I rarely use the h-word, haters, but Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post is pushing it.
While media outlets across the country lit up with news of the rare achievement by 17-year-olds Avery Coffey and Kwesi Enin, who were both accepted to multiple Ivy League universities, Strauss argued it’s time to move on already, because we don’t know if they applied to Stanford.
Strauss, who claims to write about “everything that matters in education,” wrote:
Have you heard yet about 17-year-old Kwasi Enin of Shirley, N.Y., who applied to all of the eight schools in the Ivy League and got into every single one? If not, you are, by now, the only one.
The William Floyd High School senior told Newsday that he couldn’t believe it when, one right after the other, the Ivy League schools — Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University — all welcomed him into the class of 2018.
Congratulations to Kwasi Enin. Now can we stop talking about him?
We might as well also congratulate Avery Coffey, 17, a senior at D.C.’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, who was admitted to all five of the Ivy League schools – Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Brown — to which he applied, according to MyFoxDC.com. Well done. But that’s enough.
Her beef? Apparently, while Ivy League institutions are some of the most selective schools in the nation, they aren’t picky enough for Strauss, who believes that universities should stop talking up the bona fides of the students who are admitted, and instead share the qualifications of those they reject.
It isn’t easy to get into the Ivy League, everybody knows; the admission rate this year was 8.925641 percent, rounding to the nearest millionth of a percentage point, according to this story by my colleague Nick Anderson, and the schools aren’t shy about telling the world about it. Princeton University issued a news release with this headline: “Princeton offers admission to 7.28 percent of applicants.” The lowest admit rate in the Ivy League was Harvard, at 5.9 percent, but as it turns out, Stanford University on the West Coast had an even lower percentage — 5.07 (the .07 is important), the lowest in the school’s storied history.
Now that we’ve settled that, can schools reconsider sending out the annual brag sheet about all those kids who didn’t get in? And can we please stop talking about who got into the Ivy League, or Stanford, or any other school?
… Talented kids who have figured out how to cure a disease or time travel get rejected from schools just as often as they get accepted. And there’s this: The low admit races (uh, rates?) have a lot to do with the enormous number of applications schools receive but many, if not most, come from students who aren’t close to being qualified.
Kids today apply to more colleges than kids of yesterday, so schools get more applications. And as many admissions deans will tell you, admission to a school doesn’t mean that a particular student is “better” than other applicants but that he/she fits into a particular spot in the college’s overall demographics scheme. If a student is a piano virtuoso but there are two in the applicant pool and the school wants a violinist, one of the pianists is out of luck. That’s really the way it works.
In polite company most people prefer not to talk about their salaries or their sex lives. Can we add — except among family and close friends — where kids got into college?
I’m sorry, WUT?
While most people agree that both Enin and Coffey did the near impossible by racking up admission letters from the world’s top colleges, Strauss wants to disregard their achievement because she doesn’t know the GPAs of those who didn’t get in?
While Strauss encourages those who were rejected by Harvard, Yale, and the rest of the Ivy League intuitions to “take heart” (and insinuating that Coffey and Enin didn’t really deserve to be admitted), I’ll continue to bask in the excellence of the young men’s achievements.