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* Via [ profile] yhlee, musical stairs on YouTube!

* Also via [ profile] yhlee, A Regency Romance in 2 Minutes.

* Michael M. Jones puts out an open call for submissions to his new anthology, Scheherazade's Facade: Fantastical Tales of Gender Bending, Cross-Dressing and Transformation.

* Recent Strange Horizons pieces that are excellent: poem "Thirteen Scifaiku for Blackbirds" by Joanne Merriam and story "Minghun: Unlikely Patron Saints, No. 5" by Amy Sisson.

* [ profile] yhlee (Yoon Ha Lee) has an awesome story up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies called "The Pirate's Daughter," about words and poetry and music and awesomeness.

* Another enrapturing story of music from Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Michael Anthony Ashley's "To Kiss a Granite Choir," Part 1 and Part 2.

* Quite the depressing, and truthful, article about grad school in the humanities.
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Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges--and Find Themselves
by David L. Marcus
244 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education

An interesting and compelling addition to the admissions case study subsubgenre, in the tradition of Jacques Steinberg but from the guidance counselor's (GC's in admissions lingo) perspective. Smitty sounds like a wonderful counselor, although I have some qualms about his ethics (handpicking all of his counselees, "special projects"). And of course it's ironic that he started a private consulting practice charging $330/hour immediately after retiring from the public school system. Good advice here, reiterating much of Harry Bauld's excellent advice [review forthcoming] on essay-writing and useful-but-not-brilliant tidbits like taking the ACT (considered to be more straightforward).

What I found interesting, in a personal level, was that Smitty didn't even know of Deep Springs's existence despite his decades of work in and intimate knowledge of the admissions world. I suppose he never recommended TASS/TASP to his students, either, which is a pity. Lee (a Korean-American overachiever) would have thrived at DS, based on his portrayal in the book, even though after a semester at NYU he claims otherwise. --Well, everyone thinks that their college of choice is the best ever after they've attended and experienced it. Other colleges could be just as "good" for you, and possibly--le gasp--"better" in an objective sense.

Anyway, as far as college admissions books go, this is definitely one of the better ones. And up-to-date, covering the competitive 2008 cycle, which counts for a lot.
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* [ profile] shwetha_narayan's wonderful poem "Apsara" is now up at Goblin Fruit for the summer. First link should be permanent, second is where you can read the poem right now (ETA: may also be permanent, and better formatted, if it goes in the archive).

* Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," with audio--perhaps the most famous English-language villanelle.

* Via [ profile] yhlee, The Periodic Table of Typefaces.

* Geeky article about Lenovo's new keyboard design. Nothing like Dvorak's complete overhaul, just some interesting usability tweaks. I will say this: I love my caps lock key for easily marking out book titles. I really want a big delete key, though... So annoying on this laptop to sloooowly reach up to hit it in the corner.

* Color illusion!

* Notable Unshelved strip.

* Isaiah 55:12--"...and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

* A compendium of beautiful--no, gorgeous--libraries.
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The Shape of the River: Long-term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions
by William G. Bowen & Derek Bok
472 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education

I meant to finish reading this, I really did; but again, library time constraints beckon. For future reference, I got to page 112, a little under 1/4 of the way through. I will try to write up what I wrote with relative objectivity, but I shan't hold back from interjecting (biased) commentary. From skimming the rest of the book, Bowen and Bok seem to have done a great job documenting the success of minority students admitted to highly selective institutions, years after they graduate (or don't graduate).

For those who don't know, Bowen & Bok are two former Ivy League presidents (of Princeton and Harvard, respectively) better-known within higher education for their later, controversial work on SAT scores and admissions expanded to all races; in comparison, this earlier publication consciously simplifies the world to black and white. In the later study, B&B found that when using white as the baseline, blacks and Hispanic [not necessarily Latin@, since federal race classifications include Spain origin as Hispanic] students received a significant boost while Asian students were actually negative, i.e. in order to be considered equivalent to a similar white applicant, s/he had to score higher on the SAT.

All data in this study was based on a detailed database combining information from 28 colleges and universities, who are listed on p. xxviii-xxix. B&B do a reasonably good job of straddling the fence, providing evidence for and against both sides of the affirmative action debate. I'll be discussing mostly the information that I want to remember, i.e. anti-, but first I'll summarize the opposing details and encourage you to read the book for yourself. In essence, the black students who would not have been admitted under a hypothetical race-neutral process go on to exceptional achievements despite their weaker academic skills.

So let's start with the definition of race-neutral: it is NOT admitting by the numbers. B&B grouped black applicants by SAT ranges and posited that they would have the same probability of admission as white applicants in the same ranges. This causes the overall chance of admission for black students to drop from 42% to 13%, versus an overall chance of 25% for white students. The real-life Berkeley example bore out this hypothesis remarkably, although B&B make no mention of the large increase in Asian students as a result of race-neutral at the UCs (31-3). Similar drops in enrollment would occur at the most selective law and business schools (45), where "black applicants [to business schools] were 2.7 times as likely to gain admission as whites with comparable records. Hispanic applicants were 2.8 times as likely to be admitted" (45-6). For med school, the median pre-med science GPA for accepted students was 3.1 for blacks vs. 3.6 for whites; correspondingly, "the median test scores of blacks accepted to medical schools was lower than the median for whites who were rejected" (46). This establishes that regardless of what happens later--and much does happen later--admitted black students (and presumably Hispanic students) are less qualified in comparison to white students (and presumably Asian students). Speaking of which--I find myself constantly wondering how Asians fit into this world, as Hispanic students are much more similar to black students in profile than Asians are to whites. "The real racial divide in America was and remains black and white" (xxvii, Shelby Steele qtd. by Scott Shepard 11)--I absolutely, positively disagree. Such a statement--from someone implied to be one of the "scholars from the black, Hispanic, and Asian American communities" (xxvii)--erases the existence of Hispanic, APA, and Native American peoples from "America" and the importance of a multicolored discussion of race.

Prior to affirmative action in the late 1960s, "the selective colleges would rather be selective than integrated" (qtd. in 5)--nothing wrong with that wish, in my mind, as the selective colleges should not be lowering standards for the sake of diversity. "Harvard [Law School] began admitting black students with test scores far below those of their white classmates....and black enrollment began to rise" (5). That cause and effect seriously concerns me with its lack of acknowledgment of racial discrimination--to discriminate on the basis of race, which is exactly what happened. A graph on p.27--before recentering, but nevertheless interesting: at a combined SAT score (out of 1600) below 1000, about 10% of whites and 20% of blacks gained admission (I am estimating based on a graph, so bear with me). The gap is largest in the "1200-1249 range, [where] the probability of being admitted was 19 percent for white candidates, as compared with 60 percent for black candidates" (26). Finally, at the 1500+ mark--close to perfect scores--about 70% of whites and 100% of blacks gained admission. Even in the '90s, admission at the most selective schools was never guaranteed by "high stats"--except for those few and exceptional black candidates, it seemed. "To sum up, black candidates are consistently admitted at higher rates than legacies, who in turn are admitted at consistently higher rates than non-legacies, but the 'advantage' enjoyed by legacies is concentrated at the upper end of the SAT range" (28-9).

Socioeconomic AA would not "substantially cushion the effect of ending racial preferences" (Thomas Kane, qtd. in 47), because while URMs are disproportionately poor, "they still make up a minority of all college-age Americans with low incomes" (47). B&B also briefly references the prohibitive cost of implementing such a program to the same degree as current racial AA. To which I say: well, yes, and remind me why a poor black person is more deserving of admission than a poor Asian person, other factors held constant? Socioeconomic AA is not meant to substitute for racial AA; it is meant to help those who will always need more help. In capitalist America, there is no doubt whatsoever that the poor student is always disadvantaged over the identical well-to-do student. Even Questbridge, which I wholeheartedly support, helps only the very tippy-top of the poor students (it is more useful in guaranteeing affordability than in affecting admissions, since most Questbridge finalists would have been admitted on stats and extraodinary personal qualities anyway). [/soapbox]

B&B does unequivocally disabuse the notion of academic "mismatch." Average college GPAs may differ by over half a point (72), but black students still go on to do well in life after college (no doubt aided by affirmative action at law/med/grad schools, says my cynical mind). Interestingly, the SAT remains useful in significantly predicting both academic performance in college and postgrad achievements, although the prediction is stronger for whites than for blacks. Graduating from a top college does affect one's postgrad prospects within higher education. James Thomas, former dean of admissions at Yale Law School: "Someone who has played--and succeeded--on a tough field lets us take a little more risk and admit someone who strikes our faculty as having that something that's going to make a difference in the world. Does this mean that we don't take someone from an off-the-beaten-track school? No, but that person has to have every single thing in line--there's no margin for error" (personal correspondence, qtd. in 101). Note: Blacks who are "specially" admitted go on to disproportionately achieve exceptional accomplishments. I have not discussed that data here because it is irrelevant to the basis of my position on affirmative action, although I have read every word of it.

A very good book, highly recommended as long as you aren't afraid of social science stat-talk (and even if you are). Alas, it didn't change my personal opinion. (I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a brilliant argument that will push me across the fence.) The ends never justify the means, and however beneficial AA is/would be, its very existence remains discriminatory and hypocritical to statements of nondiscrimination.
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What Colleges Don't Tell You (and Other Parents Don't Want You to Know): 272 Secrets for Getting Your Kid into the Top Schools
by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross
307 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education

A different perspective from the usual ex-adcom tell-alls. There's some good advice in here about fit and parenting, but also some crazy and borderline-ethical approaches to "packaging." The "272 secrets" format is really gimmicky. Useful advice is buried among the dross, though, if one reads with a strong dash of salt. Best read in conjunction with other books of the genre, especially Hernandez's adcom perspective (which is quite derogatory toward "packaging").
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The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy
by Nicholas Lemann
406 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/History/College

Well: the first 50 pages are extraordinarily boring, I can say that much. I'm tremendously interested in this particular nonfiction niche, but I am not interested in the life stories of the men who invented and shepherded the SAT into its current form. I'd rather hear about, y'know, the test itself and its societal impact or effects. Perhaps this book does cover such ground, but I've already run away from the first 50 pages of dry-as-California-forests biography.
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Questions and Admissions: Reflections on 100,000 Admissions Decisions at Stanford
by Jean H. Fetter
276 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

Fetter was, to my knowledge, one of the first admissions "insiders" to write publicly about college admissions practices that many would have preferred to keep private. Although this book was published in 1995 and competition has increased tenfold since then, it still provides useful insight through an unmatched depth in both analysis and case studies.

For instance, in the 1960s, minority students were judged "outside the competition" along with athletes and faculty children--meeting "basic entrance requirements" but not necessarily "more qualified than all rejected applicants" (93); while increased representation in the applicant pool obviously renders this approach impractical, I wonder to what extent it is still true today (i.e. "special consideration" groups only competing within the group for admission). Fetter once reversed an admissions decision (from denial to acceptance) when it was discovered that the applicant qualified as a faculty dependent; similarly, Stephen Carter was offered law school admission after an initial denial because he "was originally assumed to be white" (103). Daniel Golden's Price of Admission, a much more recent publication, confirms many of these preferences.

Such a comprehensive admissions survey would not be complete without a discussion of affirmative action, and Fetter does so admirably (albeit with some dodging). She cites Ira Glasser's three reasons for AA:
1. legal remedy redressing past/present discrimination
2. temporary compensation of opportunity
3. visible representation of minorities

Of the three justifications for "positive" discrimination, it is worth noting that the Supreme Court has declared #3--the striving for diversity--as the only legal rationale for affirmative action in a college admissions context.

In approx. the 1985-1995 time period, Fetter admits to determining applicant ethnicity from other information (e.g. standardized test records) for special consideration, even if the applicant declined to self-identify on the application: "If a minority student chooses not to self-identify as a member of a minority group to which we give special consideration, should he or she receive that consideration? My opinion is that if we are reasonably sure of the ethnicity, the answer is yes" (103). On pages 106-7, Fetter poses a scenario of 3 unexceptional student hypotheticals from the admissions pool, each middle-class but of three different ethnicities (black, Asian, white). Unfortunately, she never gives a concrete answer as to what decisions she would have made; in subsequent discussion, she does argue that middle-class blacks are still disadvantaged by racism. [Opinionated Note: Asian students are hardly exempt from societal racism, yet because their representation is deemed sufficient, they receive no "special consideration."]

Discussion at length on pages 111-36 using the statement-comment format:

Cut for length )

Fetter's book is 15 years dated, an eternity in college admissions. But for those seeking an in-depth introduction and/or solid grounding in the theory behind college admissions, I highly recommend this.
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The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges and Who Gets Left outside the Gates
by Daniel Golden
334 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

Golden is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning Wall Street Journal reporter, and this is a book destined for the college-admissions canon--its relatively recent publication date, 2006, also helps with dating issues that plague other books in the subgenre. On the other hand, knowing that the information is relatively accurate doesn't exactly induce fluffy cheer and joy. Golden reveals the hard truth about "the price of admission" and supports his assertions with numerous anecdotal reports from admissions offices and other sources; he is clearly credible, but that only depresses the reader more in reading about development, celebrity, legacy, athletic, faculty-brat, and racial preferences. The aforementioned groups are disproportionately white and wealthy, leading Golden to his conclusions regarding privilege and the American aristocracy.

Still, Golden appears to reluctantly support affirmative action because it remains "necessary"; he devotes an entire chapter to Asian discrimination, for which he blames every admissions preference except AA. I'm skeptical about why affirmative action gets to be special like that in avoiding criticism. The final chapter, "Suggestions for Reform," was disappointing--Golden's idealistic suggestions would work, if they were ever implemented--but he proposes few incentives for colleges to change the system. Sure, colleges could work harder like Caltech to fund-raise without legacy preference; but why would any college bother with the difficult transition, when they're getting along just fine by trading admissions slots for large donations?

This is a must-read if you want to understand the college admissions process. I'd rank it up there with Jacques Steinberger's The Gatekeepers and Avery et al's Early Admissions Game.
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Fat Envelope Frenzy: One Year, Five Promising Students, and the Pursuit of the Ivy League Prize
by Joie Jager-Hyman
231 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

Quick read, falls into the "case studies" subgenre of college admissions books. It's interesting to observe from a distance just how "random" (subjective and fortuitous) elite admissions is nowadays. The five students profiled are truly exceptional, "hooked" (underrepresented minority), or both. Their stories are depressing, too; but fascinating nevertheless. Recommended if you like this sort of thing, per usual.
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Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools You Should Know about Even If You're Not a Straight-A Student
by Loren Pope
304 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

My second read of this seminal college admissions text. I'm still annoyed by the uniformly positive reviews, but don't let that be a significant detractor. Pope is also a strident advocate for liberal arts colleges (LACs), perhaps the equivalent of Richard Dawkins in the (non-)religious world.

Since I've already talked about my thoughts, this time I'll written up a short description of all 40 schools covered and included information gleaned from my own research.

Cut for length )
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Admissions Confidential: An Insider's Account of the Elite College Selection Process
by Rachel Toor
256 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

At this point, I find the narrative nonfiction college guides much, much more interesting than the comprehensive guidebook types. Admissions Confidential is a strong work of narrative nonfiction, although it was unnecessary to begin every single chapter with a personal non-college-related anecdote. I, unlike Toor, am not a runner, will never be a runner, and do not comprehend the runner mindset.

Being relatively well-read and knowledgeable in the book's particular topic, I didn't actually learn substantial information from this; but what I did find new, though outdated, was valuable. However, I prefer Steinberg's writing style in The Gatekeepers--Toor's writing is weirdly stilted at times.
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The Early Admissions Game: Joining the Elite
by Christopher Avery, Andrew Fairbanks, and Richard Zeckhauser
377 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

Statistics galore--a little overwhelming, but good to have hard numbers. I really like the gold star/independent clearinghouse idea for indicating preference. In fact, I don't know why it hasn't already been implemented. Hmm, not much else to say--outdated but still relevant? Certainly a "seminal text" in the college admissions genre.

College Unranked: Ending the College Admissions Frenzy
by Lloyd Thacker (ed.)
205 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

A compilation of philosophical essays lamenting the commercialization and consumerization of college; however, they mostly repeat the same point. Quite disappointing because the only new knowledge I gained was other books to follow up on. I think it would be more insightful and revealing to a college newbie, though.
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All Girls: Single-sex Education and Why It Matters
by Karen Stabiner
320 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education

My recent SHP summer class inspired me to read up more on education, and this book has a secondary focus on college--one of my pet research kinks. I was hoping to find insight into the women's vs. coed dilemma; however, All Girls is concerned with single-sex middle/high schools. One is a selective public NYC high school for disadvantaged girls (the first class is entirely minority), while the other is a prestigious West-coast private school with a history of single-sex education dating back to the "finishing school" era. If that sounds interesting, then you should read the book, because Stabiner does a decent job with the political and gender aspects. All Girls didn't quite meet my needs but I nevertheless enjoyed reading it, although it was perhaps a little slow-paced in exhaustively describing every character's personal history. I found the college acceptances and decisions fascinating, which I'm sure will surprise no one.

Good for education or college geeks, as well as feminists.
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A is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges
by Michele A. Hernández
266 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

If The Gatekeepers was slightly dated, then A is for Admission might be severely dated--it was published over a decade ago, which is an eon in the world of fluctuating education policies. Nevertheless, it is a unique book. Hernández, who graduated with honors from Dartmouth and went on to become an admissions officer, is a "disgruntled adcom" and taking revenge for unknown reasons by spilling secrets. It's not illegal, just immoral according to the unspoken code; but Hernández says herself that she is leaving admissions permanently, so it doesn't matter. Her book discusses all of the usual hot topics with candor. However, the most important section is chapter 6--the Academic Index. Essentially, the Ivy League developed a formula to measure recruited athletes' academic ability, and then decided to use it for all applicants. It's quite fascinating, I think.

As always, YMMV. I could write a lot more about this book, but I'd rather not bore people with irrelevant information. If you are doing college research, even if you aren't considering the Ivies, you should definitely read A is for Admission. Although I do think that the extended subtitle is misleading--this is not so much a guidebook but an exposé.
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The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College
by Jacques Steinberg
292 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education/College

Disclaimer: I'm fascinated by the conundrum of higher education, so I sped through this book like a much-anticipated thriller. If you are normal, YMWV.

As the title hints, The Gatekeepers is a (slightly dated, because of recent changes) inside look at Wesleyan University's admissions process. Wesleyan is a highly selective liberal arts college in Connecticut; one, in fact, that I visited, although I failed to "click" with the campus. And, for once, it is a book that lives up to the hype. I enjoyed the insights into the thinking of admissions officers/committees, as well as to Wes as a school (I'm sure that I'm not right for it). True to his day job as an NYT reporter, Steinberg writes with spare but emotional clarity--a beautiful example of good narrative nonfiction, by engaging with real people as characters. I think it was suspenseful; the twisty prose managed to surprise me with the students' and the adcom's ultimate decisions. So, a highly recommended read in the highly specialized field of College TMI.
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This is the last day of IBARW, and I found myself with two possible topics. I debated between them for a while before realizing that IBARW should not be a week of awareness and nearly a year of ignorance. So--I've met my goal of a post a day, and here's a bonus post!

The University of California higher education system is an intriguing look at both race-neutral admissions (something that I won't go into here, since I posted about affirmative action earlier in the week) and at the flip-flopping of racial roles. California state law forbids the use of race as a factor in university admissions. According to the College Board, UC Berkeley is 45% self-identified Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% black, and 12% Hispanic (30% white, 7% unreported); UCLA is 41% Asian/Pacific Islander, 4% black, and 14% Hispanic (30% white, 4% unreported). Even assuming that the unreported demographic is white, the typical Caucasian American student will find him/herself a minority at many UCs. This has led to much disgruntlement and nicknames bordering on racially derogatory.

Personally, I think it would benefit any white student to spend a semester at a UC or a historically black college--to experience firsthand what it's like to be a minority. It's different, and often difficult, but neither is it the end of the world to be a minority or majority in school when your position in society is the opposite. I can attest to this myself, albeit on a smaller scale. I attended a performing arts middle school with very few Asian students and a math/science high school with a strong "critical mass" of high-achieving Asians; the environments are very different, both including the good and the bad.
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As engrossed and fascinated as I am with college research, I can't avoid the topic of affirmative action. But I confess to being a) confused, and b) undecided. What exactly is AA intended to accomplish? Is it succeeding in this goal, and is it the best way to achieve this goal?

- more African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans ("URM" = underrepresented minority) in selective colleges
- racially diverse campus

- in practice, raises admission standards for Caucasians and Asian-Americans ("ORM" = overrepresented minority) --Note that Asians are still considered URM by some schools, mostly Midwestern liberal arts colleges.
- does not necessarily lead to a socioeconomically diverse campus

From what I've read and heard, affirmative action has two central (and contradictory) aims. The first is to ensure a racially diverse campus; the second is to compensate for historical societal discrimination, which often leads to lower socioeconomic status. I am torn because I support the ideal of the first goal, but I believe that AA is a flawed approach to the second. Institutional racism has indeed existed in the past, still exists in the present, and in all likelihood will exist in the future. I'll even grant that maybe African-American and Latino families have a lower median income or similar indicator of socioeconomic rank. However, if this is true, a policy of affirmative action regarding socioeconomic status rather than race would still benefit those who needed the help--and stop unfairly benefiting the well-to-do minority families, because they exist too. As a side bonus, such a policy would help poor folks of any color, including white.

Frankly, if you're black--or white or pink or yellow--and making $200k a year, you are not disadvantaged. Sure, society is still racist against you--guess what, it's racist against Asians too, and even more discriminatory against poor white people. Ultimately, money counts for more than race. And all this assumes that AA is the correct way to compensate for institutional racism, a point that some might argue.

But what about ensuring racial diversity? Answer: I don't know. I think that colleges and universities should consider all kinds of diversity, but that race should play no more a factor than geography by today's standards. If you do the research, you'll find that currently race is much more of a "tip" than either socioeconomic status or geographic distribution. Also, balanced against the need for diversity is the need for fair admission of students based on merit--defined holistically, of course. A student may merit admission based on character, extracurricular activities, leadership, etc. The problem with AA is that it helps the rich, mediocre black/Hispanic/NA (though usually not this last) student who would nototherwise be admitted at the nation's most selective colleges.

So you tell me: is affirmative action ultimately good or bad? Somehow, I have a hunch that it's solidly gray.

Disclaimer: I am a college-bound student of Asian ancestry with the biases inherent in that. But note that Asians may be considered URM or ORM, depending on the school, and I am attracted to both kinds of schools.
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Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges
by Loren Pope
382 pages (trade paperback)
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help/College

I kept hearing about CTCL schools in my arcane Internet researches, so I decided to finally read Pope's famous book. It was interesting and very different from the norm in college guides; only 40 schools are profiled, as the title suggests, and each receives a long (5-7 pages) essay extolling its virtues. While I subscribe to the principle that prestige is worth very little, and I generally agree with Pope, I do think his method of persuasion is flawed. He writes almost nothing negative about any of the 40 colleges, so that they seem like bastions of perfection. Also, he wastes breath (or space, I suppose) reviling the elite schools--certainly they aren't perfect, but neither are they terrible, and a bit more endowment goes a long way in terms of financial aid and campus quality of life.

Nonetheless, this was a fascinating read and one that I recommend as a matter of course.
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Binge: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess
by Barrett Seaman
310 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Nonfiction/Education

An interesting enough book, again, if you happen to enjoy college research. It doesn't live up to the inflammatory title and is actually a documentary-like open look at college life. Seems impartial, too, with admitted and minimized biases (Seaman is an alumni and trustee of Hamilton College, one of the schools covered). Twelve diverse colleges and universities are examined in a neat extended journalism piece. From the title, you should be able to tell if you'd be interested; Binge obviously appeals to a certain specialized audience.


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January 2011



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