Wednesday, February 03, 2016
I've been busy recently writing letters of recommendation for our seniors at WCS. Admission to the college of your dreams is a huge part of academia anymore. The following, from May 24, 2006, underscores that point.
One of the best shows on television is CBS Sunday Morning. The problem is that it comes on when I am preparing for worship services and continues after I am gone. What I like about the show is that it breaks down short features into behind the scenes glimpses of current events. I did catch the first story this morning and it was thought provoking. The topic was college admissions and the nightmare it has become to students and parents. More youngsters are applying for post-high school education and competition is fierce. In the past ten years, applications are up 500,000. Colleges are becoming selective in regards to the teens who will comprise their incoming freshman class. Increasingly, high school kids are turning to 'coaches' to steer them through the admissions process. The trend is downward as even eighth graders are availing themselves of this coaching service. Maybe I should say, their parents are resorting to this growth industry in a desperate attempt to get their offspring into their dream institution. Many of these coaches are former college admissions personnel who know the system better than anyone. The most notable is Michele Hernandez, a former Dartmouth admissions officer. Hernandez, who has authored books on the admissions minefield, charges up to $40,000 to help students be accepted at their first choice university. Speaking to experts in the area, it was concluded that applicants to the most elite universities- Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton- have very little chance of being accepted. A percentage of slots are reserved for children of alumni and large donors. After factoring in those groups, it is estimated that a high school student who applies to an Ivy League school might have an only 1 in 40 chance of acceptance. Keep in mind that the students who apply to these institutions are by far higher achieving than the average high school youngster. I knew it was competitive but I was stunned at both the extremes mothers and fathers go to give their children the chance to succeed AND the achingly high odds most kids face in trying to make it into the upper crust schools. No wonder young people report feeling overwhelmed by the stress in their lives.
Watching this morning made me glad I never had to work my way through the current system in beginning my collegiate journey. I teach in a private school and part of me understands where the colleges are coming from. You want terrific students in your school as well as kids who really want to be there. On the other hand, I am so thankful the Lord has admissions' standards that do not mirror that of educational institutions. It doesn't matter if you are tall or short, rich or poor, white or black, Asian or Hispanic, brilliant or non-gifted, handsome or homely. You don't have to pay someone who can navigate the system. It doesn't matter who your folks are. The only criterion is your willingness to follow the Savior. Jesus put it this way in:
"Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Notice he didn't say I'll get back to you or I'll think about it or have your people call my people. His admissions' policy never hinged on extracurriculars or family background. I guess heaven is easier to get into than Harvard! And once you are in, you can't flunk out!
Applicable quote of the day:
"I believe that we parents must encourage our children to become educated, so they can get into a good college that we cannot afford."
E-mail me at email@example.com
Posted by Steve Hawley at 8:24 PM