In her view, Suzy Lee Weiss did everything right.
The Pittsburgh high school senior has a 4.5 GPA, scored 2120 on her SATs and worked as a page in the U.S. Senate.
Still, she didn’t get accepted to any of her top colleges, including Princeton, Yale or the University of Pennsylvania.
So she took to the Wall Street Journal to vent her frustrations, penning an acid-tongued (and she says satirical) open letter to the schools that rejected her. In the line of fire: diversity (she has as much “as a saltine cracker”) and even her mom and dad, who “gave up on parenting” their youngest daughter and left her with “a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate.”
Colleges tell you, “Just be yourself.” That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.
What could I have done differently over the past years?
For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. “Diversity!” I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage.
Having a tiger mom helps, too. As the youngest of four daughters, I noticed long ago that my parents gave up on parenting me. It has been great in certain ways: Instead of “Be home by 11,” it’s “Don’t wake us up when you come through the door, we’re trying to sleep.” But my parents also left me with a dearth of hobbies that make admissions committees salivate. I’ve never sat down at a piano, never plucked a violin. Karate lasted about a week and the swim team didn’t last past the first lap. Why couldn’t Amy Chua have adopted me as one of her cubs?
Then there was summer camp. I should’ve done what I knew was best—go to Africa, scoop up some suffering child, take a few pictures, and write my essays about how spending that afternoon with Kinto changed my life. Because everyone knows that if you don’t have anything difficult going on in your own life, you should just hop on a plane so you’re able to talk about what other people have to deal with.
Her letter, published a week ago, prompted a storm of online commentary, with one person calling her “an entitled little brat” but others applauding her for speaking the truth about the college admissions process.
Weiss said it was all in fun, and that she wrote the letter after her mother grew tired of hearing her moan and complain about the rejections.
“It’s a satire. That’s the point. Just like ’30 Rock’ is a satire, which pokes fun at things that are politically correct. That’s what I was trying to do,” she said Thursday on NBC’s “Today.”
And she said diversity itself is a good thing, but that it’s perhaps given too much weight.
“In this day and age, we’re being judged on things we cannot control, as opposed to things that we can,” she said. “It’s such a rat race nowadays days and it’s such a business model as opposed to who’s most qualified should get in. It’s a crap-shoot and I understand that.”
Weiss said she’s gotten job and internship offers since the letter was published, and did receive acceptances to plenty of other schools as well, including the University of Michigan, Indiana and Penn State.
She said she’s still undecided about which she’ll choose.