Monday, November 08, 2004
An article by James Fallows in the October, 2004 Atlantic about admissions policies at elite universities evoked a fascinating letter from a "$300,000-plus-tuition-paying mom." She argues that 1.) colleges need to come in different flavors and their marketing seems always to advocate great student-teacher ratios, etc., That her children have usually only one professor per year they enjoy and that we need teachers who can inspire and engage students; 2.) colleges need to be less like country clubs, "telling them they can study while others pick up their garbage is something I'd never do at home;" 3.) use personality tests rather than SATs, as students need to be pointed in realistic directions; 4.) advisors are too much like chaperones, they need to "earn their keep," who need to be more aware of options in the real world; 5.) create more real-world contact such as internships, community outreach and neighborhood partnerships. My criticism of the article would be that Fallows -- whom I always enjoy -- has difficulty seeing beyond the Ivy League.