Harvard’s application for admission was three pages long when John F. Kennedy applied back in 1935; and as that image above suggests, the whole process of getting into college was much simpler back then. Asked to explain why he wished to attend Harvard, five sentences were enough to do it for Kennedy.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? But then again Harvard didn’t give him very much room on the form to provide a more compelling answer.
To say the least, getting into college these days is a bit more challenging. In addition to maintaining a high grade point average in high school and doing well on standardized tests like the ACT and the SAT, students are required to write multiple essays on a variety of topics that range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
My personal favorite? Kermit the Frog famously lamented, ‘It’s not easy being green.’ Do you agree? That was an actual question Tufts University asked students to comment on as part of their quest for admission.
Given how competitive the process is these days, an entire industry has sprung up to help students write essays that are creative, serious, funny, profound or whatever else may be required. But for all the help they get, students often end up driving themselves crazy trying to set themselves apart from their peers.
Is the end result any better?
Who knows? Kennedy’s response looks pretty underwhelming today, but he got admitted and graduated from Harvard and then went on to play an important role in the American saga. However elaborate the process of gaining admission to college may have become, the four or more years you end up putting in is still mostly about figuring out who you are as a person and what you want to do with your life.
Those are questions Sean will soon have to face in the remaining chapters. But now, like Landon Bridges, I’m getting ahead of myself so let’s briefly recap where things stand.
As you’ll recall, Sean and Holden spent some time together in last week’s chapter doing a variety of things before making their way to Professor Jeffords’ place in Boston. To Sean’s surprise and delight, the good Professor served up a delicious meal, one Sean thoroughly enjoyed.
Later Professor Jeffords and the boys took in the Red Sox game at Fenway Park. It turns out Sean and the Professor have slightly different ways of looking at the game, not surprising I suppose given the difference in age between them. But their playful arguments seem to have helped them to get to know one another better and that may turn out to be a good thing for both of them.
Returning to Cambridge, Sean and Holden were nervous about the night ahead. However, an unplanned wrestling match that produced lots of giggles allowed them to overcome their nervousness and finally share their feelings for one another.
They did so in a way that will hopefully provide fond memories later in life. But the story is far from over and there’s still more for us to learn about the boys. That’s just another way of saying Chapter 16 is up. Enjoy!
And keep in mind I’ll be back with another serving of Stuffed on Thursday evening.