High School Student Bitterly Responds to College Rejections

Suzy Lee Weiss is a high school student with stellar academic records. A GPA of 4.5, an SAT score of 2120, and even an experience as a page for the US Senate. You'd think she'd be a shoo-in for colleges.

Well, she didn't get accepted to any of the Ivy League school that she applied to. But instead of being bitter in private like many of us would, Suzy Lee decided to pen a scathing op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, titled To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me:

Like me, millions of high-school seniors with sour grapes are asking themselves this week how they failed to get into the colleges of their dreams. It's simple: For years, they—we—were lied to.

Colleges tell you, "Just be yourself." That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.

What could I have done differently over the past years?

For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would've happily come out of it. "Diversity!" I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would've been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.

I also probably should have started a fake charity. Providing veterinary services for homeless people's pets. Collecting donations for the underprivileged chimpanzees of the Congo. Raising awareness for Chapped-Lips-in-the-Winter Syndrome. Fun-runs, dance-a-thons, bake sales—as long as you're using someone else's misfortunes to try to propel yourself into the Ivy League, you're golden.

Having a tiger mom helps, too. As the youngest of four daughters, I noticed long ago that my parents gave up on parenting me. It has been great in certain ways: Instead of "Be home by 11," it's "Don't wake us up when you come through the door, we're trying to sleep." But my parents also left me with a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate. I've never sat down at a piano, never plucked a violin. Karate lasted about a week and the swim team didn't last past the first lap. Why couldn't Amy Chua have adopted me as one of her cubs?

The reaction was swift: many people accused her of being a whiny, petulant child (and perhaps a racist). Others applauded her describing the brutal college admissions procedure and calling a spade a spade.

Link - via TODAY News

What do you think? Do you agree with Suzy Lee Weiss? Does the college admissions process unfairly penalize good students for being born with the (in this case) wrong skin color?


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I'd like to welcome little Suzy to the real, grown-up world. Shit out here sucks, and life ain't fair (who told you it was?). Just wait till you graduate and have to find a "job." We all eagerly await your thoughts on that subject, Suzy.
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As a former admissions officer - yes, diversity is something colleges and universities want to build because it makes the campus a better place. And I'd speculate that the problem is not that she's not a minority, but that she didn't use her privilege to do more activities. You expect to see certain activities (or lack thereof) from rural kids (4H, for example) and kids from low-income and inner-city areas, and you also reasonably expect that a kid who has to work to help pay rent for the family to be involved with fewer extracurricular activities.

A student who presents a 4.5 GPA (sadly, not that hard to attain these days) and comes from a reasonably affluent family likely has the time and the money to be involved with a minimum number of activities. They don't have to scramble to get home because parents can't afford daycare or go straight to an after-school job or help out with a family business. They have the luxury to be involved with clubs, to pick up hobbies, and to do charitable work. That this student apparently didn't suggests that she might not be actively involved in a campus community - why would she be if she hasn't ever felt she should be? The high school she goes to offers a pre-engineering program and a Chinese language program, a fencing club, a literary magazine - all excellent opportunities that a student could easily access. When compared to a similar applicant, this is something that could be noted and the applicant who has done more with their time would be chosen first.

College admissions, these days, are a game. And if you don't play in the pre-season, you can't really expect to be asked to join the team.

On the other hand, perhaps she can now put 'satirist' on her resume. She'll be okay: she got into college. She's learned a good lesson, and she seems to be accepting of what's happened. I don't think she's got a bad attitude. She's encountered rejection for what was probably the first time in her life, and she's dealing with it. Life goes on.
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She may be spoiled, entitled, and even bigoted, but she is right about the game. I'm involved in the admissions process, and I have seen first hand that in the most competitive schools the process is not about finding the right individual, it is not about finding the best student or the best person, it is not even about getting the most money. It is about getting the right statistical student body, with the right number of minorities, the right test scores, and the right amount of student aid. It is about showing the admissions officers that you care about the politically correct issues of the day, or at least care about their opinions enough to fake that you do. It's about spending four years to create a persona that one can abandon the moment s/he gets in, or let's hope that s/he has the guts to abandon it because the persona required often produces the self-righteous prigs that are in many of the posts above.
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There are supposed to be guidance counselors in high school, but if hers were anything like I have experienced in my school days or those of my children, said counselors were sadly lacking in the guidance portion of their duties.

If a child does not come from a wealthy family and must get a job to start saving up for college, they don't have time for participation in all the extracurricular activities that many colleges require. To me this is a politically correct way of discriminating against those without wealth. The universities cannot outright deny someone based on their wealth or social status, but this seems to be a way around that.
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