This article in the New York Times discusses the “new super people:” Kids, who by 18, have resumes that most 40 year olds would be proud to show.
I’ve long been concerned that kids, and many parents today, still don’t fully appreciate the competitive environment that is growing for our kids. Many, if not most, parents I know think the kids get too much homework, rather than too little. While I too want them to have a carefree childhood, I’m painfully aware that they won’t get into a good high school, say nothing to a good college or good job, if they don’t step it up a notch, or maybe six notches.
Even the most brilliant students have to work harder now to make their nut. The competition for places in the upper tier of higher education is a lot tougher than it was in the 1960s and ’70s, when having good grades and SAT scores in the high 1200s was generally sufficient to get you into a respectable college. My contemporaries love to talk about how they would have been turned down by the schools they attended if they were applying today. This is no illusion: 19 percent of applicants were admitted to my Ivy League school for the class of ’71; 6 percent were admitted for the class of ’15.
This New York Times article outlines what we’ve all heard anecdotally for years, and perhaps have wanted to ignore. We’ve heard of kids who were AP, high SAT scores, volunteered at a hospital and still didn’t get into any of their top schools. What we have brewing is a situation where even the best kids won’t make it into the country’s better schools because competition will be just too tight between those who are simply great students, and those who, by 18, have already made a mark on the world. I’m not saying this is the way it should be, but as the world opens up, our kids, unless we really restrict international recruitment, will compete with the shining stars from countries that very different ideas of bucolic grade school scenes where kids frolic all day in the grass rather grooving multiplication tables at age 4. (China, India, Korea: I’m looking at you…)
I have no data to support this brain drain, except my own eyes, but my prediction is that by the time my now 7 year old is ready for college, he will be looking far beyond California or even the East Coast for prime schools. He will be weighing options in Europe, South America, and Asia for schools that fit his needs, and where he stands a chance to gaining admittance.
Is that scary? Yes, but it’s an unstoppable train at this point. Ignore it at your kids’ peril.