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.