With the May 1 college deadline soon approaching, many CHS students are feeling pressured to get accepted into their dream college. Could they have done more during their high school career? Should they have studied more? Senior Suzy Lee Weiss shared her frustrations in an article published by the Wall Street Journal. In her op-ed, “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me,” she blames the admissions officers for being too picky in regards to diversity and interests.
The reaction to Weiss’s satirical article have varied. Our two writers, Lauren Pantleo and Sarah Payne, have taken both sides of the debate. Read their editorials below, and share your thoughts in the comment section.
Agree (Lauren Pantleo):
Suzy Lee Weiss started off her argument by saying that us students were lied to throughout high school. Colleges tell you to be yourself. That is true however, Weiss tells us that there’s more to it than simply being yourself. She believes that, “[Being yourself] is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms.” The stress to be the best is huge on high school students, and it is very hard for the average teenager to meet all of these requirements.
Like many of you, Weiss was wondering what more she could have done to get into her dream college. “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,” argued Weiss.
Everything Weiss mentioned is true. I understand that colleges, especially Ivy Leagues, want the best students to represent their college but it is more than that.
Perhaps teenagers do community service and mission trips for the colleges, not for those suffering. It is sad, but true. Helping your community should be more than just something to put on your college resume. You shouldn’t use others misfortunes to boost your chances into getting accepted into your dream college.
Weiss also brings attention to the types of people getting into colleges. “Had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. ‘Diversity!’… If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything.” She shows just how willing people are to change, just so they can follow their dreams. Honestly, I find it a little sad.
Why should you have to change everything about you just so you can eventually end up where you think you belong?
Disagree (Sarah Payne):
Suzy Lee Weiss opens her satirical college rant talking about the lies colleges tell students. Weiss says, “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!”
Obviously, not every student can have nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, and killer SAT scores. That’s unrealistic, and colleges recognize that. Sam Lyons wrote against Weiss in his article “Why Suzy Lee Weiss is Completely Wrong.” He was able to talk to his mom’s coworker, a former admissions officer at a world class college.
While Weiss makes it seem like you need to be involved in every activity in order to have a shot at making it into college, whether or not you actually enjoy or care about the activity, the former admissions officer from Lyons’ article, however, states otherwise.
The coworker tells Lyons that colleges can see through the padded resumes and are exponentially more interested in students that do things that they love, rather than doing things because they’ll look good on the application. She adds that, while colleges love to see students doing meaningful work (worldwide or otherwise), they understand that not every student has the money, time, or opportunities to do so. The last thing she said was that colleges know that they’re admitting students into their school, not lists of activities.
Weiss continues, saying, “But my parents also left me with a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate. I’ve never sat down at a piano, never plucked a violin. Karate lasted about a week and the swim team didn’t last past the first lap.”
I’m sorry, Suzy, but last time I checked, you have the jurisdiction to choose your own hobbies. I doubt your parents were banning you from trying new things, so that’s on you. Not your parents.
If you can’t last a week in karate and you gave up after swimming one lap, I wouldn’t accept you into my college, either. According to you, you don’t have the willpower to keep going when things get a little rough. What college–especially an Ivy League–wants a student like that?
You’re complaining about not getting into colleges, yet from the nonchalant, satirical tone of your writing, you don’t sound like you were trying especially hard to find something you loved.
Acceptance to your top colleges won’t be handed to you–neither will anything else in life, as a matter of fact. Instead of owning up to your ‘diversity of a saltine cracker’ or giving advice to younger students about finding things you love (since apparently you didn’t find anything), you blamed your parents and society for something you very well could have achieved.
Regardless of your stance on Weiss’s article, getting rejected from your dream college isn’t the end. You will end up in the college you were meant to be in.
What do YOU think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.