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Do Ivy League Schools Turn Students into Zombies?

July 23, 2014, 11:00 AM

What's the Latest?

Columbia grad and former Yale professor William Deresiewicz is making waves with a sizable invective against his alma maters, as well as other Ivy League institutions. His principle argument in the piece, recently published at the New Republic, is that elite colleges have lost sight of general educational principles. Based on his experience sitting on Yale's admission board, Deresiewicz laments the competitive nature of the Ivies, resulting in applicant mania where only the grossly overqualified stand out. What's the problem with being so outstanding at so young an age? Beyond pure achievement, applicants often lack a larger purpose, he argues.

What's the Big Idea?

Here's how Deresiewicz would change colleges' admissions processes: "Preferences for legacies and athletes ought to be discarded. SAT scores should be weighted to account for socioeconomic factors [because they track parental income as much as they do intelligence]. Colleges should put an end to résumé-stuffing by imposing a limit on the number of extracurriculars that kids can list on their applications. They ought to place more value on the kind of service jobs that lower-income students often take in high school and that high achievers almost never do. They should refuse to be impressed by any opportunity that was enabled by parental wealth."

Read more at the New Republic

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