How to Get Your Aspiring Five-Year-Old into Harvard:

Advice for ambitious parents


By Alexander Pralea, Editor

Though people may say that you should let your child into the college decision-making process, only you, the parent, can have a say in his or her future. As you plan every second of the life of your child (in whom you live vicariously) from his or her birth, please keep these tips in mind as you ensure that he or she is admitted into Harvard, the only school where he or she will be happy.

First, you must donate at least $20 million to the school. This should be enough to get a building named after you, but you never know (continuously check current data to confirm this number). This minimal sum of money equal to the cost of coffee* is enough to get your child in the vetted applicant pool, but because college admissions is holistic, your child must bring more to the table than just a large paycheck. Fortunately, your being elected president of the United States or of another similarly recognizable country provides part of the solution. If your child has little to show other than academic dedication and genuine good-heartedness (how passé!), he or she cannot possibly compete on an equal footing with other candidates. This achievement of yours, of course, must be comparable to an achievement of your child. For example, his or her becoming a secretary demonstrates real work ethic, as long as that encompasses becoming secretary of the United States, an act that can (if constructed into a persuasive enough narrative) exhibit one’s love for service.

As to not appear conceited or self-interested, your child must display how his or her immense privilege has benefited others. Your child must accord with a recent bandwagon that colleges have adopted that prioritizes a student’s personal character. In addition to meeting the necessary academic requirements, he or she must evince a love for serving others. The traditional methods of volunteering at a local pet shelter for thirteen-year-old bulldogs with glaucoma do not suffice anymore; your child must have founded, even before entering high school, an organization to help impoverished Afghani orphans or South Sudanese war victims. Simply donating millions of dollars, though a prerequisite, is not enough. Your child must pretend to actually care about the well-being of these wonderfully exploitable, photogenic children through trendy Instagram posts and hashtags emphasizing how much more moral he or she is than his or her TV-surfing and coach-lounging peers.

In spite of the fact that colleges have begun to devalue many aspects of high school in favor of other activities, test scores and extracurriculars still hold a vital part of every application.  Although test scores are not everything, not having a sufficiently high score does limit admission. Your child still needs a perfect 1600 on the SAT as well as twenty 5s on AP exams and eight 800s on SAT subject tests, but that does not preclude him or her from scoring the infrequent, though inferior, 790 on a subject test. As for extracurriculars, your child needs to be the leader of twelve clubs (for those with greater than the average 10.0 GPA for Harvard admits, eleven will most likely, though not certainly, be enough). These varieties of activities must demonstrate a targeted interest that relates to future career jobs. Merely joining a club for “fun” or “personal growth” is a cause for serious discussion and ridicule.

Remember as you go through this process, your child´s happiness is not a major concern. All that matters is guaranteeing that he or she maintains your status in the social hierarchy. Becoming a social pariah with a child at Boston College simply will not do. Even with my award-winning advice, your child still faces a 50% chance of being admitted. Take this advice knowing that your child might be forced to only go to a subpar school like Columbia.

*This number was calculated by multiplying the average cost of coffee ($3.12) by approximately 6,400,000

This satire was intended to poke fun at the increasing stress directed toward the college process as well as the excessive weight society gives to just attending a name like Harvard or MIT. An excellent school, Harvard is nonetheless not the best school for everyone. Please do not take this article too seriously, but understand the underlying reason for which it was written. American society’s collective obsession over tertiary education hinders the intellectual and personal growth that a high school student undergoes as he or she uncovers new interests.