A Laundry List of Accolades

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”

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Writing and Teaching and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Laundry List of Accolades

  1. tsblock says:

    Is the well “rounded applicant” overrated?

  2. Sailing Past Maturity Straight into Senility says:

    I applaud the universities’ drive for students who are not simply categorized (the jock, the social, the brain), but on paper as well as real life it gets spread a molecule or two thick. I hate the fact one can make themselves look wonderful on paper/resume, be hired, and then found so incredibly inadequate for the job.

    Anyone have any better ideas?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an idea: Tell your kids not to bother joining the rest of the rats in the race toward the same hunk of stinky cheese (i.e., the UC system). Instead, guide them toward some of the many interesting private colleges that exist to educate, not replicate.

  4. Dan Schulman says:

    Let me tell you about the fast tracked baby at the age of six months- ever had a pair of jeans with too many washings? It fades. Highschool is the prime period of use and then college hits and all of a sudden the threads start to tear.

  5. Chourou says:

    The thickness sometimes leads to the thinness.
    Or vice versa.

    The title of this article got me attracted.

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