[FoRK] New Yorker article on Ivy League admissions

mattj at newsblip.com mattj
Wed Nov 2 13:30:33 PST 2005

Quoting Jim Whitehead <ejw at soe.ucsc.edu>:

> Fascinating recent article in the New Yorker on Ivy League admissions 
> In short, the admissions essay was introduced by Harvard as a  
> mechanism to control the number of Jews attending Harvard.

Although Gladwell's article says that the faculty considered Jews to be
"grade-grubbing", it doesn't mention that they also considered them "grinds".
Specifically, they felt that the Jews were not *naturally* gifted, but 
only got
such good grades because they stayed indoors and crammed all day, unlike the
healthy, all-American WASP students who could through a football. Gladwell
doesn't quite notice this connection between the anti-Jew and pro-athlete

BTW, there's an interesting story about Paul Samuelson, who led MIT's 
department to greatness.  It's widely believed that the reason Samuelson, who
was an instructor at Harvard, didn't get a counter to MIT's offer was that he
was Jewish.  Coincidentally, his nephew Larry Summers eventually became
President of Harvard. (Summers' father changed their name from Samuelson to
avoid discrimination.)

Gladwell writes:
> Each year, Yale carefully measured the height of entering freshmen, 
> noting with pride the proportion of the class at six feet or more.

They recorded well more than that.  There's an interesting scandal there.

-Matt Jensen

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