This is the season of college admittance letters. A reality I thank God that I don’t have to deal with again. (With teenage angst! For I often fantasize of returning to college. If David Foster Wallace was still alive!) Recently one of the other Next Gen Bloggers pointed out this article “Confusion Over Anti Asian Discrimination.” The topic of discussion is that the elite institutions are being scrutinized for discriminatory practices in the admittance process.
For further insight into these practices, check out “The Gatekeepers“.
I really appreciated the Steinberg expose as basically the one thing we can really do to get our kids ready to go to an elite institution is to encourage them to “shine” on their own (start up a charity, write a novel). In the “Gatekeepers” it was exciting to see the mind of the admissions officer as they searched for those few movers and shakers that they wanted to see on their campus. And what I got was that those kids who started their own charities, completed novels, or worked on the next great scientific discoveries were the ones they searched high and low for. In fact a good buddy of mine attended Brown and he talked about these whiz kids and geniuses. At the same time there were children of alumni, children of celebrities/rich and famous, the “scholarship” students. My friend told me of “the gentleman’s “C””. We were talking about someone famous, who I remarked, “surely this person couldn’t have graduated from an Ivy?” And he told me about the gentleman’s C. Definitely elite schools are in “a league of their own.”
I know that I have read inflammatory Xangas by students who didn’t get accepted to their choice college, and jeolously write how they couldn’t believe that their “minority” friend (non-Asian) got into that same school. I can admit, I was young once too.
I wonder though that we as a society strive too much for fairness. Life is not fair and perhaps a “no” from one school is a sign that God has something better. It’s not fair that Paul Gausol is 7′ and I am not…but perhaps God didn’t intend a pro NBA career for me! A friend recently told their son – No, as he was accepted to an Ivy, but they as parents felt that their son was not ready to go all the way to the other coast. They wanted him closer to home. They told me, “is 18 some magical number that we can just send our children off on their own?” I didn’t say anything as I thought of the Amish practice of rumspringa (which I guess I wouldn’t practice now that I am a father). I wonder if there is something about sending off your child and see if they come back to the fold…
Ok, sorry for the tangents…but I sort of see the dilemna of the elite institution of higher learning. You have alumni that you admit because their children have an example, a network that will help them succeed. They also want the “cream of the crop” students, and at the same time, yes they want diversity. And to get diversity, unfortunately they discriminate.
edit–I guess as I use the word discriminate it is not in the most inflammatory usage of the word.