College – U. Got It?

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Big news in higher ed today: Rutgers University is paying Snooki $32,000 to come “speak” at their college. The price tag to have the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison speak at graduation? Only $30,000.

Wish we were April foolin’ you. But it seems to be true. And just because Rutgers and other colleges act like fools from time to time, that doesn’t mean you have be foolish about your actions when it comes to college.

Some college-bound students have a unique way of self-destructing shortly after their acceptance letters arrive. Some succumb to senioritis, some forget to send in their confirmation deposit (yes, it does happen), and some – well, some people just do dumb things.

In my own experience, I saw a formerly promising student completely tank the second half of senior year, causing her to lose her scholarship to the school. She was still admitted, just not with as big a welcome as before. To me, that’s much more embarrassing than being rejected outright from a school; it’s like being invited to a party and having the host say to you, “Sure, you can come, but I just won’t let you eat or drink anything.”

Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but some high school students do get it sooner rather than later. Take Brian D., a soon-to-be freshman at Emory University, who is puzzled by the antics of some of his classmates.

“I think that after working so hard for all of these years to get into college, it’s stupid to mess it all up because of some silly bad decisions,” he says. The solution? In his opinion, “My classmates should slow down and think about what they are doing and its ramifications. Don’t waste everything you have worked for and think about your decisions in your last few months of high school make them count.” He is quick to add, however, “But that being said, I am enjoying my last few weeks of high school because they are my last and I want to remember them.” Well said, Brian.

But as it turns out, it’s not only students who play the fool during the college admissions process.

Kamala Appel of is a former recruiter and alumni interviewer for Yale’s Office of Admissions. Despite the lofty status of her former employer, she still recalls the time that she totally got dissed by a principal when she was calling high schools to set up recruiting days.

“I had one principal laugh hard at me and hang up,” she says. “He didn’t believe that a rep from Yale would want to come do a presentation at his (diverse) school in San Francisco. ‘Yale wants to come here? Yeah right. No one here’s getting into Yale. I’d just be happy to see them graduate and leave. Ha! Ha!’ Click. I was floored.”

But Appel remained the adult in the situation. “Another recruiter would have written [the school] off, but I didn’t want to punish the kids for the rude and idiotic behavior of their principal. So much for leadership and faith in your students,” she says. “I did end up going after talking to the assistant principal; she was very apologetic.” And as for the rude principal? “I shared some choice words with that principal when I met him in person. He was a fool, to put it nicely, and not just on April 1st.”

The thing about fools is that the joke is usually on them. So don’t be a fool–keep your eyes on the prize and save the (harmless) hijinks for your first spring break.

–Barbara Bellesi

  • Snooki doesn’t even deserve the right or privilege to have her name in the same sentence with Toni Morrison!! And never thought in my entire life that I would read anything that included both Snooki and Toni Morrison in the same vein of discussion, but props to Rutgers for making it.