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[Susan notes: These letters reveal multiple styles and opinions.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Cheers to David Brooks for acknowledging how bogus college admissions are, and how it's the only time in our lives when we will be judged on being teacher's pets and pop quiz geniuses ("Stressed for Success?," column, March 30).

I thank him for putting the college admissions decisions in perspective and for pointing out that it doesn't matter where one goes because there is something special to be learned at whatever place.

As a high school senior who is anxiously waiting for letters every day after school, I find comfort in Mr. Brooks's words that life is not based on silly numbers and recommendations. So thanks for making this postal-worker-chasing day less stressful.


Westfield N.J., March 30, 2004

To the Editor:

David Brooks (column, March 30) is probably right that imagination, gumption and staying power are the personal qualities most prized in the world beyond the university. Long term, the creative and joyful learner may well outperform the one who is driven.

But I hold the idealistic view that college admissions committees work hard to find students with just these qualities. They want to fill their classrooms with energetic students who are enthusiastic about what their schools have to offer, not with students who think they have won some sort of prize just by being admitted. Administrators in higher education will tell you that the college a student goes to matters less than what he does when he gets there.


Greenwich, Conn., March 30, 2004

To the Editor:

David Brooks (column, March 30) suggests that SAT scores will not matter after the college admissions process. He may be surprised to know that nearly all of the 30 or so Wall Street and consulting firms to which I applied this past year specifically requested SAT scores as part of their application process.

Some even told me during interviews that the SAT score is the first thing they look for on a résumé after the grade point average — another thing that Mr. Brooks asserts will not matter after high school.


Cambridge, Mass., March 30, 2004

To the Editor:

David Brooks (column, March 30) rightly tells students: "The people who succeed most spectacularly . . . often had low grades. They are not prudential. They venture out and thrive where there is no supervision, where there are no preset requirements." He should also warn students that the people who fail most spectacularly often have the same traits.


Bloomington, Ind., March 30, 2004

To the Editor:

I disagree with David Brooks's statement "Welcome to adulthood, land of the anticlimaxes" (column, March 30). As one who has lived life for 75 years, I found it packed with climaxes.


New York, March 30, 2004

multiple authors

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