29 November 2008

This Idiot Goes To Cornell

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about six kids preparing and applying to sundry universities across the United States. Normally, I would read these stories of over-achievers and maniacal parents and move on, but one of the six stories really stuck out to me--for all of the wrong reasons.

Consider Ramond King. Given that his parents hiply-misspelled his name, nothing in this story should come as a surprise.
When Dartmouth College rejected Ramond King last December, he blasted Radiohead's "Let Down" and tried to figure out why he wasn't at least put on the wait list. He had a 3.9 grade-point average his senior year, took five Advanced Placement courses and won the headmaster's cup, an award to the student who showed the most personal growth at the Branson School in Ross, Calif.

A few weeks later, as he was finishing 13 applications, Mr. King's college counselor called with a possible explanation. On his application, where he'd described his course load, Ramond had spelled chemistry as "chemestry" and literature as "literatre." The errors appeared six times.

"When it happened, of course, I'm freaking out," Mr. King says. Before he'd sent that Dartmouth application, his mother, father and sister had studied each word, scouring for mistakes. But the errors were on a page he filled out on his own and gave to the guidance office to complete with recommendations.

In his next round of applications, the errors were corrected. This time, he was accepted to five schools, including Cornell, where he is now a freshman. He says blatant misspellings can be fatal to an application (ed. note: seriously?): "I try and laugh about it now," he says.

Advice: Check every section of an application immediately after finishing it, as well as before sending it. Many college counselors recommend printing out an online application and proofreading the hard copy.

In 13 applications, he misspelled the same two words 6 times. One time on one application--that I would understand, but 6 times out of 13 applications makes me think this kid is a complete idiot who still isn't sure how to spell "chemestry" or "literatre." And it's not like he consistently misspelled those two words in all 13 applications. He only screwed it up 6 times. Presumably he got it right the other 7? Who knows?

Cornell, you deserve whatever you get from Ramond King.

Also, I'm no longer accepting the "Cornell is a 2nd tier Ivy" crap I've been hearing all of these years. Sorry, not when your frosh applicants are pulling stuff like this.

[ed. note: if someone emails me in a couple of years to tell me that King became a Rhodes scholar, I'll eat my words.]

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.