April 19th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Ivy League lessons from tutor

Bess Whol DRA ’02 published an article in the Harvard Crimson today on her experiences working as an SAT tutor for a major New York City tutoring company, which is a service used mostly by affluent parents to maximize their students’ chances to get into Ivy League schools. She questioned the actual help she was providing these students:

Admissions committees are — or should be —well aware of the leg up that rich kids have in the application process. But the more I coached and tutored, the more I wondered whether the so-called advantages I was providing might actually be hurting more than helping. Was it really an advantage to spend Saturdays drilling test taking strategies that (unless you become an SAT tutor) have pretty much zero relevance to your future life? And what would it feel like to be admitted to the college of your dreams on the basis of an application that had been managed, tweaked and supervised by somebody else?

Wohl, who graduated from Harvard with a degree in English and later completed a master’s degree in acting at Yale, said that this experience made her worry about her own career path as well. At the time, she said, she “was living in [her] parents’ basement and stealing their food and toilet paper.”

The experience motivated her to write her first full-length play which “tells the story of a high school senior and his mother, who is desperate that he get into Harvard.” The play went on up from February 18 through March 5 at the Pioneer Theater Company.