Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Teenager with ambitions

The following article is worth reading, especially if you or anyone in your family struggled to get into university. It is about entry to university and was written by Suzy Lee Weiss, a year 12 student at Taylor Allerdice High School in the USA.


Unfortunately there are a few hidden facts.

  • The sister of this teenage girl is an associate editor on the Wall Street Journal. 
  • The article has been widely reprinted. 
  • The writer did get into a very good university. Apparently she applied to more than 20 universities and was accepted by 10 of them. She did get to choose.

Nevertheless I think she makes some very sound points.

            I get sick to the teeth of people who set up charities which are actually only established to enhance them and not the recipients. There is one particular potential politician around here who plays that game often. And then there are the Foundations that are only for taxation purposes.

            Studious people are frequently overlooked in favour of wanna-be celebrities. University is supposed to be about learning not personality. It is the quiet achiever who helps the world the most. The high-flyers are not always the long term success stories.

            You can not judge a book by its cover. The CV may be overstating some work. The manager of household services may actually have been the person who phoned for a cleaner. The volunteering may have been only once a month, not twice a week. And more.

            The students, the course, and the university must be matched carefully. A degree in English literature from Cambridge is not very useful if you live in Alice Springs. A PhD in astrophysics from Beijing is wonderful if it helps you contribute to the world, but not much use if you end up unemployed in Nigeria.

            Some teenagers are mini versions of parents acting out their own fantasies. Is it the parent or the child who has done the work? The training schedule? The motivating?

Read it. Watch the video clip. Think about people you know.


  1. Hi Louise, I know when my kids were in school we were told if we wanted to donate, they would be able to play sports instead of mainly on the sidelines. A lot of kids can't find a job unless they work for mom and dad. It didn't teach them how to stand on their own two feet if something happens to mom and dad. I got a lot of criticism for allowing my kids to make decisions when they were 16 years old. I let them decide what they wanted to do and I have a daughter who has a degree in construction engineering. My oldest went into the service, but I made him check out every branch before I signed his papers, and our middle one had to pay for part of his schooling because he didn't have a good advisor who had him in senior classes when only a freshman. It taught them to stand on their own two feet. My hubby's health issues started when my oldest was a freshman in high school so I didn't know what our life was going to be like and I wanted them to be able to succeed in what they wanted to do. I just wanted them to get an education. Have a great day. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend.

    1. You sound like a very caring parent. Isn't it strange how within the same family the children can choose such varied pathways?

  2. Both my daughters have gone through the US university system achieving grants and scholarships because of their grades. Sheer hard work, and a vision. There are lots of opportunities out there. I suppose the rich kids that get in with football scholarships help to keep the schools going. I think it all evens out in the end.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I won scholarships for some of my studies and so did my husband, but our children did not. Darwin is a very attractive destination for Chinese students who enrol at university here. Because they are not Australian Citizens they pay full fees, which can mean $30000 per year for their parents, plus living expenses.


Comments are welcome. Every comment on every blog contributes to linking people from many different countries and cultures. Eventually we create a more peaceful and understanding world.