Famous College Entry Essay

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At a press conference on Tuesday, Andrew Lelling, US attorney for Massachusetts, told reporters that this time around, "We're not talking about donating a building …

we're talking about fraud,” which elicited plenty of scathing remarks across the internet.

A “good” candidate would be someone who took four years of science, English, math, and a language; they’d have at least a few AP and honors courses with mostly A’s, maybe a B or two; they’d play a sport or be on the debate team or have an after-school job or, ideally, do a bunch of these things; they’d have interviewed with one of us or with any alumni; and their essay wouldn’t be breathtakingly dull and/or pointless (which is, in fact, an extremely high bar for college admissions essays; I read so many poorly written accounts of overcoming sports injuries and life-changing service trips to foreign countries that I was bored to tears). I knew that college admissions was a messy business.

Ideally, this perfect candidate would also be from an underrepresented demographic: the first student in their family to go to college, and/or a student of color, and/or a student from outside the Northeast and California. I knew that, even though we claimed to value diversity and offered millions of dollars in financial aid every year, that there were far more white guys wearing salmon shorts on my campus than there are in the general American population.

And yet the members of my wealthy, majority-white town, and the parents of kids from other wealthy, majority-white towns I visited as an admissions counselor, were far more worried about race-conscious affirmative action policies that aim to increase the numbers of underrepresented races in college student bodies.

It’s long since driven me nuts that so many white middle- and upper-middle-class people who oppose affirmative action can look at a news story like Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paying 0,000 to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits, even though they didn’t row crew, and fail to see a clear and distinct connection to the legal, socially acceptable ways wealthier people will stop at nothing to get their children into elite American schools.

Yes, there were a lot of dumb, rich blockheads there — including the heir to a sandwich shop fortune, probably the stupidest person I’ve ever met in my life — but I’d also found community with a small group of brilliant students from the US and around the world, many of whom had been admitted on grants and scholarships and had to work twice as hard to prove themselves worthy of their presence there. So on my tours, in interviews, and on my school visits, I emphasized the good and downplayed the bad.

After the busy fall season of interviews and school visits wound down, my fellow admissions counselors and I had to review applications.

When I was given the opportunity to stay on full time as an associate, the decision practically made itself.

I’d graduated a year early to save money on tuition, so I didn’t mind hanging around campus for a little while longer.

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