Nonetheless, I’m proud of my pedigree. So proud that I felt the need to include a hyperlink. The fact that it is considered elite in some circles is definitely good for my ego, and I recognize that there are a lot of people out there who think that is important. But, mostly I feel a tremendous sense of loyalty to the university. I had an amazing 4 years there and want to keep it in the family.
Maybe eliminating early decision applications will make the college application process fairer to students, especially those considering competing financial aid packages. Ironically, the most elitist person I know just started his senior year at Harvard. He thinks that his degree from Harvard guarantees him any opportunity he could ever want. The summer we shared an office all I ever saw him do was play internet backgammon. I’m pretty sure he got admitted early, so perhaps Harvard is on to something. But, with so much educational inequality in this country, affirmative action programs, and legacy status, I still don’t think that the college application process could ever really be fair to every applicant. Life really isn’t fair and that is in part why I think people try to (and need to) take advantage of their pedigree if they can. I see the catch 22, but I also don’t see elitism going away anytime soon. With that in mind I think people are foolish to act as though merit is always a sufficient means to an end.
If there’s one thing I learned early on my sabbatical it that there is no shortage of Midwesterners just as qualified to attend Ivy League Universities as their New York City Metro Area counterparts. They just don’t apply. Perhaps if they did there wouldn’t be so many social loafers populating Ivy League campuses today.
I would agree with Prof Chen that pedigree alone isn’t necessarily a good indicator of one’s potential for scholarly achievement. Perhaps all an elite pedigree can really indicate is that someone had good grades and test scores, and recognized that for better or for worse we don’t live in a meritocracy.