Twenty thousand bucks
An English Minister died in America at the ripe old age of 31. His legacy? The gift of 700 British Pounds towards the funding of a College whose main purpose would be to upgrade the quality of the clergy for The Church. The Man’s name was of course John and his last name Harvard.
A few generations later a few other “Colleges” got started. What do the College of New Jersey and the Collegiate School have in common? Both were founded for the sole purpose of training clergy. Today one of these is known as Princeton and the other as Yale. (I’ll let you figure out which is which.)
These schools were all started with charity and a perhaps overly zealous fear of God. Today they have only recently regained a bit of that charity through generous tuition breaks. Nevermind the tuition breaks will eventually wind their way towards a bunch of upper middle class kids fortunate enough to afford academic camps during the summer, along with Robotics classes. The tuition of which is nothing if not modern highway robbery to me.
Expensive academic camps and lifelong tutoring aside, however, one needs to ask, what other expenses might there be in the determined pursuit for Glory and Accomplishment?
Well, for starters, may I ask,
“What would you do with twenty thousand bucks?”
Buy a car? Vacation? Invest it?
If you live in my uber crazy neighborhood cum school district you do none of the above.
You spend it on “someone” to write a college essay for your kid.
I’ve oft written of the Chinese propensity to do anything to get their kid into Harvard. The means justifies the end! Not only can they have the privilege of bragging the rest of their lives that they are the parent of a Harvard grad, but they can soak in the prestige as well.
It’s hard to get into Harvard you know?
The things one would hear spoken about you…..
“You must be a hard working parent…..”
“Tell us your secret….!”
“As a Chinese, we are all so proud of you…!”
It’s the modern day crapshoot, this Ivy League racket. Those that get in this year quite possibly wouldn’t make it the following year.
Before I continue I should readily admit that lots of Chinese kids are without question qualified for Harvard. Or Stanford. Or Yale. No question about it. Likewise I wholeheartedly agree it is important to be unique and bring something to the table. State Piano Champion will not cut it. Etc. One must stand out! And this is of course where the Chinese fall down. They are not unique. They all have the same damn mentality.
Of course we can blame their parents for this mess. The Parents just aren’t creative enough to steer their child down that dark road of the unknown. The path that leads to individual growth and unique attributes valued by an uber elite Ivy League school is often swallowed up in mist and shadow. All too often, the parents see this and simply run after their children, grabbing their hand to better guide them through the unpredictable and unknown.
So let’s not blame the kids.
Far from it.
We are all prone, with some justification I might add, to decry the “racism” of the admissions process. Harvard goes out of its way to deny entry to Chinese kids that could easily do the work. Harvard doesn’t break it’s admissions down by country, but if it did, I’m sure we’d see at least a thousand or so Chinese kids (directly from China) applying every year.
A few years ago Harvard admitted that only 9 got in.
So if you are Chinese, it is MUCH easier to be accepted if you are a Chinese American.
But if you are an ABC, it is still far more competitive then if you are not.
Many years ago I made fun of a kid just down the street in my subdivision that was a piano state champion but had never thrown a ball in his life. I was mean, condescending, didn’t give a shit that I was and still don’t. If I threw him a football he’d have only two options available to him. One, simply run away from the ball, and the other, try and catch it without breaking both his hands. I had to pick him up once and take him to an event and I swear to God he walked out to the car like an 87 year old woman, frail and awkward. I remember telling my daughter something to the effect,
“If you ever bring home a boy like that I’ll slap you and him.”
Well….this Young Man is going to Harvard folks. While I’d like to say its something about the water in our subdivision that helps 2 Harvard kids AND a Princeton(whom none of us have ever seen…not even once) kid in a space of 5 years within our tony little enclave do that, I’d of course only be deceiving myself .
(Never mind the damn water, we know it’s the fact their Asian.
And being able to catch a football is obviously soooo not a requirement for admission.)
As I alluded to, he is a bright young man with a swell future, and as I alluded to, my daughter sure as hell still better not try and bring him home. But we need to give credit where it is due. He did everything he was supposed to do, except play sports. He worked hard and is obviously talented.
Music aside, he was apparently our State Latin Champion(or something like that) and well as you may have guessed (the Chinese sure have), the Ivies just love Latin. Well done, Sonny.
His final class ranking in High School was 3 in a class of over 700….(that’s my boy!).
You know about his Piano skills…
Perfect SAT score….(gotta have that!)
But then something funny happened along that road of mist and darkness, and this is where our story begins.
His results for Early Admission to Yale came through.
And guess what? Yale didn’t want him.
He was turned down.
I think here we should pause and let that great American Philosopher Seinfeld chime in (at the 2.50 mark)
Except you and I know he was “good enough”. Whatever that means Today.
The brutal reality of Life in America is that the Ivies simply can’t take in every uber talented Chinese kid. At least not in a liberal society. Liberal Societies think this is fair. (That is, until your kid is turned down.) The whole concept of competition within America as William Penn and John Harvard saw it remained relatively intact until a generation ago.
It is said Deng once remarked about Marxism that Marx had never seen an airplane. Well, John Harvard almost certainly never laid eyes upon an Asian. China in 1700 had approximately 25% of global GDP and was still a mystery shrouded within darkness to everyone else.
The concept of competition has changed. And money is the invisible, evil hand we all know exists.
And we know it exists because the Chinese in my community just won’t shut the fuck up about how they use it.
Now would Yale have accepted a White, or Hispanic or Black kid with the same credentials? A European applicant even?
Somebody from Slovenia?
“Come on in!”
A Japanese female?
“Don’t forget your kimono!”
But for this poor kid, we can say without question that being born Chinese is a curse. And within the ethnic context of winning the lottery poor boy, well, you got screwed. Being a Chinese in America with a perfect SAT don’t mean nothing. You will forever have to explain why you somehow got a perfect score on the SAT and STILL couldn’t get in to Yale…..(have fun with that).
Yale failed to take your mother into account however.
None of you recall a post I’d written some time ago about another Tiger Mom in our neck of the woods, whose daughter was valedictorian and still couldn’t get accepted by Harvard or any of the other Ivies then at the last moment was apparently taken in by Columbia.
While I pitied the poor girl’s bad luck I had no inkling what lay behind Tiger Mom’s rage. It turned out she was not only dejected at her daughter’s inability to get into Hahhvad but all the more upset that she had paid a tutor $2000 to ghost write her daughter’s essay. She publicly lamented to all her friends(all Chinese of course) what a waste of money it was.
I only laughed.
Her daughter got into Columbia didn’t she? What’s to complain about?
But I was naïve.
As it turns out so were the Ivies.
China Kid had one great Ace up his skinny little sleeve. Unbeknownst to him. That would be his Conniving, Raging Tiger Mom.
I remember the many, many nights when taking my nightly walk through my subdivision the sound of the piano banging out from their house.
“Those are sounds of destiny,” I thought, and of course they were. They got him first place remember?
Then just as soon it all stopped. I was told that once he’d won first place and could put it on his resume for college, Tiger Mom had him stop playing. And maybe over the past year I’ve heard that sound since perhaps but once.
With his early admission failure with Yale(!), Crazy Tiger Mom flew into action. About 6 years ago at the local uber competitive high school, the valedictorian was a Chinese kid. Who of course went to Harvard and graduated with a dual degree in economics and something else. He worked for a year, didn’t like it and quit. Now, I’m not gonna speculate as to why he quit. You probably expect me by now to say something akin to his EQ being so low he simply couldn’t function in an environment that did not include his parents. But as you may know, Harvard kids are simply wired differently from the rest of us. End of Story.
So he came back home and started a tutoring school with others offering outrageous prices. One of those services was obviously essay help.
Tiger Mom swung into action. And what went down, so I heard, is this kid apparently agreed to ghost write an essay for Tiger Mom’s son.
All she had to do was pay the measly sum of $20,000.
And that in a sentence explains why Darnell from the inner city 18 miles away from where I write this will never fucking get into an Ivy. Nor Jorge, nor Kaneisha. No fucking way.
And that in a sentence explains why we have racial quotas.
Someone try and convince me that John Harvard and William Penn are not rolling in their graves tonight? Universities whose original purpose was to better train those who would in turn promote God have 350 years later become this; a rat race of conniving, manipulating applicants with a life time of built in advantages.
And it worked.
It paid off in spades.
Not only did he get into Harvard, upon being rejected by Yale, but also into Stanford by God!
And suddenly 20,000 bucks seems to have been money very, very wisely spent.
So as China Mom down the street, maybe a 45 second walk from where I write this, thumps her chest with pride and well deserved glee, I am left to ponder a serious question:
What message does this send to my daughter….?
My daughter, so I like to think, is well rounded. She plays sports and (knock on wood) is still highly ranked in high school.
She will not get a perfect SAT score.
She will not get a perfect GPA.
And I most definitely will not pay some Chinese dude(or any dude) twenty thousand bucks to write my child’s essay. If only because I cannot afford it.
People say the Ivies will be able to sniff out this essay, but I disagree. This is not an essay after all written by parents or a fully mature adult. Likewise I’m confident this is a flourishing cottage industry, thriving quietly on the dark side of all Chinese communities. And probably other communities as well. And as the years pass I am equally sure the Ivies will fail in their attempts to sniff out the fraud.
But I still wonder what my children will think of all this?
My daughter knows these kids are otherwise well qualified for Harvard. Or Yale. And she too will probably surmise they are just playing with the cards dealt to them. After all, if their parents don’t take such measures, will this stop the parents of the other Chinese kids?
Don’t be silly Pilgrim.
Of course not!
My daughter will know “Dad is too cheap” to do this. But I really think my problems will not be with my kids but with China Wife.
After all, my solemn intonations and proclamations of,
“You will never live yourself down”, or
“Do the right thing”, will ring hollow once Tiger Mom gets earnestly involved in the application process.
And what is to be done behind my back is just that…behind my back.
I’m an earnest believer that the good and bad even out over the course of one’s Life.
I just feel for many, it will take an awful long time for a balance to truly be struck.