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Who ‘Deserves’ to Go to Harvard

CU123CU123 3435 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
An opinion piece from the WSJ on a Harvard dean’s speech to graduates.

It’s college graduation season, when high-profile commencement speakers are scrutinized as barometers of academia’s ideological leanings. A speech by Harvard College’s dean this year suggests you learn more when a school bureaucrat articulates the worldview that shapes campus culture than when a celebrity jets in, collects an honorarium and leaves.


https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-deserves-to-go-to-harvard-11560464201
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Replies to: Who ‘Deserves’ to Go to Harvard

  • compmomcompmom 10628 replies76 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I wish I could access the article. The students I know who went to Harvard certainly "deserved it" as did, no doubt, many who didn't go there.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    edited June 15
    Well, that’s simple, more athletes, URMs and prep school wealthy deserve to go to Harvard than middle class Asians scholars. In some cases, privilege gets you in, in other its held against you. There is no rhyme or reason to it just misguided attempt at social engineering.
    edited June 15
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  • MWolfMWolf 1287 replies8 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Again, Harvard is a private institution, and honestly, the only people who we can say "deserve" to go there in any way or manner, are the kids whose super-wealthy parents donated millions to the university for that purpose. Kids who go to Harvard, or Yale, or Princeton, or any one of the selective private colleges out there, do so because the college selected them.

    Acceptance to a selective college is not a prize that a kid gets for doing well in high school. Admission to a selective private college is not an inalienable right of every high school graduate who has high grades and high SAT scores.

    Everybody deserves to be accepted to Harvard as much as everybody else, because nobody actually "deserves" to go to a private college. Harvard university does not "owe" acceptance to any applicant out there for any reason.

    @Riversider Out of interest, why do you use the term "scholars" only for middle class Asian high school graduates? Why don't you consider URM applicants to be "scholars"?
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  • CU123CU123 3435 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @MWolf did you read the article? This is more a commentary (and a scathing rebuke) to the speech that the Dean gave to students of Harvard's graduating class, not really on who "deserves" to go to Harvard.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    edited June 16
    @MWolf It’s not about one group not having any scholars or other group having 100% scholars. Statistically more applicants from Asian applicant pool have stronger academic profiles, higher achievements and average/median stats are much higher.
    edited June 16
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  • DeepBlue86DeepBlue86 1050 replies5 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 16
    @MWolf did you read the article? This is more a commentary (and a scathing rebuke) to the speech that the Dean gave to students of Harvard's graduating class, not really on who "deserves" to go to Harvard.
    @MWolf and I are engaging with the speech that the article discusses, and criticizing it from a different angle than the article.
    Well, that’s simple, more athletes, URMs and prep school wealthy deserve to go to Harvard than middle class Asians scholars. In some cases, privilege gets you in, in other its held against you. There is no rhyme or reason to it just misguided attempt at social engineering.
    What’s misguided, in my opinion, is for someone to think they know better than Harvard who Harvard should admit. Harvard devotes very substantial resources to identifying, admitting and subsidizing the enrollment of the ~2,000 students each year that it believes best serves its interests. Those interests - fulfilling Harvard’s mission of teaching and research by expanding Harvard’s power, reach and wealth - are much more important to Harvard than any “social engineering” (a concept I only see talked about in certain corners of Reddit and College Confidential). If Harvard believed its interests would be best served by admitting only “middle class Asians [sic] scholars”, that’s who Harvard would admit.

    There is certainly “rhyme or reason” to Harvard’s admissions process, which it’s pretty straightforward to determine if you look carefully enough (various people on CC understand it to a greater or lesser degree, for example).
    edited June 16
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  • MWolfMWolf 1287 replies8 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^^ Exactly. I would only make one correction. Instead of "fulfilling Harvard’s mission of teaching and research BY expanding Harvard’s power, reach and wealth", I would write "fulfilling Harvard’s mission of teaching and research AND expanding Harvard’s power, reach, and wealth".
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  • jzducoljzducol 717 replies12 postsRegistered User Member
    Of course, nobody "deserves" to be admitted to Harvard or other private colleges. But is that a coincidence that Trump's son in law and Xi's daughter were among the 1600 kids of Harvard class? Harvard uses its unique position to pick a class that serves its needs. At least 50% of seats are reserved for "the entitled". One of this year's class commencement speakers Al Gore only applied to one college when he was a HS senior, Harvard.

    And it didn't help the message when these kids can pick whoever celebrities they feel like inviting and get them to show up for commencement address too.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33105 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 17
    Two kids of wealthy and powerful families proves nothing.

    "Statistically more applicants from Asian applicant pool have stronger academic profiles, higher achievements and average/median stats are much higher."

    It shouldn't surprise anyone that it's more than stats and higher achievements. You make this sound hierarchical, when it's holistic. And, includes institutional needs like balancing geo areas and majors.

    Is this thread really about Asian Americans?

    Gore entered over 50 years ago. Things were different.
    edited June 17
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  • DeepBlue86DeepBlue86 1050 replies5 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    But is that a coincidence that Trump's son in law and Xi's daughter were among the 1600 kids of Harvard class? Harvard uses its unique position to pick a class that serves its needs.
    It's not a coincidence at all - the donations/importance of their families dominated the holistic picture, and they were judged able to do the work, so they got in. It's similar for a recruited athlete. And there's no right or wrong to it - it's just business, Harvard's business. They've been admitting students for nearly 400 years, and they believe the collection of individuals they admit each year is the best they can get in order to satisfy many different institutional needs (apart from having a certain number of geniuses, these include funding, access and beating Yale at football, among lots of others).

    Those institutional needs can change over time, as society and the law change, but at any given point in time, Harvard has a view as to which kids will deliver the most advantages for Harvard, and that's who gets in.
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  • vpa2019vpa2019 516 replies10 postsRegistered User Member
    The article isn’t so much about who deserves to go as a commentary on the points the Dean consciously or unconsciously chose to omit when lecturing the students on why they didn’t get where they are today (Harvard graduates) all by themselves...but mostly because of privilege and chance. His speech isn’t included in the article so there is likely a fair bit of cherry picking to support the author’s perspective.
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