Tag Archives: high school

Boychicks Six: Back to School

Julian Silver ’12 and Josh Margolin ’11 (the boychicks) are back with a sixth episode, this time recreating the awkwardness of high school in their apartment. Leisurely Axe-spraying by makeshift shoe-box lockers, mentions of both The Great Gatsby and On the Road in ‘English class’, and sexual tension leading up to an underwater-themed semiformal abound.

Reading of ‘Silent Sounds’ Written Works Tuesday Evening

A message from Pamela Tatge at the CFA about a great event happening Tuesday:

Celebrate the writing excellence of students in Middletown Public Schools, grades 6 through 12, and hear their winning submissions of essays, short stories and poetry from the annual literary magazine, Silent Sounds. Middletown High theater students will be reading excerpts of the writers winning submissions.

The Center for the Arts has been publishing books compiling students’ works for the past 13 years in collaboration with the English Department of Middletown Public Schools, with support from Community And University Services for Education. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts, Community and University Services for Education, and the Middletown Public Schools Cultural Council.

What: Silent Sounds student written works celebration
Where: CFA Hall
When: Tuesday, May 7, 6:30 p.m.

Ten Things We Learned About Wesleyan from Reading ‘The Gatekeepers’ in High School

Today, Jacques Steinberg returns to campus. We’re looking back at his classic book.

The man, the myth, the legend—Jacques Steinberg.

The man, the myth, the legend—Jacques Steinberg.

Jacques Steinberg’s The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College is pretty much indisputably the most illuminating and insightful book written in the past few decades about elite college admissions, which Steinberg terms a series of decisions made “behind a cordon of security befitting the selection of a pope.” Conveniently, it also happens to focus on Wes. Steinberg, a journalist and education expert, tracks a diverse group of high school seniors and a then-Wesleyan admissions officer (Ralph Figueroa, currently Director of College Guidance at Albuquerque Academy) as they navigate the 19992000 admissions cycle.

Along with a handful of other Wesleying staffers, I read the book in high school, around the time I decided to apply to Wesleyan, and realized what I had already suspected: college admissions is about as complex, random, and ultimately meaningless as—well, the selection of a pope. It also makes for more thrilling drama than any reality show on TV. Before the rise of CollegeConfidential, The Gatekeepers was the most intimate glimpse at the people on both sides of the admissions process that existed. In fairness, it still is, because CollegeConfidential is a hellish underworld.

Mr. Steinberg, who also founded the New York Times’ “The Choice” blog, where he recently announced his departure from the newspaper after 25 years, is on his way to Middletown yet again. This time, he’s not writing a book about us (we think). He’s coming to lead a talk and Q&A in the Chapel, which is being hosted by the WSA. In honor of this glorious occasion, here’s a round-up of six things we learned about Wesleyan from The Gatekeepers—before even setting foot on campus.

Valentine’s Day Post-Mortem, Part Two: A Freshman’s Perspective

Pictured: chocolate valentines from mom. Really.

Pictured: chocolate valentines from mom. Really.

Valentine’s Day kind of fizzled out when I was in high school. The teachers stopped handing out candy, and unless you had a significant other, the only thing you cared about was your chemistry exam that day. With the occasional joke about being single and forever alone, Valentine’s Day had disappeared as a fun, childhood holiday, expected to make a revival when I got a boyfriend who’d forget to buy flowers.

I expected college to be the same, especially a college like Wesleyan where today’s hookup mentality has been fully embraced. I figured it’d be a nonissue.

Boy, was I wrong.

The hype started on the first day of the semester, when my social psychology professor changed up the syllabus so we’d study interpersonal attraction on this most special of days. I thought that was cute, not realizing how exhausting it would be by the time Valentine’s Day actually rolled around.

A few days ago, the fliers and notices started going out about all the different Valentine’s Day fundraisers and events on campus: a cappella serenades, candy grams, and four-course meals at Usdan. But Wesleyan doesn’t only cater to couples—there’s also a “Fuck Valentines Day” singles Slowdance performance (which I can’t help but wish was actually a bunch of people waltzing without partners).

Pre-College Study Comes to Wes: Rock, Enroll

Today Wesleyan students received an email from President Roth and Vice President Rosenthal announcing the roll-out of a pilot project that will offer online courses (not for credit) to “high-achieving high school students.”

The first suite of online seminars will be offered this summer. The courses vary from environmental studies to music, two of Wesleyan’s self-proclaimed “areas of strength.” So if you have a little sibling who is jealous of your History of Rock and R&B class, can commit to eight weeks of summer school, and has $1,400 to spare, tell hir to check out the Wesleyan Pre-College Study webpage.

Read on for the full email from Rosenthal and Roth (Michael Rothenthal??).

Interested in Teaching?

Despite what Disney would like us to believe, passing high school requires more than good rhythm.

Join the Upward Student Teaching Forum and teach local high school students for CLASS CREDIT!

When: Sept 5th, noon
Where: Woodhead Lounge

“Let’s Get Ready!” Info Session

Martine Seiden ’11 and Julia Alschuler ’11 wants you all to know about an awesome, feel-good happy-time opportunity:

Wesleyan’s Let’s Get Ready is devoted to helping underserved high school students get to college by providing free SAT prep and college guidance. Wesleyan students serve as coaches once a week (either Tuesday or Wednesday) and teach their own class of 3-5 students. Coaches teach either the math OR verbal sections of the SAT and help with the college application process. Please come to an informational meeting to learn more!

If you have questions check out the national website or email the site directors, Martine and Julia, at wesleyanlgr(at)gmail(dot)com.

Applications are due Sunday 1/30 at Midnight!

Date:   Jan. 27
Time:   4:15 PM – 5:15 PM
Place:  Usdan 110

“College Freshman Makes Triumphant Return to High School”


With Thanksgiving Break just around the corner, this Onion piece seems oddly relevant:

“Some of the kids who don’t know who I am will probably just think I’m some hip, young teacher,” the returning hero said as he was repeatedly pushed aside by a crowd of students rushing to get to class. “And I bet those who do know me will be shocked at how much taller and more mature I look. Some of them might even flip out.’

“For one thing, I didn’t have this bad boy back then,” added Doyle, tracing his finger along a finely bearded jawline.

Possible African-American History AP?

While you can take AP classes in 37 subjects (and still only have 2 of them count at Wesleyan), you can’t take an AP on African-American history. Linda Lane thinks that it should be an exam offered and in response critics have begun calling the validity of the Advanced Placement program in general into question:

The difference of opinion points to a number of questions that surround the AP program: Is its purpose to help students place out of introductory courses or to encourage them to study with greater rigor in high school (or both)? Why do some AP programs attract more members of certain ethnic or racial groups than others? Why are black students significantly less likely than the population as a whole to take AP courses? With many competitive colleges expecting applicants to have AP courses on their transcripts, should the College Board be trying new strategies to get more black students involved in the program?

The idea of adding African-American history is the brainchild of Linda Lane, deputy superintendent for instruction of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

“One of our district goals is to dramatically increase enrollment of African-American enrollment in AP classes, and having worked on this issue before, I know that a lot of African-American students have the ability to tackle AP but are reluctant, so I was trying to think about how we could bridge them into the program,” she said.

Lane stressed that she doesn’t want black students to study only their own history. “It’s not that African-American students don’t need to take Chinese and calculus and physics. But having an African-American course among those offerings sends a powerful message” that their history matters, she said. “It connects students with a tradition of scholarship that they don’t always see.”

Hmm, adding some weight to Lane’s argument, the racial and ethnic breakdown of AP exam takers:

Race and Ethnicity of AP Exam Test Takers, 2006






Calculus BC (advanced)





English language and composition





European history





Government and politics of the U.S.










Physics — electricity and magnetism





Spanish literature





U.S. history





Wow. Read College Board’s response.

Er, I think the AP program is kinda bonkers, personally. I’m of the opinion that high school has been destroyed in the wake of competitive college admissions (seriously, don’t get me started) and the AP program is just one of the worst contributors to its demise. I know too many people who took more than 10 AP classes, destroyed themselves in the process and could only apply maybe one or two of them to count towards their college education. It’s just not worth it.

But as for an African-American History AP? I figure, if the breadth of the program already extends to 37 subjects, we’re not just talking about getting out of intro geneds anymore. Colleges use APs to tell whether or not they should accept a kid and while I think it’s insane to think this, they often have a warped understanding that the more AP classes a kid takes, the more qualified he is for college. And if Lane’s point is to make a test more so influential in college admission decisions more attractive to low-income African-Americans, then I’m all for it.

I think it’s short-sighted for College Board to reason that colleges themselves don’t want this test. Maybe the professors don’t. But the admissions offices are different entities with their own standards. And this is College Board’s gamefield–admissions. They should know better.

So as for College Board’s reasoning, I think that’s bunk. But I think College Board itself is bunk. So my only hestitation is clumping another subject, especially something that could be as analytically complex as African-American Studies, under their testing jurisdiction. But that argument is sort of under the radar so long as AP courses are so signficant for college admissions.

Interesting problem, to say the least.