Tonight CJ and I attended College Case Study Night. High school juniors from four schools and their parents were given the chance to be college admissions officers for the evening. We met in groups, each with a real admissions dean (ours was from one of the most competitive colleges in the country) and reviewed the common applications of four fictitious students. Then we had to come to a consensus about which of the four should be admitted to Fallbrook College, a mock liberal arts school with a new athletic facility and midrange Critical Reading SAT scores of 580-650.
The four candidates were:
Kenneth Aldman – a dyslexic saxophone player from the under-represented state of North Dakota.
Robert Brandeis – an intellectual, quiet nature museum docent, applying early as a legacy.
Makele Johnson – a charismatic African American class president/newspaper editor-in-chief who had typos on her application, and seemed to be using Fallbrook as a safety.
Mary Ann Leavitt – a star soccer player/community service leader, abandoned by her father, with the impact of the loss captured nicely in her essay.
My group chose to offer a spot to Mary Ann (mainly because the soccer coach wanted her) although her grades had dipped the year her mom lost her job. We waitlisted Makele and Robert, the legacy kid who chose Fallbrook as his first choice and had practically straight A’s throughout high school, but ultimately was too boring to be admitted. I was heartbroken for poor Robert until I notice that most of the other groups did accept him. But mostly I was shocked that Kenneth was flat-out denied by our group, not even waitlisted. So much for moving to North Dakota.
After we finished rejecting all those well-qualified kids, there was a giant college fair. The admissions people stood at tables, chatting and marketing their super-selective schools with slick brochures, as if getting into college in 2009 was like signing up for summer camp. And to add to the surreal atmosphere of the evening, every few minutes we ran into people we hadn’t seen since pre-school. Over and over we marveled at how the kids turned out to be so big (boys) or so beautiful (girls). Can you believe we’re here at college night, we asked each other. Just yesterday we were discussing potty training and Power Ranger obsessions. Our babies are leaving home, if they can only find somewhere to go where they will let them in.