April 20, 2004
College Admissions Camp!
by Jeremy Blachman
April 20, 2004 11:28 PM
The New York Times has an article about new summer camps for kids preparing to apply to college:
Those who went to the company's pilot programs last summer said it was both useful and fun... "I learned not to be so fidgety, and not to touch my hair."
Oh, yes, that does sound like fun. For just $2700 for an eleven-day program, kids can take practice SATs, tour college campuses, and participate in mock interviews, as they try to fulfill their parents' fantasies of getting into a better college than they ought to and take the first step toward a dysfunctional adulthood. Naw, I'm exaggerating. But it still sounds a little messed-up.
Why fool them otherwise? The U.S. is all one big meritocracy anyway: the better school you go to and the better grades you have, the more opportunities you'll get roughly leading to a 'better' life.
As far as being better citizens? Well, there's no way you can convince me that somehow kids between 18-22 could possibly learn to be better citizens in college. And I'm talking about the average college student not Johnny and Janey Student Council Presidents.
Becoming a better citizen is something that takes a lifetime.
I wonder if the campers practice SAT analogies while doing flips off the diving board. You know, so when taking the real SAT, you can think, "these analogies are a lot easier sitting at a desk than they were while doing a flip, anticipating hitting the water."
Do thoughts even go in quotations?
From the article--a mother was talking about her teenage son's reaction to her suggestion that he attend the camp:
"We think it will help Drew see the long- range picture, that he really needs to
keep his G.P.A. up if he wants to go to
this kind of school. He didn't give us
even a smidgen of opposition. His
reaction was `Oh great, I want to go
That is probably because he was stoned and thought his mother had asked him if he wanted to go to Taco Bell.
Another quote from the mother: "Teenage boys have a tendency to be a little goofy..."
"having them do this on a campus, away from parents, where they can get excited about living like a college student, is a good thing"
I wonder if they teach them about drinking games and the "walk of shame."
Everyone's looking for an edge these days, and I don't see this camp as being much different from the "summer enrichment" programs run by a lot of colleges. The headline sounds a little bizarre, but lots of high school kids spend their summers working or at various kinds of camps that are much more useless, weird, and reflective of parental pressure than this.
They're silly, but so are a lot of things already out there.
While people who have financial and familial support have an easier time than a kid who doesn't have a father, has little money for study equipment like computers, etc.; I would still say we live in a meritocracy.
Bush represents about 1% of the population with extremely influential connections and family. As you say, yes, the rest is a sliding scale. Not every child has an equal start during the formative years. However, you'll find that many of the top law schools -- just to use an example -- are filled with people who went to colleges that are far from representative of elitist institutions.
Let's call it a 'qualified meritocracy."
"Walk of shame..." Ah, memories!
I dunno, we've had different experiences. I went to Vanderbilt, just within the top 20 and I can tell you there were a ton of students from colleges I had never heard from and weren't that notable.
I guess it depends on the region. In any event, you don't even have to be at a top law school to have great success. As long as you go to one of the top fifty or so, if you achieve academic success, there are few limits to your potential. Lawyers that have graduated from Tulane, Wisconsin, BYU, Ohio State, and any other number of schools have been recently named to the federal judiciary and other top legal positions.