kitchen table math, the sequel: Congratulations Steve H!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Congratulations Steve H!

Steve had some fabulous news on Thursday!!!

(Has he posted?? In the comments somewhere??)

If he hasn't, I'm not telling!


SteveH said...

Congratulations go to my son, but fabulous is not the word I would use. It doesn't seem to fit. In some ways, it's horrible in the context of seeing what's happening to his friends. The horrible part is not so much dealing with the competition, but the fact that students have no idea about the factors in that competition. And their counselors are shocked even though they've been doing this for years. As I said before, my son has a friend who got 6 rejections on Thursday. It wasn't as if these were reach schools for academics or anything else, and these things are happening to other friends for schools like BU and Northeastern and Emerson.

Anonymous said...

So what was the good news?

SteveH said...

5 yes, 3 waitlist, 2 no. He will probably go to Yale. They have a great music program.

C T said...


Catherine Johnson said...

I know .. the friends part is soooo upsetting. That does temper the joy.

But this is a great day!

(A great week, I should say...Thursday has come and gone.)

Crimson Wife said...

Congrats! And at least there will be at least a few kids on the waitlist who will presumably be getting acceptances once your son makes his final choice and notifies the other schools.

lgm said...

Congrats to you and your family. Did your son decide to major in music?

SteveH said...

Math and music. We visited Melvin Chen at Yale last summer - he is almost a perfect role model.

I can tell you that we had no confidence whatsoever going in. He didn't want to come home and sit, so he did some tutoring after school and then went to get an Awful Awful. For those who know, that should have made him feel worse. Also, his parents were told to be somewhere else. We would be called. For someone who has no issues on stage, he was nervous.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh. There are still Awful Awfuls? takes me back to the '60's and a big stomach ache.

Allison said...

Yale is lucky to have him! Good for them for accepting him! Yay for him--seems like a fantastic fit.

And role models matter. A true mentor if worth the money--so rare these days!

Glen said...

Congratulations to your whole family, Steve.

Allan Folz said...

Just saw this Brook's article, which made me think it would have been better entitled "Admission Staffer's Creed."

Steve, it certainly made me think of all the complaints you've voiced over the last year.

But hey, congratulations for your son!

SteveH said...

Thanks everyone.

David Brooks is a superficial ass. He has proven that over and over. Here is one of his rules. The rest are equally bad.

"Don’t mindlessly favor people with high G.P.A.s. Students who get straight As have an ability to prudentially master their passions so they can achieve proficiency across a range of subjects. But you probably want employees who are relentlessly dedicated to one subject. In school, those people often got As in subjects they were passionate about but got Bs in subjects that did not arouse their imagination."

If the hiring people mindlessly do anything, then the bigger problem is how they got hired. And here he is claiming that one should mindlessly ignore those with high GPA's. And colleges love to tell students how many valedictorians they reject. It's almost a negative indicator.

Add to that a recent article that featured a student who got into all 8 Ivy League schools. The article was just one more embarrassment for journalists. Kudos to the student who got in, but even he knows why he got admitted to all eight.

In the rejection letter my son got from Princeton, it said that "most" of their [26,607] applicants were "admissible". Really? Let's assume that "most" is 20,000. Princeton admits about 2000 students for a final class size of about 1300, so admissions people get to choose one out of ten applications using whatever holistic and diversity bias they want. Sure, they have to manage their average SAT rating, but that still leaves them with so much control. My son got a letter from the director of admissions at an Ivy League school encouraging him to accept and hand wrote on the letter how much she liked his essay and sense of humor. How about his academics? How about the 10,000 hours he has put into playing the piano? She could have said that she was looking forward to hearing him perform because she saw his music supplement. I doubt they saw that. It was probably processed by the music department and a rating went into his folder.

There is clearly an anti-intellectual undertone in society that reaches into all levels. If you try hard or do well academically, then there is something wrong with you. It all has to be natural and success implies unnatural. It can't be trusted. I doubt that they second-guess the motivation behind the awards that athlete-applicants get.

Allison said...

--There is clearly an anti-intellectual undertone in society that reaches into all levels.

I would agree. But it comes from those who consider themselves intellectuals.
Theory 1: We got ours, and don;t want competition! Now you go away! Don't knock me off my pedestal!

Theory 2: We know we are "winners' in a broken system who don't work that hard and don't know half of what we profess to. So intellectuals and other successfuls can't mean much because we weren't worth it.

SteveH said...

I can come up with more reasons.

One I might call a STEM/non-STEM split. Many like to think that people who are smart in STEM fields must be lacking in others. Nerd is not a science or engineering-derived bias - even though we can laugh at the jokes on The Big Bang Theory. None of the engineers I know are anything like that. What I remember from college was the surprise of one of my house-mates to seeing my Hermann Hesse and Kurt Vonnegut books sitting next to my Abramowitz and Stegun handbook. He had the blinders on, not me.

Another is the idea that people are considered smart because of their scores, so it makes some feel better if they can state the converse; that high scores imply some sort of robot-like non-creative or even predatory agenda. They really aren't that smart - just too competitive.

And, as can be seen in the college admissions process, many don't want to see very important academic differences between students at the higher end. Professors would see those differences easily, but those in admissions have a different agenda, so they talk about admissible academic buckets. They can't just come out and say that they turn down incredibly smart people. They have to imply that there is something unbalanced or lacking in their applications.