I was dismayed by recent letters (May 16) regarding admission to Princeton. I live in rural southern California among small towns and cities. The income level is average; so are the high schools. I interviewed 28 applicants this year and well over 100 in the past 10 years. Of those interviewees admitted to Princeton, none came from families able to pay full tuition. Some received 100 percent scholarships. None had an “elaborately financed” résumé or was “driven by parent managers.”
How sad that some fail to apply because the chance of admission is small. It would be a small life indeed if we only sought things we were certain of achieving.
Princeton turns down some wonderful young people. I once interviewed a girl whose parents had split; she lived with her mother. When her mother ran out of money, she and her younger sister went to a foster home. She never stopped pursuing her education while playing mother to her sister. Later they returned to their mother. With what she had been through and her fine school record, she was a very good candidate for Princeton. But she was not admitted.
I emailed her, saying I was sorry; there are simply too many good applicants for Princeton to admit them all. She replied that she understood, but was honored that a school such as Princeton took her application seriously and interviewed her. Alumni interviews create a vast amount of goodwill for Princeton. Few of those I interview are interviewed by other institutions. Interviewing applicants is enormously rewarding. There are many, many good kids out there. Perhaps the world is not going to hell in a handbasket after all.