The young genius who wrote Black Lives Matter 100 times for his Stanford application essay

I’m kind of awed by the young genius described in “Student gets into Stanford after writing #BlackLivesMatter on application 100 times” (CNN). Can we think of a better example of someone able to get into the mind of a modern day university bureaucrat?

I wonder if genius will inspire imitators. What better way to assure a college that you’re not going to rock the groupthink boat than to clutter one’s application with references to “progressive activist” events? As there is no way to verify attendance, an applicant could play Xbox all through high school and fabricate an impressive resume of activism. Can the Stanford admissions officer question the statement “I went to the Boston Women’s March”? Impossible! Even if the officer happened to be in Boston and happened to attend the march, he or she could not know about everyone who attended. Telling details can be cribbed from media or Facebook reports. Why didn’t you get an A in Calculus? “I was too busy protesting Trump.” Why weren’t you elected president of any groups in your high school? “I was too busy knitting a pussy hat.”

13 Comments

  1. FL

    April 6, 2017 @ 4:28 pm

    1

    I’ve read Stanford applications with a professor friend of mine. He may have submitted an essay portion with BLM 100 times, but I’ll guarantee you he had an otherwise solid application (grades, etc.). So he got in in spite of his essay, not because of it.

  2. dean

    April 6, 2017 @ 4:53 pm

    2

    LOL comment #1, almost everyone who applies to Stanford has solid grades and background and most of them are rejected, many of them with stellar essays.

  3. Jeff

    April 6, 2017 @ 4:59 pm

  4. superMike

    April 6, 2017 @ 5:49 pm

    4

    If you look, he has a website that is pretty much a conventional college essay

  5. George A.

    April 6, 2017 @ 5:52 pm

    5

    Do some more Google’ing on him and you will see [1] that he got accepted to Yale and Princeton University too in addition to Yale. I know nothing about this kid but if his grades are not up there and was accepted to all those 3 universities just based on his easy of “#BlackLivesMatter” written 100 times, then something is very wrong with our admission process and education system.

    Unless NBC News got this wrong (i.e.: he is not accepted to all those 3 universities) then CNN and any other news organization that is not highlighted this fact (even NBC News’s highlight is on this fact is very small compared to the rest of the article) tells you how news is no longer about informing the readers any more, it is about creating sensation to build audience.

    [1] http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/teen-accepted-stanford-after-writing-blacklivesmatter-100-times-application-n742586

  6. dean

    April 6, 2017 @ 6:06 pm

    6

    This fits well with regular @philg complaints that USA does not do hard consumer products anymore (unlike South Korea) and that rich successful celebrities did not have to work hard academically. Maybe Stanford is looking for alums who will create money magically out of thin air and skip diminishing returns of laborious work. On the lighter note, I think that most people who do not deliver relatively complex final products live and operate under influence. Maybe they threw darts at Stamford to select applicants, and allocated larger area share for some groups of candidates. I observed following question from an MIT recruiter who supposedly was on the case for days to an undergraduate applicant with well documented and spelled out list of practical achievements that included first places in various Olympiads, developed projects that won prizes and top places in cross-school athletic competitions, not even mentioning 4+ GPA, perfect SAT and subject SAT scores and various US scholarships: “Hmm, school #XXX. So what have you been up to in the last few years?” It sounded like the questioner was either disturbed or under influence.

  7. jack crossfire

    April 6, 2017 @ 7:07 pm

    7

    He could be a future president.

  8. superMike

    April 6, 2017 @ 7:51 pm

    8

    I know I’m entitled white guy, but isn’t this kind of “activism”, in its astonishing righteousness, evidence of some kind of entitlement or privilege? It’s beneath him to even have to explain himself?

  9. superMike

    April 6, 2017 @ 7:52 pm

    9

    an entitled; self-righteousness

  10. billg

    April 7, 2017 @ 1:27 am

    10

    @superMike: is entitled anti micro righteousness the same as reverse societal identity discrimination? These are the kinds of questions university admissions offices must bravely answer in a post-Hilary era by ranking hashtags above SAT scores.

  11. Tom

    April 7, 2017 @ 5:10 am

    11

    Just the humble son of a billionaire hedge fund manager from Bangladesh.

    Hey, what about the black lives back in Bangla? Never mind.

  12. philg

    April 7, 2017 @ 1:51 pm

    12

    Tom: It does look like he is from a smart family! http://www.princetonmagazine.com/ziad-ahmed-redefy/ says “The son of a hedge fund manager and a stay-at-home mom who does property management,” so it looks as though the mom can qualify as a real estate professional under IRS rules and thus the family can avoid paying income tax on the father’s hedge fund income because it will be balanced by depreciation losses on the luxury real estate portfolio. Maybe he thinks that Black Lives Matter because it will be black Americans who pay the income tax that his family avoids?

  13. F

    April 17, 2017 @ 8:11 pm

    13

    If I was one of the many applicants competing for a spot at Stanford, I’d make sure that my essay would be the best essay I’d ever write. If I got rejected for someone who just wrote black lives matter a hundred times, I’d be furious.

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