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Letters of acceptance and rejection are starting to trickle into mailboxes around the country

(2011-04-08 11:20:37)




For millions of high school seniors, the college application process is almost over. Letters of acceptance and rejection are starting to trickle into mailboxes around the country. Now, it's time for high school juniors to begin the grueling race to get into college. But as Andrew Ferguson learned the hard way, they should have started earlier - years earlier.
对于数百万的高中毕业生来说,大学申请已接近尾声。全国各地,录取通知书、拒信也已纷至沓来。现在,是高二学生开始这场激烈的,大学申请竞赛的时候了。但是Andrew Ferguson 的切身体会是,他们应该更早就开始,几年前就该着手准备了。
Ferguson recently helped his son with the application process, an experience he writes about in his new book, "Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid into College." Andrew Ferguson, who is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, joins us in our studio. Good to have you with us.
Ferguson 最近刚刚帮他的儿子完成大学申请,他把这段经历写成了他的新书《疯狂的大学申请:一位父亲的速成课》。 Andrew Ferguson是旗帜周刊的资深编辑,今天做客我们演播室。欢迎你。


Mr. ANDREW FERGUSON (Author, "Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid into College," Senior Editor, Weekly Standard): Well, thank you for having me.

ANDREW FERGUSON (《疯狂的大学申请:一位父亲的速成课》的作者,旗帜周刊的资深编辑):非常高兴能来参加这个节目。


NEARY: You're not writing about getting into just any college; you're talking about kids and parents who want their kids to get into, I guess you would call it the right college, a selective college. What colleges are we talking about? 

NEARY: 你的书讲的不是普遍的大学申请,而是侧重那些希望进入,我猜你会称之为理想大学,好大学的孩子和家长们。那我们今天要谈论的主要是哪些大学呢?


Mr. FERGUSON: There actually are gradations that people in the industry use, which is highly selective, selective, less selective and then below that. And I think that most of the people sort of in the middle-class of America really have their sights set on that selective school or even the highly selective school or even, be still my heart, Harvard or Yale.
FERGUSON: 教育界的确对大学有一个分级: 竞争激烈条件苛刻的,入学要求高的,要求较低的和更低的。我想美国绝大部分的中产阶级家庭只关注入学要求高的甚至那些竞争激烈条件苛刻的学校,更有的家庭一心只想进哈佛或耶鲁。
So, this is a book not just about how to get your kid into school but about the experience of trying to get your kid into school and surviving it. And, you know, these very particular kinds of schools.
NEARY: Now, when you got started with your son, right away you came up against this feeling that you had started too late. He was a junior and you felt almost immediately this was way too late.
NEARY: 就在你和你的儿子开始着手准备的时候,你就意识到太晚了。他当时是高二学生,而你已经觉得太迟了?
Mr. FERGUSON: Right, right.
NEARY: Is that true really, or...
NEARY: 实际上真是这样吗?
Mr. FERGUSON: Yeah, I think it is true in a sense. How it happened was, I went to see a smart and efficient woman who charges $40,000 to parents to get their kids into school, and it's sort of a soup-to-nuts program that she gives. She gets the kids in there in junior high or freshman in high school and teaches them how to write college application essays and how to train for the SAT. And I went up to see her talk to kind of a seminar. And I had people telling me that they had started compiling their brag sheets, as they're called, kind of horrifyingly, for their children all the way back into fourth and fifth grade.
FERGUSON: 是的,从某种意义上来说,的确是这样的。当时让我产生这种感慨是因为我去了一位聪明且高效的女士那里,她收取$40,000的费用为你提供全面的大学申请辅导。她那里有高二和高一新生,教他们如何写大学申请短文和如何准备SAT考试。我去听了她的一个培训,令人震惊地,那里的家长告诉我他们从4、5年级就开始搜集准备,用他们的话说“吹牛纸”所需的资料。
So, they'd been collecting things like videos of their athletic performances, tapes of music recitals that they done, papers they had written, mentions they might have had in the local paper. And so you just have to remember when your kid is applying to school, he's competing against parents who have been at this a lot longer than you have.
NEARY: Well, it makes you think that maybe an average kid can get into these schools.
NEARY: 嗯,这使你认为一个成绩中等的孩子也有可能进入这些大学。
Mr. FERGUSON: Well, an average kid can get into it because it's totally irrational. Let's say the college admissions officer thinks the tuba player in the band really stinks and they need a new tuba player in the marching band, and he goes looking through all the applications to find a great tuba player. So, it may be somebody without a great SAT score, without a great GPA but who's really damn good at the tuba.
FERGUSON: 嗯,一个成绩中等的孩子的确可以进入这些学校,因为大学录取本身就相当的不合理。比方说大学招生人员觉得学校乐队的大号手很糟糕,他们的军乐队需要一位新的大号手,他们就会在所有的申请者中找一个好的大号手。因此,可能一个没有很高的SAT分数,GPA也不太好的,但大号吹的非常棒的人就被选中。
NEARY: Well, one of the things you talk about too is that kids have to be sort of self-promoters in order to do this.
NEARY: 对了,在你的书中还提到为了申请成功,孩子们还得会自我推销?
Mr. FERGUSON: Yeah. It's awful. When you start to fill out an application, a college application, which is really just a questionnaire, which is very simple to fill out, but the hard part is the college essay. The college essays are generally questions that call upon emotions that don't necessarily come easily to a kid like mine.
FERGUSON: 是的。这个很让人头疼。在你要填写的申请资料中,大学申请类似于一份问卷,这个很简单,难的是大学申请论文。这类论文的题目大部分都需要较多感性的内容,这对我儿子这么大的孩子来说不太容易.
I was talking to one of the college counselor once and we were having a terrible time writing these essays, 'cause they were questions like, you know, tell us your most embarrassing moment or, you know, if you could be a puppy what kind of puppy would you be and stuff like that. And my son's just pulling his hair out. And I said I don't know how to help him.


And she said, well, just tell him that he has to dig down deep and, you know, tell us his innermost thoughts. And I said, lady, he's a 17-year-old boy; he doesn't have innermost thoughts, and if he did you wouldn't want to know what they were and neither would I. But this is the kind of bind that you get yourself into.

她说:好了, 就告诉你儿子他必须往深处挖掘,告诉我们他内心深处的想法.我说:夫人,他只是一个17岁的男孩,还根本没有什么内心深处的想法,即便有你也不会想了解,我都不会. 但是这种状况让人感到左右为难.

NEARY: Yeah. You almost give the feeling that you would be a bad parent if you didn't buy into...

NEARY: 是,这给人一种感觉就是如果你不随大流这样去做你就不是个好父母。

Mr. FERGUSON: Well, I certainly would say that, but there are a lot of people around, and it was said to me. This college counselor I met, she said it sort of jokingly but she said bad dad, when I told her that we hadn't taken an SAT prep class or done a college tour yet. And he was a junior at the time. And I did feel like a bad dad, but on the other hand, I didn't sort of decide that I was going to give up parenthood or all the kinds of things that we had in our family that still bound us together.

FERGUSON: 的确是这样的,周围的人都这么做就会让你有这种感觉。我遇到的那位升学辅导员,虽然是开玩笑的口吻,但当我告诉她我们还没参加SAT辅导班,也没参观过学校时她说我是个坏父亲。我儿子那时是高二学生,我也的确感觉自己是个坏父亲。但从另一方面讲,我并不想改变我们家温馨融洽的氛围和那些把我们紧紧地连在一起的事物。

You know, people say what's your one bit of advice, and I say you'll hate to hear it, but my piece of advice is relax. Your kid's going to get in somewhere; it'll probably be in the top three of the schools that they wanted to get into; the kid will be happy and you'll survive yourself.


NEARY: And your son did in fact get into a school that he was happy about.

NEARY: 你的儿子最终进了自己喜欢的学校?

Mr. FERGUSON: Yes, absolutely. Our first meeting with his college counselor at high school involved him telling the counselor what kind of school he wanted, and my son being my son said, look, I want to go to a school where I can go to a football game, take off my shirt, paint my chest in the school colors and major in beer. And you should have seen the look on that college - this was the guy who was going to write him his recommendation. I was just delighted that my son was like that.

FERGUSON: 是的。在高中我们第一次见他的升学辅导员,他被问到想上什么样的学校。我儿子一如他的一贯作风说道:我想去的学校是我能在那里看一场球赛,脱去上衣,在自己的胸前画上代表学校的颜色,而且可以主修啤酒专业。你可以想象那位老师当时的表情--这是要给他写推荐信的老师。我挺高兴我儿子会这样说。

But as it turns out, that's where he went. He hasn't painted his chest yet, but pretty close I think. And he's definitely majoring in beer.


(Soundbite of laughter)



NEARY: Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard. His new book is "Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid into College." Thanks. It was fun talking to you.

NEARY: Andrew Ferguson 是旗帜周刊的资深编辑,带来他的新书《疯狂的大学申请:一位父亲的速成课》。谢谢你的参与,和你聊天很有趣。

Mr. FERGUSON: Well, thanks for having me.



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