Admission to America’s Ivy League universities is a heated topic of discussion for both high school students and society at large, since the policies and beliefs started in these Ivy-covered towers often trickle down to the rest of society through academia and the media.
It is for this reason that entrance policies at these schools—such as admitting sub-par students and giving them remedial English classes before freshman year—are of interest to the public, since they signify a broader trend in our society to ignore incompetence and grant undeserved benefits to the “marginalized”.
While I do not claim to be an expert on admissions to these schools, I do attend one of them and my experience there has shed some light on the consequences of their entrance policies.
Scholars Must Be Smart
Recently I heard about a program at Princeton called “Freshman Scholars,” where a select group of students takes classes for a few weeks before they begin freshman year. I thought it odd that some kids would be part of this and not others, and I decided to look into the program and similar ones at other schools.
I soon realized that the program essentially offers remedial classes to certain affirmative action admits who were not as prepared for college as their peers. At first this came as a shock to me, since the Ivy League administrators lead us to believe that all students who are accepted “deserve” to be there, but I must admit that I can’t really be surprised.
Since the talking heads at Ivy League schools can never admit that, on average, third-world citizens, inner city minorities, or athletes drag down the intelligence of the entire school, the programs are of course not advertised as remedial classes for unintelligent students, but rather billed as an honor for select scholars among the freshman class.
You might ask how I know these are remedial programs—after all, I could just be a jaded, racist white kid who’s flying high on the male privilege that made it so easy for me to get in.
Look At The language
My answer is that the proof is in the language. Much like the Party members in Orwell’s 1984, the useful idiots running these schools use duplicitous and subversive language in an effort to doublethink their way out of the cognitive dissonance required of a progressive ideologue.
In addition to exposing the violation of the principles of scholarship these institutions are supposed to stand for, I will also analyze the Orwellian language with which they disguised the true nature of these programs. Hopefully, this will serve as a good case study on the use of language in liberal propaganda.
While there are plenty of selective schools in this country, Princeton and Yale are two of the most elite. It thus seems like no coincidence that they both have almost identical programs for affirmative action freshman. At Princeton it is called the Freshman Scholars Institute, and at Yale it is called the Freshman Scholars Program. I will discuss these two since they are the only college remedial programs I could readily find through internet research.
According to the Yale site, “FSY will provide students with an introduction to the rigors and expectations of academic study at Yale.” At first glance, that seems nice of them to make the transition less difficult for students. However, keep in mind that this is for about 50 kids, which is at best 5% of the incoming freshman class.
What makes those 50 so deserving? It’s possible that these are just randomly selected kids who get a lucky leg up before the semester starts, but it is more likely that these are kids who are in the unique position of having not attended a high school that actually prepares them to study at a difficult university.
And of all the hundreds of incoming students, it is comprised of the farthest behind affirmative action admits that would otherwise be unable to cope with the difficulty of adjusting to college life like everyone else.
Translating PC Language
I don’t want to draw conclusions too early, so let’s take a look at the criteria for selection. According to Princeton, they
consider factors like intellectual curiosity, qualities of leadership and resiliency, the educational enrichment opportunities offered by the student’s high school, and familial educational background.
First note the incredibly vague language—this is the first sign that they are trying to hide something. Next let’s look at the first criterion, “intellectual curiosity.” The stated goal of these schools is to admit “intellectually curious” students; in fact, the first time I ever heard that term was when I applied in high school. It’s plastered all over their admissions criteria. So if all hundreds of their incoming freshman are intellectually curious, this criterion does not inform the selection of a small number of them.
On to point two. As schools that produce Future Leaders of America™, they only select students who have shown leadership ability (whatever that means), so that doesn’t add anything new. However, note the word resiliency. This connects to another word admissions committees love which is adversity. In fact a popular choice for entrance essays is to write about a time you “overcame adversity.”
Of course the Black kids from the ghetto or the children of recent Mexican immigrants have dealt with the most adversity, and thus they are selected by this criterion. And while I do not wish to belittle the achievements of those kids who manage to escape (I sincerely applaud those who do), the point of this article is to demonstrate how some of them may not be adequately prepared to go to America’s most challenging schools.
The third point is fairly obvious. Good high schools have a lot of resources for “educational enrichment.” Good high schools largely come from wealthy areas with high property taxes, and they are attended by predominantly white students. Thus schools without such resources are from poor areas, which include inner cities with mostly minority students or depressed rural areas with a lot of poor white students.
So we can see right there how students lacking in “educational enrichment opportunities” translates into low income, largely minority students. And of course it need not be said that students from inner cities and rural white areas are less likely to be academically prepared for challenging colleges.
Lastly, they look at how many members of the student’s family went to college. By default, educated people have educated kids whereas it is less common that high school students capable of studying at these colleges will come from uneducated families. And since it is these students who are most likely to be unable to cope with the rigor of studying at these schools, it is no surprise that students from uneducated families will be selected for remedial programs.
We can now conclude that that if certain affirmative action students, who are not as academically prepared as others, all attend the same pre-orientation program that provides “an introduction to the rigors and expectations of academic study,” then this program is in fact remedial with the intent of helping them play catch-up mere weeks before college. Alright, so what?
There are two big issues here. First, it shows that the decision makers at these schools are willing to put their progressive political agendas ahead of maintaining academic rigor. In a country where the best students do not go to the best schools, intelligence and productivity by definition is allocated inefficiently.
It then starts to make sense why American education is falling behind that of other countries where admission to top schools is based on merit alone. When education takes a back seat to politics, it is only obvious that our students will be in a worse position to succeed in the global or national job markets in fields such as engineering, computer programming, and scientific research.
Many of my peers in the humanities disciplines often speak of the relaxed expectations of their instructors as well as grade inflation, whereby some majors are made easier in order for less gifted students to succeed in them. Although humanities are claimed by many to be unnecessary compared to STEM fields, as the political push for minorities and women in STEM grows stronger, I can only expect that the academic standards in these technical majors will lessen as well.
Campus Racism Or Inferiority Complex
The second major consequence of these policies is something that has been called the cascade effect. When under-prepared students get admitted to tier 1 schools (like Yale and Princeton), they of course choose to attend even though they might be better off academically at a tier 2 school.
Since those schools need people to fill their own diversity quotas, they admit those students who would be better off at tier 3 schools, and so on. Thus, none of the affirmative action admits are well-suited to the schools they actually attend, and the problem cascades down the line of colleges in order of selectivity, such that many of the minority kids are always one tier below the other students academically.
Now the reason this is bad is because those students will have a hard time adjusting to coursework that they are not adequately prepared to deal with. I can personally attest to the difficulty of college classes and I went to a more challenging high school than most. When classes are too hard to handle, you experience self doubt and are forced to either drop to a lower level or leave the school altogether.
This can be humbling and even beneficial for students who can honestly wrestle with their own academic imperfections. However, since no one tells the minority students that they are having a hard time because they perhaps shouldn’t have been there in the first place, they seek another explanation for their academic failures.
For these students who grew up so oppressed that they get full tuition paid for them, it only makes sense that they interpret their experiences through the lens of victimhood and blame their failures instead on bogeymen like racism, the patriarchy, or microaggressions.
Of course the other, more well prepared students are rarely actually racist, and thus animosity between the two groups is perpetuated: the more intelligent students see some of the minority admits as not deserving their place at such a school (and even taking away entrance spots from more qualified students), and the minority students think everyone else is racist against them.
I personally witness this vicious cycle on a daily basis, and we see it in outbursts like the black student protests from a few weeks ago at Dartmouth, Yale, and other schools.
Clearly this is a problem, but what is an Ivy League institution to do? Acknowledge the error of affirmative action and start admitting students based on intellect alone? Of course not. No good progressive can ever reverse their own decisions that created the problems in the first place; rather, they must make more policy and try and solve the issue in a roundabout way.
We must keep on truckin’ in the name of progress and at the expense of academic rigor, social order, and fairness in order to preserve the narrative. Therefore, the best solution is to just give everyone remedial English classes and hope for the best.