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The nation's top colleges are turning our kids into zombies.

It's hardly breaking news, but more and more people are questioning the race to the Ivy League that in some cases begins as early as preschool. And in addition to perpetuating the increasingly-rigid class structure in the US, the Ivy League colleges are inadvertently creating and admitting students who have no idea how to really take advantage of the resources available to them. So writes William Deresiewicz in his article, "Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League" from the New Republic:
So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error. Once, a student at Pomona told me that she’d love to have a chance to think about the things she’s studying, only she doesn’t have the time. I asked her if she had ever considered not trying to get an A in every class. She looked at me as if I had made an indecent suggestion.
See also Deresiewicz's earlier article, "The Disadvantages of an Elite Education" from American Scholar, previously discussed on the blue.
posted by math on Jul 23, 2014 - 134 comments

No SATs, No Grades, No Problem

Bard College has introduced a new admissions criteria: No consideration of SAT scores or grades. Students can now submit four 2500 word essays and be admitted if their work is judged to be of B+ or better quality by faculty. Is this system just waiting to be gamed?
posted by reenum on Oct 11, 2013 - 112 comments

Meritocracy is..fluid..

White definitions of merit and admissions change when they think about Asian-Americans.
posted by kanuck on Aug 13, 2013 - 60 comments

How the Other Half Tests

"Students are told, reassuringly, that there is no such thing as failing the Accuplacer or the COMPASS. But there is: students who score below a certain number, or “cut score,” flunk the test for credit-bearing work." The consequences can be dramatic.
posted by eotvos on Apr 21, 2013 - 55 comments

Application Inflation

"Measuring quality is difficult; measuring quantity is as easy as counting. The more apps a college receives, and rejects, the more impressive it seems." Eric Hoover in the Chronicle of Higher Ed takes on the arms race in college admissions offices. Hoover blogs about admissions issues at Head Count. Sadly, not everyone can write an essay like Hugh Gallagher.
posted by escabeche on Feb 28, 2011 - 20 comments

Gaming the metric at its worst

"Such announcements tell a story in which colleges get better — and students get more amazing — every year. In reality, the narrative is far more complex, and the implications far less sunny for students as well as colleges caught up in the cruel cycle of selectivity." (NYTimes feature on American undergraduate programs' efforts to increase selectivity, and the consequences of such tactics)
posted by d. z. wang on Nov 8, 2010 - 52 comments

Going SAT Free

Some colleges have decided to take SAT scores out of the admissions decision making process. But, some are alleging that this is only a way to game the rankings by excluding the scores of admitted students who didn't do well.
posted by reenum on Nov 5, 2010 - 105 comments

No College for You!

Dirty Secrets of College Admissions Via The Daily Beast
All of your worst suspicions confirmed. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 on Jan 9, 2009 - 155 comments

Banker withdraws a £100,000 pledge to his old college at Oxford University after his son was turned down for a place

Banker withdraws a £100,000 pledge to his old college at Oxford University after his son was turned down for a place - a newsworthy event in the UK not because the man's son was refused, but because he presumed that his donations would have bought his son's entrance. An interesting comparison with family privilege and US private colleges, perhaps?
posted by kitschbitch on Dec 20, 2001 - 10 comments

How to get into college

How to get into college Who needs good grades, hard work, and extra activities! All you need to get into college is determination and a gimmick! Look out Harvard here I come.
posted by aj100 on May 30, 2001 - 9 comments

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