Phi Beta Cons

Excellent Article on the Nuttiness of College Admissions

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Naomi Schaefer Riley has this excellent article on the nutty world of college admissions today, where students are much better off if their parents are factory workers than if they’re surgeons.
In order to overcome the “disadvantage of privilege,” students are coached on how to structure their resumes so as to look appealing to the admissions people at the elite schools. It is like the old U.S.-Soviet arms race, with kids trying desperately to outshine others in their “passion” for things that supposedly impress the gatekeepers.
So if a kid from a successful family wants to get into Princeton, it’s not enough to have straight As and a dazzling set of SAT scores. It’s necessary to spend all free time padding the resume with “meaningful” activities. Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll overcome your disadvantages in the eyes of the admissions people and your parents will be allowed to spend a fortune on a degree that won’t make you any smarter than if you’d gone to a non-elite school.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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