Yet another story today in the NYT about kids not getting in to Harvard. The piece includes the datum that "Several Ivies, including Harvard, rejected a record number of applicants this year" but hedges our assumed revulsion a few paragraphs later by reminding us that kids today "look around and see lots of avenues to success." He makes some interesting observations about the use of test prep materials and classes.
This is the real story. A few weeks ago I railed about college admission "numbers" and said that "high test scores don't make you interesting." Perhaps Mr. Winerip would argue instead that plenty of interesting kids are not accepted to Harvard. Probably that's the case, but I would love to see the data on the number of students who applied to more than one college. I would bet that as that number rises, schools will have to reject more and more students. Not to mention the importance of being "exclusive" by showcasing a low admit rate, or the effect of higher tuition on perceived selectivity and value.
When I applied to college, electronic application materials were kludgy at best, and a recie for losing an afetrnoon's work on an essay at worse. I took a decent number of AP courses and had good SATs, but I didn't even bother with Harvard. I didn't have the perfect grades or test scores I KNEW would be required for Harvard. I applied to ten schools (two Ivies) and was admitted to seven and waitlisted at one. I survived, and got a great education. I think Mr. Winerip comes to the same conclusion for his son and the legions of folks he interviewed over the years as a Harvard alumnus- being interesting is its own reward.