College acceptance letters have begun rolling out for the class of 2016 and, as Steve Cohen of The Daily Beast notes, things are looking especially bleak for so-called "unhooked white girls."
"Unhooked white girls" might sound like a cool thing to be – white girls are pretty popular and "unhooked" is close to "off the hook," which is awesome. But, as white girls across America can attest, and will, oh, how they will, if your eyes display even the slightest glimmer of interest, it's actually terrible.
The phrase is intended to refer to financially well-off (not exorbitantly wealthy, but certainly not poor) young Caucasian women who, though they have good grades, good SAT scores, and Good Hair, are handicapped in the college admissions process because they lack a unique angle that sets them apart from other well-off, intelligent applicants. (They're not literally handicapped—that would be great. That's just the kind of angle we're talking about. They'd kill to be handicapped.)
As more students are applying to more colleges, and colleges are turning down more applicants than ever before (Northwestern, which saw its applicant pool double to 32,000 since 2005, accepted just 15.3% of applicants this year), "hooks," are becoming increasingly coveted.
But not all the white girls have them.
Here are just a few examples of the juicy hooks denied most reasonably wealthy, well-educated white girls:
- being the first in their family to go to college
- coming from a terrible school district
- belonging to a disenfranchised ethnic minority
- being captain of the men's varsity football team
Here are examples of hooks reasonably wealthy, well-educated white girls do have:
- being adorkable
- knowing a lot of rap lyrics and making cute mean mug faces when they spit them, yo :P
Now, while I am loath to take attention away from the underserved overprivileged, consider, for a moment the (perhaps equally whiny?) plight of the "hooked"; those kids who did have something, perhaps within their control, perhaps out of it, to set them apart from other applicants.
I attended public high school in an extremely poorly-performing district with a high dropout rate. I'm also mixed, which is why I will have beautiful babies. I hustled and bustled all four years (longer, if you count junior high) and ultimately gained admission to the University of Pennsylvania, my first choice school. When I received the acceptance letter, I begged my parents not to tell anyone other than immediate family members I'd gotten in, because I was positive the school had made a mistake and that my acceptance would be rescinded.
It wasn't. (Maybe they never caught their mistake?)
Cut to college. Now, whenever I tell someone I'm half black (My ethnicity is hard to nail down on sight; "Hispanic?" is a common guess), the first response is almost invariably a very sweet, if slightly odd, "Cool!"
Nearly as often, this is followed up with: "Did you put that on your application?"
I tell these people (and I do still get asked the application question, even post-graduation) "You're damn right I did," because, you're damn right I did. I wasn't going to ignore the proverbial bloody hook dangling right from the handle of my car door.
The problem with hooks, though, is that once you've admitted yours, you can be dismissed as having gotten ahead solely because of it. People have done it to me. In my more Pinot-drenched moments, I've done it to myself.
Was I less deserving of my spot because I had access to a hook a white girl from a good school couldn't have used? Or was I rightfully encouraged to use my hook to make up for a potential glut of privilege on the other end?
In any case, having recently graduated, I can confirm that there are still plenty of smart, affluent white girls clogging the libraries and introductory geology courses of our nation's educational institutions. They may not all be getting into their first choice colleges but, rest assured, they're getting in somewhere and will probably do just fine.
For those upper middle class white girls out there who are still determined to carve out a hook, I offer this advice: Consider (with parental permission) hooking. It's creative, shows initiative, and is a good way to make money while meeting new people.
Good luck, smart, privileged white girls. (Not that you need it.) (Unless you try the hooking thing.)
[Image via Getty]