College Admissions and Other Rites of Fragility

Think of the angst the recent college admissions scandal has caused in wealthy households from Greenwich to La Jolla, and nowhere in between, except maybe Winnetka. After speaking with friends navigating the modern-day rite of passage that applying to college has become, I imagine dinnertime conversations like this:

“Sequoia? Sequoia, can you put down your iPhone for a minute, honey? Sequoia dear, Instagram isn’t going anywhere. We need to chat about college. Give me your phone. Thanks.”

“What, Dad? All we do is talk about college. Savannah just posted her heli-skiing pics from Zermatt. If I don’t respond, RIGHT NOW, my friends will think I died, or something worse. Why can’t this wait till I finish bingeing these four episodes of Glee?”

“Because I said so. You need to listen closely. This whole college admissions scandal has made me a nervous wreck. There are a couple of things we need to square away.”

“Like what, Dad? Oh, let me guess. You want me to do some more practice SAT tests.”

“Listen, honey, junior year is the most important year of high school. I think this coming summer you should volunteer at that Tanzanian orphanage I endowed. And even though our divorce isn’t final, your mother’s lawyers have assured my lawyers that she agrees with me. My lawyers told me she signed off on the $1 million...

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