mitchell stevens on college admissions

wow, now i’m really scraping out the earliest layers of notes, so early in fact that stevens’ fantastic book creating a class came out in the meantime. anyway, just one note from a talk i heard him give back in february 2006, which i don’t think is quite captured in the book.

an application is a bundle of raw materials linked by a story. relatively privileged kids bring more of each raw material to the table, AND they bring more narrative resources in linking them – which makes it easier for admissions officer to evaluate the application.

this, of course, is no surprise to anyone who works with this age kid or this area of research, but for me it puts it in very clear terms. and it makes me think of all the work on how small children are taught language skills differentially by class and race. (if it weren’t a sunny 85 degree 6 pm on friday, i might bother to look up some of those citations.) how many years of practice some of them have in crafting stories that are immediately apprehendible by institutional actors!

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