Monday, June 24, 2013

Would Homer Get Into Harvard?

Harvard professor Helen Vendler, known for making poetry come alive to generations of undergraduates, wrote an article for Harvard Magazine last year on how to nurture the poets and painters of the future, pointing out that great artists are not always great students.  This inspired Mona Molarsky, parent of a current student, to consider "what might appear in his application folder should Homer actually apply to Harvard."  She wrote a letter supporting his application from the perspective of his guidance counselor:

"Dear Admissions Office:
It is with pleasure that we write to recommend a student we think would be perfect for Harvard.  He is one of the most gifted writers to ever attend our high school and his musical abilities are also considerable.  Although Homer has not clocked as many hours in the classroom as some of our students, he nevertheless produced two impressive independent projects that described the Trojan War and its aftermath in dactylic hexameters.  In addition, he has demonstrated a strong sense of adventure and community spirit, wandering from town to town to perform these pieces for local residents.  We can say with confidence that his extracurriculars are very strong.

One point about his national rankings: although he sings his work, accompanies by a small harp, Homer should not be measured against musicians or performance artists.  He's actually a "bard: and ranks in the 99th percentile when compared with others in this category.
Because of the unusual circumstances surrounding Homer's performance schedule, his grades and SAT scores do not reflect his true abilities.  It was not easy for him to cram for pop quizzes or do test prer on the road.  And unfortunately, he had no time for physics, calculus, or any AP classes.  We realize this runs counter to your normal admissions policies; nevertheless, we hope you will recognize the special abilities of this student and see your way to admitting him to the freshman class of 2017."

(from the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Harvard Magazine - I am a little behind in my reading)

No comments: