The Only College Confidential Post You Should Ever Read

Subject line: “Athlete Going to Columbia–Is Columbia Fun and Preppy!” Behold:


I am pretty sure that I am going to Columbia for crew next year, and I am very excited to be in NYC, but I come from a super traditional and preppy boarding school, and I actually love that lifestyle, and don’t want to lose that in college. I get that Columbia is a cultural melting pot filled with incredibly smart people from all over the world, and I totally appreciate that, and that is one of the reasons I like Columbia, so I can open my horizons.

BUT… I have grown up in a preppy environment my whole life, and some of you might say that I am an elitist, but I love the tradition, the lifestyle, the community, the clothing, and the education. I want to make sure that I am still getting part of that experience that I love and have grown up around.

I don’t want to be the only person dressed in hunter rainboots and a barbour wanting to go to a kegger party, and I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of intellectuals chain smoking cigarettes on the Lower steps 24/7. This is a little silly, but I also want to make sure that there are boys I can date here that share at least some of the things that are important to me…


To the author, username abullock: they’re called the Low Steps. And—please—pick another school.

Meet Alex Jaffe, Princeton’s Newest Most Eligible Bachelor

Before yesterday Alex Jaffe was just another nice Jewish boy from the Upper East Side trying to find his soul mate in the rough and tumble dating world that is Princeton University. But now Alex is (probably) the hottest commodity on campus, thanks to his mother Susan, who sent in a letter to The Daily Princetonian urging female undergrads to go out and find themselves a man (specifically her son). Here she is, describing him for all the single females out there:

“My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless.”

Well, if it wasn’t before, it sure is now.

You can read about the curious content of the letter elsewhere, but now please turn your attention to the new poster boy of the Princeton singles scene.

Here’s what we know about Alex:

  • He’s from New York City
  • He uses his mother’s last name on Facebook
  • He went to the elite Stuyvesant High School
  • He scored an 800 on one section of his SATs
  • He plays the French horn
  • He likes theater
  • He wears a lot of orange (a lot)
  • He’s a member of the Princeton Brass Ensemble AND the Princeton Wind Ensemble

Here’s hoping that Alex has the good sense to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and marry an intellectual equal. A word of advice though ladies: This Tiger likes it rough. Just check out his neck.

There’s a Huge Party at Princeton Tonight, and You Are Not Invited

Multiple sources have forwarded us a Facebook chat transcript, produced below, between two Princetonians: one, an “old money Azerbaijani freshman” (according to one source) who tonight is “dropping ~$20k on a massive party” at Princeton’s Colonial Club, the other a “sorority girl” and Tiger Inn member who really — like, really really — wants to attend said gathering.

We’ve replaced their names (and those of their friends) with Princeton alumni of historical and cultural import — a gesture of charity, sure, but also practicality: the whole transcript is kind of bleak and harrowing once you realize that flesh-and-blood Princetonians really do appraise and sort each other in the manner portrayed here.

Full, horrible transcript, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Brown Daily Herald Columnist: ‘Universal Suffrage Is Immoral,’ ‘I Read Atlas Shrugged Once’

Meet Oliver Hudson. Oliver is a junior at Brown University, where he is editor-in-chief of the campus’ conservative magazine the Brown Spectator, and writes a regular column in the Brown Daily Herald. Today, Oliver focused his writing on a topic he appears to be quite passionate about: voting rights.

“Most of us accept and celebrate our universal suffrage. But is it a good idea? In my view, no.”

Rather than allow every adult U.S. citizen to vote, Oliver argues, this “privilege” should be based on taxes. As he writes, Restricting the right to vote to taxpayers is moral and practical. Sounds like someone really dug that Ayn Rand seminar they took last semester.

If Oliver ran things around here, people wouldn’t just be voting wherever and whenever they pleased, no sir. Right now, the voting population is comprised of two groups: Those good hearted people who pay their taxes and give the government revenue, and another set of people who then take that money in the form of “benefits and programs” — or “stuff and things” — but may or may not pay their fair share. And for Oliver, if you don’t pay, you shouldn’t be voting, because a vote for a federal representative immediately decides where the government’s money goes. Read the rest of this entry »

Harvard Legacy: Down with Affirmative Action!

Oh my. From the Crimson:

Helping those with primarily low academic qualifications into primarily academic institutions makes as much sense as helping the visually impaired become pilots. How would you feel if you were assured before going into surgery that your surgeon was the beneficiary of affirmative action in medical school? I do not see why higher academic institutions should lower their standards for admission.

PLOT TWIST: the author is—hiss, hiss!—a legacy:

In a way, I am the product of a sort of affirmative action, and it takes a terrible psychological toll. My father went to Harvard College, which makes me a legacy. I am kept up at night by the thought that simply because my father has attended and donated to the University, I might have taken the spot of a more qualified applicant. My name is not exactly “Sarah Wigglesworth Hurlbut Coop,” but I am still a legacy, and the thought of its bearing on my admission is somewhat terrifying.

May blogs diagnose new disorders? The author appears to be suffering from the delusion, largely indigenous to New England and the Tri-State area, that life is like the Harry Potter universe, where young wizards are admitted to Hogwarts by way of pure destiny and magical envelopes, rather than SAT tutors and enormous parental donations. This legacy actually seems to believe that she could not have attended any other school, or just not applied to Harvard in the first place, thereby saving her years of suffering, of thinking she doesn’t actually belong at Harvard.

And to answer the burning question: of course she took the spot of a better applicant. Probably a far better one. What else are legacy admissions for? Rescuing endangered animals?

Dartmouth Admissions Officer: Apply Early, Be Rich, Be An Athlete

This weekend, Business Insider posted excerpts from an interview with a former Dartmouth College admissions officer, who revealed some trade secrets on how to get in to an Ivy. The full transcript is worth a read, and can be found here, but here are a few of the best lines:

“It’s much easier to be admitted during Early even though most schools tell you it’s just as competitive, it’s simply not true … it is much more difficult to be admitted during regular.”

“There weren’t many people I knew at Dartmouth who were white middle class. A lot of student come from the top quartile of the income spectrum, which makes it an elite institution not just in academic quality but also in pedigree.”

“Athletics can be a powerful vehicle into an elite institutions … Athletic admissions drags down academic quality as one could argue does minority admissions.”

Harvard Students Attempt Satire: ‘Asians…practically indistinguishable from one another’

The Harvard Voice — “Harvard University’s premiere student-life publication” — recently published, then retracted, the following paragraph:

You can always spot the Asian contingent at every pre-interview reception. They dress in the same way (satin blouse with high waisted pencil skirt for girls, suits with skinny ties for boys), talk in the same sort-of gushy, sort-of whiny manner, and have the same concentrations and sky-high GPAs. They’re practically indistinguishable from one another, but it’s okay. Soon, they will be looking at the same Excel spreadsheets and spend their lunch talking about their meaningful morning conversations with the helpdesk of Bloomberg. Uniqueness is overrated when you make six-figure salaries.

The Crimson says the paragraph was eventually scrubbed from the listicle (“5 People You’ll See at Pre-Interview Receptions”), to which the Voice’s editors appended the anonymous author’s response (which, incredibly, was also deleted):

Clearly, I’ve been censored, which in itself is an interesting reflection on free speech in America. If you couldn’t tell that this article was satire, then we have bigger problems than me being ‘offensive.’ (If you are curious to know what the censored stereotype is, just take a quick look around the room. JK!)

And then the author took it all back, launching into a careful—yet honest, yet brave—discussion over how to confront the racial resentment that continues to plague the Ivy League. JK! That probably would have been deleted too.

[The Crimson]

“I am a liar”: The Early Poetry of Jonah Lehrer, Columbia Undergraduate

Jonah Lehrer never wanted to be a journalist. As a Columbia University undergrad in the early 2000s, Lehrer — who gained notoriety this summer for his shoddy journalistic ethics, which led to the end of two magazine staff contracts and the recall of his best-selling book — just wanted to sit around and write poetry. In 2000, Lehrer was one of the directors of “The Columbia Review,” a campus literary journal, in which he declared, “I want to be a poet like Smokey Robinson.” An unconventional choice, no doubt, but the man did write “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.”

Perhaps more revealing to Lehrer’s present situation, though, is a passage we discovered in a poem of his titled “The Frustrated Monologue” (bolding below ours):

“to reveal
the terrible truth
hidden inside the detail.
I am lying and I am a liar
and the rocks of Flaubert are blue
because blue is a cliché.”

So, forget the self-plagiarism, the falsified Bob Dylan quotes, and everything else that Lehrer messed up on, guys. The man’s not a journalist, he’s a poet! This makes everything better, right? Right?

No. Read the rest of this entry »

Columbia Might Want to Quit Journalism, Diplomacy, Sending Email For a Few Days

This is embarrassing (and disgusting):

Sheherazad Jaafari, 22, asked [Barbara] Walters to use her influence with admissions tutors at Columbia University earlier this year, months after she helped the broadcaster to secure an exclusive interview with Mr Assad for ABC News, according to emails revealed this week by The Daily Telegraph.

In a statement yesterday, Columbia confirmed that Miss Jaafari would be starting at its School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) this September, but strenuously denied that her application had succeeded as a result of unfair influence.

That last bit is wrong, based on Columbia professor Richard Wald’s correspondence with Barbara Walters:

From: Richard Wald [XXXXXXXXX]

Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 10:30 PM

To: Walters, Barbara

Subject: Re: Updates

The degree she is applying for is not in the Journalism school but in International Affairs. However, through the Admissions Office network, I will get them to give her special attention. I am sure they will take her.

We can’t decide which is more foul: Walter’s quid pro quo, or the recently-leaked emails of State Department official and Columbia alum Brett McGurk, Obama’s nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq:

McGurk has so far refused to comment on a collection of racy emails he purportedly exchanged with reporter Gina Chon while both were working in Iraq in 2008. McGurk, who was married at the time, was serving as chief negotiator during the 2008 U.S.-Iraq security agreement talks. Chon was covering the negotiations for the Wall Street Journal. McGurk later divorced his wife and married Chon.


The emails are sexually explicit with references to masturbation. In one, Chon jokingly refers to reporters as vultures attacking sources, to which he replies, “If treated to many glasses of wine — you could be the chosen vulture.”

McGurk also talks about bringing the reporter with him to dinner with a leading Iraqi politician. He ultimately does not, but later writes, “I had a very good day with the Iraqis … the best yet. Can’t tell you about it of course. But you should definitely stay past Sunday.”

Columbia! Get it together!

Poor People Don’t Go to Brown, The Coolest College Ever

Brown University, the tropical island to which celebrities deport their children, doesn’t have poor people:

Under 50 percent of students receive financial aid, and a majority of students pay full tuition — $53,136 in the current academic year — which itself is more than the median U.S. household income.

But but but! That has nothing to do with Brown’s ubiquity in substantial, thoughtful television shows which refuse to fetishize the lives of wealthy teenagers for the aspirational attention of their flyover peers:
The O.C., FOX’s hit drama running from 2003 to 2007, heavily featured Brown. In the first three seasons, main character Seth Cohen — a pot-smoking, geeky, comic book lover with a witty sense of humor — had his sights set on Brown. Yet in a plot twist, Seth is denied admission, and instead, Summer Roberts — his superficial, valley-girl girlfriend — is offered a spot.  Read the rest of this entry »