High school senior Suzy Lee Weiss has a piece in the Wall Street Journal (Gawker does a good job summarizing. If you're a true glutton for punishment, you can follow their link to the original). The tone is jokey in an unconvincing way (mock bitterness coming off as all too real). The primary targets are people who have it easy because they're, you know, different (girls who wear headscarves, for instance). Those who do charitable work also get a good going over.
It was, however, this bit that really caught my eye.
Like me, millions of high-school seniors with sour grapes are asking themselves this week how they failed to get into the colleges of their dreams. It's simple: For years, they—we—were lied to.Putting aside the apparent confusion over necessary and sufficient conditions, what's striking is item four on the list, buried between athletics and lesbian mothers. The humor in this piece is not subtle. I'm pretty that Weiss really does feel that a lack of academic achievement shouldn't count against her (yes, I realize that there are serious people who argue that we should use things other than test scores to assess a student, but Weiss spends the rest of the essay mocking most of these alternate measures).
Colleges tell you, "Just be yourself." That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself!
I was going to stop there -- that's why there's a '(s)' in the title -- but as I was giving Weiss' op-ed one more read-through to make sure I wasn't being too harsh, I came across this:
Or at least hop to an internship. Get a precocious-sounding title to put on your resume. "Assistant Director of Mail Services." "Chairwoman of Coffee Logistics." I could have been a gopher in the office of someone I was related to. Work experience!While on the subject of family connections, here's an interesting coincidence: this ordinary high school student who gets an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal happens to be the sister of a former Wall Street Journal features editor.
What are the odds?
UPDATE: Via a comment at Monkey Cage, this San Francisco Chronicle story puts Weiss' SATs at a respectable 2120. Not "killer" but high enough to make a Harvard application worth a shot. She was also a Senate page from a politically well connected family which makes the gopher comment a bit odd as well.
Still, for the record, Weiss was a strong candidate. I can understand her disappointment.