What does it take to change your mind..

<p>A few years ago I read a book by Gina Kolata of the NY TImes about the 1917 flu epidemic, and then the swine flu debacle..called "Flu". In it she talked about a particular kind of question that one of the reporters (called Anderson?)..asked at the time the swine flu vaccine program was being considered. Basically, the administrators had decided to go ahead and start the vaccine program. The reporter asked, "What would you need to hear to make you change your mind?"</p>

<p>It seems to me that this kind of logic could be applied many times in the application process, particularly for the child thinking of applying ED. The idea is, you are basically convinced, but you have a very specific idea of what you would need to hear to "unconvince" yourself. </p>

<p>When I "lurk" (would never post) at the chances threads periodically, it occurs to me that all the kids who are posting definitely need guidance in this direction.</p>

<p>Do you mean that kids who are posting their chances need guidance in learning what would make them stop considering a certain school? I'm a bit unclear on what you meant.</p>

<p>Sorry the original post was vague. My clock said it was 0230 when I wrote it!</p>

<p>What I meant was that the kids who send "Chances" posts in seem to want either rubber stamps on what they plan to do, or someone to tell them they are way off base. Though I am not sure what some of the others really want or expect. </p>

<p>I guess I meant that in the final analysis, particularly for the discussions of ED application decisions, it would be useful to have a "devil's advocate" question to reframe the discussion a bit, and this one would be useful.</p>

<p>I'm not sure I underatnd the question either...but I can say that I asked this ? of my son:</p>

<p>"What if I GAVE you $160k....and you could either spend it all on your ED school OR shop for a less expensive option and keep the change to spend as you please? What would you do? "</p>

<p>He said he would turn it all over to his ED school and hope to have enough left to buy a school T-shirt!</p>

<p>*Kolata is an ace. When it comes to developing sources, procuring documents, researching complex data and breaking a hot story in clear and dynamic prose, she has few peers. "She has all the equipment," says an admiring Times colleague. And as her May 26 Science Times article comparing the behavior of plague bacteria to HIV attests, she is capable of demystifying the most arcane matters of science. Even her detractors describe her as "brilliant," "talented," "insightful" and "gifted." Since 1987 Kolata, who holds a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland, has written more than 600 articles for the Times, many of them front-page blockbusters. Her stories routinely stir controversy and influence public policy, and upon occasion have had huge commercial impact. Few are the science conferences, journals or Web sites where her name is not heard or seen. On more than one occasion she has been mentioned as heir to the mantle of Sullivan. So why are so many of her associates at the paper, including her admiring colleague, so upset with her? And why is she held in such low esteem by so many scientists? </p>

<p>The answer, surprisingly enough, has very little to do with a recent episode that landed Kolata on everyone else's front page--her floating of a book proposal within hours after releas-ing a hyped story on May 3 about a couple of promising cancer drugs. Although the story stimulated spicy e-mail among science writers across the country, in the context of her eleven-year career at the Times it is seen as a misdemeanor. Professional disrespect has in fact accumulated gradually as a consequence of her reporting on some already heated topics: AIDS research, silicone breast implants, breast cancer, food irradiation and environmental hormones (endocrine disrupters). </p>

<p>Deconstruct her stories, source by source, quote by quote, and a familiar pattern begins to emerge. Upon re-interviewing the people she cites, it becomes evident that she appears to have decided before making her first call what her story will say. Her questions are suggestive, her tone combative. In the interest of the appearance of balance, sources of all persuasions are interviewed. But their quotes are carefully selected, at times modified to substantiate the predetermined position. Those scientists who disagree with her are either ignored, dismissed or trumped by someone anointed with higher authority--which usually means a longer string of initials after their name. The sources who agree with the author generally outnumber those who don't by a factor of five or six.*</p>

<p>Presume you knew her status R?</p>

<p>I think I understand what you mean. At the beginning of the summer, I was absolutely certain that I would apply ED to Princeton. In fact, I was almost 99% sure, that it was the school for me. But there was that 1%. And that 1% said that I could screw myself if Princeton didn't give my parents enough financial aid. </p>

<p>So I just waited for someone to say that same thing. I already knew what I wanted to hear to change my mind, but I was waiting for someone else to say it. </p>

<p>Although, I don't regret my change of mind. I know that choosing to apply early is a very difficult decision for a student.</p>

<p>Momsdream- Wonder then what he would need to hear to change his mind! Interesting isn't it, how the message we give kids about the "value" of education clearly permeates so often!</p>

<p>Cheers- I was unaware of this, thanks. I read her articles from time to time- not always. I guess she goes in with her mind made up, not very journalistic. The least she could do is go in knowing that there would be things she could hear that would change her mind.</p>

<p>Davidrune- Exactly. People could have told you any other potential negative, and it wouldn't have mattered. You knew what you needed to hear. I hope it works out well for you.</p>

<p>I do like the idea of this question.</p>

<p>Now that I get it, that question does sound very useful. It tells you where your limits are on being sold on a school or idea. Kind of gives a perspective on what is most important to you in choosing something.</p>

<p>I agree about Gina Kolata. I work in biomedical research, and she once wrote several articles in the NYT on a disease that I was working on at the time and knew something about. It was clear that she was not at all interested in presenting a balanced discussion of the controversies involved. She had an axe to grind and was not interested in any facts or theories that were not consistent with her point of view.</p>

<p>Robyrm, You have asked a question that is worth a fortune if it could be answered. This is a question that I am sure both presidential campaigns are asking. The answer is that it varies with the person. It is virtually impossible to change someone's mind who is not open to changing his mind. You can talk till you are blue in the face and lay out all of the reasons and consequences. </p>

<p>Kids and colleges are an odd situation. Some kids are so fragile or just so whimsical, that an unfortunate or fortunate comment at the right time can make a difference. some are so hardheaded that you can't budge 'em for anything. I remember when I was in Pittsburgh, a number of kids who really should have gone to small, nurturing schools where Penn State, main campus bound. Those who got in did not fare well, as their parents feared. It did not take a genius to see that those kids where not ready for a big school when they were just so disorganized and unaware of their surroundings. Their peers who did not get in were lucky. Some stayed home a year and commuted to Pitt, others went to smaller schools, and they tended to do well with the extra attention,either from their families or the schools. </p>

<p>On the other hand, you get kids that get set on something for a short period of time, and then do a 180 degree turn. Mine is like that and it is driving me crazy. He is totally into going a direction then suddenly he will shift with no warning or logical reason and is equally set in going that way. And the shift generally has no connection to the arguments and reasons why he should have shifted, so the change in direction is not necessarily positive.</p>