Skip to main content

Adversity Score

The college admission process in America gets increasingly ludicrous by the day. This was a marquee year by all accounts.We learned among other things of the Adversity Score on the SAT that has already impacted kids during the pilot period. There are so many reasons why this is wrong and asinine that is hard to even enumerate. Kids are already trotting out all manner of sob stories in their college essays to edge out their competition - it always reminds me of the hapless beggars in India who have no choice but to fake a variety of disabilities to coax passers-by to give them some money. Now there will be a thriving business in how best to get the highest possible adversity score and game the system. 

It is so presumptuous of the College Board to quantify a child's environment context. How exactly are they accounting for domestic strife, violence and abuse that the kid may have had to endure behind closed doors of their expensive suburban home. How about the captain of the diving team that suffered from anorexia and had to be hospitalized in junior year? Nothing about her profile of all As, school leadership, community service and athletic excellence would point to any adversity. 

Are such kids not gritty and resourceful just because they did not live in a neighborhood where they heard gunshots outside their window every other night? Is the accident of their birth to family that can make ends meet comfortably a sin for which they must be punished? What if one generation ago their parents worked their way out of the crushing grind of poverty and established themselves well to provide for their family? The fact that they worked hard enough to do so will now hurt their children - their circumstances are not nearly adverse enough.

As always, the families in the middle with average everything will be punished the hardest by such a system. Their kids will fall in the twilight zone along with thousands of others - neither above or below the line. They will overwhelmingly fail to make the cut.


Popular posts from this blog

Under Advisement

Recently a desi dude who is more acquaintance less friend called to check in on me. Those who have read this blog before might know that such calls tend to make me anxious. Depending on how far back we go, there are sets of FAQs that I brace myself to answer. The trick is to be sufficiently evasive without being downright offensive - a fine balancing act given the provocative nature of questions involved. I look at these calls as opportunities for building patience and tolerance both of which I seriously lack. Basically, they are very desirous of finding out how I am doing in my personal and professional life to be sure that they have me correctly categorized and filed for future reference. The major buckets appear to be loser, struggling, average, arrived, superstar and uncategorizable. My goal needless to say, is to be in the last bucket - the unknown, unquantifiable and therefore uninteresting entity. Their aim is to pull me into something more tangible. So anyways, the dude in ques

Fresh Thought

A lot has and will be said by both pro-life and pro-choice activists in defense of their respective positions. You figure you have heard both sides and the argument and neither has anything new to add. Richard Dawkins says something that I had not read before : If you follow the 'pro-life' logic to its conclusion, a fertile woman is guilty of something equivalent to murder every time she refuses an offer of copulation. Such may be intended consequences of taking things to their logical conclusion. His argument might be "logical", but it  ends up diluting the case of pro-choice advocates. It should not be necessary to go quite this far to make a point. In that it does, exposes a weakness or lack of convinction the other side could exploit. You have to wonder if Dawkins had taken his line of reasoning to it's logical conclusion as well.

Part Liberated Woman

An expat desi friend and I were discussing what it means to return to India when you have cobbled together a life in a foreign country no matter how flawed and imperfect. We have both spent over a decade outside India and have kids who were born abroad and have spent very little time back home. Returning "home" is something a lot of new immigrants like L and myself think about. We want very much for that to be an option because a full assimilation into our country of domicile is likely never going to happen. L has visited India more often than I have and has a much better pulse on what's going on there. For me the strongest drag force working against my desire to return home is my experience of life as a woman in India. I neither want to live that suffocatingly sheltered existence myself nor subject J to it. The freedom, independence and safety I have had in here in suburban America was not even something I knew I could expect to have in India. I never knew what it felt t