Superhumans and the Ivy League

Ivy League Superhumans, Superhuman Ivy Leaguers, Superhuman Ivy Leaguer

You don’t have to be superhuman to gain admission to an Ivy League college, contrary to an assertion — even said in jest — in a “Forbes” piece.

There’s an article up on “Forbes” by James Marshall Crotty entitled “Superhuman High School Transcripts Are Key To Ivy League Admission. Is That Such A Bad Thing?” that we figured we’d bring to the attention of our reader base. In the piece, Mr. Crotty argues that the world is obsessed with the Ivy League. As he puts it, “the Ivy League brand continues to trump all contrarians.” Well said. Mr. Crotty also goes on to point out that admission to Ivy League colleges is all about metrics. And he’s not wrong. As he puts it, “If you come from a poor and minority home, where no one had ever achieved more than a high school diploma, there’s a positive score for that.” The same is true for the progeny of alumni who have donated wings of buildings. He’s not wrong.

But that doesn’t mean that everything Mr. Crotty says is correct. After all, there’s this gem: “While a stellar transcript is not an automatic guarantee of admission, unless you are an extremely well-rounded, engaging, and ridiculously oppressed and esoteric applicant with an articulate essay that makes every member of the admissions committee sob in sympathy, almost no amount of service work, extracurricular greatness, and stellar recommendations can compensate for a mediocre one.” No, sir! Ivy League colleges do not seek out well-rounded students. They seek out singularly talented students — students who have exceptional abilities in one particular area — to form a well-rounded class of uniquely talented students. To assert otherwise tells us that you’re not all that familiar with Ivy League admissions policies of, oh, say the last twenty years.

And, by the way, great essays, great recommendations, great stories, great extracurricular activities — all of this indeed can make a difference as one seeks to gain admission to an Ivy League school. Does the transcript remain most important? You bet. But there are plenty of students with less than perfect transcripts and less than perfect SAT or ACT scores who gain admission to Ivy League colleges every year. Because all of that stuff does matter. It matters a lot. They’re metrics, too, Mr. Crotty! You don’t have to be superhuman to get into an Ivy League college. Not even close.

Categories:

Tags: , , , ,

3 Comments

  • Ellen says:

    I’m not sure you have the ‘this gem’ quote accurate that you’re taking issue with.
    I read the article and twice and unless the author removed the phrase, ‘unless you are an extremely well-rounded’ that is not how the quote appeared in print.

    Here is what I read and saw:
    “While a stellar transcript is not an automatic guarantee of admission, unless you are an extremely engaging and ridiculously oppressed and esoteric applicant with an articulate essay that makes every member of the admissions committee sob in sympathy, almost no amount of service work, extracurricular greatness, and stellar recommendations can compensate for a mediocre one.”

    • Bev Taylor says:

      Hi Ellen,

      Indeed the quote was changed in a later version. When we correct misinformation out there in the universe through our blog, the folks we correct quite often respond. In this case, the writer fixed the inaccuracy. A major purpose of our college admissions blog is to correct misconceptions about the highly selective college admissions process and keep folks honest. In this case, we’ve done just that. Thanks for writing.

  • Donald Schneider says:

    Do you know what Affirmative Action really is? It’s just another unfunded mandate.
    Let me explain:
    During the 1960’s, there were riots in America’s cities by Black people. Though a variety of reasons were given for this violent, destructive outburst, it all boiled down to their being trapped in miserable circumstances with no way out. It was like they were trying to get onto a Freeway that didn’t have any onramps. This was combined with the violent, degrading abuse because of their race.
    Congress didn’t really care about any of this, except for the rioting. These riots were getting expensive. So once the rioting was suppressed, they started to look for ways to ameliorate those circumstances that were holding Black people back. They found that the lack of a college education was a very big reason for their lack of progress.
    They ran into a big problem though. The academic qualifications of Black students were usually inferior to those of white students. You might say that Whites were B students and Blacks were C students. Whites got in and Blacks didn’t. The solution to this dilemma is obvious–lower the minimum GPA requirement for admission from a B average to a C average. This would create a new problem, but one that has an equally simple solution. Since making it easier to get in to college would result in a lot more students going to college, they would have to build more colleges. But Congress immediately realized that although this solution was simple and effective, it was also expensive. It was almost as expensive as a riot. For Congress this was no solution at all. Instead, they came up with a scheme that was like a Rube Goldberg Machine in it’s bizarre efforts at racial management. They called it Affirmative Action.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *