Does the College Essay Suck the Life Out of Boys? asks Dr. Helen on PJ Media’s Lifestyle.
She’s reading Andrew Ferguson’s Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College. Ferguson describes his son’s struggle to write a politically correct admissions essay.
Many of the colleges ask for an essay about the student’s “inner life”–usually a buzz word for some kind of sappy self-absorbed nonsense where the student “took a risk” of some kind and went on to become a better person or some variation of that theme.
The son, who thought his inner life was his own business, finally wrote about passing a swimming test in camp that others could not.
In the essay, the son wrote that he was “tired but proud; he sympathized with his classmates who hadn’t finished and in his victory, accepted modestly, he learned the timeless value of persistence and determination, expressed with grim earnestness…”
But his father knew the truth: “which was the masculine truth. He didn’t remember the race because it proved the timeless value of persistence. He remembered the victory because it was a victory: he had competed against this classmates, friends and rivals alike, and beaten them soundly and undeniably, and earned the right to a sack dance in the end zone. He knew he couldn’t say this, though, and I knew he was right.”
Colleges don’t want critical thinking, concludes Dr. Helen. They don’t want “passion.” They want wimps — or boys pretending to be wimps.
I bet admissions officers are bored out of their skulls by the humble, persistent, lesson-learning, PC applicant. I got a thank you note from Stanford’s admissions director for writing a funny essay. And he let me in. But who wants to risk it?