Man, I wish I'd waited just a little bit longer.
In a December blog post, I contemplated the "thought experiment" of using a lottery to decide admissions to elite universities.
But just a few days later, the author of that thought experiment published an article where she really gets down to the essence of the message: "In fact, we should discard the notion that admissions is a meritocratic process that selects the 'best' 18-year-olds who apply to a selective university. When we let go of our meritocracy ideals, we see more clearly that so many talented, accomplished young people who will be outstanding leaders in the future will not make it to the likes of Harvard, Stanford and Yale."
Any student wanting to go to a selective university, and any parent of a student thinking of going to a selective university, really should read "Harvard students and DOJ will find answers elusive in quest to learn about admissions decisions."
I'll also repeat the main idea from my post last month: selective schools may not literally use a lottery to decide who gets in, but it's really helpful to pretend they do. Getting in doesn't necessarily mean you're more qualified than all the people who didn't, and getting denied doesn't necessarily mean you're unqualified.
Congratulations to all the students who have heard good news from early applications! It means you're both good and lucky, and that's worth celebrating.