"Merit" in elite college admissions

This story by Cal Newport from douchebag Tim Ferriss's blog goes well with this post from Half Sigma on Jewish "merit" and "leadership activities":

Earlier this year, just 2,300 of 32,000 applicants to Stanford University were accepted — a rate of 7.2%, the lowest in the school's history.

The students who survived this screening are phenomenally accomplished. A quarter had SAT math scores higher than 780, and over 90% had high school G.P.A.'s above 3.75, which works out, more or less, to straight A's over four years of schooling. [. . .]

Which is why Michael Silverman proves baffling.

When Michael, a student from Paradise Valley, Arizona, applied to Stanford, his G.P.A. put him in the bottom 10% of accepted students. His SAT scores fell similarly short. "Standardized testing isn't my strong point," he told me. Perhaps more surprising, Michael avoided the crushing course load that diminishes the will of so many college hopefuls, instead taking only a single AP course during the dreaded junior year. He kept his extracurricular schedule equally clean — joining no clubs or sports and dedicating his attention to no more than one outside project at any given time.

Michael's rejection of the no pain, no gain ethos surrounding American college admissions is perhaps best summarized by his habit of ending each school day with a 1 – 2 hour hike to the summit of nearby Camelback Mountain. While his peers worked slavishly at their killer schedules, Michael took in the view, using his ritual as a time to "chill out and relax."

Despite this heretical behavior, Michael was still accepted at Stanford. [. . .]

Starting as a freshman, he focused all of his extracurricular energies on a serial string of environmental sustainability projects. He started by submitting a model of a green house to a competition. This led him to discover that a local energy company offered a grant program for local high school students. He won a modest grant, and used it, with the help of a retired engineer from his hometown, to retrofit a golf cart to run on biofuels. Leveraging this success, he earned another grant which he used to install solar panels on his school's maintenance shed. This earned him press coverage, and the resulting Superstar Effect helped wow the Stanford admissions department into overlooking his borderline scores.

Notice that nothing about Michael's rise to stardom required a rare natural talent or overwhelming work load. His projects required, on average, less daily time investment than participating in a varsity sport. Yet, he was the best at what he did among all applicants to Stanford, and the resulting Superstar Effect earned him a disproportionate reward.

Michael wasn't alone in his success at hacking The Superstar Effect. Consider, for example, Maneesh Sethi (featured recently inTim's lifestyle design case study competition), who got into Stanford on the strength of having written a popular computer programming book, or Steve Schwartz, who got into Columbia by taking on the role of press officer for a student-run environment advocacy group. Both found uncontested niches that required only a reasonable amount of effort investment to conquer, but still triggered the full impact of The Superstar Effect.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is no contradiction, he shows great leadership in promoting the new elite religion of "Gaianism".

second anon said...

Why didn't you bold the name of the non-Jewish student Tim Ferris mentioned, Maneesh Sethi? And why is Tim a douchebag? He is of Scandinavian ancestry, which means he is of the highest and best form of whiteness, no?

n/a said...

Writing a book on computer programming is at least potentially useful. Obtaining grants to do chickenshit unoriginal "environmental sustainability" projects or serving as "press officer" for a student "environmental advocacy" group, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. When we need drooling morons who'll class up the joint by calling each other sand niggers, you filthy gentiles will be getting calls from the Ivy League.

Anonymous said...

Also if we need a fresh infusion of mental giants who use the word "douchbag", you're going to find yourself near the top of the list!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. When we need drooling morons who'll class up the joint by calling each other sand niggers, you filthy gentiles will be getting calls from the Ivy League.

Ha ha ha - looks like we (so-called) "gentiles" are really beginning to get under the skin of the supposedly uber-"CONfident" (self) "Choizen".

Keep up the great work and keep heaping on the scorn and tribal hatred you have for us Nordish Americans, Herbie.

You are doing absolute wonders in reminding even the most dense of us on the facts and the existential truths that OUR PEOPLE FACE TODAY!

Mazel Tov!!

persona au gratin said...

I think you might find this article apropos:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/30/nyregion/30medschools.html?src=me&ref=general

Anonymous said...

For generations of pre-med students, three things have been as certain as death and taxes: organic chemistry, physics and the Medical College Admission Test, known by its dread-inducing acronym, the MCAT.

So it came as a total shock to Elizabeth Adler when she discovered, through a singer in her favorite a cappella group at Brown University, that one of the nation’s top medical schools admits a small number of students every year who have skipped all three requirements.

Until then, despite being the daughter of a physician, she said, “I was kind of thinking medical school was not the right track for me.”

Ms. Adler became one of the lucky few in one of the best kept secrets in the cutthroat world of medical school admissions, the Humanities and Medicine Program at the Mount Sinai medical school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

n/a said...

Thanks for the article. I also enjoyed this part:

Among the current crop is Ms. Adler, 21, a senior at Brown studying global political economy and majoring in development studies.

Ms. Adler said she was inspired by her freshman study abroad in Africa. “I didn’t want to waste a class on physics, or waste a class on orgo,” she said. “The social determinants of health are so much more pervasive than the immediate biology of it.”

She added that her parents, however, were “thrilled when I decided to go the M.D. route, because they were worried about my job security.”

A classmate in the program, Kathryn Friedman, 21, graduated from the Chapin School in New York City, before going to Williams, where she is a senior, majoring in political science. Her mother and uncle are doctors at Mount Sinai; her father, Robert Friedman, who works in the entertainment business, is on the Mount Sinai Medical Center board.

The humanities program has allowed her to pursue other interests, like playing varsity tennis and going abroad, she said. When her pre-med classmates hear about the program, she said, “a lot of them are jealous.”

She added, “They are, like, ‘Wow, I wish I had known about that.’ ”

Langobard said...

Another existential weapon in the war of dispossession against The American (and Nordish) Majority -

Harvard's admissions of gilt - The Boston Globe

Can you buy your way into Harvard? Of course you can, if my friend Dan Golden's new book, ``The Price of Admission," is to be believed. You can also buy your way into Duke -- home of the notorious ``development admits , " where fund-raisers collaborate on admissions decisions -- and many other top-tier universities in the country.

...

The most egregious example of pay-for-Crimson-play is that of Jared Kushner, now the youthful owner of The New York Observer. While Jared was applying to colleges, his dad, New Jersey billionaire developer Charles Kushner , pledged $2.5 million to Harvard, to be paid in installments. (Kushner pere pleaded guilty to tax evasion and other counts in 2004 and recently completed a prison sentence.) An official at Kushner's high school told Golden: ``There was no way anybody in . . . the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard. His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought, for sure, there was no way this was going to happen." Kushner graduated from Harvard in 2003.

...

A modest proposal

There is another rich people's preference that I would like to see abolished: the use of high-priced consultants who sometimes manage high schoolers' careers, and then more or less complete the college applications for them.

...

College admissions types like to play down the value of these consultants. Could that be because one of the few lucrative job opportunities for former admissions officers happens to be as a $500-an-hour college admissions counselor? Just asking.

Yale dean of admissions Jeff Brenzel addressed this question at some length. He pointed out that applications used by both Yale and Harvard require the student to certify that the submission ``is my own work," and added: ``It is unfortunate that these consultants have gotten a foothold due to parental anxiety among the affluent. If parents are willing to have their children's high school careers managed on the basis of a false notion of what might appeal to a handful of selective colleges, then there's something seriously awry with the parental outlook." ...


God save us all.

larry said...

Friedman, Adler, Kushner, Silverman

Anonymous said...

Tim Ferriss himself also claims that he got into Princeton despite poor test scores. Then again, he also claims that his parents never made more than $50,000 a year combined, yet he grew up in the Hamptons and went to an elite prep school.

As far as Jews go, they seem to know every dishonest trick in the book when it comes to admissions processes. I've known a few Jews who always claim to have dyslexia so they can get extra time on tests like the LSAT.

Langobard said...

As far as Jews go, they seem to know every dishonest trick in the book when it comes to admissions processes. I've known a few Jews who always claim to have dyslexia so they can get extra time on tests like the LSAT.

As a former high school teacher myself who once taught in a predominantly Jewish (and Asian) school system, you all wouldn't even begin to fathom the depths of deception that many Jewish kids, and worse, their parents, routinely, and worse, shamelessly engage in.

One of the biggest scams going with the (self) Chosenites is having little Moishe or Ariel get "classified" as "learning disabled" so that the precocious little 'bubi' can get all kinds of extra state and local funding, and hence, as well, extra academic attention from teachers and school officials for their "special education 'needs".

Yup, we White folks sure indeed live in a inscrutably "fair, just and equitable" deMOCKracy, don't we?!?

Anonymous said...

I've got a better question- who the fuck uses a term like nordish?

Anonymous said...

I've got a better question- who the fuck uses a term like nordish?

Who the hell are you?

a person said...

what he did wasnt illegal and never hurt any body.

people are jealous of him for finding an easier way to get into stanford. he did put effort into getting into stanford, just not as much as most people. now that he is actually IN stanford he has to put in as much effort as any other stanford student.

people shouldn't mistake him for every single jew in the world. non-jews do these kinds of things too. if he was a non-jew doing this most people wouldn't be critisizing him this bad if they would critsize this at all.

TO ALL JEWS READING THIS: antisemetism will exhist forever. what wrongdoings one jew does becomes the wrongdoings every jew does. these hatreds lead to terrible things including genocide.

ANY PREJUDICES AS EXTREME AS THESE AGAINST ANY RELIGION, RACE, COUNTRY, SOCIETY, OR CULTURE ARE CRUEL AND HURTFULL.

Anonymous said...

people are jealous of him for finding an easier way to get into stanford. he did put effort into getting into stanford, just not as much as most people.

So why wouldn't it be justified to be upset then?

now that he is actually IN stanford he has to put in as much effort as any other stanford student.

Wrong.

He just has to pass his courses. He doesn't have to be an "A" student. The whole reason for merit-based admissions at elite colleges is to select the best and brightest.

By lowering the standards for minorities it denies people with superior academic credentials the chance to attend and it lowers the overall quality of the student body.

TO ALL JEWS READING THIS: antisemetism will exhist forever. what wrongdoings one jew does becomes the wrongdoings every jew does. these hatreds lead to terrible things including genocide.

Is this sorta like the concept of "white privilege" that is promulgated by prominent academic Jews such as Tim Wise that is used to collectively blame whites for the world's problems?

Where is your outrage on this?

ANY PREJUDICES AS EXTREME AS THESE AGAINST ANY RELIGION, RACE, COUNTRY, SOCIETY, OR CULTURE ARE CRUEL AND HURTFULL.  

We're only reciprocating buddy.

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