[lit-ideas] Re: It's gone quiet

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 08:55:35 -0700


On Apr 1, 2008, at 4:47 AM, palma@xxxxxxxx wrote:


what does she want to study? even in very general terms?


my first shot, if I had children would be caltech, where nobody is a rock
star


That would be Caltech which, when I last visited (admittedly several years back), had in the faculty dining room a table reserved solely for the use of nobel laureates?

Her problem in choosing a place is that she has an omnivorous mind; she has yet to find a subject that doesn't interest her and, except when she has a particularly dull or stupid teacher, she enjoys everything. The two answers I've come up with are a small liberal arts college where you get plenty of teaching attention, or a large place with lots of resources. I would be quite happy if she attended Caltech, or anywhere in the West. A six hour plane ride, plus ground transportation, is a long way away.

Why does having a rock star professor matter?

Exactly. It's all part of the weirdness. Consider another part of our experience: seventy percent of the potential applicants in the audience (a rough estimate, but probably not far off) were white females. All of the college admissionspersons described (here I should note that Harvard is exempt from all commentary because, in the busiest period for college visits, they closed their admissions office and went on vacation) their student body make-up thus: thirty percent people of color; fifty-fifty male to female ratio. This means that the overwhelming number of caucasian women in the audience were aiming at thirty five percent of the available slots. My guess is that at CalTech things are different.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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