Now I’d never put my kids through that, but I could put together something based some college research and people I do know… Hey son, Harvard sent you a 4 page letter and invited you to their information session. And you say they sent an e-mail on the behalf of their Asian community? Funny, I never got into Harvard, though I did see go over to see Yo Yo Ma there. Maybe it was my 1976 essay that the F-14 Tomcat would never be replaced by the F-18 Hornet fighter jet (umm, that’s what the Navy did last year..) An ACT 30 composite puts you … nearly average and a 34 in math is just about the 99th percentile. Holy smokes, I just told you last month your SAT scores would never get you into MIT, but taking this other test improved your chances from impossible to merely highly unlikely.
But a 25 in reading is BARELY in the top QUARTER! Do you think that’s really good enough for Harvard? American born Asians beat everybody in reading, but what happened to you? Yeah, it’s nice you’re the star worship drummer, lead, sound and powerpoint, put together a band for graduation and got yourself into a FBLA trip to Nashville, got the model tennis player award and nailed a “1″ in the cello solo. Cousin Jack had higher scores, state music and state athletic awards, most popular student, and he STILL got turned down by Stanford. That Zeng kid with perfect ACT scores, his name came up every 90 seconds at the awards ceremony but ended up at U Chicago, nice but not Harvard.
Your Yeh-yeh walked halfway across China to college and your grandma walked to kindergarten dodging Japanese bombs. Yeh Yeh arrived too late for his first classes but he still aced the finals. Grandma barely caught the last plane out of Shanghai before Mao took over. Yeh Yeh got himself a graduate scholarship at USC where he shook hands with JFK (but he voted for Nixon) I was one of TWO babies Grandma raised before she finished her chemistry degree at Immaculate Heart. Uncle Jason got written up in Readers Digest and got a full scholarship to Boston University. Your mother escaped from Vietnam in a sinking boat looking out for pirates, and grew bean sprouts to sell at the camp. She paid her own way through U Mass and supported her younger brother and sister on restaurant tips for THIS?
You guys have sooo many any Asian classmates, but we were practically the only Chinese in Renton before they put up the Great Wall Mall. Go to the hallway and look again at that newspaper picture of the 7 us as kids where everybody played violin. Yeah, blame us for that whole Model Minority story. I had to walk a mile in the rain and frost to school taunted by kids who called us Japs or worse. We all played in the Seattle Youth Symphony and got into MIT or Stanford or both, and I was concertmaster and MIT’s first right wing columnist long before Rush or Fox news. Now your cousin is a swimming star at Stevens and his pal got into the Naval AND the Air Force academy. Linda got flown out to Wellesley AND Whitman for free tours, where’s YOUR tickets? (ok so nobody else we even heard of on the entire internet ever got even one ticket…) Her parents from Vietnam never even went to college. Do you think Amy Tan makes this stuff up?
Your departed Yeh yeh made promise you wouldn’t end up at some public school like the University of Washington. Yes, they rank #16 in the world now, and we have friends who moved to Seattle from Texas and Kansas for the U-dub, but even they turned down that kid that ended up at community college when they turned him down even with perfectly decent scores and grades and it’s as hard to get into computer science as Brown. There’s always Santa Clara University which is a great country-club Stanford-alike, and Tufts for Harvard, and Worcester Polytechnic for MIT. Now that Coast Guard Academy trains you to play with big toys with guns and they ALMOST never get hurt. When I applied for college they didn’t have that NSA scholarship that pays 4 years at any college (those are the “No Such Agency” guys who tapped into bin Laden’s satellite phone). The CIA also has a full scholarship program which might actually give Asians a minority break if you don’t mind being a spook and not telling anybody who you’ll work for.
If I weren’t American born, your fanny would be soooo sore now. You’re going to have to take that SAT again. I’m taking out your bedroom DVR, Sprint internet and text message plan. I don’t care if they give you 4 hours of homework now. They’ve raised the bar and times have changed. Now go out, have fun, and remember that no matter where you end up …. WE’RE REALLY PROUD OF YOU!
If any of you kids or parents have happy / horror stories, please join in the comments.