From Higher Ed, at Lew Rockwell:
Mr. and Ms. Moses must make sure the twins qualify for the Ivy league if that’s where they want to go. Don’t want them ending “up having to go, God forbid, to Rutgers,” she writes. So the twins have had plenty of SAT and ACT tutoring at $125 per session. Of course on top of this are the fees paid for the actual testing and travel to all these places of higher learning. Plus, an additional consultant is on the job to counsel the male twin to not do anything stupid that could jeopardize his chance of admission. Moses considers the consultant a bargain at $701.25 so far.
$701.25? Around here, they want a $3000 retainer.
I think things are changing, though. It's not like the old days. Although the clubby signaling part of the elite schools still is a factor in life, it's much more of a factor in social life than in the world of work and career. From an academic standpoint, the value in an elite degree is that you were able to get in there when you were 17 or 18.
It says nothing about what value you have to offer, today.
When I went to college, they interviewed to see whether you had good deportment and manners, and could discuss Milton, Rembrandt and Ovid intelligently in a conversation. You could flunk out, and everybody had tough requirements for graduation (including Math).
In the so-called elite colleges today, I think they are looking for just a few things:
1) Can this person fill the oboe slot in the orchestra?
2) Can this person help make our girls' Squash Team a contender?
3) Can the Dad write us a check for $400,000?
4) Is there any reason to take this kid instead of the Asian kid with better scores and grades and more developed talents (other than the fact that he or she isn't Asian)?