There are several ways to get admitted to an Ivy League college.
You improve your chances if you have outstanding high school grades, perfect scores on your SATs, write a terrific essay, and spend your spare time feeding the homeless, doing insightfully original but reproducible experiments in astrophysics, and serve as captain of the high school football team.
Or you can be a complete idiot but come from a fabulously wealthy family, have a grandfather and father who attended the same Ivy League college, one of them a United States Senator, the other an important senior U.S. Government official.
Guess which one describes how President George W. Bush got into Yale?
Not only Yale, but after that, the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He must have been quite an achiever, right?
No such luck. For example, there’s this report from a book by Kitty Kelley.
At Harvard Business School, class of 1975, Bush would sit in the back, "chewing tobacco and spitting it into a dirty paper cup," recalled one unidentified classmate.Still more of Kelly's report available on the Internet adds a few additional enchanting details such as:
Another classmate, Steve Arbeit, said Bush was "so inarticulate it was frightening. The reason I say that he is dumber than dumb is not that I saw his test scores or his grades; it's the comments he made in the classes we had together that scared me."
Macroeconomics professor Yoshi Tsurumi recalled showing the Depression-era movie "Grapes of Wrath" to help the class empathize with the poor.
Bush asked, "Why are you going to show us that Commie movie?" When Tsurumi called on Bush to discuss how the Depression affected people, Bush answered: "Look. People are poor because they are lazy."
Tsurumi said Bush "came across as totally lacking compassion, with no sense of history, completely devoid of social responsibility and unconcerned with the welfare of others."
Kelley anonymously quotes two of Bush's former classmates at Yale as saying he snorted cocaine. One classmate claimed to have sold cocaine to Bush. The second recalled "doing coke" with Bush.
What troubled other classmates more than the drugs, however, was the future president's generally unimpressive character. "Georgie, as we called him then, has absolutely no intellectual curiosity about anything," said Tom Wilner, a 1966 Yale grad. "He wasn't interested in ideas or books or causes. He didn't travel; he didn't read the newspapers; he didn't watch the news; he didn't go to movies."
Alf Nucifora, another classmate, recalled George as a "nonentity with a rich boy's attitude who obviously got into school because of the divine right of kings...You did not see a great future for this man. There's no way that any sane individual could ever have made such a prediction."If you want to know why “legacies” at ivy league schools have a bad name, all you have to do is look at the current President of the United States, who evidently still seems to be in the bottom ten percent — this time among presidents. What does this tell us about the value of a Yale or Harvard degree?
During his first year George came to the attention of Yoski Tsunumi ...
Professor Tsurumi continued: "His strong prejudices soon set him apart from the rest of the students. This has nothing to do with politics, because most business students are conservative, but they are not inhumane or unprincipled...even among Republicans his kind was rare....I gave him a 'low pass.' Of the one hundred students in that class, George Bush was in the bottom 10 percent. He was so abysmal that I once asked him how he ever got accepted in the first place. He said, 'I had lots of help.'”
I’ll leave that to you. Meanwhile, if you think the military academies are any better, consider the student whose father and grandfather were admirals and who legacied his way into Annapolis, the United States Naval Academy. Guess what? He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class of 899 midshipmen.
His name? You guessed it: