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Viewpoint: Is Houston Teen Michael Brown Selfish for Applying to 20 Schools?

The better question is: why are achievements considered selfish?

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Holly Morris, Fox News Anchor from DC, is under fire for calling Michael Brown “selfish” for applying to 20 colleges. Last week the world seemed to be cheering Brown on for his accomplishments. It’s hard enough to get into one top-tier university, let alone 20, and then get a full ride to all of those. But when the news came across Morris’ desk, she gave a backhanded compliment–first admitting how impressive it was and how hardworking Brown was, but then adding on how it was selfish of him to apply to 20 schools. The news anchor added that it was “excessive” and that most students typically apply to four to eight schools, and even that can be excessive. But maybe these new anchors were out of touch with today’s students.

When I was applying to colleges I applied to thirteen schools, and many of my friends also applied to more than ten schools. This was something normal for us. Ultimately, we can only go to one school, but we were taught that it’s important to have options. The best schools we applied to might not give any financial aid, whereas our third or fourth choice might give us a fantastic financial aid package. But it’s about the right to choose; no one wants to be stuck at a school they can’t afford just because of the name.

Fox 5 News DC makes it seem as though today’s youth can do no right: they need to be successful and get into top tier colleges, but get into too many and suddenly they’re “selfish” and taking away from another student. Students don’t expect to get into twenty top tier universities. They are highly selective and highly competitive.

It takes a highly qualified candidate to get into twenty schools with a full ride: Michael Brown is that talented.

While Brown did fill an admissions slot that other impressive candidates wanted, he was the most qualified. Universities also have wait lists for a reason. When a student makes a decision to attend one school and not the others they apply to, their spot is given to whoever is at the top of the wait list.

In addition to this, many on Twitter have taken this to be a race issue. Morris replied with this tweet:


Regardless of race, Morris’ comment was backhanded and uncalled for. Morris should have simply congratulated him and hoped he make the best decision.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Nicole Masaki is a 2018 graduate ofCanisius College in Buffalo, New York. She is a triple major in English, Environmental Studies, and Philosophy. She will be a first year grad student at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Fransisco for their MA in Anthropology and Social Change program.

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