"Nice Kid, But..."

To get into the right college, sometimes you have to be better than perfect

The Biswas family isn't angry at what happened to Niket. Amused might be a better word. Debjani Biswas has a story she likes to tell involving Niket's appearance at a banquet honoring the late Jerry Junkins (Texas Instruments' former CEO); at the banquet, scholarships are awarded to the sons and daughters of current or former TI employees. Because he is a National Merit Scholar, Niket received $4,000.

Twenty kids came to the podium that night, and the first four or five said the same thing: I'm going to UT-Austin, and I'm wait-listed at Harvard and Duke. Or Harvard and Rice. Or Duke and Rice.

"So Mrs. Junkins' daughter said, 'So, who actually got into Harvard, Duke and Rice?'" Debjani says with a laugh.

For $100 an hour, Jan Miranda guides parents and students through the minefield of college admissions. Next year, she'll charge $200.
Mark Graham
For $100 an hour, Jan Miranda guides parents and students through the minefield of college admissions. Next year, she'll charge $200.
At Karen Dillard's Test Prep, David Dillard shows off the restroom walls, which are papered with SAT questions.
Mark Graham
At Karen Dillard's Test Prep, David Dillard shows off the restroom walls, which are papered with SAT questions.

It's a good question, one that doesn't seem to be getting a good answer anytime soon. But Niket and his mother are tired of asking. Niket's just plain tired. With the IB program, KRIPA, tennis, the clubs, the awards banquets, the applications and just being a regular kid, his senior year has been booked up from first light to good night. "I mean, I don't sleep much," he says.

Maybe he'll get a chance this fall.

"A lot of my friends who had the IB program," he says, laughing, "say college is like a breather."

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