Students all over are starting college this month, and some of them still have a nagging question: what, exactly, got me in? An admissions officer talks about the most wrongheaded things applicants try. And Michael Lewis has the incredible story of how a stolen library book got one man into his dream school.
Ira talks to Rick Clark, director of undergraduate admissions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, better known as Georgia Tech. Clark says the latest trend in misguided college admissions efforts: parents emailing and calling the admissions office, pretending to be their own children.
Writer Michael Lewis tells the story of a man named Emir Kamenica, whose path to college started with fleeing the war in Bosnia and becoming a refugee in the United States. Then he had a stroke of luck: a student teacher read an essay he’d plagiarized from a book he’d stolen from a library back in Bosnia, and was so impressed that she got him out of a bad high school and into a much better one.
When Chris Gethard was attending a run-down Rutgers University in the late 1990s, another student down the way—at a university called Princeton—became his nemesis. This is the title story of Chris's book A Bad Idea I'm About to Do, which comes out in January.
Host Ira Glass revisits some interviews done with Penn State students in 2009, long before the sex abuse scandal that's engulfed the football team and led to the resignation of its legendary coach, as well as the university's President. Back in 2009, students said that the best thing about Penn State football is the high moral standard upheld by the team and its coaches.
Sarah Koenig attended last weekend's Penn State game, the last home game of the season, with Michael Winereb and his parents. Weinreb grew up in State College, and has written several widely circulated columns for the website Grantland about his reactions to the recent scandal.
We hear excerpts from our 2009 episode that was recorded at Penn State. Though the focus of that episode was student drinking and partying, we hear how much of the culture of the school is organized around football and how deeply people loved the team and Coach Joe Paterno.