Op-ed pick: What it takes to get into a top school

It’s a nerve-wracking time of year for high schools seniors who are college bound. Schools have made their decisions and kids are receiving acceptance and rejection letters in the mail.

Suzy Lee Weiss, one of those seniors who got a “no thanks” from her top choice, wrote a comedic column for the Wall Street Journal about what it is like to be an ordinary, middle class, white kid without much to tout in her applications.

I also probably should have started a fake charity. Providing veterinary services for homeless people’s pets. Collecting donations for the underprivileged chimpanzees of the Congo. Raising awareness for Chapped-Lips-in-the-Winter Syndrome. Fun-runs, dance-a-thons, bake sales–as long as you’re using someone else’s misfortunes to try to propel yourself into the Ivy League, you’re golden.

Dina Gachman, in Forbes, found Weiss’s column cynical.

She says that if she knew then what she knows now, she “probably should have started a fake charity.” How about starting a real charity? Something small but meaningful, like donating food to your local women’s shelter? Weiss is also cynical about not getting an internship, since internships are all lame anyways. Well, yeah. No one adores fetching coffee for the CEO but you know what – it’s a step, and it’ll look a lot better on your resume than “2011-2012: I whined and watched Honey Boo Boo.” Weiss and her entitled peers probably have the entire World War II generation turning in their graves.

I probably sound like one of those “I walked 40 miles in the snow to work…” people, but I don’t care.

Alexandra Petri, in the Washington Post, found that cynicism sad:

To me, the most troubling part of the essay is one that she and everybody else in certain high schools are constantly being driven to make: the idea that you’re doing things with a cynical eye on that golden ticket. You aren’t learning To Learn. You aren’t volunteering To Volunteer. Well, sure you are, but you see the college counselors strolling the halls and you know What All This Is For. There will be a test later.

Good luck to seniors who are hearing bad news. If you want to read some of their (often salty) thoughts type “tumblr rejection letter” into google.

Here’s a sample from a kid named Laurence Alfonzo Turner:

Thinking back on it, it’s not the college rejection itself that upset me, it was seeing all of my hard work go to waste. The video audition for NYU, the video audition for Marymount, the audio recordings for Ithaca, the essays, and the songs that I genuinely poured my heart into, all of it. To see that hard work having no effect in the end, it hurt as an artist.