The Ivy Coach Daily

March 2, 2022

Harvard Dreamers Sometimes Need to Hear the Cold, Hard Truth

President Biden’s Insta post in which he cites how a high school guidance counselor discouraged Judge Kenanji Brown Jackson from applying to Harvard is a little ridiculous if you ask us.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court, holds degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. The nominee to be the first Black female U.S. Supreme Court justice has a compelling life story — she’s a former federal public defender, which would mark a first for our nation’s highest court, and her public defender work was largely inspired by her uncle who was sentenced to life imprisonment for a drug conviction. Yet when Judge Brown Jackson was nominated by President Biden to the Supreme Court, he — and others — made a point of highlighting how Judge Brown Jackson’s high school counselor discouraged her from ever applying to Harvard.

In an Instagram post, President Biden wrote, “She graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. A star student, she was discouraged from applying to Harvard by a guidance counselor.” And while we appreciate that President Biden and his staff are trying to paint a compelling story about a remarkable American’s rise in the law against all odds, it’s a bit unfair to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s high school counselor. Of course, in this case, the school counselor was wrong. She sure should have applied to Harvard — duh! Just as former First Lady Michelle Obama should have applied to Princeton University in spite of her school counselor discouraging her from doing so. But for every Judge Brown Jackson or First Lady Obama, there are thousands of young people who dream of Harvard in spite of having zero chance whatsoever of earning admission — and, yes, they need to be told the cold, hard truth because otherwise they’ll waste their valuable Early card on a school at which they have no chance.

In fact, we tell students quite regularly that they have no shot of getting into Harvard. We tell these impossible dreamers the reality. Remember, Harvard rejects over five classes worth of students with perfect or near-perfect grades and scores. So if a student has B grades with a 31 ACT, you bet we’re going to say he doesn’t have a shot on God’s green earth of getting into Harvard — unless he’s the star quarterback recruit. And for those folks in the peanut gallery who chime in that Ivy Coach pushes down our students to keep up our statistics, that’s nonsensical. After all, do you really think parents are going to pay our fees to help their children get into safe schools? We regularly help students earn admission to reach schools, schools they would not otherwise get into without our help. But if a student isn’t going to get into Harvard, we’ll tell them as much — at the risk they become a future Supreme Court justice and have the President of the United States call us out on Instagram. When that happens, we’ll be glad we were wrong.

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