If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the New York Times is more or less a newspaper about getting your kids into an Ivy League school. The paper’s knows their audience, so they host Q&As with important deans, devote entire blogs to the admissions process (with a grave name: The Choice) and report on dubious trends meant to stress out children and their parents alike. So it’s no surprise, really, that today’s edition of the paper has an entirely laughable article about a specific essay prompt on last Saturday’s SAT. As in, not even all the kids who took the SAT last Saturday had the same question. “SAT’s Reality TV Essay Stumps Some” is what the Times calls it, and the thrust of the piece comes from posters on a message board called College Confidential. Goddamn nerds.
According to the Times, “few questions on the so-called Big Test appear to have provoked more anxious chatter,” but then they qualify that statement by limiting it to online communication and texting. (Presumably, the SAT has been talked about more online every year for a while now, and how the newspaper got a hold of everyone’s text messages we may never know, but that’s not the point.)
On a college message board, the user “littlepenguin” wrote, “This is one of those moments when I wish I actually watched TV… I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively… I kinda want to cry right now.”
The user “krndandaman” responded: “I don’t watch tv at all so it was hard for me. I have no interest in reality tv shows…”
What a bunch of weenies these children are.
First of all, everyone taking the SAT is supposed to already know that the prompt doesn’t matter. “The primary goal of the essay prompt is to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their writing skills,” said the SAT’s executive director. Someone else notes, “everything you need to write the essay is in the essay prompt.” But because the paper is catering to these aspirational, upper-middle class whiners (and because it’s a very professional newspaper) they can’t tell it like it is.
I will: shut up. And tell your pushy parents to relax. This is the weakest education faux-controversy imaginable. If you’re spending your free time posting on a message board called College Confidential, then you probably have nothing to worry about when it comes to admissions. And also, you’re being lame. “Stumps Some,” Jesus Christ. When you get into school, whether it’s Cornell or Columbia, and you’re sitting in the dining hall that first week yapping about your stupid SAT prompt, or worse, scores (!) then you’re only going to make friends with people like you. Deeply uncool people. Because talking about high school — or posting on message boards! — is not what college is for. Fucking Jacob Riis, are you kidding me?