Admissions reality

The reality of college admissions — you need a hard-luck story — was displayed by “The Scholar,” in which 10 top students competed for a $250,000 scholarship, writes Naomi Schaefer Riley in Opinion Journal.

Melissa had to cut short her gymnastics career at the age of 13 because of scoliosis. Jeremy’s parents came from Vietnam and spent seven days on a boat with only a cup of water between them. Gerald experiences “occasional brushes with overt racism.”

There is no reason to belittle such hardship tales, but they have little to do with the students’ actual accomplishments. As “The Scholar” shows, the college-admissions process has become a kind of victim pageant.

The students on the show are portrayed as financial victims, too–as if, according to that ominous announcer’s voice, the “price of admission is threatening the American dream.” This claim is the show’s one glaring inaccuracy. Show me a black girl with a single mother, early admission to Harvard, near perfect SATs and a 4.0 GPA with AP classes in her schedule and I’ll show you a girl on a full scholarship.

Average students are the ones who can get into college but have to take heavy loans to pay for it.

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  1. Even average students don’t have to take huge loans if they don’t want to.

    Our country has an amazing community college system where an entire semester’s worth of classes and books could cost as little as $500. Someone who is motivated could complete more than half of their required courseload there and transfer to a four year college. In California, it is particularly easy to transfer to a UC as a junior from a CC.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Why not forget loans and tuition, just a 10% surcharge on income for life.

  3. Why not forget loans and tuition, just a 10% surcharge on income for life.

    I thought that’s what the 15 – 35% we’re paying now was for?

  4. BadaBing says:

    Russell Wardlow (above) is absolutely correct. A friend’s daughter attended a JC in San Francisco and transferred right into Berkeley. It’s interesting to note that she’s Taiwanese because trying to convince Asian students to go to a JC is a hard sell because their parents gain esteem through their childrens’ lives, and they (the parents) look much better if the kid whose life their living through is attending UCLA rather than Cerritos College. Going to a JC can save major bucks.