Monday, April 01, 2013

Holistic and its victims, sympathetic and otherwise

Gawker reports that a scorned college-applicant has taken to the Wall Street Journal to complain that "just be[ing] yourself" is not enough to make the cut at Harvard or whatever. (Maybe Princeton, where she might have been a freshman by the time Princeton Mom's younger son made it to senior year. The life she might have led!) The op-ed is intended as humor, which Gawker conveniently ignores, which is maybe fair, given that it's not all that funny.

The one useful, general point that comes out of this (one girl's resentment at not being marginalized enough to get into college being, well...), which is that some kids/families take "holistic" seriously, and don't realize that "holistic" is only the difference between why one perfect-SATS-and-grades kid has an edge over another.

We might want to separate out this particular girl giving the impression that she wants to appear in an encyclopedia section for "entitlement" from the fact that likely a lot of kids make this mistake. And mostly kids who aren't so advantaged. "Holistic" isn't a problem because it keeps entitled but unimpressive well-off white kids out of top colleges. That's arguably holistic doing its job. It's a problem because it makes it so that only those who have it together (or realistically, whose schools/parents do) will understand that you need to check whichever boxes to get in.

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