Ruling Class Rules: Getting Kids into the Ivies

Populists of all political persuasions can take delight in an amusing and enlightening essay written by a college applications counselor who spent 15 years getting children of wealthy families into Ivy League colleges. Lacy Crawford has a new novel out, called Early Decision.  In the New York Post, she reflects on the real life experiences that inspired the novel.

For many of the children of the most ambitious, wealthiest parents in the city, the college-admissions process begins when a child is 2, with the hiring of a consultant to deliver nursery-school acceptances.

Once in school, if the child is slow in any subject, parents hire tutors. If the tutors fail, the parents will knock on doors until they find a learning specialist who agrees to identify a trumped-up deficit in a student's capabilities - in other words, to label the child in some way learning-disabled - after which the parents will force their excellent school to exempt the child from certain obligations, so she no longer has to take four years of math, say, or timed tests.

She walks readers through the process, explaining the ins and outs of worming your way into a school that will make parents feel good about bragging to their friends about where you go to college. For both good and bad reasons, admission to the Ivies plus a few others (Stanford, Duke, and the most selective small colleges among them) is seen as the ticket to a good job and a good spouse among her clientele. Getting the shcild ionto a school that will meet the educational and emotional needs of the child is secondary to the name value for her clients.

If America is to have a ruling class that can sustain itself across generations, certain inconvenient meritocratic features of society must be modified, worked around, or bypassed entirely. Fortunately for those who have money and want to see to it that their kids stroll into the upper echelons of society, help is available from the likes of Lacy Crawford. It is all repulsive and comic, something she seems to recognize.

Fortunately, even as the wealthy focus on social status, higher education is being democratized through the availability of online learning channels. In the world of high tech, what you can do matters more than where you went to college. Georgia Tech even offers a Master's Degree through online learning, for about ten thousand dollars. Higher education is on the cusp of a major bubble popping. That won't put the Ivies out of business, of course.

Populists of all political persuasions can take delight in an amusing and enlightening essay written by a college applications counselor who spent 15 years getting children of wealthy families into Ivy League colleges. Lacy Crawford has a new novel out, called Early Decision.  In the New York Post, she reflects on the real life experiences that inspired the novel.

For many of the children of the most ambitious, wealthiest parents in the city, the college-admissions process begins when a child is 2, with the hiring of a consultant to deliver nursery-school acceptances.

Once in school, if the child is slow in any subject, parents hire tutors. If the tutors fail, the parents will knock on doors until they find a learning specialist who agrees to identify a trumped-up deficit in a student's capabilities - in other words, to label the child in some way learning-disabled - after which the parents will force their excellent school to exempt the child from certain obligations, so she no longer has to take four years of math, say, or timed tests.

She walks readers through the process, explaining the ins and outs of worming your way into a school that will make parents feel good about bragging to their friends about where you go to college. For both good and bad reasons, admission to the Ivies plus a few others (Stanford, Duke, and the most selective small colleges among them) is seen as the ticket to a good job and a good spouse among her clientele. Getting the shcild ionto a school that will meet the educational and emotional needs of the child is secondary to the name value for her clients.

If America is to have a ruling class that can sustain itself across generations, certain inconvenient meritocratic features of society must be modified, worked around, or bypassed entirely. Fortunately for those who have money and want to see to it that their kids stroll into the upper echelons of society, help is available from the likes of Lacy Crawford. It is all repulsive and comic, something she seems to recognize.

Fortunately, even as the wealthy focus on social status, higher education is being democratized through the availability of online learning channels. In the world of high tech, what you can do matters more than where you went to college. Georgia Tech even offers a Master's Degree through online learning, for about ten thousand dollars. Higher education is on the cusp of a major bubble popping. That won't put the Ivies out of business, of course.

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