Noises usually associated with the trenches of the First World War were coming from somewhere deep within my car. Clearly, something was amiss with the combobulator. Or possibly the framistan. My liberal arts degree safely in a drawer, I called a buddy of mine, the assistant service manager of a car dealership. Steve and I sat chatting in the small booth while folks lined up with their own imperfect cars.
To be fair, nobody is in a good mood when their combobulator or possibly framistan is imploding. But in addition to the staggering rudeness I have come to associate with metropolitan living, there was a sense of entitlement among customers across socioeconomic class. Each and every driver wanted his or her car fixed yesterday. Whether they just needed a five dollar degrommeter or a completely refurbished transfribulator, no one could believe the repair process would require paperwork, time, or--gasp!--money. "What do you mean you can't replace my enviserator RIGHT NOW?" Steve was accused of perfidy. Steve was accused of favoritism. Clients cajoled, threatened, and complained. Noticeably, no one offered cash.
When I came back to pick up my car the next day, I asked Steve about the display of "me first" frequently reserved for the distribution of juice and cookies. "Yeah," he said. "Everybody wants to be the car at the head of the line."
Which got me thinking about admissions to highly selective colleges. Admittedly pretty much everything gets me thinking about admissions to selective colleges. My Wife: "Did you hear there's an asteroid heading for Earth?" Me: "I wonder if the asteroid will apply to highly selective colleges."
Which, doubtless, the asteroid will do, believing that only admission to an HSC (Highly Selective College) will allow it to live a successful, fulfilled life after crashing into our blue-green planet. The problem of course is that in addition to astroids, there are polar bears, leprechauns, tractors, and milk cartons who are also intent on being admitted to HSCs. For corroboration of this (admittedly metaphorical) point, check out recent headlines in the New York Times: "Percentage of polar bears at Harvard reaches 10 year low!" "Stanford admits more leprechauns to class of 2021!" "Duke University slammed for rejecting qualified tractors!"
Replace astroids, leprechauns, tractors, and egg cartons in the above examples with African-American, Hispanic American, Asian American, athletes, legacies, first generation underrepresented minorities, Gulagistanies, and Daughters of the American Revolution and you have a fair approximation of what is going on in the admissions offices of highly selective colleges. All groups insist on a bigger piece of the pie. Yet there remains only one pie. If the leprechauns get a bigger slice, the asteroids get a smaller one. More qualified applicants does not make for a larger first-year class. More accepted polar bears means fewer accepted egg cartons. More admitted leprechauns implies not as many tractors get in. More applicants just means more rejections. Not everyone can be first.
Which, you may be pleased to know, is exactly what my fourth book is about. Get your Kid into the Right College. Get the Right College into your Kid makes no mention of disconfribulated gravinators. I do give some specific hints about how to "win" the highly selective college admissions game. In chapter 5, I even share a list of colleges that are not only "better" than the HSCs but also admit virtually every qualified applicant. In chapter 14, I give some easily followed advice for parents concerned about securing the best future for their children.
If you would do me the honor of purchasing Get your Kid into the Right College. Get the right College into your Kid
, copies are available by clicking this link
Should you agree that my book presents the only sensible way to win the admissions game at highly selective colleges, I would be pleased to come speak at your school. I will even bring copies of my book for the first 25 people in your audience.
Because cars sometimes break; but it's never too early to start relaxing about admission to highly selective colleges.