Jeremy is hoping for undergraduate admission to the University of California. He had until yesterday, November 30, to complete his tidy application, accompanied by Mom’s credit card number, an insightful essay of 1000 words or fewer, a sterling academic record, high SAT test scores, and a promise to donate a functioning kidney, if admitted.
With a single computer click, Anusuya, too, sent her life compendium, in one-dimensional form, to the Committee for Its three minutes of consideration. That’s right. Three minutes.
As the Committee forces more paper-thin applications through this wringer known as the university admissions process, students like Ling-Ling and Sujin work themselves into a frenzied agitation. (It must be noted that children as young as 6 months of age are now being academically fast tracked by their paranoid parents, who are worried about the academic competition here in the Golden State.)
Back at the University of California, the Committee is spinning on the Perma-Press cycle, searching for the “well rounded” applicant, the one with high grades, a part-time job, dedication to those less fortunate, natural athletic ability, and journalism.
The well-rounded applicant hasn’t had much time to think and create.
The college essay takes on new significance as the only palpable blip in the flat application. Time to spot clean.
But Pinnochio has only 1000 words to answer two different broad topics, topics that doctoral theses address, so his parents search frantically for essay assistance. The Delicate Cycle kicks in as they hire a coach.
Allen,too, has front- loaded the sterile facts of his high school life on a simple application in hopes of admission, as thousands of others did last night.
The sum total of his hours as the Spanish Club President, lumped together with his Peer Counseling and 3.5 G.P.A. (weighted) should be enough for admission to the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The load is over.
(The well-rounded applicant hasn’t had much time to think and create.)
Photo by Cheri Block Sabraw 2008 Santa Cruz, California ” Mary’s Pinocchio”