April 5 2013
Ivy League Applicant: Wish I'd Been More Diverse
Suzy Lee Weiss didn’t get into the college of her dreams but she has written a wickedly funny piece on her experience:
What could I have done differently over the past years?
For starters, 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!" I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would've been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.
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.
Okay, I have to admit: there are things more tragic in life than not getting into an Ivy League school. And schools aren't obligated to give even witty applicants such as Ms. Weiss a berth. But Weiss sparked some interesting commentary on Ivy League admissions policies.
The piece above appeared in the Wall Street Journal and Weiss was subsequently invited on the “Today Show,” where host Savannah Guthrie attempted to shame her. Guthrie accused Weiss of being “cavalier about the importance of diversity.” But what she really did was show the lack of genuine diversity at Ivy League schools. There is very little intellectual diversity on the top college campuses today.
Seth Mandel writes:
The problem with the section of Weiss’s op-ed about diversity was that it wasn’t an exaggeration: had Weiss followed her joking suggestions, she very well might have been accepted by any number of universities whose admissions officers probably cringed at the op-ed because Weiss was describing actual applicants they happily accepted over Weiss.
Guthrie may have seen Weiss’s words as cartoonish, but here’s the point: they accurately describe the attitudes of the deans at America’s top universities. Weiss didn’t lampoon them so much as expose them to a wider audience.
Michael Rubin, also of Commentary, writes:
The sad fact is that universities—both private and public—are essentially racist: They will gladly boil down diversity to the color of skin. …
Universities should become places where students can be introduced to a number of different ideas. Alas, this is exactly where they fail, as a quick look at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) website demonstrates.
Most of the news items currently highlighted on FIRE’s website don’t involve Ivy League schools but they do show the lengths to which colleges go to suppress intellectual diversity.