The New York Times, ever obsessed with higher education, has finally published a piece that those of us who went to UChicago actually care about. Because there’s nothing that makes you feel like your $200,000 education was worth it like an article that says that if colleges keep getting so many applications, it won’t be worth anything.
Basically, as anyone who either was a tour guide, or knew someone who was a tour guide, or knew that tour guides existed, knows, the University has done a pretty large image overhaul in the past few years, or even decade, to make the school more user-friendly. A full removal of the “nerd” aspect of the school hasn’t really occurred, but some aspect of the oft-mocked school culture has definitely been lost, as demonstrated in several instances in the past few years. This past year, for the first time ever, the three sororities on campus, had to actually turn girls away who went through Rush, instead of finding everyone a place in their perfect Greek organization. There was also a huge spike in instances of alcohol poisoning among first years. And I have it on good authority that the shifts in the admissions staff have come with it a request that interviewers and tour guides not use the word “quirky” when describing the student body.
But this isn’t really a post about how the University might not be as good a school (though it certainly seems that that could be the future). It’s a post about how on earth Eric Hoover, the author of this article, tracked down the following individual, proud member of the class of 2010, for these quotes on the state of the College:
“Perhaps the University of Chicago will end up trading one kind of exclusivity for another. Marshall Knudson says that some students on the campus fret that the university will lose its niche as it attracts more applicants, while other students see the declining admissions rate as adding value to their degrees.
Mr. Knudson, who graduated from Chicago last spring, chose the university for its ‘feverish intellectual vapors.’ As a freshman, he protested the adoption of the Common Application, fearing it would diminish the culture of the university. Looking back, Mr. Knudson is skeptical of such ‘utopian visions.’ He doubts any university could deliver an experience that matches the story it tells the world beyond its gates. ‘People like to promote a vision of what makes them unique, but it’s just wishful thinking,’ he says. ‘It was a great education. I’m glad I went there. But I don’t think it ever lived up to its ideal.’
‘And maybe that’s the value of an education,’ he says. ‘It helps you realize the limits of an ideal.'”
Yea. The University taught you nothing. This has helped me realize that what the University taught me is that I prefer Mr. Knudson to the following individual:
“Maya Lozinski, a freshman at Chicago, grew up in Menlo Park, Calif. She had never heard of the university until it sent her a postcard. Ultimately, Chicago was her first choice. She says the university is becoming ‘normal,’ more career oriented. She liked the maroon scarf it sent her. She also liked its declining admissions rate. In 2004, Chicago accepted 40 percent of its applicants, compared with 18 percent this year. ‘I wouldn’t have applied a few years ago — I would have felt overqualified,’ says Ms. Lozinski, who had an A average in high school and scored a 2370 (out of 2400) on the SAT. ‘A college’s admissions rate says something about the quality of students who go there and the prestige of it.'”
Yea. You’re overqualified. And you have horrible taste in scarves.