Congratulations, Kwasi Enin. You happen to be a 17-year-old Long Island, N.Y., high college student who applied to all eight of the nation's elite Ivy League colleges &mdash and received acceptance letters from every single one particular of them!
For this astounding feat, you now get to be pilloried where no great deed goes unpunished, on the Online.
That's an unfortunate portion of the price 1 pays for becoming black and vibrant in the age of affirmative action.
As 1 of the far more printable responses posted on Reddit place it, "With superior credentials than the guy in the report my white fiance only got into two Ivy schools, and I only got into a single Ivy with equivalent scores. 2250 (Enin's SAT score) is not that good, and frankly I believe that this kid is going to have a tough time keeping up if he goes to a college like Yale."
We'll see. In fact, Enin hardly sounds like an academic slacker. His SAT score of 2250 out of a possible 2400 puts him in the 99th percentile for college-bound African-American seniors nationwide, according to the SAT's website, and the 98th percentile of all college-bound seniors.
"Hell, I am an Asian-American who got 2210 on my SAT," wrote one of Enin's defenders, Princeton student Benjamin Dinovelli in The Each day Princetonian. "In spite of the 40-point distinction, my acceptance was not littered with shocks of surprise or comments from others about how I did not 'deserve' to get in."
Enin also ranks 11th &mdash properly inside the major 2 percent &mdash of his class of 647 at William Floyd High College, a large public school in Long Island, according to the New York Everyday News, which initially reported his story.
But SAT scores and class rankings are only the starting of the admissions process at elite colleges these days. They are not the final arbiter. Considering the fact that applicants to the Ivies are like Garrison Keillor's description of the kids of Lake Wobegon, all above average, admission becomes what candid academicians describe as a crapshoot.
It is not for absolutely nothing that the Ivies are referred to as exclusive. Acceptance rates variety from a mere 14 percent at Cornell University to an even a lot more meager five.9 % at Harvard.
Faced with a flood of 98th- and 99th-percentile achievers in SAT scores, college admissions officers place a premium on other elements, which includes racial and ethnic diversity. Exclusivity has its advantages, but no college these days desires to be perceived as becoming as well white.
By that common, race would be an obvious plus factor for Enin, but not his only 1. He also is a shot-putter, sings in his school's a cappella group, plays the viola and volunteers at a hospital. He's also on track to full an impressive 11 college-level Advanced Placement courses by the time he graduates.
Soon after all of that superior-faith effort on Enin's component, I am significantly less troubled by how considerably race could possibly have weighed in his favor than I am relieved by how small it seems to have weighed against him.
What all of us Americans must find troubling is not Kwasi Enin's historic achievement but the larger concerns it raises about why we never have extra higher-achieving blacks and Latinos in the education pipeline, so race would not have to be a plus-factor.
In that regard, each sides of the college admissions debate are missing what may perhaps be the most important aspect of Enin's good results: He's a kid of immigrants. His parents are nurses who immigrated from Ghana, studied at public colleges here and reportedly stressed the worth of education to their son from an early age.
Similar circumstances assist to explain a startling improvement that Harvard professors Lani Guinier and Henry Louis Gates Jr. reported ten years ago to a black Harvard alumni gathering: As numerous as two-thirds of Harvard's black undergraduates have been West Indian and African immigrants or were their children or, to a lesser extent, youngsters of biracial couples.
The lesson? Culture matters. Americans are reluctant to talk about culture for fear of raising suspicions of racism. But, as Yale professors Amy Chua of "Tiger Mom" fame and Jed Rubenfeld argue in their new book "The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Clarify the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America," we have a lot to understand from how some cultural groups succeed better than other individuals &mdash inside every race.
Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at chicagotribune.com/pagespage.
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