What were they thinking? A few crazy college stories.

Bronze tiger sculptures by Alexander Phimister...

Nassau Hall; Princeton University; Princeton, NJ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This seemed to be the spring for craziness on the college newsfeed. If you happen to follow loads of college stories, you’ve likely seen one or two of these, but just in case…

Find a husband.

One of Princeton’s first female attendees, Susan Patton, class of ’77, participated in a Women and Leadership conference on campus and, in the breakout discussion afterwards, saw current Princetonian “girls glazed over at preliminary comments about our professional accomplishments and the importance of networking,” yet who “asked about the value of our friendship, about our husbands and children.”

Ms. Patton took this opportunity to write a letter to the editor of the Daily Princetonian, Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had. In short, “Find a husband on campus before you graduate.”

My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.


My favorite response, by Maureen O’Connor in NY Magazine, Princeton Mom to All Female Students: ‘Find a Husband’, includes this,

What an excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships she has. If men are happy with bimbos, but women aren’t happy with “men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal,” then the conclusion is that a successful heterosexual relationship requires the man to be smarter than the woman. This is the same logic used by teen girls who feign stupidity to attract dates for the homecoming dance.

Suzy Lee Weiss.

SLW on the Today Show.

SLW on the Today Show.

There are any number of steps a high school student can take in response to college application rejections, and if one’s older sister used to develop features for the Wall Street Journal, the student can even get an essay to leap into the college admission zeitgeist of the moment.

First, the essay: To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me

Second, the media tour: Rejected high school senior: colleges lied to me

Note:  it’s easy to spot a well-coached media guest when her very first response is not to the question asked, but to thank the interviewer for inviting her on.

Third, cue the backlash: simply Google her name and dip in.

One of my favorite admissions bloggers (Jon Boeckenstedt, DePaul) followed up his initial post about Weiss with this one: Let’s agree to knock it off, already, reminding us,

In short, it reads like it was written by a 17-year old kid whose cerebral cortex is not yet fully developed. Which, I’ll remind you, is perfectly normal.

Yet, I really liked this response from Seth Taylor, who blogs as Dad Overboard, An Open Letter to my 11-Year-Old Daugher in the Hope that She Never Becomes Suzy Lee Weiss.

1)  No one in this world owes you anything.  Sure, I think you’re smart, creative, talented, and unique. I think you’re a sparkling unicorn in a world of plain ol’ ponies, and I think any Smarty-Pants college would be lucky to have you. But if you ever, ever feel entitled to something just because you really want it, think again.

And this, a bit of a poem posted by Christoper Lee-Rodriguez on his NothingIsNeverGood Tumblr:

Your rejection from opportunity
Has blinded you from the millions of opportunity
Already in front of you

Mocking applicant essays.

Penn had to let go one of their admission officers, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian, in Former admissions officer mocked applicant essays:

In the posts, which were made available through a collection of Facebook screenshots sent anonymously to Dean of Admissions Eric Furda and The Daily Pennsylvanian on Dec. 3, Foley mocked a number of student essays she had come across in her work.

. . .

In another excerpt, she quoted an essay in which an applicant had described the experience of overcoming his fear of using the bathroom outdoors while camping in the wilderness.

“Another gem,” Foley wrote of the student’s topic choice.

As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, here,

Surely it’s not uncommon for admissions officers, who may read thousands of such essays, to poke some gentle fun in the privacy of a cubicle or a bar booth. However, copies of Ms. Foley’s excerpts, along with her snide comments, made it as far as the College Confidential Web site, where students find and share information about institutions they may apply to.

Which brings me to finally share a blog that could help provide a reality check for students and parents across the land. Admissions Problems offers admissions officers an online outlet to poke some gentle fun — without calling attention to specific students or mocking specific their essays. See, especially, the tagline:


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1 Comment

Filed under Getting In, Reports

One response to “What were they thinking? A few crazy college stories.

  1. Pingback: A short treatise on college rejection. | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

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