Princeton University Applicant

There’s a post on “New American Media” by Stephen Fong, a high school senior in San Francisco who has an application in this year to Princeton University. Mr. Fong likely hasn’t yet learned of his Princeton admissions decision, but we wanted to give him a tip off — he’s not getting in. Do we know this for sure? No. But our expertise is in highly selective college admissions and so we’re fairly confident in our projection (regardless of his grades, scores, and all other components of his application). In fact, we’re as confident that Stephen Fong will not gain admission to Princeton as we are that the Supreme Court will strike down the constitutionality of the terrible Proposition 8 (especially after we heard Justice Kennedy’s remarks).

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A Princeton University applicant’s complaints against the university’s admissions practices don’t sit well with us.

So why are we so confident and why single out a student applying for admission to Princeton and say he won’t get in? Because Stephen Fong chose to write a scathing article about the Princeton University admissions office that reflects more on his character than on the admissions staff. As Mr. Fong describes it, an alumni interviewer for Princeton had asked to meet him at a cafe for his interview. But the alumni interviewer didn’t show and Mr. Fong waited and waited, even getting free food from the cafe for his troubles.

After his no-show alumni interview, Mr. Fong was very upset. Here are his words: “As a high school student, I spent the rest of the weekend wracked by self doubt. By Monday, however, I decided to complain to the admissions office itself. I sent an email to the Dean of Admissions, dated Feb. 11, asking for a clarification of their policies regarding undergraduate admission interviews. The admissions office called me the next day to ask what I wanted. Once again, I requested they send me the rules governing admissions so I could understand how to proceed. I explained that I wanted to correspond through emails rather than phone calls to avoid any ‘he said/she said’ dilemmas. I also mentioned how students in San Francisco each year receive a student hand book that spells out our rights and responsibilities and the consequencies of breaking rules. Wouldn’t Princeton be governed similarly in its behavior toward applicants?” Wait, seriously? Princeton should be governed by a random student handbook that is allegedly given to all students in San Francisco? Why exactly should storied Princeton University be governed by this random handbook, again? Oy vey!

Mr. Fong, through his written complaints to the Princeton admissions office, was — whether intentionally or unintentionally — likely letting it be known that he had intentions to sue Princeton for his alumni interviewer not showing up. Mr. Fong asserts in his piece that the alumni interview is “a crucial part of the admissions process.” This, quite simply, is absolutely wrong. The alumni interview is a component of one’s application but to say that it’s a crucial component is a misstatement of facts. And what if the alumni interviewer’s son was sick? What if his car broke down? Did Mr. Fong even consider these things before he rushed to judgment about Princeton’s admissions practices? Likely not.

Mr. Fong wasn’t wise to complain to Princeton’s Dean of Admissions. He wasn’t wise to ask about “bylaws” in the admissions process (that screams to us that he has intentions of suing Princeton). And this Princeton University applicant certainly wasn’t wise to post this piece about “drawing a line in the sand” with the Princeton admissions office online. Some people just don’t get it. Mr. Fong is one of these people.

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