Princeton's School of Hard Knocks

Competition on elite campuses builds character.

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright.

Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Worrying about the angst of high-achieving students has become a minor industry. “America’s culture of hyperachievement among the affluent” has led to suicides, depression, and anxiety among college students, suggested a July New York Times feature. “These cultural dynamics of perfectionism and overindulgence have now combined to create adolescents who are ultra-focused on success but don’t know how to fail,” wrote Julie Scelfo.  The rhetoric of concern barely conceals contemptuous disapproval.

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