Friday, June 20, 2008

Talk about kiasu

Saw this report about Lukasz Zbylut who applied to 18 colleges in the US and got accepted into 7 Ivy League schools as well as Stanford and NYU (Stanford is not an Ivy League school, for those of you who might not know). He got accepted by 17 out of the 18 schools. MIT rejected him. He's going to Harvard and will reject, among others, Princeton and Yale. Frankly, I think that applying to 18 schools is a bit excessive but you gotta give him props given that he only came to the US about 5 years ago and didn't speak much English then.


Anonymous said...

While we can't deny his merits by being accepted to top schools, he shouldn't have 'robbed' other applicants a rightful place in the schools that he rejected. He should have known that his applications would have been accepted by any of these schools in the first place. Why stretch this process to 18 of them to make it look more like redundancy than anything else? Could he not realise that his rejections can mean so much more for other rejected applicants?

Anonymous said...

I think he got rejected applying for University Malaya too...hehe

Anonymous said...

Good for the guy, at least they have similar admission standards and he knew how it worked. By not having a central admissions systems, this abuse is of course omnipresent.

dazzakoh said...

The last comment is spot on, shakehead. As there is no central admissions system, you can choose to apply to as many or as few as you want. In any case, I doubt anyone here is so confident as to say he knows his application would be accepted by ANY of the schools in the first place: the system in the US is such that you could be accepted by all or by none. Every college makes its own mind up. And in any case, once he rejects his offer, the next in line gets an offer, so I do not see why it can be said he has robbed anyone of a place... :-)

Anyway. Kudos to him! As the article notes, his admissions game was well played.

Anonymous said...

Two comments.

1. I'm not sure he's deprived anyone of anything. These universities typically have waiting lists. I assume someone could be pulled in off it? Perhaps another concern is that if a lot of people start doing this then the university admissions office has to start employing more people to deal with the applications, which can take some time and substantial to process as they involve interviews, long essays etc.

2. I've noticed with graduate school admissions that often international students tend to underestimate their chances and apply to more schools than necessary. Perhaps something of the sort was at work here. Also none of his classmates got in to Ivies. Perhaps on several levels he just didn't have the cultural context to gauge what was likely to happen?

Anonymous said...

What so kiasu? I would have done the same if I have the financial means to do so. But not to his extend, maybe 10 universities. =)

WY said...

wonder what's his secret??

Anonymous said...

It is not kiasu - just casting his net wider to the universities that he is interested in. How much can we say about our own universities?

Nothing actually. It would be the reverse situation here, only being accepted by one (the one that we did not even apply to in the first place) and being rejected by the otehr 17 eventhough we met the minimum criteria.

I would say, whatever his choice would be, there is no loss to the universities or those trying to apply to them.

Anonymous said...

Tony, this is not kiasu. This is kiasi!

Anonymous said...

I know of a friend whose daughter applied only to NUS.

She knows her grades in STPM can't even get her to our own third rate Universities. So she wants to use this "I only applied to your University, there is no hope if you reject me." line to force them to accept her.

I almost laughed, but did not, when she angrily told me that the NUS officer said "we regret that we are not in the position to help you plan your education path, but we do advise that investment in a few routes is generally advisable."

She was angry that they deny her, her only hope. She wanted to write a complain letter to their President, and the Singapore President. Somehow, she has this impression that Singapore's President being an Indian, has some bearings in "forcing" NUS in accepting her, an Indian.

Sounds like "bumi policies" to me. I am only impressed that the NUS officer did not give her a dressing down, which I know our University staff will not hasitate to do, for being unreasonable and silly.

But I just expressed my sympathies and excused myself.

I am very sad that she has disgraced us Malaysians in a foreign land.

But the main point is Tony, there is nothing wrong in applying for 200 Universities if we can. Applying only for that 1 University is not accepted as a reason to get ahead of everyone else!

- Muthu

Anonymous said...

Haha sorry, I may be a little bit more cheeky here, but I don't mean any malice, so please forgive me.

Did you not notice that the NUS Director Of Admissions is also an Indian? Maybe she got another wrong impression from there!

Anonymous said...

Maybe he hired the right writer!

Admission to US Universities needs you to write essays. There is an army of ghost writers, or professional writers who will help to customise and write your admissions essay for a fee.

So it may or may not be him who got that "record". It could just be a well written piece. Plus US Universities have this "first generation" policy etc. No big deal really. Just the media looking for news on a bland day.

Anonymous said...

Actually, universities are suckers for 'inspirational' stories like this; i.e, immigrant who doesn't know english, triumphs over odds, emerges as a model student, leader etc. etc.