Craig Wilson, April 3, 2013 Final Word
If all else fails, go for an NCAA “Cinderella” school, like Florida Gulf Coast.
Tina Fey plays an admissions officer at Princeton University in her new movie, Admission. Poor dear.
Over-prepared and highly competitive students are paraded across the ivy-covered campus, followed closely by their over-prepared and highly competitive helicopter parents who take the term to new heights. While amusing, there was something kind of depressing about the scenario playing out on the screen.
It made me realize I could not get into college today. Any college. I was just a good student who played tenor sax in my high school marching band. I wasn’t that good on the tenor sax, either. Or marching. Just ask Mr. Plummer, my music teacher. He’ll tell you.
I don’t recall my parents being part of the admissions process, either. Child abuse by today’s standards. I think I even filled out my own applications. Miracle I got accepted anywhere, really. Then again, it was 1967. Campuses were under siege back then. Admissions counselors were probably taking cover rather than taking account of my average SAT scores.
This is the time of year when high school seniors find out if they get into the Princetons and Stanfords of the world. If not, their lives are pretty much over, of course. A failure at 18.
This is also the time of year when American colleges take center court in what’s affectionately known as March Madness, although much of the madness happens in April. It all climaxes Monday with the championship game in Atlanta.
Along the way, there’s almost always a “Cinderella” school, the little engine that could, an obscure school that moves up much higher in the rankings than anyone thought it could. Or should. This year, it was Florida Gulf Coast, a college most of us had never heard of and a college one Georgetown alum said sounded like an airport.
She said that, of course, after the “airport” convincingly beat her highly touted and overconfident Hoyas early on.
It reminded me of a colleague of mine years ago who would repeatedly tell me, in just about every conversation, that she went to Penn. Not only that, the reminder was always followed up with the distinction that Penn was not Penn State.
I said I knew that. Penn State has the better football team.