Culture

THE NEW WAY TO LOOK AT EDUCATION

How I Spent My Summer: Being Edgy

CJ Westerberg, August 7, 2011 10:31 AM

edgy summer.jpg

"Colleges have moved people from thinking they should be
exceptionally well rounded to using the vocabulary
that 'well rounded' means 'no edge,' "
 - Bruce Poch, the former dean of admissions at Pomona College

How I Spent My Summer

Excerpts from "For a Stand-Out College Essay, Applicants Fill Out Their Summers," in today's The New York Times.  Oh, the advantages of money:

Josh Isackson, an 18-year-old graduate of Tenafly High School in New Jersey, spent the summer after his sophomore year studying Mandarin in Nanjing, China. The next year he was an intern at a market research firm in Shanghai. When it came time to write a personal statement for his college applications, those summers offered a lot of inspiration.

 . . . So Mr. Isackson wrote about exploring the ancient tombs of the Ming dynasty in the Purple Mountain region of Nanjing, "trading jokes with long-dead Ming Emperors, stringing my string hammock between two plum trees and calmly sipping fresh green tea while watching the sun set on the horizon."

Yes, indeed.

"  . . .  his experience was the best possible outcome: he loved China, and the trips offered priceless fodder for the cutthroat college application process. (Mr. Isackson will attend Yale University this fall.)

"Students are planning their summer experiences to augment who they are and discover who they are, and that absolutely helps the college process,"  . . . .


And, "sometimes costly activities"?

Students preparing to apply to college are increasingly tailoring their summer plans with the goal of creating a standout personal statement  250 words or more -  for the Common Application in which to describe "a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you."  Specialized, exotic and sometimes costly activities, they hope, will polish a skill, cultivate an interest and put them in the spotlight in a crowded field of straight-A students with strong test scores, community service hours and plenty of extracurricular activities.

But there is hope for the masses:

For those who lack the means to pay for an essay-inspiring trip, at least one scholarship program exists to help. . . . (snip)

And more hope?  Of course, your own consultant!

Students do not have to spend a summer abroad for an essay-worthy experience. When Mary Lang Gill was a rising senior at the Atlanta Girls School, a private school, she hired Pam Proctor, an independent college counselor and the author of "The College Hook," . . . (snip).

And now for the "hilarious" observation:

Mr. Poch said members of his office staff sometimes joked that they were witnessing
the "complete disappearance of summer jobs," especially among upper-income applicants who opted for "decorative" internships at places like investment banks,
where they could work with friends of their parents. (snip)


The article continues here with some final questions about whether kids are being robbed of their childhoods and other thoughts about interests and mastery.  

The overall message is everything should be done to get into a good college.  One would
then be guaranteed a good job for life, right?  Guess so, especially if a parent's friend runs
the bank.

Or, will many/most of these students have a "rude awakening" since things have changed dramatically with this new generation (ie. Americans/Europeans are no longer the only ones who are educated)?  Or, have things really not changed all that much?    What do you think?  

Check out The New Yorker cartoon below.  Sub "edgy summers" for grad school:

New-Yorker.debt-ceiling.gifRelated The Daily Riff:  Bill & Melinda's Field Trips
Enhanced by Zemanta
blog comments powered by Disqus
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
Follow The Daily Riff on Follow TDR on Twitter

find us on facebook

bill-gates.FT.Financial-Times.jpg

Cool Smart Teen: Changing the conversation about building stuff

SMW, 11.04.2013

Not just building an app to play with . . . but a test for cancer

Read Post | Comments

Riffing good stories

Stanford.design-thinking. innovation.jpg

Video: What is the link between "design-thinking" and creativity?

SMW, 11.03.2013

Creative Confidence: Must-Watch Interview on Charlie Rose

Read Post | Comments
early education.preschool.jpg

How Much Do Early Years Lead to Student Success?

CJ Westerberg, 11.03.2013

"The idea being that wasn't necessarily to create little engineers everywhere, though that would be great for us. The idea was to take advantage of the natural learning process and curiosity that children have at that age . . ." Tamika Lang, Boeing

Read Post | Comments
weekend-reading.jpg

NEW: Weekend Reading

SMW, 11.03.2013

Looking for Intimacy in the Age of Facebook is a higher education course (yes, you heard right). Interestingly, social media may inhibit creativity and innovation

Read Post | Comments
CV.digital.jpg

The New Resume

SMW, 10.31.2013

A picture is worth a thousand words. A video game-like format is worth . . .

Read Post | Comments
red.blue.abstract.jpg

Noam Chomsky: The Purpose of Education

CJ Westerberg, 10.31.2013

"Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own. . . "

Read Post | Comments
twitter2BigBird.jpg

Noam Chomsky: In the news again, this time about Twitter and High Schoolers

SMW, 10.31.2013

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT, "father of linguistics", political commentator.  From bio: "Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today":               ...

Read Post | Comments
CIMG0353.jpg

Choke: Test-taking - - - a different way to look at test-prep?

CJ Westerberg, 10.28.2013

"Most students will not find a steady diet of test-prep drills and worksheets to be particularly meaningful, and accordingly, they will not put forth optimal learning effort."

Read Post | Comments
beehive.bee.jpg

Does your school have a beehive?

CJ Westerberg, 10.27.2013

"If we want children to be inventors, we have to give them opportunities to invent." - 5:00 mark, Mission Hill video

Read Post | Comments