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April   6

Naming Names

Kirk Shimamoto was rejected by Yale and wait-listed by Williams, but he got into Brown, Penn and Swarthmore.

Ralph Schaefer was rejected by Columbia and Penn, but got into Northwestern, Tufts, Vassar and University of Chicago.

Last week, most of the Ivys sent out their acceptances by e-mail, and Bloomberg had a reporter in Montclair. More of who made it and who didn't here.

April 6, 2005 in Buzz | Permalink


"You need a hook" ? Truly one of the saddest things I have ever read.

Now everyting is marketing. We are becoming a nation of Access Hollywood "Reporters".

I wonder what Einstein's "hook" would have been?

Posted by: Right of Center | Apr 6, 2005 1:58:14 PM

Yes, this "hook" thing is just terrible. What probably began as a well-intentioned attempt to evaluate applicants on more than test scores and grades has devolved into something else entirely.

On the one hand, it's a good thing to get students to think of themselves outside of the box grades and test scores might put them in, but when you've got a kid thinking that being part Asian-american isn't enough of a "hook".....

Posted by: fyi | Apr 6, 2005 3:41:39 PM

"Schaefer ... said yesterday he was leaning toward Northwestern."

Go for it!

(It's my alma mater and a great school!)

Posted by: Chris | Apr 6, 2005 3:55:41 PM

ROC is smack right. This "hook" stuff is scary, makes the eager little creeps sound calculating. No wonder grade inflation has become an issue at so many schools, it seems like all these aspiring investment bankers have a "life plan" and there's hob to pay if it gets even partly derailed. I hate to say this, but if getting into someplace means this bloody much to you, then maybe everybody should hie off to Fairleigh Dickinson or Montclair State (you can always tell people "I went to MSU" and who's gonna know you don't mean the one in MI?). Tell me, too, doesn't anyone in Montclair still apply to the service academies? They offer a good education in so many non-academic ways. They even stress character development issues, which sound like something a lot of baristaville h.s. seniors could use some further training in.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 6, 2005 4:13:37 PM

What's wrong with having a hook? I mean, if you only have 500 slots available and you have 1000 people who apply all with similar grades and scores, then obviously you're going to look for something else that makes the candidate stand out...whether it's background, activities, leadership positions, etc.

Hasn't it ALWAYS been that way to some extent? Geesh. It's certainly that way for the "real world" of getting jobs, etc.

And, applying to school IS something that takes calculation!

You people just love to bitch!

Posted by: butchcjg | Apr 6, 2005 4:29:03 PM


Maybe this would have something to do with any lack of service academy applications.

And don't forget to include the opportunity for an all expenses vacation to Iraq in the service academy benefits.


Posted by: Lisa | Apr 6, 2005 5:40:05 PM

I knew Ralph awhile back, and if he's reading this let me say that the University of Chicago is a good choice. Definitely an interesting school, definitely not your average intellectual or social scene. At least, though, Northwestern is in Chicago too.

I probably would have gone there if not where I ended up. And now I'm alone in dorm room drinking a bloody with no one around. Oh well, at least I just finished my thesis!

Posted by: Marshall | Apr 6, 2005 5:53:07 PM

It's a big Army, a big Air Force, a big Navy, a nice-sized Marine Corps and there's also, doing an ever more important job, the Coast Guard. Not everyone winds up in Iraq, people. Nonetheless, why put even that possible posting down? Isn't the nurturing of nascent democracy in the Middle East (oh, go ahead, all you liberal meatballs out there, chortle if you must) something decent, something worth doing? One of the things that's happening in baristaville, it seems, is that fewer and fewer folks have any experience with military service other than a hostile political-emotional kneejerk reaction to same. That's neat if you're Michael Moore but probably not otherwise. Honest, folks, our armed forces really do have important, socially useful duties to fulfill, and the concept of the citizen-soldier (as in the Roman story of Cinncinatus) still has relevance (go ahead, chortle again) today. Or is this too corny for all those people consumed by, let's say, french toast recipes, real estate prices and the recent razing of a fairly ugly, sorely maintained old "inn?"

Posted by: cathar | Apr 6, 2005 5:56:21 PM

Speaking of geography, isn't Northwestern really in Evanston? And isn't Evanston, thanks to its being hq city for the WCTU even today, a famiusly dry town? How many bloody Marys does one have to have before Northwestern slips farther down the coast of Lake Michigan?

Posted by: cathar | Apr 6, 2005 5:59:08 PM


Unlike these libs in particular, I am totally into the service academies. I'll always feel just a little bit inadequate that I didn't go to one myself.

Sorry, the pronoun-antecedent relationship in my last comment is wrong: it's the University of Chicago, not Northwestern, I would have gone to. And yes, Evanston is dry (though I don't imagine that crimps the style at NU too much). I, of course, opted for merry olde Englande where alcohol flows like alcohol in Chicago.

Posted by: Marshall | Apr 6, 2005 6:06:40 PM

cathar-- please, for once, just shut up with your blathering. it's too nice a day to deal with a headache from your rhetoric. it's college applications, not political d-day. ugggghhhh. back to the sun....

Posted by: Erin | Apr 6, 2005 6:07:12 PM

My son graduated from the Air Force Acaemy in 2001. The education he received there was exceptional and quite a challenge. You can not take less than 18 credits a semester--and most take at least 21. With all the other stuff they had to do--it was often exhausting and stressful...but invaluable life lessons were learned from this. He is a Captain now and returned from Iraq recently...so he received a fabulous education--but he also had is life on the line to pay for it.

Posted by: S. | Apr 6, 2005 6:24:12 PM

I got into an ivy league school and couldn't get into the service academy I applied to. They can have pretty tough entry requirements themselves, especially if you don't know a congressman.

Posted by: MiloG | Apr 6, 2005 8:52:02 PM

Having just gone through the college app process with my son (accepted early decision to Reed College) I can say it is a much more intense process than when I was a teen (more years ago than I care to admit here!)

Butch is right- there are just so many spaces avail and not a lot of colleges being built (can anyone think of any?)

So you do have to have something special, a hook, whatever and that in itself is not a bad thing.

Posted by: Pam | Apr 7, 2005 7:31:40 AM

"The changing culture and economic hard times in Evanston led the City Council in 1972 to approve the sale of liquor by an 11 to 8 margin, with one abstention. Supporters said liquor licenses would help businesses in the central business district especially hotels and restaurants.

"Northwestern followed the trend in 1975, filing a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. It asked the court to determine that the local option law impliedly repealed the charter ban on alcohol sales within four miles of the campus. The impetus for the legal action came from students after the State of Illinois allowed the sale of beer and wine to persons 19 years old. Students wanted to have a 'rathskeller' in Norris University Center.

"The University won its case, applied for a liquor license from Evanston and began serving liquor on campus, ending the ban on alcohol sales that had survived more than 120 years."


Posted by: Chris | Apr 7, 2005 7:48:05 AM

imagine some very smart kids who might be out there who work at Taco Bell to help with the family finances - pity they don't have a "hook".

Instead of looking for kids who are President of the "ski club" how about looking for smart kids with good grades who have ideas and express them well?

Posted by: Right of Center | Apr 7, 2005 8:41:38 AM

If you knew much about the college app process, you would know that president of the ski club is not considered a 'hook'. It's considered an EC (extra curricular)

I dont think any of the colleges we are talking about here care that much about school clubs...what they are talking about is something special that one kid might offer... or some hardship one of them has overcome to get where he/she is.

Posted by: Pam | Apr 7, 2005 9:02:13 AM

That I was wrong about Northwestern's current state of campus sobriety is gratifying. Many wheezy, politically demonic (and often outright anti-Catholic or anti/religion) profs I had in my own collegiate days, a beer or two would have made their gasconades go down that much easier. Cheers to Northwestern. Go Wildcats! Sounds like a place to apply to if one doesn't mind rough winters.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 7, 2005 10:05:20 AM

and the PR acumen to mention/point-it-out in an appropriately "hookish" manner?

Did you read the article? Some of the potential "hooks" mentioned:

Playing Ultimate Frisbee (I guess "regular" frisbee isn't good enough); Vice President of the Latin Club; being called a racial epithet on the bus; making a website to honor one's grandfather; etc.

I wonder how Yale judges how "ultimate" one's frisbee playing is?

"I am sorry, but you'll have to matriculate elsewhere - All Yale men can balance their spinning frisbees on one finger."

Posted by: Right of Center | Apr 7, 2005 10:06:02 AM

my above comments are addressed to Pam.

Posted by: Right of Center | Apr 7, 2005 10:07:12 AM

One other thing:

"what they are talking about is something special that one kid might offer... or some hardship one of them has overcome to get where he/she is. "

It all just sounds so squishy & Dr. Phil to me. Hardship? What they have to offer? To Whom?

How about accepting applicants to University based on academic performance and scholarship alone?

I suppose that idea dosen't "work" if you have been "victimized" by society. So all this hook and hardship business is just a way to prove one's victimization bonefides?

This is a sure road to medocrity.

Posted by: Right of Center | Apr 7, 2005 10:19:03 AM

or even...mediocrity

Posted by: Right of Center | Apr 7, 2005 10:20:35 AM

I read the article and it by no means is a complete picture of the application process... and I said, I am going through this process, so I am kind of familiar with it.

The fact remains... club activities, volunteer... are ECs ... it is NOT "the hook".

Overcoming hardship is not an EC...nor is doing something over and ABOVE what other students may be doing.

I'll admit, the 'hook' is subjective... but when you have loads of kids with 4.0s and above, President of this or that, captain of baseball team, with 1550 SATs, you have to find something ELSE about that kid that makes them a better choice than the other one.

The bottom line... not enough space for all the deserving applicants who have surely warrant admission if you based it soley on stat criteria.

I'm wondering, how would you make the choice?

Posted by: Pam | Apr 7, 2005 10:59:25 AM

The bottom line... not enough space for all the deserving applicants who surely warrant admission if you based it soley on stat criteria.

my typing sucks... sorry

Posted by: Pam | Apr 7, 2005 11:03:21 AM

For a perspective on the college admissions process... try reading some of the posts/threads on this site.


Posted by: Pam | Apr 7, 2005 11:05:13 AM

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