A reader asks us to weigh in on the video “That’s Why I Chose Yale,” which was written up in this week’s New Yorker, and has had more than a third of a million hits on YouTube. I had seen it about a month ago, when Maria brought it our attention, and found myself having a strong reaction.
On the one hand, I loved it. I love Yale (and Vassar! and Swarthmore!) and I’m a sucker for anything that shows happy college students singing about the joys of academics, theater, athletics, clubs, and the residential college system. I was even delighted that one of the creators was Andrew Johnson ’06, the admissions rep for our region. Even though he wouldn’t know us from Adam, he looms large in our family lore. So on the one hand, it gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes.
On the other, I thought it was a little unseemly. After all, Yale turns away 90% of the kids who apply, most of them hardworking, talented, and deserving. Yale breaks a lot of hearts in our town, and there but for the grace of God, go we. So who are they trying to sell to – the minuscule number of super superstars who might choose Harvard instead?
This would be a brilliant effort for a little-known hidden treasure of a school, but coming from Yale, it seems like gloating.