Megan McArdle At The Daily Beast: ‘The Absurd Lies Of College Admissions’

Full post here.

McArdle links to an open letter in the Wall Street Journal, written by a college-bound girl, to all the colleges who rejected her.   Worth a read.

So much for the blissful averageness of yesteryear, the sons and daughters of middle-America in the boomer generation who weren’t raised in the middle of an admissions ‘arms race.’

The ‘greatness’ model rolls on in many colleges and universities, where it’s slowly sinking in that times have changed, especially regarding student loans and technology.

I tend to favor Ron Unz’ assessment that admissions can be a mix of diversity, meritocracy, favoritism and corruption in many institutions of higher ed.


‘Naturally, this selects for kids who are extremely affluent, with extremely motivated parents who will steer them through the process of “founding a charity” and other artificial activities.  Kids who have to spend their summer doing some boring menial labor in order to buy clothes have a hard time amassing that kind of enrichment experience.’

We’re not exactly instilling confidence in the young, here, with good stewardship.

This blog still maintains that averageness could be aimed for again, as it’s a sign of a healthy economy and a dynamic, open society (not the Great society).  This will take time and good decision-making.  Prep schools as well as colleges and universities will always favor the rich and well-connected to some extent, or at least people with higher expectations and the means to invest in the kinds of suburban public schools and pricey private schools which lead to the best outcomes.

That’s human nature, and the flip side is often the excessive egalitarian’s vision which leads to a culture of ideological conformity, union favoritism, and the politically connected overseeing the budgets (your money, federalized and inefficiently spent).  There’s less for all but a few, and the poor are poorly served.

Politically, in the discussions I’ve had, the Left’s ‘military industrial complex’ is often the Right’s ‘educational industrial complex,’ and both are undergoing important changes along with American society.

The core model of university education can, to some extent, be made available online.  This will disrupt higher ed.  Here’s the venture capitalist angle:

Will half of universities be in bankruptcy in a few decades?  How much will technology disrupt education?

Related On This Site: Should you get a college degree, probably, but you also probably shouldn’t lose sight of why you’re going and divorce yourself entirely from the cost:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

Repost: Mark Cuban From His Blog: ‘The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Better Any Time Soon’…From The New Criterion: ‘Higher Ed: An Obituary’,,,Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill…or the very few for whom college doesn’t work:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

A deeper look at what education “ought” to be:  A lot like it is now?: A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Allan Bloom thought about some of this in The Closing Of The American Mind, at least with regard to what he saw as a true liberal arts education: Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

Harvard is no place for Larry Summers, at least running the place: Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?From The Harvard Educational Review-