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"Super People" in today's NY Times

MomzieMomzie Posts: 605Registered User Member
edited October 2011 in Parents Forum
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Replies to: "Super People" in today's NY Times

  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy Posts: 1,784Registered User Senior Member
    Darn it! My children were all "pointy" when they were born, but then they became "well rounded" within a few weeks. If only I had known that coneheads have an advantage in college admissions....
  • QuantMechQuantMech Posts: 5,033Registered User Senior Member
    James Atlas (the author of the column) is a Rhodes Scholar. He is lamenting how much harder it appears to be to win a Rhodes these days. It really isn't. There are no magic people. Admissions and scholarship selection committees are very aware of the differences in opportunities created by differences in financial resources.

    The hysteria didn't need any upping.
  • tptshortytptshorty Posts: 558Registered User Member
    I'm such a bad mom. I didn't quit my job to groom my child for the Ivy League admissions process. We didn't send her to Kathmandu to do a service project. She only learned to play two instruments.
    I would estimate by the time their kids have graduated from college, some of these parents will have shelled out over half a million dollars on their education. No wonder the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Bring on the class warfare!
  • fishymomfishymom Posts: 1,849Registered User Senior Member
    "In the end, the whole idea of Super Person is kind of exhausting to contemplate. All that striving, working, doing. A line of Whitman’s quoted by Dr. Bardes in our conversation has stayed with me: “I loaf and invite my soul.”

    Isn’t that where the real work gets done?"


    Best part of the whole article!
  • soozievtsoozievt Posts: 28,788Registered User, ! Senior Member
    I find that there is a big assumption out there that super achiever type students are that way due to parental pressure, etc. And I know that exists in some cases of course.

    But speaking of my own experience, I have two young adult kids who are high achieving types who are very very driven. But it is not because of parental pressure. They grew up in a non-competitive environment (rural public schools). They got financial aid for college. They did have supportive parents behind them. But they are who they are and they happen to be very self motivated and very driven to achieve (both in school and out of school). I think it is their make up, and not due to competition with others or parental pressures. They could go to any college and they made their own choices of where to apply.

    D1 went to an "elite" college and top grad programs in her field. D2 went to an "elite" college program in her specialized field of study.

    The article talks about "well rounded" not being OK any longer. It so happens that my oldest D is very well rounded. The illustration in the NYTimes article makes me smile as it dovetails so closely to one of her main college application essays! Her essay was all about her being well rounded in fact. The opening line had to do with wishing she had more arms like an octopus because of the wide variety of things she was involved in and what she carried each day when leaving the house for all these activities (much like the article illustration). Being well rounded never hurt her in admissions. My other kid had been well rounded as a youngster but chose to specialize in her area of passion and she applied directly into a specialized college degree program. Neither way was better but they were different in this respect.

    There are young people, like my kids, who are driven to achieve, not out of a sense of competition, or due to outside pressure, but due to intrinsic drive.
  • tk21769tk21769 Posts: 7,131Registered User Senior Member
    I agree that competition has increased to get into the most selective schools.
    However, I think the change is a little over-stated.

    It is still very much the case that good grades and SAT scores in the high 1200s (or the higher, re-normed equivalent) are sufficient (with a couple of decent ECs and good essays) to get you into a perfectly respectable college. Maybe not Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, but you still should expect a good shot at a top 30-or-so school.
  • IgloooIglooo Posts: 3,612Registered User Senior Member
    I agree. I felt it was overhyping and stopped reading after a few paragraphs. One claim it makes is nowadays holding a position isn't enough. One also has to details what they did in their position. I think it is because empty positions are listed without substance. They are vetting better not asking more.
  • SkyhookSkyhook Posts: 1,095Registered User Member
    There are still plenty of students who approach the world the way I did. They stop and smell plenty of flowers, and do only as much as required to achieve....something.

    Like soozievt's kids, my son knew, early on, exactly what he wanted to do. He works incredibly hard, long hours, in addition to being blessed with talent and intelligence. Yes, I supported him, but I would have supported a stop-and-smell-the-flowers kid, if that's what he had been.

    I don't know where his passion came from. I know he won't marry a hometown girl and live down the street from me, like some of my friends' kids. So there are tradeoffs for the parents, but it is his life and I want him to live it in accordance with HIS choices.
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 22,354Registered User Senior Member
    I had one of each. My pointy kid lived and breathed computers and is now working for Google. My smell-the-flowers kid was pretty well rounded on paper at least. (Science Olympiad, Literary Magazine, making origami earrings and playing the violin were his main high school activities). He spent many hours playing computer games and reading sci fi and hanging out with friends. He seems to be more focused in college, but last year at least all his extra-curricular time was devoted to an international relations course he was taking.
  • performersmomperformersmom Posts: 2,116Registered User Senior Member
    Sadly, I do not think it was overhyped at all- I see this all around.

    Seeing it described all at once in an article sort of enhanced it, but there was nothing I could really disagree with.

    I do think that AdComms have caught onto this, and try to review applications in "context".

    The fact that more and more Hyper-Students are created every year make me believe that they will end up at a much wider range of colleges than HYPS. All to the good of the colleges. And maybe the HYPS mania will gradually subside a bit to include a much larger group of schools as truly elite.
    The student who attend are a good part of what makes a school elite.

    As long as these kids do not burn out... LOL
  • qialahqialah Posts: 1,536Registered User Senior Member
    I think this is over hyped. There are battles and there's the war. Perhaps getting into the Ivy's and getting a Rhodes requires a super resume, but I looked at who one a MacArthur Genius award this year. "Genius" by their definition did not need to go to HYPS. Well, maybe Stanford.

    Foreign Universities: 4
    Sanford: 2
    Harvard: 1
    Princeton: 1
    Yale: 1
    Brown: 1
    Columbia: 1
    UCLA: 1
    Oberlin: 1
    NYU: 1
    Boston University: 1
    McGill: 1
    University of Illinois: 1
    University of Texas-Arlington: 1
    West Chester University: 1
    University of Iowa: 1
    University of Georgia: 1
    Georgia Tech: 1
  • chaosakitachaosakita Posts: 1,436Registered User Senior Member
    This hardly applies to most people. I would say that this applies to the very small fraction of the population that cares about going to a top-tier school (the top 20-30 or so). Otherwise, most people simply don't care, and that's what's more troubling for America.
  • NJSueNJSue Posts: 2,046Registered User Senior Member
    Otherwise, most people simply don't care, and that's what's more troubling for America.

    Why is it troubling that most people don't care about getting caught up in this credentials rat race? Most people don't care about competitions that aren't open to them and aren't interesting to them. Why is that a problem?

    I cannot believe that we have a greater quantity of truly erudite, intelligent, wise people today than we did fifty years ago. If anything, the overall quality of our elite has deteriorated (a point the Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs made just recently), despite the profusion of impressive credentials and high test scores.
  • HannaHanna Posts: 10,844Registered User Senior Member
    "I think it is their make up, and not due to competition with others or parental pressures."

    Yes, and this is true of the less-driven kids, too. I bet that Soozie and I have both worked with many families where high-achieving parents raise kids in high-expectation, and one or all of the kids in the family have a quite different set of talents, personality traits, and goals than the parents have. Some kids simply do not care about the "rat race" for one reason or another, and it's been my experience that those kids do best at non-rat-race schools, even if they have the intellectual gifts to handle HYPS. People differ tremendously on how much stress/pressure they want in their lives. I believe in encouraging kids to work hard and challenge themselves, but not at the cost of making themselves miserable. The striving-for-the-mountaintop approach to life isn't the only legitimate way.
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 16,629Registered User Senior Member
    I read the wedding announcements in the New York Times - I don't know if it's fascination or masochism. It seems to me like you need to be super something so get in there. In this weekend's paper, there was a wedding in which the groom was an opera singer. Julliard degree if I remember correctly. Oh, yeah, and Columbia Law School.
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