Young, Gifted, and Not Getting Into Harvard - New York Times
Quite frankly, I am getting sick of the whole its impossible to get into Harvard meme, so I was pleasantly surprised when I read this article in the NYT.
The author, a Harvard Alumni, no longer gets depressed after he interviews yet another gifted student who probably won't get in to Harvard, even though the students are way more accomplished that he was when he got in.
As he observes in the story:
I came to understand that my own focus on Harvard was a matter of not sophistication but narrowness. I grew up in an unworldly blue-collar environment. Getting perfect grades and attending an elite college was one of the few ways up I could see.Though I sometimes regret not giving myself the opportunity to attend a good college after high school, I have lived a pretty decent life. I excel at my job, I have a better house than my parents had, and most of all I have five wonderful kids, but I have also had adventures.
My four have been raised in an upper-middle-class world. They look around and see lots of avenues to success. My wife’s two brothers struggled as students at mainstream colleges and both have made wonderful full lives, one as a salesman, the other as a builder. Each found his own best path. Each knows excellence.
I lived in Europe for 12 years, I have met people from the around the world, ordered beers in more languages than I can count, travelled alone, snowboarded the Alps, sipped beers on the Mediterranean, seen Roman ruins, and countless other adventures that I would of never gotten to experience if I had taken the traditional route of a four year University.
You have to wonder if the one thing that is missing from the resumes of applicants to competitive schools these days is a sense of adventure, and an ability to roll with the punches.
Don't get me wrong, I value education, but if my kids chose to backpack around the world for a few years instead of going to Harvard, I wouldn't be at all disappointed.