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.