Dec

1

Brush up on your analogies, kids…

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This just in from Bwog correspondent Addison Anderson:

bubble sheet“There are two male high school kids standing on College Walk, one of whom wants a Columbia student to take the SAT II for him.  He asked me if I was a Columbia undergraduate, and when I said yes, he said “Okay…so the SAT II is tomorrow…and I haven’t studied.  I’m ready to lay out a thousand bucks for someone to take it for me.”  Meanwhile his friend looked around like this was a drug deal.  I was shocked, intrigued, then ultimately wary of the possibility these ‘kids’ were undercover Daily News reporters, so I passed on the offer and mumbled something about a very important naked party I needed to get to.  Anyway, I saw them still out there later.  The kid ready to lay out the grand is short, stocky and sullen, and his friend is tall, skinny and sullen.”

Bwog would not be averse to a cut of the profit if a successful match is made. 

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34 Comments

  1. Comment

    (1) Bwog needs more articles tagged "patheticness".
    (2) Only $1000? Was this the SAT II Math IIC (the one where you can get 8-9 questions wrong and still get an 800) or something?

  2. hmm  

    I heard that the tall, skinny, and sullen one is actually an undercover Ann Coulter.

  3. mlt  

    Dude, the same kid asked me if I would take the SAT II for him- but he only offered me $500. For $1000 I might have reconsidered...

  4. IRT

    I'd take the SAT II for him, but he wouldn't like the results. Better front the $1000 too.

  5. Asian  

    I told him that I coudln't because I'm Asian. He looked at me kinda funny and then I reminded him that they check photo IDs now.

  6. Create

    Yeah, like cheating is something new.

  7. Create

    Rich kids at the Ivies have been cheating for three or four centuries. Why stop with the SATII?

  8. Create

    You know, it's the typical, self-congratulatory tone of this article that gets me. So someone offered you a thousand bucks to take his SATII ... So I guess that puts you on top of the world!

    CU loves to preserve elitism, displace Harlem residents and small businesses, and brag about themselves all day and night.

    • Beth Gabor  

      Wow, I really don't think that was the intent of the post at all. I think the bwog was just doing its usual schtick and reporting on the odd occurances that go down on the Columbia campus. And you have to admit there are some truly bizarre things that happen here. :p

      $1000 could have paid for a lot of test prep classes, too!

    • Alum

      I agree with 11 & 12. Besides, there is nothing "self-congratulatory" about the story. The author wasn't the one invited to take the test. And for all we know neither the invitee nor the author did well on their own SATs.

    • Addison  

      I think the person with a thousand dollars to spend on a test bribe is probably of a more elite status than the college student walking home from another dinner at Pinnacle, but that's just me. I congratulate that kid on not needing to go to college.

  9. Why the hate?  

    Chill out, #s 9 and 10. The article's meant to be in good fun, about a random and humorous encounter- I'm sure that if you were there, you would find it funny, too. Quit being bitter and getting worked up about nothing.

  10. Smart@$$

    Self congratulatory?
    We are far too intellectually superior to waste time being self congratulatory. Obviously.
    Don't hate us just because we are smarter than you ;-)

  11. wrong  

    Elite schools' missions are to handpick those who already have great skill sets, give them a world-class education, and send them out into the world so they can do even more. Elite schools aren't about remaking society in some murky image of equality. They're about giving advantages to those who can make the most of them.

    Is this you, Bryan of SUNY?

    http://search.americansingles.com/n/nyc/nycvibe/
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=15260029

    • create

      The admissions standards are what are murky. To apply the same standards across social boundaries, instead of devising a more credible merit system, is what is murky. There are HUGE achievement gaps in education--mostly because of the effects of past discrimination which continue to proliferate.

      "Those who can make the most" of the advantages that you refer to are disproportionately middle to upper class, from the suburbs and/or whose parents are highly educated. This is not to say that these students are not talented. However, these students have had distinct advantages all of their lives, which have created the right circumstances within which they are better able to meet the criteria that were established by their forbears. Their advantages continue to grow exponentially, while those who were not lucky enough the benefit from very specific circumstances, would be in danger of losing, exponentially, were it not for public education.

      We are not dealing with a meritocracy. We are dealing with a plutocracy. Similarly, the area that Columbia wants to expand into is Harlem, not Manhattanville.

      • mlt  

        I really don't know where you get this image that all Columbia kids are stuck up, elite, and have had a silver spoon in their mouths for their entire lives. Most Columbia kids probably come from a similar backgroud as you (I'm assuming)- middle class to upper middle class, down to earth, socially conscious, and certainly not prone to bragging about our status, however you see it. Try coming down to campus for a day, dropping your prejudices, and seeing for yourself what goes on here, instead of relying on hearsay, stereotypes, and whatever else is floating around the cabal.

        I do see something in what you are saying about disadvantages in higher education- of course, the people who have been given a lot earlier in life are going to have a head up over those coming from less fortunate backgrounds. But instead of attacking Columbia for not accepting the underadvantaged and turning itself into some type of remedial university, why not go after the problem at its source, like the lack of universal pre-K, income inequalities and the growing divide between haves and have nots, or any of the other problems that are out there. To call out Columbia for not doing its part is for the most aprt ineffective, because it adresses the problem long after the chance to effectively solve it has passed.

        Finally, since when is Columbia expanding into Harlem? Last time I checked, CU had its eyes set on Manhattanville- a geographically seperate area from Harlem.

        • create

          I did not say anything about "all" CU kids--I said a disproportionate number of CU students are from a certain demographic. And I didn't say anything about "white," either. (More evidence that the mindless SAT reading comprehension scores are of dubious value).

          • Create...  

            half the people at Columbia are on financial aid...hardly the bastion of privelege you make it out to be.

          • Anonymous  

            I don't know if that's precisely true. Or rather, if it is true, I suspect it's a misleading statistic. I'm willing to bet you that a large percentage of the Columbia students who receive financial aid are in fact only getting loans (LOL, nice aid, Columbia!) or a relatively small grant package. These individuals could very easily be middle class or even above. I have a suspicion that to be from a family that receives NO financial aid whatsoever, not even a loan package, probably makes one relatively wealthy. Maybe you know some counterexamples to this, and I could easily be wrong, but I'm pretty sure most of my middle-class friends at CC were receiving at least some minimal aid. I know a lot of them weren't totally happy with the amount they were getting, but they were getting something. So the fact that financial aid is being given out doesn't really prove that there are massive numbers of poor people at Columbia. It would probably be more meaningful if Columbia told us what the median grant package size was. In any case, my own experience makes me think that there aren't that many truly poor people at Columbia, judging by the attitudes I found many of my peers to have about money. To me, as someone who grew up really appreciating the value of money out of necessity, it's unbelievable to see the sorts of beautiful things that some Columbia kids throw away and the frequency with which many freshmen who've already paid for their meal plan for the year will go out to a restaurant just because they're "sick of John Jay" even though it's a waste of money to have to double-pay for meals that way. The stores all around Columbia wouldn't be gentrifying this way if students didn't continue to shop at them, overpriced as they are.

            I think the issue here is we're disagreeing about what makes privilege. Some of the posters here are suggesting that middle and even upper-middle class families are not privileged, and I heartily disagree with that. In my opinion, Columbia needs to make more of an effort to open itself to actual lower-class families before it can be called non-elitist. (And that would, of course, require a lot more money on Columbia's part, so unfortunately it's probably not a step they're willing or able to take right now.)

            Another point worth making is that socioeconomic status isn't the only thing that can render one elite. There are also considerations of race, the fairness with which minorities are being admitted, and whether Columbia's affirmative action policies amount to mere tokenism. I don't think I'm knowledgable enough about that topic to comment on it, but it's probably something else worth taking into account.

            It's also a bit disappointing to me that some posters are responding to this individual's posts by pointing out that he went to SUNY and so forth. Aren't you sort of proving his point that there are indeed some elitist individuals at Columbia? I really don't feel it should be necessary to point out things like that.

      • haha  

        Bryan, I honestly don't know what's sadder. You, a 28-year old grown man whose been out of college for years, turning your wrath on a college, or you, a 28-year old grown whose been out of college for years, turning your wrath on a college which YOU DID NOT GO TO and which YOU HAVE NO STAKE IN WHATSOEVER since you live in Forest Hills and not in the Morningside Heights/Manhattanville vicinity.

        Also, as one of the aforementioned white upper-middle-class kids who came from a white upper-middle-class neighborhood, I can honestly tell you that if my neighborhood is representative of the white upper-middle-class, the kids I grew up with were disproportionately NOT the kind who could make the most out of any situation. They were largely idiots and jackoffs whose dads gave them brand new BMWs and whose moms slipped them some weed every now and then.

  12. Alum

    I think a lot of the animosity in these comments comes from conflating "elite" with "elitist". They don't mean the same thing, and the first does not automatically imply the second.

  13. ah geez  

    so this is what happens when bwog gets plugged on gawker/gothamist, huh

  14. create

    MAY have gone to SUNY ...

    If there were not legitimate concerns about educational inequality, this issue would not be before the Supreme Court: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/washington/05scotus.html

    The SAT is not conclusive evidence of a person's intelligence. And if Columbia relies on it, then Columbia does not really understand Brown v. Bd. of Ed. Or maybe it doesn't care. I think it is probably the latter.

    • Anonymous  

      Partially agreed. You're right that the SAT isn't exactly an intelligence test, and it was precisely for that reason that ETS no longer refers to it as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The SAT seems to have some racial and cultural bias to it. However, there's also a correlation between students' SAT scores and their grades in freshman year of college, which suggests it does have some predictive ability. I would say the correct attitude to take towards the SAT would be to regard it as one way of predicting a student's ability, but not the only way. SAT scores ought to be considered as part of the entire package an applicant presents to the school. As far as I know, that's how the Columbia admissions office regards it.

      What would you recommend that CU Admissions use instead if they were to completely stop considering the SAT?

  15. create

    I don't know. Let me think about it, while we get some more data on the SATII. I am not sure that you can test a person's ability. You can sense a person's intelligence by meeting them and talking to them. But interviews would not be enough, either.

    I think that the University should base its admissions standards on context rather than assigned numerical values. This goes back to my original point as to whether CU's mission is to preserve elitism or to educate. If it is to educate, then it needs to consider the context that has affected each applicant, and build a teaching model that communicates across boundaries.

    Too often, urban youth are written off as being lazy, angry, rebellious, attitudinal etc. If we assume that many of them are, there is a reason for it: Their context is not given due merit. And this is stultifying.

  16. Anonymous

    No offense, but if the SAT were not a measure of intelligence, it would not correlate with tests of general intelligence equally well as those tests of general intelligence correlate with each other. (cite: http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/~reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfred.html)

    the SAT may be intended to measure other things, but even when interpreted as an intelligence test it is fairly meaningful.

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