High school senior Suzy Lee Weiss made waves when her op-ed about the college admissions process was published in the Wall Street Journal last Friday. Ms. Weiss had a GPA of 4.5, scored 2120 on the SAT, and had served as a Senate page, but when she got rejection letters from several top schools in one day, she decided to editorialize on the perceived unfairness and arbitrary nature of who gets accepted into Ivy League universities.
Now, I’m sure many of us can understand and sympathize with the frustration of getting that much bad news in one day. Schools like Yale, Princeton, Vanderbilt, and the University of Pennsylvania (all of whom rejected her) receive many times more applicants than they could possible admit, and nearly all of them are similarly well-qualified, so the schools have to look at more than just grades and test scores. Students are put under a ton of pressure to get into the “right” schools, and I can’t fault teens for trying to make their applications stand out via extracurriculars. I’m also fully in favor of affirmative action programs to bring diversity to student bodies. Ms. Weiss apparently has a different view.
For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. “Diversity!” I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.
…Then there was summer camp. I should’ve done what I knew was best – go to Africa, scoop up some suffering child, take a few pictures, and write my essays about how spending that afternoon with Kinto changed my life. Because everyone knows that if you don’t have anything difficult going on in your own life, you should just hop on a plane so you’re able to talk about what other people have to deal with.
She also lamented her lack of a “Tiger mom” (or two moms) and said that she “probably should have started a fake charity.” Many people called her a spoiled brat throwing a temper tantrum because she didn’t get her way. Others praised her for telling the truth about the rigged and/or random admissions process and for not worrying about political correctness.
On Thursday, Ms. Weiss went on The Today Show to defend herself. She claimed that the article was intended to be satirical, just a joke. She said that of course she thinks diversity “is a wonderful thing” but she then added, “In this day and age, we’re being judged on things that we cannot control as opposed to things that we can,” which sounds like she’s saying it’s not fair to take things like race and ethnicity into account.
What do y’all think? Was it intended as satire all along, or is she backpedalling because she got called out? Does it count as satire when a person in a place of privilege is complaining that she can’t get into a good school because she’s too darn white and straight? Does she make any good points about the admissions process?