Remember when your father called you a touchy-feely Democrat for expressing a desire to go to Europe after high school? Hit back with an acceptance letter from an Ivy League school and then tell him that the first step to becoming a soulless, capitalist doctor/lawyer/cop/Indian Chief is “learning that helping people is not fun.”
Princeton University is actually offering to send about a tenth of their incoming freshman classes around the world to participate in social services programs. In order to broaden some students’ horizons and fund some good trips (in turn, perhaps, making the “What Did You Do This Summer?” introductory essays ten times more interesting), the University will not accept tuition but will offer financial aid to those who qualify. The program hopes to be in place by the 2009-2010 school year.
Nowadays, it takes a lot to get into a college, let alone an Ivy League school. Hundreds of community service and volunteering experiences hours are logged and filed to be put on applications. In some places, its a mandatory requirement to just graduate high school. While I wasn’t exactly expecting the school to give you an Into the Wild experience and help you find yourself in the grand scheme of the universe, I was kind of hoping for a more epiphany-inducing trip than a Peace Corps mission.
It should be interesting to see what these fresh high school graduates can learn by helping communities abroad, however, and it’s a great, free way to travel to a new place.