I was reading an essay in the Wall Street Journal about affirmative action and the research-based negative results that occur as a result of mismatching. To summarize, the whole process ends up being more destructive than constructive in that students who are admitted through affirmative action tend to be isolated because they cannot perform academically, they tend to abandon majors in math, science, and engineering more quickly than other students, and their self-confidence plummets. They call this phenomenon mismatching because of the wide discrepancy between the rigor of the school and the capability of the student. Hence the solution is to align kids with colleges that are more suitable for them.
One of my roommates at Berkeley (I say “one of” because I lived in a triple my freshman year.) faulted the system for accepting her, yet not providing the resources and the mentoring to help her succeed. She was Latino and eventually left after our 2nd year. She makes a valid point, but I have a counter-point to all of this. And that is…take accountability! I have been saying that a lot lately and think that is the root of most people’s problems: lack of accountability.
Problem: I hate my job. Solution: Take accountability and find something better.
Problem: I have so much credit card debt. Solution: Take accountability and start paying it off.
This is not rocket science, people. It’s called life and life is manageable if you get off your ass and do something about whatever is bothering you or keeping you from finding glory.
Back to affirmative action. If you’ve had your heart set on Princeton and believe you may have gotten in because you’re part Cherokee, then take accountability! It’s not hard to determine whether or not you’re mismatched for a school. Let me walk you through it. We all take standardized tests, yes? What’s your score? Let’s say it’s 1100. I’m alluding to my age because I know the SATs are no longer on the 800 – 1600 grading system I remember. Or are they? I have no idea. Ok back to the example. Your SAT score is 1100. You find the average SAT score of Princeton and you see that it’s 1350. That’s a guess, but let’s just say that’s what it is. All these stats are easy to look up, so no student can feign ignorance. Whoah! That’s a pretty big delta. 1100 compared to 1350? What do you think that tells you about the school you’re about to enter? Mainly, you’re going to have to work pretty damn hard to compete. This is where self-awareness comes to play. Do you think you are a hard enough worker to be able to compete or not? Are you willing to forgo sleep to study your ass off?
Getting into a school and then matriculating should not be a shock. It’s quite simple, actually. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am pro-affirmative action. But given my stance, I would also expect 100% accountability on the student’s part. Know the stats. And be self-aware.