Confessions from a prep College College Counselor

Confessions from a prep College College Counselor

Previously I became teaching The favorable Gatsby to help you a beneficial category of eleventh-graders within Harvard-Westlake, an exclusive school in Los angeles. I first started our talk which have one factor off Tom and you will Daisy Buchanan. The young practically understood Daisy. These people were youngsters of Beverly Slopes and Brentwood and you may Encino, infants for which Daisy, together brand of type of pleasures and you may discontents, their fluttering skirt and her sound such as for instance money, wasn’t totally beyond the world of experience. Tom is actually several other matter.

The thing i is actually watching, We after located, are a familiar phenomenon among groups of college-sure pupils out-of a specific public group, one to aptly described because of the psychologist Michael Thompson during the an excellent justly popular 1990 article called “College Entryway because a hit a brick wall Rite regarding Passing

“What exactly is he including?” I asked. A hands shot up: “He or she is very brilliant.” I checked the fresh guy whom said which with some puzzlement. He’d merely take a look at part in which Tom sputters out brand new ideas-“medical posts”-he possess learned off a book known as Go up out-of the new Colored Empires, one of them you to “it’s doing united states, that brand new dominant battle, to look at out otherwise these other racing gets control of something.” This is not the sort of view that pupils out of Beverly Hills and you will Brentwood and you can Encino is sympathetic.

“What makes you think he’s therefore wise?” I asked. The newest son answered, “Just like the he went to Yale.” We bust out laughing following provided the category a little lecture concerning your method in which Ivy Group colleges has actually changed within the going back several ages-on which a great Yale training suggested from the people fifty years ago in the place of what it means now. You to despite the current admissions crisis there are still many nimrods gathering Yale diplomas is actually an existence class I decided to permit them to see out in industry.

Two years later on, as i became a school counselor in the college, I was put to like weird and you may incomprehensible notions from the universities that i sensed emotional towards good old days of outlining you to carrying a great Yale training does not generate Tom Buchanan a wizard. I had presumed, naively, the the latest jobs would be easy. From the all the mission size our children had been among the best-ready to accept school inside the United states; for the an everyday seasons one fourth of the class attends often an enthusiastic Ivy Group school otherwise Stanford University. Significantly more epic, that from the fresh bitter bottom of your class were supposed off to universities that high-school older people can simply fantasy on the.

Otherwise one to its moms and dads, who had always been charming and you will appreciative whenever i is knowledge kids, perform be irritable and you can requiring whenever i is helping these see a college

I got no clue everything i was a student in to own-little idea that confident, buoyant college students to have exactly who I would personally had such as for example high affection whenever i came across him or her regarding the class room carry out many times turn into over neurotics the moment it crossed the fresh endurance of your own college or university-counseling work environment. Offered, annually there are families just who pleased me and their an excellent perk and you will ingenuity when confronted with the newest thorny admissions environment. But inevitably a center class appeared to be teetering with the verge off mental failure. ” College or university admissions, Thompson composed, “produces normal individuals work nutty, and you will nutty individuals work somewhat in love.” Bingo. I experienced passed down good Rolodex laden with helpful phone numbers (the college Board, a useful counselor regarding UCLA admissions workplace), nevertheless matter I left handing out is actually that of a great friends counselor. “Perhaps he might help you a little while,” I might state gently after another type of unexpectedly combustive family unit members conference. I am able to features know this new powerful character of the families’ ideas in the event the stakes was actually higher. Whether your son had a single sample during the a scholarship and you will a degree, and a letter of getting rejected required that she or he carry out direct a basically additional lifestyle-that was a situation I could thought being rife which have agony and be sorry for. But when the brand new pain away from good Bowdoin getting rejected is actually decreased (an equivalent go out) of the salvage from a beneficial Colby invited, when a rejection regarding Dartmouth suggested new beginner is away from in order to Penn-where was this new headache? When the a family had the wherewithal to deliver a precious and supremely well-prepared kid out to among the hundred or therefore basic-price universities in america, the newest information giving a session overseas, the fresh new connections needed to facilitate a wonderful summer internship in the The newest York otherwise Movie industry otherwise Costa Rica, together with capacity to money, rather than blinking, all of graduate college or university, up coming that which was the main cause of these ablaze rips?