Sunday, February 01, 2004

Football and a rejection

I just got back from watching the Super Bowl at Semantic Composition's place (the ads were quite disappointing), and found a sad e-mail in my inbox. One of my best former students, a very shy, bright young woman, had applied to a high-end technical school and was really hoping to get in. She's only been in the US for around 2 years but speaks excellent English. Only after I'd known her for a while did I learn why she spoke so well: a number of years ago in her native country she decided to teach herself English, alone, and eventually decided (while in her native country) to think only in English. She's done extraordinarily well in her science classes, and appears to reason with ease. IMHO she seemed like a really good candidate for any selective science/technical school.

Thus I was disheartened to hear her reply today that she hadn't gotten into her school of choice. She thinks a large part of the reason was her international status combined with her need of financial aid (though truth be told I do not know the details). Apparently at one school she was required to sign a waiver stating either that she wouldn't apply for financial aid or that her aid requirement would affect admissions decisions.

I can understand why schools take financial aid considerations into account. What really irks me is that because she's an international student she's having an incredibly hard time getting financial aid, and it seems that this lack of financial aid will prevent her admission to schools. Even public schools like UCs will be extremely expensive for her due to her international student status, and she barely has money to pay rent. It's rather distressing ...

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