Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard

I read this article from the New York Times this morning.

I must admit that I am a parent with hopes of at least one of my children getting into an Ivy League school, or at least one of the top tier colleges. Although I don't push them by enrolling them into all kinds of prep courses to increase their SAT scores (not yet anyway!), I do occasionally drop hints like:

"Hey, you know, you really need to high score in the SATs to get into XYZ University"; or

"Hey, you know you should take part in more community service groups so that it will look good on your college application."; or

"Hey, you know, if you are REALLY good in basketball/football/fencing/hockey/tennis/badminton/synchronised swimming/lacrosse, you will stand a better chance of getting into XYZ University?"; or

"You know, you should start working on improving your writing skills because you will need to write an outstanding essay in your college application."

Realistically speaking, the chances of getting in is very slim. So I am going to try & let go of this pipe dream; if my kids are happy doing what they love & have passion for, it will not matter which college they do or do not get into. After all, life is more than about getting an Ivy League education.

Heck, Life itself is an education.


nofearSingapore said...

Don't we all wish that if we had the chance to do it all over again, we would be gunning for the Ivy Leagues?
The danger hence lies in trying to live our fantasies through our kids.
Anyway, I think other than HYP ( Harvard/Yale/Princeton), the other great U's are not impossible to get in. If our kids have passion about certain hobbies and show maturity and of course the SAT scores should be above-average, it is not impossible to get into the Ivy's / MIT/Stanfords.
Another route is through transfers and also to do post-grads in these better U's.
Just my take on this interesting dream of ours.
About HYP, I have a niece in H and I think her talents are rarer than the rarest gem. No kidding!Her genes must be from the other side of the family.

aliendoc said...

I think it would be easier for non-US citizens to get into these top-tier unis compared to a US citizen with the same SAT scores & achievements. Reason being that most of these unis want to increase their international student population to diversify...it looks good on their prospectus! That's what I think anyway.

rachsyt@yahoo.com said...

Hi there,
Enjoyed reading your blog, esp fr a mum's perspective & even more so fr a fellow professional's p.o.v. (Also quietly harbouring your "fantasy")
Daughter, Sec 4 had the same experience with her school last autumn to Stanford & Berkelee etc, for a 2 week US trip.
Son Sec 3, school will bring them to Boston & East coast this year.
Hope your kids are hale & hearty, with bright future.
Can't say i had a happy experience in college & med sch here despite the great privilege of being admitted.
I guess i'll let them do what they enjoy most & are best in, and let God take care of the rest.

aliendoc said...

Thanks for dropping in rachsty. My attitude towards the "elite" schools has changed since I wrote this entry almost two years ago. Sure, it would be great if one of my kids make it into one of these schools, BUT only if THEY want to, & if they feel that it is a good match for them. My older boy will start applying for colleges this fall, & now is the time when we have to start shortlisting the colleges, making sure that he has a list of schools that comprise of "reach", "good fit" and "safety" schools. And most importantly, that he will be happy no matter which one of these colleges he gets into.