Wednesday, October 25, 2006


See, Tolkien Boy? I can make corny puns too.

I interviewed for a job today in which I would be evaluating undergraduate admissions applications for a large state-run university (I'm self-conscious of the publicness of my blog at the moment, and trying to be careful here). A large portion of the interview was devoted to my feelings on diversity. It's a good thing, as far as this job goes, that I could honestly say that I enjoy being surrounded by people from diverse backgrounds, and that, in fact, I feel more at home in Seattle than I did in Orem because of the diversity here. I was glad, too, that the interviewers seemed to agree with my feeling that diversity means a lot more than racial diversity--the fact that students at the anonymous university in question come from diverse parts of the country, having had diverse life experiences, and representing diverse religions (an interviewer's comment, not mine, and I'm pretty sure she was not just referring to the Church of Satan) makes the student body diverse.

I enjoy diversity and I believe that a person's unique perspective on life, which may very well be related to that person's cultural background, should be one of the factors considered in working to create a student body that promotes a well-rounded learning experience for all involved. Despite my wildheaded liberalness, though, I have my reservations. Of the two practice applications they had me evaluate, the first was a girl who had a 3.9 GPA, good test scores, and lots of extracurricular involvement, including active membership in the NAACP. She also wrote a great essay. If I were making admissions decisions (and, to be clear, even if I get this job I will not be making decisions, just recommendations), she would be accepted in an instant. The second, though, was a guy who had a 2.7 GPA, okay test scores, and an awkward essay about moving to the U.S. from Hong Kong. For fear I would be considered a Euro-centric bigot if I said I didn't think this guy should be admitted, I said it would be a tough decision. I pointed out that he did take a lot of honors and AP classes, even though he didn't do too well in them, which shows that he is a hard worker, unafraid of a challenge. Honestly, though, I had a lot of friends in high school with traditional Chinese parents, and I suspect it's more likely that he took honors and AP classes because his parents forced him to. They might have even chosen his entire class schedule for him. And, you know, for every Chinese immigrant applicant who took hard classes in high school and didn't do well, there are a dozen Chinese immigrant applicants who took hard classes in high school and got a 4.0. And can write a decent essay even though English is their second language.

But then, maybe I'm misjudging my interviewers. Maybe my honest answer is the one they were looking for.


Tolkien Boy said...

I don't get your corny pun.

And I'm happy for you. If sad for me. Fortunately, my happy for you outweighs my sad for me.

And, as Melyngoch no doubt thinks is right, I would fail that test.

B.G. Christensen said...

Obviously, you aren't de-lightful, de-licious, or de-verse enough to get it.

And it might have helped if I spelled it right the first time.

Th. said...



Th. said...


Wait! I just got it! The veristy's from university! Right?

Th. said...


Oh! And it's a reference to the preceding post!

TK said...

I agree with your 'honest answer'. He may be a great guy, but if he didn't do well, academically, in high school, how's it going to get better in college? Unless he first learns to pick up the slack, before entering, he's just going to be wasting his time. He might do better making an alternate choice; why waste his time?