Shocking books about college admissions!





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Discus: College Admissions: December 2003 Archive: July 2003 Archive: Shocking books about college admissions!
By Roxychick776 (Roxychick776) on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 11:56 pm: Edit

Has anyone read either of these books about college admissions?

The gatekeepers : inside the admissions process of a premier college Show details
by Steinberg, Jacques.
*about wesleyan admission*
OR

Admissions confidential : an insider's account of the elite college selection process /
by Toor, Rachel.
*about duke admission*

if yes, what do u think of them? they seem really biased and im SHOCKED at what I read! absolutely shocked! i cant believe how admissions officers choose people, it all sounds crazy. is the stuff they are saying true? because then i need to rethink my approach to getting into a good school!

By Nealp (Nealp) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 12:47 am: Edit

give an example of their criteria!

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:30 am: Edit

I've read "The Gatekeepers". I can't say that I found it shocking. I do agree that it paints a rather unattractive picture of the admissions process. However, from everything I read in articles by Admissions officers, the book seems very accurate.

By Sosodef (Sosodef) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:34 am: Edit

could you guys give some examples of the shocking thing you read b/c i havent read it

By Roxychick776 (Roxychick776) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:09 am: Edit

ok forget about the gatekeepers..the other book is soooo shocking!! its about this duke admissions officer that talks about how 99% of the time kids interview they dont even write it down or make any note that the interview ever took place. everything u think that u do right for college turns out to be wrong. the admissions officer hates certain things and will automatically not let u in duke if little things bug her. i mean, the way she talks about her job is incredible, some parts of it disgusted me. i read the entire book in 1 day! one other example is that there was this new admissions officer who interviewed a girl..the girl came in and said "i am from a very wealthy family, but my sat scores are really low (under 600) even though ive been working with my tutor.." and there was nothing special about the girl. so later the admissions officer told the other officers that the girl should be rejected and they were like "no u dont know how it works, we'll admit her as a promising candidate because her family is wealthy"!! they didnt say it in those words exactly, but this is all true! they are all real life examples! and there is soo much other stuff in that book that opened my eyes to what really goes on

By Sirmoreau (Sirmoreau) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:41 am: Edit

My daddy tought me from day one, "Life ain't fair son".

I came to this realization long ago, we live in a society where morality and goodness cease to exsist, a place where maniacs run wild. A capitilist under toe has taken our civilization under and washed away the purity. The only thing I found pure was my girlfriends eyes when she said, "I love you", months later she dumped me, how pure that statement truly was!

The statement "I love you" is practically meaningless now a days. I've searched long and hard for the meaning of life or anything to that matter.

The Native Americans lived respectably before greed diseased their nation. For what? So we can have Corporations running amuck, polluting the enviroment. The final product is the ultra competitive society we live in today.

Tell me what is pure in your lives? Bring me back to a much more blissful state.

By Shaheedm (Shaheedm) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:34 am: Edit

I just finished "the gatekeepers", and while I expected AA racism to be a big factor, I was surprised how pervasive it was throughout the book. While it's possible that the author just chose to tell us about those episodes and candidates, it did reinforce my opinion that Colleges are one of the last bastions of institutional racism left in the country, and they are doing everything possible to keep racism alive. This starts with classifying all potential applicants into racial categories, then treating each category differently, on through the various racially divided dorms, social groups, and the litany of "fill-in-the-blank" ethnic studies.

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised given the long history and practice of racism and elitism by universities in this country, they just can't seem to live without it. First they had to discriminate against blacks, jews, asians, etc, now they have to do the reverse against whites and asians.

People entering the field of higher education must have some genetic deficiency that pre-disposes them to racist and elitist behavior.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:56 am: Edit

Shaheedm:

I found the fawning over the "the dancer" in The Gatekeepers to be particularly disturbing. Here is a kid who needed absolutely no boost from anybody. An accomplished student at one of the most pretigious prep shools in the country and a ballet dancer. Zero reason for affirmative action and, frankly, not much contribution to "diversity" on any campus.

Her mother was a white Oberlin educated woman; her father a Brazilian, wealthy enough to to attend law school in Brazil and move to the United States, who had some unspecified African ancestory.

Because she checked the African-American and Latina boxes, this girl was recruited by every school in the country.

The degree to which connections between prep school guidance conselors and college admissions officers played a role was also disturbing. Think a the chances of a white Jewish girl with 1200's on her SAT's having a prayer of an adcom fighting for her at Wesleyan if she had gone to a regular public high school instead of a Bel-Air prep school where the guidance counselor had the home phone numbers of the adcoms and favors to cash in?

But, it is what it is. To me, the book the describes a system that is so morally questionable that a student has no choice but to view the process as a game. It's certainly not difficult to see what makes the adcoms tick. I felt like I needed a shower after reading the book.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 11:12 am: Edit

Interesteddad~

It is indeed a game. It is also similar to playing in Las Vegas where the House always wins. They make the rules but fairness is not one of them.

However, the worst part is that most players who win at the "game", do it because they could use various advantages or played with piped dices.

It is hard not to become cynical.

By Innotof (Innotof) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 12:26 pm: Edit

I've read both books, and I've concluded that, beyond what all of us are doing to get into our dream colleges, admissions is mostly a game of chance. Read these books if/when you're rejected from your first-choice college. It'll help you feel better by showing you how haphazrdly the admission process works.

By Shaheedm (Shaheedm) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 12:49 pm: Edit

I also took a look at the amazon reviews for the other book (admissions confidential) and the process there sounds even worse, if that's possible, or at least the particular admissions officer who wrote the book sounds worse.

By Shennie (Shennie) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:38 pm: Edit

I would like to add that it is really a shame the way all of our colleges are being overrun by African-American and Hispanic students. I mean, just go to top college campus and you can hardly find a white face anymore. How sad...

By Hilsdad (Hilsdad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 03:49 pm: Edit

Yeah right, Shennie, all 6% of them. Assume by the rolling eyes smiley, you were just kidding...at least I hope so!

By Reeses (Reeses) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:10 pm: Edit

I just read A is for Admissions last night and that was pretty scary...

By Tenista09 (Tenista09) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 04:52 pm: Edit

>>>I would like to add that it is really a shame the way all of our colleges are being overrun by African-American and Hispanic students. I mean, just go to top college campus and you can hardly find a white face anymore.
I hope you were being sarcastic because if you weren't, you couldn't be more wrong!

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:21 pm: Edit

I think "ironic" is a better fit than "sarcastic," but, yes, I believe he/she was.

Reeses, if anything, A IS FOR ADMISSIONS understates the problem because it's now a few years old and things have gotten even worse. But it's useful information...better to understand the situation than to be a Pollyanna. The book illustrates why the phrase "You're in," as sometimes bandied about on this board, is one of the most dangerous phrases around.

By Nealp (Nealp) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 05:37 pm: Edit

i guess don't fret the technicalities and instead try hard as possible.

By Apguy (Apguy) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 02:28 pm: Edit

If you do a search for Rachel Toor's book, you'll see that it's grown to have a reputation of being a cynical, depressing piece of garbage.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 03:16 pm: Edit

My sense is that Toors' book is not held to be very credible...it sounds pretty sensationalistic, which of course helps it sell.

By Shennie (Shennie) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 03:31 pm: Edit

Yes, I was being sarcastic. I get tired of hearing how often minorities are given breaks and that because of it, white kids are being denied admission. But when I visit colleges, I don't see very many black or hispanic kids, so it is pretty hard for me to get worked up about some minority kids getting preferential treatment.

By Zerg_Vvins (Zerg_Vvins) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 05:37 pm: Edit

Personally I think America's work ethic in general is going down hill.
I recently attended an orientation at Berkeley. Guess what? 77% of the kids going there had at least one parent born out of the U.S. What does that say about the native born Americans and their kids?
I say it's probably for the better. If they don't want to work hard in this land of opportunities, they should move aside and let those who do want to work hard get ahead.
As for the minorit blacks and hispanics, I don't think there should be an exception. If they want to work hard, they will get ahead and if not then too bad. Most of the time it's not about the lack of opportunities given to the blacks and hispanics, it's just that most of them for some reason, don't care... it's more of a cultural issue than a race issue. For example do you think a vietnamnese war refugee and his children have any more opportunities than a african american or a hispanic?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 05:55 pm: Edit

I recently attended an orientation at Berkeley. Guess what? 77% of the kids going there had at least one parent born out of the U.S. What does that say about the native born Americans and their kids?

Maybe, just maybe, did the parents do their homework and after checking the ethnic distribution of the admission decided to abstain.

For example do you think a vietnamnese war refugee and his children have any more opportunities than a african american or a hispanic?

Have ... probably not.

But if would rephrase your question to

For example do you think a vietnamnese war refugee and his children have HAD any more opportunities than a african american or a hispanic?

Check the UC statistics, and the answer would be a resounding YES. Over the years, the Under-representation status became a massive OVER-representation.

Here is an article for you:

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

When affirmative action was first implemented in the early 1970s, Asian Americans benefitted from it in large numbers, as did Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians and the group that has benefitted the most, White women. Since that time, Asian Americans have achieved notable successes in educational attainment, employment, and income (see the earlier discussion on the model minority image).

In fact, on many university campuses around the country, Asian Americans soon became disproportionately represented. That is, it was common for 10%, 15%, or more of a university’s student population to be of Asian ancestry at a time when Asians were only about 3% of the general population. This was also because the Asian American population is relatively young, so many more Asians were applying to college than before as well.


And before you dismiss as propaganda, check the source:

http://www.asian-nation.org/affirmative-action.shtml

By Zerg_Vvins (Zerg_Vvins) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:14 pm: Edit

er.. I think I should say my point exactly?

What I was trying to say is that some people take the opportunities given to them and prosper and others neglect the opportunities given to them and then cry discrimination...

By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:17 pm: Edit

Um Xiggi,

Not all Asians are Vietnamese! AA that benefited Asians seemed to have ended right before Viets started to learn how to speak English, not mentioning started growing up!

You classify all asians into one group like we are all the same. This is pathetic.

You might realize that the Vietnamese first step on N. American soil little over 30 years ago. Most of them were peasants and had no previous exposure to English. Plus the fact that Vietnamese is a tonal language, it adds onto the difficulty of the Vietnamese people to learn English. Most of these refugees didn't even go through junior high, Vietnam's standard education is a lot lower than America's back then (meaning people generally didn't go to school, and the small percentage that did don't even get through junior high). It is correct to say that the Vietnamese who are in college today are those either born in N. America, or are those who are born in Vietnam and were still very young when they moved to N. America. This means that many Vietnamese students weren't even old enough to be in Junior high when AA did benefit asians.

AA benefited the Chinese and Japanese the most, of which, at the time, were of college age. Simply assuming that AA benefited the Vietnamese at one point is pathetic, it benefited Asians in general, but to assume that the Vietnamese all fit in this "in general" is ludicrous... Most of us Vietnamese weren't even on N. American soil yet!

By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:20 pm: Edit

I'm not trying to defend or disapprove of AA. And i would like to avoid the subject (go back and reread the argument we had a while back, i had no idea what you were saying... you said i denied i was Canadian! I never denied i was Canadian. hahaha, i said that you assumed that American issues did not matter to me because i am Canadian, but they did matter to me because i am planning on going to an American college and obtain an American citizenship, since i lived a lot of years alongside my cousins who live in Ameirca, and you somehow translated this into me denying my Canadianness, so let's avoid this argument between us...)

I'm simply saying, STOP disrespecting my people by classifying us into such a simple group as "Asian" when these statistics barely included the Vietnamese back then. That post was good, but only if you mentioned the Chinese or Japanese opposed to Vietnamese.

By Zerg_Vvins (Zerg_Vvins) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:29 pm: Edit

oh my gosh, can you people not read? or tuan are you so aware of your ethnicity that you disregard everything else.
I said FOR EXAMPLE!!!! I didn't classify or anything, I could've said for example the chinese or the japanese or even the jewish

By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:30 pm: Edit

The Vietnamese college population was puny in the 80s and early 90s. It only started to skyrocket now, since the general Viet population are now a bit more educated and are starting to apply to college more (compared to the previous generation of farmers/refugees). Plus California is where most Viets live (along with Texas), so of course the % would be extremely high, as that's where they all are going. The Vietnamese population at NYU or U. Chicago is almost non-existant. So saying that AA has worked for the Vietnamese is wrong, it's simply the population has matured.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:33 pm: Edit

Tuann~

I wont get into that debate again.

However, please respect the fact that I am willing to look at both sides of the equation and that I am not insulting YOUR people.

I agree with your point that all asians are not the same. I understand that Vietnamese may not have benefitted as much as the 4th generation Chinese from San Francisco who is a business owner.

Again, we need to remember that not all Asian Americans are the same. For every Chinese American or South Asian who has a college degree, the same number of Southeast Asians are still struggling to adapt to their lives in the U.S. For example, Vietnamese Americans only have a college degree attainment rate of 16%, only about one-quarter the rate for other Asian American ethnic groups. Further, Laotians, Cambodians, and Khmer only have rates around 5%.

The cultural stereotype that ’’all Asians are smart’’ puts a tremendous amount of pressure on many Asian Americans. Many, particularly Southeast Asians, are not able to conform to this unrealistic expectation and in fact, have the highest high school dropout rates in the country. Again, not all Asian Americans are the same.

Keeping in mind that not all Asian Americans are the same, people may be surprised to know that in California, 40% of all Vietnamese Americans are on public assistance.

Many Korean immigrants come to the U.S. with very high levels of education. But for various reasons (i.e., not being fluent in English), many are not able to get decent jobs that pay well. Therefore, they are forced to to work as janitors, waiters, busboys, or go into business for themselves to survive. The only reason why many Korean small business owners are able to make a small profit is that they have no paid employees and work 20 hours a day.

By Tuannguyen (Tuannguyen) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:34 pm: Edit

Xiggi,

THANK YOU!

Some people simply classify all asians into one body. This gives the poorer populations a really bad start, because people keep on thinking asians who have been on this soil for little over 30 years are doing well along side the Chinese (which is not true). In Houston, when the Hispanics were given a bit of aid (i forgot how they were given aid, someone fill in this part), the Vietnamese were left out, yet the Ghetto were filled with Viets, they were simply ignored.

And you are right, Korean and Chinese Americans are among the top educated people before they came to America. They were something like the top 0.01-0.02% of the general population. While the people like the Vietnamese simply came in huge numbers, not as educated people who look for business opportunities in N. America, but simply as people who want to survive. Most Vietnamese in America were simply peasants (fisherman, farmers etc...). It's amazing, but a lot of the educated people died as soldiers (considered the greatest tragedy of the Vietnamese war by the Vietnamese people). Great poets, writers, artists, songwriters died as soldiers. The peasants were refugees, not the privileged class.

BUT, in a few years, the new Vietnamese generation will catch up. The progress within this group of people is amazing. From dirt poor, to near middle class.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:38 pm: Edit

Zerg Vin ~

er.. I think I should say my point exactly?

What I was trying to say is that some people take the opportunities given to them and prosper and others neglect the opportunities given to them and then cry discrimination...


I understand your point and I agree with you. There is no greater waste than a wasted mind. No government policy will ever nurture the desire to excel. But the lack of desire is NOT divided along racial lines, it is found in all races and ethnic groups.

By Zerg_Vvins (Zerg_Vvins) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:47 pm: Edit

if you will reread my post. I didn't say it is a race issue, I said it's a cultural issue.

I believe the innate intelligence of the vast majority of the human race is the race, it's only how they choose to use their gift that separates them in their lives. Studies have shown that a African American Child who's adopted by a white family does just as well as a white child in a white family.

so it really all comes down to the culture and the environment a child is raised in.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:54 pm: Edit

Zerg~

I did not try to correct you or twist your words. After all, we may be saying the same thing.

I added that line as a statement not as rebuttal "But the lack of desire is NOT divided along racial lines, it is found in all races and ethnic groups."

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 06:58 pm: Edit

Tuann~

From dirt poor, to near middle class.

Why do I have the feeling that with your intelligence and your work ethic, you will exceed that by a wide margin?

Good luck to you!

By Zerg_Vvins (Zerg_Vvins) on Wednesday, July 09, 2003 - 07:12 pm: Edit

tuan of course your people will catch up.

The .01 % of the chinese and the korean are by no means the Creme de la Creme in the intelligence department. The reason they succeed is because they are imbued with a desire to do so. So naturally, they adhere to a higher standard. Just remember these cliche though true words: where there's a will there's a way.


and Xiggi, I am glad that we can agree :)

By Sheeprun (Sheeprun) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 04:11 pm: Edit

Tuann, Xiggi and others:

What happened? College Confidential thought you were going to go on another 48 hour non stop debate. We purchased more bandwidth and installed a spare server. What happened? :) (only kidding)

<moderator>

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 04:48 pm: Edit

I am glad you noticed, Sheeprun!

The battle between Canada and Mexico over fairness in US colleges ended up as it started ... in a Mexican Standoff!

No winners! No losers! Just wiser kids :)

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 04:59 pm: Edit

Curious...how do you know it's Sheeprun? I'm still trying to scope this place out. Obiwan generally signs his(her?) stuff and I've seen Sheeprun sign his (her?) stuff sometimes...but I gather there are at least 5-6 moderators here.

By O71394658 (O71394658) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 05:26 pm: Edit

I'm a moderator...but I'm undercover. So don't tell anyone.

^Joke. Laugh if necessary.

By Mike (Mike) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 05:39 pm: Edit

Odd how the "RACE" issue is so upstetting for people. Whites and Asians are at Duke in large numbers Odd how no one is upset by daddy doner slow son or legacy dummy daughter getting in is fair but 10% African-American admissions are upsetting. Don't like it go to Bob Jones U. Same neighborhood and no AA

Mike's Dad

By Zerg_Vvins (Zerg_Vvins) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 06:11 pm: Edit

I don't even know why race shoud even be a issue in education. Why is there even a race section? The colleges should just let those who qualify (and perhaps those under adverse conditions)in regardless of the race.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 06:33 pm: Edit

You don't think that race pervades society enough that there are different perspectives in the classroom that are based on racial experience?

Or you don't believe that the different perspectives are a part of the education?

Or are you trying to tell me that race doesn't matter because students are passive receptacles just waiting to be filled by the process?

By Zerg_Vvins (Zerg_Vvins) on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 07:11 pm: Edit

I really don't want to get into a race argument, it gets so complicated.

But don't you think it would be better if the race checkbox section is eliminated? Since this is supposedly an equal society, I don't think race should even matter in the college selection progress. I mean if one truly desired progress, no matter how dirty poor he is, he can still go to the library and read books. If he/she wants to get a high SAT score, he/she can borrow a SAT review book and study in the library. I realize that there are some exceptions, but that's still a relatively small figure.

Yes I believe different races (mostly due to the races' culture) lead to different perspectives, but that different perspective is gained outside of school. In high school, everyone, no matter what the race, gets the same education. Since colleges base their selections on a student's high school merits then I don't think race should be considered in the selection process.


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