You may have read about Ronald Nelson recently…

The senior from Houston High School in Memphis, Tennessee is graduating this spring with a 4.58 weighted GPA, a 2260 out of 2400 SAT score, and 15 AP classes under his belt. He’s also president of his class, a National Merit Scholar, a National Achievement Scholar, and a state-recognized alto saxophone player.

Ronald is clearly a badass. As such, he was admitted into all eight Ivy League schools (Harvard, Yale, etc), as well as a bunch of other biggies (Stanford, NYU, etc). And oh-my-goodness if Ronald didn’t upset the academic universe by declining all these schools in lieu of an actual offer from another – the University of Alabama.

The University of Alabama offered Ronald a full ride and admittance to their selective honors program. And though each of the other schools offered him a bit of money, Ronald opted for a college experience that he won’t be paying for for the next 20+ years.

This story doesn’t bother me for the “obvious” reason. Many news sources are reporting what a terrible tragedy it is that this young man was forced to make the horrible awful decision to attend a lowly state school because of something as silly as money. No. Coverage like that (and clickbait coverage that alludes to a similar sentiment) only helps reify the cult of elitism associated with higher education, The Ivys, et al. THAT is what bothers me.

Good for you, Ronald! Take the money, get all the attention and all the resources, live close to your family (but still far enough away for it not to be weird), and crush it. You are clearly smarter than every admissions advisor out there.

What do you think?

From Business Insider (May 14, 2015 here)

High-school senior Ronald Nelson had an incredibly hard decision to make this year about college — mainly because he got into all eight Ivy League universities.

In the end, he decided on the University of Alabama and rejected offers from all eight Ivy League schools.

Nelson also rejected offers from Stanford, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Vanderbilt, and Washington University in St. Louis.

He decided to pass on these big names in favor of UA for two big reasons: He got a full ride from Alabama and got into its selective honors program.

“It took a lot of soul searching for me to push that first ‘accept’ button for Alabama,” Nelson said. “Of course there’s a bit of uncertainty.”

Despite his achievements, Nelson did not receive a performance-based scholarship from the Ivy League schools. None of them offer merit scholarships, nor do several other prestigious universities, such as Stanford…

(more here)


(pictured: Ronald Nelson)

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