewhere in the Ivy League? Sure.

      In fact, at this point the primary obstacle to a top-quality student hoping to attend a high-profile university, including a flagship state uni, is not that they are filled with underprivileged affirmative action cases, but that they are too expensive for the talented children of the ordinary middle class. this is the great victory of the 5% over the 50% -- by supporting the billionaires' puppets like Walker, they have been able to stop paying taxes to support the state unis. the result -- their somewhat less-talented children get to attend those unis, because they don't have to compete with the more-talented children of the hoi polloi. go onto the campuses of any of the great land grant unis, and look around -- look at the amenities, and the palatial business schools, and the cook-to-order cafeterias -- and you will see that these institutions are returning to what they used to be: the parking place where the kids of the upper-middle class will spend a few years, network, and prepare to take up their birthright of a comfortable slot in the wellpaid professions.

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

      by UntimelyRippd on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:45:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

          [ Parent ]

          •  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

            [ Parent ]

            •  The MI legislature passed a law (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              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-)
                Recommended by:
                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-)
          Recommended by:
          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

          [ Parent ]

          •  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

            [ Parent ]

            •  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-)
                Recommended by:
                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

                [ Parent ]

              •  Anyone who's read Horatio Alger will recognize (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                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

                [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe she'll also learn (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              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

              [ Parent ]

            •  Boom. (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              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

              [ Parent ]

              •  generally speaking, luck is more important (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                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

                [ Parent ]

              •  But they have a huge leg up (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                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.

      •  You are correct that finances are the biggest (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emal, JBL55

        obstacle for todays college applicants.  My comment was based on the belief that there are many tens of thousands of poor students that don't take the SAT, in some states ACT is more prevalent, but most don't take it because they believe there is no point.  I didn't try to calculate the total numbers of slots so you may be correct though I doubt it.  

        Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

        by ratcityreprobate on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:57:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, orestes1963

      but at the same time, for those who go to "Mid-state U" it is fair to feel resentment.

      Right now there is no transparency. When that highschool senior gets that rejection letter from Harvard it would be great if they could know why and have a justifiable explanation of the decision.

      Right now they get back a letter "sorry buddy better luck next time"

      Again you could consider this a "life lesson"

      But for government sponsored, life altering decisions, where the student applicants are PAYING customers a "Better luck next time" letter could be tantamount to consumer fraud.

      and by all means is not a respectable solution from an institution of higher learning.  

    •  life lessons (0+ / 0-)

      And for the most part those who go to Mid-State U will do just fine in life, in fact they may learn a valuable fact of life earlier than those who go to MIT.

      This is a very odd statement. If it were true, then all of the Mid State U graduates would be smarter, more hardworking, and more successful than all of the MIT graduates. And yet, on average, I'm pretty sure that isn't the case. They will do "just fine", but the MIT graduates will probably do "better." (on average, of course)

      And for the most part, lots of people who went to an "elite" got rejected elsewhere they really wanted to go-- eg, people at Columbia and UPenn had a reputation back in the 90s for people full of embittered people who got rejected from Harvard and Yale.

      At the end of the day, I've heard it said that, "Your hardest problem is your hardest problem." In our sour-grapes thinking, we do like to think that the benefit of being a "salt of the earth, jes' folks, 'normal' person" is that it "confers a lot of Important Life Lessons™ that other people won't get, but that's not really true. Life lessons come in all places, generally as long as you're struggling and always trying to push your limits.

    •  Tiers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ratcityreprobate, ebohlman

      If one were to add up the number of freshman slots available at the 50 top colleges and universities, make that 100 or 200 top colleges if you like, there are not enough slots for everyone with good grades, high SAT's and extracurricular activities.

      I might also add that once you get outside of the top 50-100 colleges or so, admissions is effectively uncompetitive as long as your high school transcript indicates you are capable of handling the work.

      There's a narrow top tier in which everything is very competitive for even the most highly qualified and talented students, and then everything below that is dependent on whether you are a competent high school student who is capable of presenting himself as interested in attending that college. At that point the differentiating factor is more about geography, financial feasibility, and personal preference.

  •  There is a finite number of admission spots in the (11+ / 0-)

    Ivy League, and many more students want these spots than there are spots.

    Regardless of the decision process, many of those who don't get offers will see the process as unfair.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:03:24 AM PDT

  •  Interesting post and discussion (7+ / 0-)

    Continue to see many complexities with the whole process.

    A few random thoughts of my own here.

    Impact of wealth playing a role in hiring tutors for not just high school courses or specialized instruction/enrichment opportunities but even in the standardized testing..SAT,ACTs or for assistance in the whole college admission process.

    The impact of legacy admissions in Elite colleges...does wealth also play a role.

    Lets face it the divide, influence, and role that wealth plays in the kinds of extracurricular activities, outside enrichment opportunities, and therefore even college opportunities  is growing and widening.

    Although I know it is that way, it just seems to be especially glaring when comes to attaining a college education. It also seems more noticeable over the past decade.

    Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

    by emal on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:02:42 AM PDT

  •  If that were one of my nephews, I'd (17+ / 0-)

    give him a stern talking to. Of course, their father went to Harvard and they are bi-racial, something I'm sure would make Ms. Weiss' head explode from the injustice of it all, what with their unfair advantages. /snark

    Seriously, the whining of the privileged is just sickening to me.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:27:24 AM PDT

  •  Meritocracies are overrated and colleges know it. (16+ / 0-)

    Isn't that the premise of Chris Hayes' book?

    I think an entitled rich kid with an awesome GPA and SAT score would learn a lot more about the world attending some state college where she will be exposed to all walks of life and still receive a damn good education. She can always use her parents' money to get into a top tier graduate school afterwards.

    “Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Kurt Cobain

    by RadicalParrot on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:31:14 AM PDT

    •  Don't be sure about "all walks..." (3+ / 0-)

      My alma mater charges $10,000/year for tuition.  If you live in the dorms and eat, add at least $6,000/year.  Now multiply by 4.5.  That's $72,000.  

      That screens out an awful lot of the working poor.

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:20:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For whom? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MRA NY

        I can accept that it may differ per state, but at least in the SUNY system, going to in-state college is subsidized. It ain't so peachy anymore thanks to federal cutbacks though.

        “Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Kurt Cobain

        by RadicalParrot on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:59:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The big state U's are big enough (0+ / 0-)

      that you can cloister yourself in a social group of your peers pretty well and not interact too much with the rest.

      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 05:56:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps rather than asserting--without proof-- (13+ / 0-)

    that there are slots for disadvantaged students that do not require the same level of academic achievement as the ones for privileged students, Ms. Weiss should spend some time explaining why she performed more poorly than all those other privileged students who won places at her preferred universities.

    Socialist? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    by Kimbeaux on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:31:43 AM PDT

    •  You must not have read the article (0+ / 0-)

      I believe she was addressing similarly situated students who got a leg up by playing the college prep game.  Shes isn't a legacy, she doesn't have her own charity, etc.  She is commenting on the cynicism of the admissions process and the games the privileged play to ensure their place in the hierarchy.  

  •  They all have 4.5 GPA (21+ / 0-)

    Most students and parents understand that it takes certain minimums to get into Harvard, MIT or any of the Ivy League schools.  The application process is pretty much self-selecting.  A student with a 3.0 average is not going to waste their time or money applying to a school they have absolutely no chance of getting into.   90% of the 30,000 or so who apply to Harvard could have made the same argument as Ms. Weiss did.  The truth is 1/3 of the students that get into these schools are legacies and 1/3 have some athletic skill the school needs for one of their varsity teams (Harvard has 42  intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men).  That leaves a small number of openings for everyone else and everyone else that applied are usually more or less equal, otherwise they would not have bothered.  Ms. Weiss just wasn't one of the lucky ones and it probably isn't fair, but it wasn't for the reasons she seems to think it was.  

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:52:39 AM PDT

  •  Does she have proof? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizaveta, greengemini, O112358, caul, JBL55

    I doubt it, maybe she can just go to the fourth ivy league on her list.  Good god, to think she'll be in some job somewhere managing people with that kind of attitude, ugh.

    Affirmative Action is sort of the backlash to the old practice of branding Black people's diplomas with "COLORED" and telling perfectly acceptable candidates they couldn't get in because they're black.

    Now that that practice is over with (thank God) and a lot of the racists have died off or retired we can just simply look at how to help actually disadvantaged people get in.

    "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

    by sujigu on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:22:36 AM PDT

  •  Sounds like 'all those schools' made the right (7+ / 0-)


    How does one achieve 2120 on SAT's? Isn't the max score 1600?

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:38:29 AM PDT

  •  Maybe it's my age (29+ / 0-)

    but I miss the old days when a perfect SAT was 1600 and 4.0 meant straight A's. Numbers like 4.5 GPA and 2120 SAT don't even mean anything to me. On a scale of what?

    Even letter grades are arbitrary. In 1986, A was 90-100, B 80-89, C 70-79, D 60-69, F<60. In my BSN program (2004) it was A 93-100, B 85-92, C 75-84, F <75. They didn't even bother with poor D.

    It didn't mean people studied any harder, it just made the cheating and backstabbing even worse than my pre-med days in the 80's.

    Oh, and Suzy Lee? I was valedictorian with 1400/1600 SATs, played two sports, three instruments, volunteered as a candy striper, was official yearbook photographer and had two jobs. In my spare time I became a skilled seamstress and even made my own prom gown.

    I didn't get into Harvard. Life's not fair. Suck it up. Bless your heart.

     I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by SteelerGrrl on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:40:19 AM PDT

  •  One more thought on Ms. Weiss (15+ / 0-)

    For all the help I'm sure she received in preparing for college she seems to have missed one of the most important ...fall in love with your safety school. As others above have so rightly stated - not everyone can get into an Ivy League school and there are many, many schools that will give you a great preparation for the path you want to take in life. For my kids they were/are told (one has just graduated from college and one is in hs) that they need to find a safety school that they love and that we can afford and then they can fill out the lottery school application - because the odds of winning are almost as long.

    •  Looks like it's the University of Illinois! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I just can't believe nobody has made a reference (so far, I haven't hit the bottom of the comments yet) to the movie "Risky Business" with Tom Cruise who whose family was so desperate for him to be going to an Ivy League school (Princeton?) but figures he bombed the interview so he settles on the idea of going to Illinois.  Most of you have seen the movie, I'd guess, but even he didn't feel so privileged like this girl.

  •  My high school senior (19+ / 0-)

    daughter plans to take a gap year, work, volunteer, and gig with her band. Not because she didn't get into the college she wanted, but because she has no intention of going into debt peonage to pay for something she doesn't even know if she truly wants.

    As she puts it, if I'm going to settle, why pay for the privilege?

    She's gifted, an incredible singer, and doesn't know exactly what she wants to do with her life. I think her decision is a wise one.

    Some kids get it; some learn it eventually. I'm proud of her for making a real effort to find what fulfills her and brings her joy. And if that doesn't include college....more power to her.

    I wonder if Ms. Weiss and the other sour grapers know what brings them joy?

    Peace is never simply the absence of war, it is the active presence of justice. It has to do with human fulfillment, with liberation, with wholeness, with a meaningful life and well-being, not only for the individual, but for the community as a whole.

    by left rev on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:47:42 AM PDT

  •  Critical thinking (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelerGrrl, caul, JBL55, ColoTim

    Education is teaching a student to thinking critical. To understand, analyze, synthesize and look at issues from several perspectives.  Today's students are taught how to pass an exam rather than comprehend the terms and apply each term in lived experiences. Students expect to learn everything in lectures and get spoon fed. They lack the effort to read the texts, ask questions, do further research and comprehend the information. Student lack the motivation to find the answers or the experience of learning by looking for the answers. They expect the teacher to do all the hard work for them.

    Years ago when a student got in trouble, the parent or parents would correct the student's behaviors and take responsibility to ensure the student was studying and behaving in the classroom. Today, when a student gets in trouble, parents and school administration blame the teacher. Teachers no longer have any authority, only responsibilities to follow administration and state mandated guidelines. What is happening is education is now measured by statistics and numbers rather than quality and lived experiences of education in and out of the classroom.

  •  4.5? Oh, advanced placement coursework (7+ / 0-)

    I don't think AP classes should enable skewing of your reported grading - it's additional effort on your part as a specialty that can be stressed in the essay, interview, etc. if such achievement(s) pertain to your work ethic, potential aptitude for subject(s) of relevance to your goals in attending that college, etc.

    For example, I had a 3.98 GPA and also had "A" grades in my English + Chemistry AP courses, but didn't get accepted by one of the universities which I desired at the time; it turned out that they had a quota for our region. Coincidentally, my Chemistry lab partner (and Sophomore prom date) received a deferred acceptance to that same institution.

    It was no big deal to me and I don't see why it should have been.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:04:55 PM PDT

  •  There's more, and it's not pretty (15+ / 0-)

    Half the admits at these schools are men, or women.  That cuts your chances in half, from the start.  Now, Princeton has a football team.  It's not a pickup team.  That might take about 25 men per year?  Varsity sports, for both genders, might lead to 20-25% of the admits?  Not sure.  There's a band, and orchestra --- the list is long.  One person I met some years ago was recruited for Yale because they needed a good French horn player.  I didn't make this up -- he told the story after his dentist got a head's up.  Then, there's geography.  All these schools want to boast that they have someone from every state and N foreign countries.  Yale used to take about 1/6 of its classes from Connecticut. It could be down to 10% by now, but that's California's percentage, not CTs.  

    I used to interview for my Alma Mater.  Out of maybe 80 seniors I interviewed, none were admitted.  Four or five were just astonishing young people.  My advice to all these students was simple: there are 50 to 150 or more great universities in this country.  In fact, the influx of foreign students at undergraduate and graduate levels tells us that this just might be the world's foremost higher educational system.  That may not last as we trash more and more of our state systems, but right now, it's likely true.  There's a university for all the several hundred thousand pretty qualified kids who didn't get into Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Brown, Princeton, Cornell, etc.  It's not really the beginning or the end of their education.  

    I think it was the dean or director of admissions for Harvard who said, a few years ago, that they could make a freshman class that had ONLY kids with perfect SAT scores, but who would want that?  

    Around DK, entitlement gets used in one of its senses, but Ms. Weiss gives us another.  I see kids like this parking in spots reserved for medical permits where I work.  

    If you want to get into one of these elite Eastern schools, perhaps the best advice would be to move to Wyoming or Idaho.  How do you think Dick Cheyney got into Yale?

  •  In her "schooling", Ms Weiss (9+ / 0-)

    about the concept of "fairness".  Part of her "education" is to learn that life actually isn't fair  and there are many bright children, most of whom started out with less than her.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:20:00 PM PDT

  •  This woman is scarily narrow-minded and astonish- (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, wintergreen8694, SeekCa, ER Doc

    ingly ignorant of human complexity for someone who has been given so much tutoring and who claims to be so smart.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:32:59 PM PDT

  •  Equating gpa with "ability" and "potential" (4+ / 0-)

    is all-too-common a mistake. It's a by-product of a very specialized kind of learning. Nothing more.

    The girl sounds to me like a pill. Or somebody very sheltered.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:57:23 PM PDT

  •  Ivies are for connections more than education (10+ / 0-)

    I honestly think that some less-famous colleges offer a better undergraduate experience than the Ivies.  The relatively small liberal arts college that I wen to focused all of its efforts on undergraduate education (they didn't have grad students), and didn't have the big lectures that the bigger schools are notorious for.  My kids are going to smaller colleges too -- respectable ones that have high standards, but not the ridiculous application rates of the Ivies.

    I heard of a classification system for US colleges that explains why the Ivies matter.  Think of all real universities as falling into about three tiers.  Not that there's a list of them, just a sort of concept.

    Tier 1:  The top 20.  Ivies, MIT, Stanford, Amherst, etc. Maybe a few top state schools (Berkeley, Michigan).  Impossible to get into unless you're a legacy or damned lucky.

    Tier 2:  The next 200.   Many good state universities, several dozen smaller schools, and good non-ivies.  High standards and a very good education.  (BU, UMass, the 4 top SUNYs, most UCal, etc.)  

    Tier 3: The next 2000. Real 4-year colleges but not particularly hard to get into and not terribly rigorous.

    If you have either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 degree, you can get an interview at most top employers.  A Tier 3 degree lets you apply for a job that requires a degree, like teacher or insurance agent, but doesn't open doors by itself.  Tier 1 (esp. Ivy) is needed to get into Goldman Sachs and a handful of other white-shoe places in the financial sector.   These aren't looking for the most qualified candidates.  They're looking for people most like themselves:  Lucky, rich, and interested in being wealthy.  The "elite", the few selected from a big crowd, not the creative or even productive.  So if you're not Goldman material (a smart dickwad?) while 17 years old, you probably never will be.

    •  Small liberal arts college vs big university (8+ / 0-)

      I would recommend Loren Pope's book, "Colleges That Change Lives", as making a good argument for the advantages of an education at a small liberal arts college, where you do not take large lecture courses and where you interact with the faculty, not their teaching assistants.  

      A high school senior can easily choose a big university based on the big name alone, e.g., Princeton, Yale, Penn, Vanderbilt, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, etc., which were Suzy Weiss's choices.  But for your kid to fall in love with a small liberal arts college, it is necessary to somehow make the time to visit the campus.


    •  Liberal arts colleges also tiered (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, K S LaVida

      Keep in mind that liberal arts colleges also have tiers and at the top are as hard or harder to get into than the Ivy Leavue schools.

      At the top you have places like Williams, Amherst, William & Mary, Haverford, Wellesley, and others. Then you have a tier of quite solid colleges attended by everyone who got rejected from the first tier. Then you have the next tier which range between "decent" and "places for the wealthy to send their not-very-bright-children".

      By the same token, I think certain "big name" state schools have a reputation out of proportion to the quality of their education, mostly because they have a good football team. Outside of maybe about half a dozen flagship state schools, the degree says only, "I lived in that state." An average liberal arts college might confer a more personalized education, but it will be MUCH more expensive, while the reputation, and student body quality won't be that different, and the professors at the state school will probably have better and more interesting research going on.

      •  Addendum (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JBL55, ColoTim

        In most states outside the North East, the big state schools are the best universities around.  A degree from these will open doors in the area, but not necessarily nationwide or worldwide.

        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 06:04:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Those are Tier 1 small schools (0+ / 0-)

        The liberal arts colleges you named are about as hard as the Ivies to get into, and win the same respect.  Amherst is kind of proud that for its applicants, Harvard is a safety school.

        I'll also second Outside's recommendation for the schools in Pope's CTCL group.  They aren't the Tier 1 famous schools, but they're very good, and mostly very respectable Tier 2s -- unless you want to be a white-shoe i-banker, their degrees are well regarded.

        •  Small doesn't necessarily mean good (0+ / 0-)

          In most cases, a person will get a great education at a flagship state university for not that much money. I wish there were more public SLACs.

          But most SLACs are like most universities-- a few very good ones. Very many extremely expensive ones that don't deliver a quality education. And sometimes even worse tend to prey on first generation college students by promising a "life changing" intellectual experience that leaves them in debt and with poor job prospects, because they are designed for students that are already well-connected and savvy enough to be career focused and find a good job after graduation.

          I tend to think that SLACs are over-rated in the public imagination. Certainly there are many good ones, just like there are many good research universities. But small colleges tend to over-promise: their rate of delivering quality (especially for the money) isn't that much better than larger universities though certainly many students are going to thrive in a small environment where they need more hands-on mentoring whereas they might have gotten lost at even a medium-sized university.

    •  Too many kids (and parents) fail to realize: (0+ / 0-)

      1.  If they go to a community college for the first year or two, they can take care of a few of the required language, math, science and history courses for a fraction of the cost, and

      2.  It matters far less which schools you attend than the name of the college on the diploma.

      If the Suzy Lee Weisses of the world were as smart as they claim to be, they'd realize they can usually transfer into the college of their choice later on.

      But for some reason they think it's all about which school accepts them as freshmen.

      "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

      by JBL55 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:13:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Community Colleges don't suit everyone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, JBL55

        If someone is academically strong, then they will probably be bored by community college classes.  A school with such a loose admissions policy has to teach accordingly.  Sure, there is a transfer option out, but -- at least around here -- it's not aimed at academically-inclined students. And the Obama administration is supporting community colleges, but as job training schools, not academic.

        Around Boston, one trick is to start by taking courses at Harvard Extension.  It's relatively cheap (something like 1/3 of "real" Harvard tuition) and basically open, and the classes aren't bad.  Most are at night, since it's aimed at working adults, though my son took classes there while still in high school.  And it still says "Harvard", which is a pretty good transfer credit.

        •  Bored? (0+ / 0-)

          How boring can it be to save your parents (or yourself) thousands of dollars in tuition?

          As someone who paid every penny of her college tuition herself, I have a really hard time finding any sympathy for a kid who is that easily bored.  :-)

          "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

          by JBL55 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:02:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just pointing out the obvious (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JBL55, K S LaVida, burlydee, ebohlman

            Uh, I actually found it to be a good thing that my classes were just on the outer bounds of my academic abilities and that I had to spend a lot of time studying in order to rise to the challenge. Community colleges can work for some people, but far too often they are geared for people who need attention in order to prepare for college level work, not people who are ready for college level work. It's certainly not out of bounds to point that out.

            College education isn't about punching a card and checking a box off about "requirements." It's about expanding your mind and pushing your limits.

            •  Yeah, one of the problems is that if students (0+ / 0-)

              spend too much time taking classes that are unchallenging to them, they can get in the habit of just skating through and then get overwhelmed when they finally transfer to somewhere more challenging. Challenging courses don't just impart knowledge; they help develop good work habits.

              Writing in all lower-case letters should be a capital offense

              by ebohlman on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 03:50:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I used to teach SAT for Princeton Review. (5+ / 0-)

    Lest anybody misread that and think I taught at Princeton, no, Princeton Review sells seminars to students on how to score higher on the SAT.  All those privileged white kids sitting there in a class their parents paid for looking like martyrs because they think everything should just be handed to them.  

    Taking the classes on how to take the test really will improve your scores, although this makes a mockery of the purpose of the test in the first place.

    So, she couldn't get into her preferred Ivy League school?  That's her tough shit for not being a legacy like George W. Bush.  Her scores probably creamed him, but, hey, George wasn't just white, he was GOOD white.

    In light of that, her resentment of minorities seems a bit misplaced.

    •  Any resent against minorities would be misplaced. (0+ / 0-)

      particularly considering depending on situation, she herself could be considered one.

      But it would fair to resent being overlooked because of race.

      AND it would be fair to resent nepotism.

      the resentment is not mutually exclusive.  

      Take you pick of which one you personally would be most irked about.

  •  That poor child, my heart bleeds for her. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, Teiresias70

    Not to make too much mirth at her expense, but I just keep thinking she needs to learn one big life lesson.

    Suck it up Buttercup.

    Life's not fair and it never has been - for anyone. Some get cake and some get the burnt ends. Neither is fair. It happens. She may one day figure out that she is extremely lucky to have the opportunities she is now taking for granted. I'm a cynic. I doubt that will happen.

  •  "Sour Grapes" is not when you complain about (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NE2, northsylvania, nominalize, JBL55, ColoTim

    not getting something.  Sour Grapes is when you can't get something and then claim it wasn't worth getting.

    "The grapes were probably sour anyway" said the fox in the original fable.

    •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sour Grapes is when you can't get something and then claim it wasn't worth getting.

      Yes, exactly. But we are polite people here on DKos and would not presume to tell all of those people in threads like this who say stuff like, "Ivy League schools aren't that great. The students aren't that smart and you don't really learn anything there, anyway," are full of "sour grapes."

  •  I mostly give her a pass (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cobbler, GreenMother, JBL55, emal

    Applying to college is one of the most stressful parts of high school, wrought with a lot of angst and confusion about your future.

    While certainly Weiss should have applied herself more in high school and worked harder (she admits to not having been a big achiever), the disappointment upon receiving those rejection letters can be crushing, and a lot of us had similar thoughts as she did when we got those thin envelopes.

    Fortunately, however, we did not have a forum in which we articulated our bitter thoughts to a national audience, and most of us got over our disappointment and went on to do great things with our education, even if we weren't doing it from the springboard of our first choice college.

    I feel more sorry for her that she embarrassed herself. She's not different than a lot of us. The only difference is that she exposed herself at a bad moment for all to see.

  •  As a feminist I was amused that ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... when objections were raised she came out with the "only kidding" excuse.

    And as others have already pointed out, good satire doesn't need any explanation.

    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:01:21 AM PDT

  •  Boo friggin' hoo to Ms. Weiss. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have news for her.  My offspring did every bit as well as her, has an actual nice personality, had many activities and interests beyond the numbers; and in fact did get accepted by an Ivy.  Turned it down, so there was your spot, dear.  Too bad you're a self-important little....girl.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 10:00:13 AM PDT

  •  Am I crazy for thinking her list of skills isn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    all that impressive?  I had a 3.8 GPA (4.0) scale, a higher SAT score, volunteered for over 300 hours in high school, worked part-time during the school year and full time in the summer and was rejected by every Ivy league school I applied  (which was two).

    I think its telling that she mocks the idea of volunteering with people as an extracurricular activity.  She doesn't mock all the people who are legacies, all the people who will go to school because they are getting a recommendation letter from a Bush or a Kennedy - its the people who work exceptionally hard or who faced life obstacles who are the product of her derision.  

    Newsflash - the Ivy's are really competitive and its getting worse every year.  There is really nothing exceptional about her - I don't understand why she thought she was destined to go to Harvard.  

  •  Maybe it was the lack of diversity in her thinking (0+ / 0-)

    that did her in-possibly showed up in interviews?

    Maybe if she hadn't played it safe with the essays and wrote her "satire" piece for applications-she would have gotten in.

    There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown

    by VA Breeze on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:20:22 PM PDT

  •  One of my friends (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who had a BETTER GPA, BETTER standardized test scores, MORE extracurriculars, and WAS a minority was also rejected from all of the Ivy League schools that she applied to.

    Speaking as a middle class white man, there's nothing that annoys me more than how people try to peddle the tragic plight of the middle class white people.

    19, FL-07 (school), MD-07 (home). UCF sophomore, politically ambitious, vocally liberal--what else could you need to know?

    by tqycolumbia on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:40:33 PM PDT

  •  Interesting.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alice kleeman

    .....were I on the admissions committee at said college, I would now feel vindicated for having rejected her.

    The GOP jobs plan is to manufacture outrage.

    by Doug in SF on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 01:21:06 PM PDT

  •  Quite frankly (0+ / 0-)

    paying the extremely high tuition at an IV for an undergraduate degree doesn't seem worth it.  A top university graduate degree would be worth it.  

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