Friday, November 03, 2006

News you can use: Hazing story and "Development Admits"

ORLANDO, Fla. -- School officials investigating an apparent hazing ritual at a fraternity house on the University of Central Florida campus in which pledges were found in diapers, fairy wings and women's panties told Local 6 News that there is evidence that several of them may have been sexually assaulted.

Or at the very least, extremely humiliated. Here's the rest of the story.

Now this, as they say in the news biz.

A Tricky Process: Children of Prominent Alumni Versus Hardworking Students Versus 'Development Admits'

Nov. 2, 2006 — Jian Li was the perfect student. Incredibly, he got a perfect score on his SATs.

He should also be a perfect example of how second-generation immigrants can transform their lives when they work hard in the land of meritocracy and opportunity.

But he doesn't see it that way.

"I was completely naive," said Li, now age 19.

He applied to Harvard, Princeton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford, among other places, and didn't get into any of those colleges.

Yet, he soon became aware that other high school students with lower SAT scores had sailed past him.

"There are lots of preferences given to academically unqualified individuals." he said. "For example, George Bush. I doubt he had the academic qualifications that would have gotten him into an elite university [Yale], but because of who his father was, he had the advantage over other applicants with better academic records."
[Can we hear a collective "DUH!"?)

So why was Li shut out from some of the most prestigious colleges in the country?

Watch a special two-hour edition of ABC's "20/20" Tonight (Nov. 2) at 9 p.m. ET. And read more about the story on


Blogger milowent said...

legacies, yadda, yadda, yadda, yes its not fair.

as for this fellow, a 1600 on the SAT by itself may not be enough these days. first of all, 1600 doesn't mean a perfect score as it once did. and if he has no student activities, no sports, no band, no drama, no chess club, no nothing, well, he's just another kid with intelligence who hasn't engaged with the world.

or could it be his priors? (just kidding). there has to be some explanation, no? not just W-types hogging up some spots to keep the donor money coming in.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous South Dallas Jones said...

Don't forget Al Gore, John Kerry (or is it Jon Carry) (I understand both had lower grades than did W), and a whole passel of Kennedys. It's just affirmative action for the rich and well connected. Why not, we have affirmative action for women, ethnic minorities, and the differently abled. Not likely we'll ever have things strictly based on merit only. Treats for every "special interest group" or merit only. I'd vote for merit but every group has a dozen reasons as to why they deserve special consideration.

When everybody is special, nobody is special.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

Jerome Karabel describes the history of admissions to the IVY's throughout 19th and 20th centuries in light of power retention of the ruling class. Very well researched book, highly recommend it.

"Much has changed in who now constitutes "the chosen" -- the elite prep schools, for example, can no longer count on a high proportion of their graduates getting into the Big Three. "As a consequence, deep apprehension about college admissions now extends to the highest reaches of the upper class," Karabel writes. But much remains the same. "At the same time, the children of the working class and the poor are about as unlikely to attend the Big Three today as they were in 1954. It is no exaggeration to say that the current regime in elite college admissions has been far more successful in democratizing anxiety than opportunity."

The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Hardcover)
by Jerome Karabel
ISBN: 061857458

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I sympathize with the student listed in this article, I have to argue that having perfect SAT scores is, while important, not what definitively makes someone MIT/Harvard/Stanford/... material. As a student at a peer institution to the listed schools, I would have to say that I really don't know anyone who got in solely off their academics - everyone I know here is an amazingly well-rounded /person/, in terms of interests and activities, as well as (for the most part) an academic all-star.

In high school, I knew several students who had perfect grades and perfect SAT scores, but who did nothing else outside of academics. Looking back, these students would not fit in to the student body at my university. Yes, they would probably shine academically, but I doubt that they would bring the same life to the student community that the current students do. If we were solely a university of perfect 1600s, we would be a boring school indeed, and we would be lacking a large part of that famous outside-the-classroom aspect of the Ivy education.

I do know several "legacy" admits, and while some of them might not be *quite* up to par with the top of the student body, most of them are still really quite brilliant, and they all bring wonderfully diverse interests and talents to life outside the classroom.

I do feel that some people probably get hurt by legacy admits, etc. However, without other information, I have to wonder if there was some other part of Li's application that these schools found lacking. Articles like this one bother me because they rarely tell the whole story.

12:57 AM  
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