October 9, 2012

"A lot of admissions officers tend to focus on how 'interesting' a student is."

"Being `interesting’ tends to be inversely related to being poor. Doing an internship in Indonesia is incompatible with holding a summer job."

43 comments:

America's Politico said...

Prof. The SCOTUS will hear Fisher v. Texas at Austin tomorrow, 10/10. What is your stance? Our - WH - stand is with the University. We wish Kagan was not recused. We could use the victory before the election.

Michael K said...

I used to interview applicants to UC, Irvine medical school. The admissions office was very interested in such things as volunteering in hospitals. Applicants who had real world experience with work did not get the same brownie points. One young woman had taken over running her father's ice cream store when he had a heart attack. That didn't count. Being a candy striper did. Too bad. Admissions committees are dominated by left wingers and hand wringers.

If Obamacare stands, doctors will all be on salary and feminized so it probably doesn't matter.

Too bad.

gmama3 said...

Conservatives would probably rate the part time job higher, many lasting life lessons can be learned in a menial low wage job.

whoresoftheinternet said...

NO, plenty of "poor" people have "interesting" stories----but only if they're black or gay or Hispanic or female and completely make up a story about being oppressed, or exaggerate a story about being hurt by whitey, or talk about oppression by whitey in some what.

What is inversely proportional to "interesting" profiles is anything that is community building, right-leaning. Talking about ROTC training in high school; taking your summers to go to church every week while faithfully working a pump jockey job; essays about how hard work and merit got you a better grade in science or the quarterback job.

These things are "boring" and scream "white male patriarchy" (or "Uncle Tom" if you're not a straight white male).

If you can and choose do a high school internship in Indonesia, you have wealthy lefty parents willing to send you there (to broaden you for "diversity" purposes! And learn a foreign tongue! And maybe have sex well before you're even in college, thus breaking up that nasty Christian patriarchal virginity push!) AND you don't want to stick around in your own nation to learn about it---you already don't like America, just like all the other lefties.

Learning about your local history? Working hard all summer at a local job? Supporting local community and family events? Liking the U.S.? Definitely Non-SWPL approved activities. Righty parents usually don't send junior away to the far reaches of the galaxy on expesnive vacations---they want them to 1) earn their own keep and not be lazy; and 2) they actually love their children and want them around.

"Interesting" means "probable to support left-wing politics."

Carol said...

God spare me from "interesting" people, and all the fascinating experiences they have collected.

David said...

"Sander’s research into the files at one unnamed “very elite college” showed that in 1999, there was only a 4% chance a black student with SAT scores above 1200 but from the bottom 20% of socioeconomic status would even apply for admission. Equally qualified black students from the top quintile had a 48% chance of applying. The comparable spread for white students was 14% for the lowest quintile and 34% for the wealthiest."

I'm not sure I get what they are saying. Let's say the school is Harvard. Are they saying that one third of all whites and one half of all blacks with 1200+ SATs who are in the top quintile economically are applying? One out of two black kids in that cohort? One out of three whites?

And if its Harvard, 1200 SAT is way too low. You have to be closer to 1400 to have a realistic shot if white.

The other thing you have to remember is how few black kids of any economic status score 1200 or higher on the SAT. ETS published a study "SAT and Race" about a decade ago. It showed just how badly the black kids are doing, how few are at the higher levels. Not surprisingly ETS is not publishing this data regularly. It's too revealing.

The argument is about the wrong educational level. No program at the college level is going to solve the underlying issue, which is the pathetic under education of black kids at the primary and high school level.

campy said...

Wow, whoresoftheinternet actually made sense.

Synova said...

We talked before about how unpaid internships privilege the rich. Not all of them are anywhere as interesting as going to Indonesia either. One "internship" listed for my minor (which requires an internship) was to compile a glossary for someone's tome about boring something or other. Wow, learn a lot doing that, huh? Fact is, it was grunt work that the lady figured she could get done for nothing. It's not like an internship writing press releases for the City where you could build a portfolio and that one paid a "stipend" of $400 at the end.

It's sort of like... sure I'll pay tuition so I get "credit" for grunt work that teaches me nothing I can't be instructed on in about 15 minutes and then do for you for no compensation for hours and hours and hours.

Lady with the book probably votes Democrat, too.

David said...

The SAT and Race study was published in 2006, based on student test scores from 2001.

The created three groups:

High: over 1300 combined verbal and math

Middle: 1000-1050

Low: Below 760

Results by race:

High: 76.065 White, 14,250 Asian, 1561 Black

Middle: 86,230 White, 8486 Asian, 9195 Black

Low: 35,538 White, 8146 Asian, 36,296 Black

Read it and weep.

How are you going to design any admissions system that "solves" that issue at the college level.

Make any kind of racial preference illegal. For any race. Then and only then might we force attention to the real culprit--the primary and high schools.

ricpic said...

Why should race based admissions being a good thing, assuming a judge believes that, trump the XIV Amendment?

rhhardin said...

"Being `interesting’ tends to be inversely related to being poor. Doing an internship in Indonesia is incompatible with holding a summer job."

That makes no sense.

It's hard to make out which assumption isn't shared.

The theory must have a lot of moving parts.

bagoh20 said...

It's just smart to pick students who are already practiced at being useless. They are easier to credential into getting well paid for producing nothing. They display the needed aptitude.

Julie C said...

I know of one girl around here who had perfect SAT scores, well over a 4.0, etc. etc. Her tiger mother insisted she needed to do more to stand out among the other applicants to all the Ivies. The solution? Write a book! So this girl wrote a book about her experiences growing up Asian in our town.

Our town is almost 1/3 Asian, and this is the San Francisco Bay Area, so we aren't exactly talking Jim Crow here. She is from a solidly upper class family - she's not spending her time toiling away at the family restaurant or dry cleaners.

She got into all but one of the Ivies. The irony was that the one Ivy she really wanted to attend didn't accept her.

chickelit said...

What is inversely proportional to "interesting" profiles is anything that is community building, right-leaning. Talking about ROTC training in high school;...

My son is in high school ROTC and I'd just like to say a little pre-emptive fuck you to all those Berkeley and Columbia U type admissions folks who think that way. Again, fuck you and your miserable little Weltanschauung.

wdnelson93 said...

Interesting...topic.

Last spring when our eldest - a H.S. senior - was slacking in school I started threatening to send her to an orphanage when she graduated. No way did we think she was ready for college with the kind of work she'd been doing her last year of H.S. Time for a reboot - far away from Mom and Dad and in a situation where she would be serving kids less privileged. She agreed to two months and we found her a situation in Ecuador. As far as we are concerned, this is a necessary part of her education, one that we are sacrificing financially to give her.

Lord willing, she'll find a job when she comes home in a month or two. Next fall she'll be going away to a state school.

It's not a vacation. It's an opportunity, dearly bought, for her to serve, and Lord willing, to mature. We sent her away because we do love her and want to prepare her for the challenges that will come when she is away from us in college. Hopefully we'll be able to do the same for her younger siblings next year and the year after that.

Deanna

Lost My Cookies said...

The new six-week summer is incomparable with having a summer job. Not to mention mandatory sports practice on weekends, after school "catch up" sessions to prep for standardized tests, and the problem of all the old folks taking all the spots in the fast food joints.

YoungHegelian said...

You think this predilection for "interesting" types stops at the student level?

How else to explain Harvard's fascination with two mediocre intellects like Elizabeth Warren or Cornel West?

The classic take-down of interesting people was done. lo, these many years ago by His Exalted Rabbitness.

somefeller said...

Right-wing class resentment is always fun to watch. Hate to break it to some of the commenters here, but lots of conservatives send their kids off on overseas excursions and prefer to see their kids do unpaid internships that might actually lead somewhere careerwise than having them do a menial low wage job, regardless of the lasting life lessons that one supposedly may gather from such a job. And those conservatives are the ones who helped make sure that Mitt Romney was the GOP nominee this year. But, hey, keep on complaining about those liberals with their fancypants internships and ladies with books who vote Democrat!

30yearProf said...

What admissions officers REALLY search for are potential students of any race and background who's families can PAY FULL TUITION. Then the university can redistribute their education dollars to someone else. Their target isn't diversity, it is body count without a net financial loss for the University (at least at "private" universities).

whoresoftheinternet said...

@somfeller:

lots of conservatives send their kids off on overseas excursions
---liar. we were talking about unpaid foreign country high school internships, not "overseas excursions."

and prefer to see their kids do unpaid internships

---liar again. Never said "unpaid internships" were bad. It was "unpaid foreign country high school internships."

When you're lying, try not to do so in the exact same thread where the truth is.

that might actually lead somewhere careerwise than having them do a menial low wage job
---so, 1) unpaid internships and overseas excursions are the best/only/a really good way to land a not-low-paid-menial-job?

2) You do realize that you are insulting about 1/2 the country that do menial jobs for a paycheck they'd like to see bigger, right?

Remember when you lefties pretended you cared about white blue collar workers?

somefeller said...

Oh, look, a troll! How cute. So, are you a moby who's here to make conservatives look like angry idiots, or is this your natural state of existence? If the latter, I can understand why you come off the way you do.

whoresoftheinternet said...

@30yearprof:

Two caveats:

1) There are plenty of scholarships for "oppressed minorities." A friend of mine once calculated that if he had been black, he could have gone to a local prestigious & private elementary, middle, high school, college AND grad school without paying a dime. All of them prestigious/good name private schools. All of them without one student loan.

And that was just for race-based scholarships. As to merit and income-driven ones...

2) the perks of letting a stupider "oppressed minority" in are good if you don't let in too many:

a) Jesse Jackson doesn't sue you.
b) EEOC doesn't sue you
c) MSM people come speak at your school
d) you can celebrate "diversity" with bi-annual fairs.
e) brochures now look "diverse"
f) grants from lefty groups for being so gosh darn nice to the dub darkies.
g) improvement in sports teams' performances, leading to alumni contributions increasing.

There's a critical mass, of course, after which more is less. After which the campus gets to violent and unruly, classrooms become unmanageable, property becomes damaged, grades in real (STEM) courses precipitously fall, and newer alumni can't do the jobs a previous generation could do.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Note how somfeller doesn't respond to my calling out his lies, or to his contradictory assertions. Or provide facts to back up his arguments.

Liberalism, everyone!

Hagar said...

I do not understand any of this.
I went to college to get the necessary education to become a Professional Engineer. I paid their tuition (out-of-state until I finally got smart and got my citizenship in my final year), attended their classes, and passed their exams.
What business is it (or should it have been) of theirs how "interesting" I was?

BarryD said...

"many lasting life lessons can be learned in a menial low wage job"

...not the least of which is, "Don't treat people like shit just because they aren't upper-middle-class."

Synova said...

"but lots of conservatives send their kids off on overseas excursions and prefer to see their kids do unpaid internships that might actually lead somewhere careerwise than having them do a menial low wage job, regardless of the lasting life lessons that one supposedly may gather from such a job."

Because it's smart and it helps them get ahead in the world.

That has nothing at all to do with the fact that the *ability* to do those things for your kids is wealth related and the poor are disadvantaged to even greater extents when those opportunities don't just give the wealthy kid experience and personal growth, but are used as gateway requirements.

creeley23 said...

In the mid-seventies Mark Vonnegut, son of Kurt, applied to twenty medical schools with indifferent college grades and test scores.

He was only accepted at Harvard -- almost certainly because of his celebrity father and because he had published a successful book on his bouts with schizophrenia.

To his credit Mark Vonnegut worked his butt off, graduated, became a pediatrician and eventually sat on the Harvard committee that selected applicants for the Harvard medical school.

Vonnegut said that for years other Harvard doctors would come to him with resentment and tell him that he should never have been accepted by Harvard, that some more talented applicant had been turned down in his place.

Vonnegut had no comeback. He just wanted to be a doctor, Harvard had accepted him, and he had done his best with it.

Hagar said...

Basically, anyone with a valid high school diploma with a C or better grade average should be able to enter a state supported college. Staying there should require passing Freshman Chemistry.

MarkD said...

I met a lot more interesting people in the Marines than I ever met in college.

EDH said...

Nocturnal emissions officers tend to focus on how "hot" a student is.

Freeman Hunt said...

I've been to college. College students are not very interesting.

MadisonMan said...

You can focus on how unfair life is. Or you can prove people wrong.

There are other options as well.

And Debt closes more doors than the type of college you are in.

Paddy O said...

Funny thing this post. I was thinking today about how I got into college. It had to be because I was interesting, because my GPA was a fair bit lower than the average (I was bored in high school, with a lot of family problems, so just never did homework). My SAT was fair, but not great (no prep at all). I was pretty involved in various stuff, though, and I was a good writer.

I forget what I wrote on the application but I know it must have been interesting.

sleepless nights said...

I did merit scholarship app rating one year. It wasn't admissions, but for a short term voluntary gig it was similar.

Honestly, you get a heap of cookies cutter perfect applications and then one or two that stand out. It's not a hard call at all. Then you get a handful that have no business being in the pile at all unless that particular process rewards a sob story.

My own chosen standout was a kid that initiated a program at the school level - totally domestic. Anyone could have done it or something similar, but no one else did. That's why it stood out.

I feel sorry for the people that had to award the foreign internship kids, actually - because that is as boring as anything else these days.

Please see Louis CK's bit on "interesting" 20-yr-olds and high school internships in Guatamala (@2:35):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JW1tJLRtsk

sleepless nights said...

Also the summer internships for "real" majors - like DoD engineers and FB - pay really *well*.

lorentjd said...

I suppose looking for "interesting" applicants depends on what is "interesting". When I was a third-year law student at the Univ of Minnesota, I was on the admissions committee (five students and five profs were paired and each pair reviewed 20% of the applications). I looked for "interesting" students - and my definition of "interesting" consciously included people who overcame significant adversity. Counter-example: One applicant submitted a letter of recommendation from Vice President Mondale. In reading Mondale's letter, I got the distinct feeling that Mondale knew the applicant's father quite well but not the applicant. The application was not otherwise notable. I rejected it (I was almost offended that the student would think that submitting such a letter would be impressive - it had the opposite effect). I've often wondered what happened to that person.

AllenS said...

I interned for the US Army for two years. It was tough. Low pay, but worth the experience. Plus, you can't beat free ammo. Not to mention all the hand grenades you could throw. Where else could you receive such a valuable education? Certainly not at the U of WI-Madison. From what I've seen, it's a place for idiot losers to gather.

Rusty said...

America's Politico said...
Prof. The SCOTUS will hear Fisher v. Texas at Austin tomorrow, 10/10. What is your stance? Our - WH - stand is with the University. We wish Kagan was not recused. We could use the victory before the election.



You realize , of course, nobody reads your posts.

Captain Curt said...

The guidance counselers at my kids' high school warned us that these types of experiences (e.g. overseas internships, volunteering) should not be seen as an advantage in college admissions, because most admissions offices are very wary of "privileging the privileged".

Captain Curt said...

The guidance counselers at my kids' high school warned us that these types of experiences (e.g. overseas internships, volunteering) should not be seen as an advantage in college admissions, because most admissions offices are very wary of "privileging the privileged".

Hagar said...

Rejecting a student's application because his father knows Walter Mondale is as reprehensible as accepting him or her for that reason.

At a state supported college, admissions should be based strictly on high school grade averages or, if those can't be trusted, on SAT scores.
The English Dept. will naturally be interested in different sections of the SAT than the College of Engineering, but the rules for each must be set and published in advance and then adhered to. No admission committees to play at being gods.

Peter said...

"Let's say the school is Harvard."

Well OK, but Harvard really is the exception here. Because it is most applicants' first choice, it can select and get the very best "diversity" candidates in the entire pool.

As a result, the gap between affirmative-action admits and the rest at Harvard is relatively small as compared even with other highly selective schools.

As for "interesting," that sounds like another variation on "holistic" admissions- a bare-knuckled strategy to make admissions policies as subjectivly obfuscated as possible, for the purpose of hiding racial/ethnic preferences that likely are unconstitutional.

Hagar said...

The one sure way to get into Harvard is to have parents that may pony up a legacy of $1,000,000 or more, preferably much more.