Thursday, April 5, 2012
Colleges are not looking for the well-rounded kid; they want the well-rounded class. And unless you are a superstar in some area, you’re just one of thousands of smart, all-around, but unhooked white girls. It may be unfair, but that’s life.

A college test-preparation and admissions expert tells us you average, well-rounded white girls may have an especially tough time getting into college this year. Sorry about that! (via newsweek)

So my wife’s cousin is a high school senior.  

He’s an academic over-achiever: 36 on the ACT; 4.0 GPA all four years of high school; began taking math courses at University of Iowa his freshman year of high school, etc.  

He ran cross country.  Plays in the brass section for the high school band.  Works as a camp counselor in the summers.  He’s a member of the chess club at school.  

He really, really wants to be an engineer.  A good one.  He wants to learn how to be the best engineer he can be.  At the best college that teaches engineering. 

He applied to MIT (his first choice), Cornell, Washington University (St. Louis), Stanford.  

He was accepted at University of Wisconsin, Madison.  A fall-back, just because, application he sent out. 

That’s it.  The only one.  

I know this is sounding right now like a whiny post about not getting into some fancy school when there are hundreds of thousands of kids who don’t have the opportunity to even go to college - a community college even.  

It might be that a little bit. 

But it’s more a post about how even the people that play the game, and are as successful as can possibly be imagined, don’t get what they want.  

I’m not sure if criticism is warranted towards “the system”.  It might just be a good lesson that sometimes you don’t, regardless of how hard you worked and how high above the bar to got, you still don’t get what you want.  

Would getting an engineering degree from MIT or Cornell have more value to a new grad than a degree from UW-Madison?  Surely it does.  

I’m just trying to sift through what this mean.  Or how I can use it to teach my girls a lesson about effort, and disappointment, and opportunity.  

Notes

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