When Getting In Is Hard to Do

14 02 2008

“It’s capitalism gone nuts, but it’s also absolute socialism because everyone is born with the same number of points,” says Justin Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy.

So somehow you prepare your teen to win the college admissions competition, get into a good college of their choice. And somehow you’ve figured out how to cover the costs. Now the real competition begins. Apparently once a course becomes popular, everyone wants in and there’s not enough room, who knew??

College decisions and choices could be be less conscious choice than like catching a virus, see the “behavioral contagion” of romance (happy Valentine’s Day to all) and the “social contagion” of falling in — and then out of — love with the hotly contested Best In Show at Westminster?




One response

14 02 2008


One chuckler from the getting in story:

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they have, not surprisingly, turned to technology. For its humanities requirement, MIT asks students to rank the courses they’d most like to attend. If your No. 1 class is not in demand, then you’re in. But if that class is overenrolled, a computer program chooses randomly among all the students who ranked that class as their first choice.

The system had a cameo in Doonesbury a couple of years ago. A character at MIT fails to get into her top choice, then complains that the lottery isn’t fair. “Perhaps you should consider a course in probability,” the professor replies dryly.

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