Opinion

Readers React: There are places to learn besides ‘elite’ colleges

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Sather Gate at UC Berkeley, where the freshman admission rate is about 15%.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a counselor at Cleveland High School in Reseda, I see kids and parents every day who are anxious and worried about college. Therapist Anja Stadelmann Wright’s belief that giving students extra time to take the SAT might ease this nervousness doesn’t address the underlying cause for anxiety, which is the belief that without straight A’s, high SAT scores and extensive community service, kids won’t get into an elite college, and thus will be failures in life.

Graduating from an elite college does not guarantee someone success or happiness. People are caught up in name-brand colleges and they don’t spend enough time evaluating what campus would be a good fit for their child.

I want kids to think about what schools could meet their needs. UCLA is a great school, but there are many large classes. A former student attending Harvard dislikes the “classism” and wishes he went to a different college.

If more parents went into the college applications process with their children’s individual needs as their highest priority, anxiety levels would decrease.

Lori Howe, Encino

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To the editor: The writer fails to examine her assumptions and offers a solution that perpetuates what she complains about.

Her shortsighted answer to the problems of college admissions anxiety is to increase the time for taking the SAT and ACT. This is no surprise when she adds a statement she assumes is general knowledge: that the United States is home to some of the best colleges, thereby validating the cutthroat culture of college competition thriving in our high schools.

When the college dropout rate is around 50%, student loans threaten our economy, and employers spend time re-educating unprepared graduates, perhaps Stadelmann Wright should be questioning the financial incentives of SAT owner College Board and the financial relationships between colleges and student loan programs instead.

Margaret Light, Carpinteria

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To the editor: Stadelmann Wright details three consequences that would result if college admissions tests gave students an extra hour in which to complete them: It “would make the test less stressful for all students, reduce the advantages enjoyed by those with the resources to take multiple practice tests, and remove incentives for gaming the system or taking performance enhancing drugs.”

Using Wright’s logic, I extend her argument to the medical profession. What would happen if surgeons were given an extra hour to perform an operation on a burst appendix?

David Tulanian, Las Vegas

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