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2013 Spring Issue 1 (April 12, 2013)

An Open Letter to Suzy Lee Weiss

April 15, 2013
By Editorial

Dear Ms. Weiss,

First of all, I want to commend you on writing a piece that has inspired so much discussion. You are clearly a talented writer (although, admittedly, it  does help if your sister is one of the editors). Unfortunately, I must respectfully disagree with pretty much everything you wrote.

Although I do think you have one decent point-- the competition for elite colleges today is absolutly insane--you alone are responsible for your conscious decision to pretty much ignore anything you could have done to make yourself more competitive for your dream school. Your family is pretty well-off (I’m not trying to make assumptions, but I’m guessing that your complete disregard for the financial realities of attending college mean that it is not a concern for you. Also, the WSJ profiled your house). You certainly had access to resources to make yourself a more competitive applicant, and you chose not to do so. So I’m not feeling terribly sympathetic to your claim that colleges should want you for just “being yourself” when you made a conscious decision not to pursue other activities that may have made you a more competitive applicant.

More importantly, though, the callous way that you refer to “coming out of the closet” and being part Native American is, quite frankly, cringe-inducing. People don’t come out of the closet to get into college. If the biggest problem you ever have is not getting into Harvard, Yale and Princeton--with SAT scores that would place you in the bottom fraction of their applicants, and, by your own admission, not many competitive extracurriculars--then you’re pretty lucky.

Furthermore, in regards to your sarcastic concern that you should have “hopped on a place to Africa” or started a fake charity to make yourself more competitive--who do you think is actually doing this? Children of the wealthiest fraction of society? I have no doubt that people do some crazy things to get into college--and that resume padding occurs--but honestly, the vast majority of people really can’t afford to spend time doing things like this because, y’know, we have jobs and stuff and can’t afford to shell out that kind of money for something unless it’s really important.

But to be fair - you’re a pretty good writer, and I heard that after your op-ed was published, Yale re-thought its decision and decided to admit you. So, congratulations. You ended up where you originally wanted, even without “wearing a headdress to school” or “coming out of any closet.”

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