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How To Develop A Better Personality To Get Into An Elite University

Want to get into an elite university? Develop a better personality so you can receive a higher personality score during the admissions process.

In the Supreme Court case regarding using race-conscious admissions (affirmative action) at Harvard University and UNC, we learn Harvard assigns a personality score to every applicant.

By assigning a lower personality score to Asian applicants, Harvard attempts to justify its rejection of some Asian applicants, despite their higher overall grades and test scores. This is one way universities use to better shape what they believe the racial mix of each incoming class should be.

Below is a chart that shows the percentage of undergraduate enrollment of Asians has been relatively steady at Ivy League schools since 1990 but increased at Caltech. 1997 was the last year before the affirmative action ban in California took effect.

Asian acceptance in academics

Asians Are Less Personable?

As someone who has always had friends in low and high places, I never realized I had a worse personality than people of other races. It also seems hard to measure someone’s personality, self-confidence, likability, and courage without at least spending an hour with them in person.

Although I attended a state school (William & Mary), I ended up getting a front-office job at Goldman Sachs in NYC. Goldman is a highly coveted employer by many graduates from elite universities.

As a Goldman employee interviewing perspective applicants, it was actually kind of surreal rejecting ~95% of the Ivy League applicants who got past “Super Day,” the first round of all-day interviews.

Heck, I’ve even had a girlfriend or wife since the 7th grade! Even if I was the best-looking fella, which I’m clearly not, there’s no way I could have always had a love interest since 12 years old if I had had a terrible personality.

But let’s say Harvard is right and I’m not as personable as others due to my race. I don’t have the self-confidence to speak up for myself nor do I have the courage to live life on my terms. I take the beatings and like it!

I’m good with that because I’m financially free, baby! There’s nobody I need to constantly suck up to to try and get ahead.

However, as a parent of multi-racial kids, they might inherit my bad personality. And after we got rejected by six-out-of-seven preschools, I realized that having a minimum amount of status matters.

Hence, it’s a good idea to think of ways to help our kids develop better personalities to give them more opportunities. Maybe this post can help you develop a better personality as well.

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Long Shot To Get Into An Elite University

I know the odds are stacked against my kids for getting into any elite university. The average acceptance rates are in the single digits. Based on my mediocre SAT score, if my kids inherit my academic prowess, they’ve got no shot.

But as any good Financial Samurai believes, the longer the odds the greater the upside! It’s still worth trying to develop better personalities to improve our lives.

After writing this article, I realize the end goal is not to get into an elite university and pay over $300,000 in today’s dollars for the privilege. Goodness knows there are plenty of graduates of elite universities that end up doing nothing special.

Instead of obtaining a fancy diploma, the end goal is to live a life of purpose, ultimately, with someone who will love you no matter what. Do you wake up excited most days? If so, you’re on the right track.

SAT performance by race and sex

The Worry I Have As A Parent

I have this one nagging worry my children will still be living with us when they are 30+ years old. If this happens, it will mean they weren’t able to utilize their education to find a job that pays enough for them to live independently. It probably also means they had a tougher time finding someone, which is the greater heartbreaker.

The worry may seem strange, but I have been constantly reminded of this concern since I first bought a single-family house in San Francisco in 2005. From 2005 – 2014, my next door neighbor’s son returned home after college and never left. When I moved to a new neighborhood in 2014, my new next door neighbor’s son moved in after graduating college at 25 and has also never left.

Then after I purchased a forever house in 2020, I met three neighbors who had adult children living at home. Maybe this phenomenon is due to the high cost of living in San Francisco. Surely, part of the reason more adult children moved back is due to the pandemic.

However, the trend of adult children living at home seems to have only increased since 2005. I make this observation based on chats with my neighbors who seemingly want to tell me their life stories.

I wrote about this experience in the post, A Massive Generational Wealth Transfer Is Why Everything Will Be OK. Living at home in your mid-20s to save money is smart. But living at home after 30 seems like there is more downside than upside.

Percentage of adult children living at home with their parents

One Common Denominator: Not Very Personable

Except for one adult living at home, the common denominator I’ve noticed is that these adult children still living at home seem to be more socially awkward than average.

For example, most don’t look at me in the eye when we talk. Nor do they seem to know how to carry on a conversation. So eventually, we stopped talking and now I just wave every time I see them.

From a person with a poor personality, here are my tips on how to develop a better personality and be a better communicator. For more background, I spent 13 years building relationships with financial clients and 13 years so far building Financial Samurai into a top personal finance site by mostly telling stories.

How To Develop A Better Personality To Get Into A Elite University

Is there a standard criteria by Harvard and other elite universities for what a great personality should be? If there is one, let’s see it so students can work on improving their personalities. But here are eleven things we can all do to improve our personalities.

1) Remember and say people’s names

When you say someone’s name, you command their attention. Everybody likes to hear their name mentioned because it makes them feel recognized and important.

2) Look at people in their eyes when speaking

When speaking to someone, don’t be shy. Look at them in the eyes for a couple seconds, glance at something else, and look back at them. It’s an art to look at someone without making them feel uncomfortable.

3) Smile and smile some more

A person can’t help but smile back at you if you first smile at them. Smiling is a superpower that automatically makes people warm up to you.

4) Listen with empathy

Listening with empathy means tilting your head a little, nodding in agreement, making appropriate sounds, and mirroring body language and words. If you’re looking at your watch or phone while someone is speaking to you, you obviously don’t care.

5) Learn how to have a 50/50 dialogue

People can’t stand others who dominate a conversation. Instead, let people speak and then share your point of view. Always ask back what is asked of you. A 50/50 dialogue is like a dance of give and take.

6) Learn how to tell good stories

Everybody loves a good story with mystery, intrigue, and humor. Stories with emotion create a stronger connection between the storyteller and the listener. Practice telling stories to your friends or writing articles with stories. Here’s an article on tips on how to tell good stories.

7) Give genuine compliments and don’t be shy to say “thank you”

If somebody says something nice about you, simply say “thank you!” I had trouble with this simple response because I used to feel embarrassed or undeserved. You can also respond with humility with any compliment, such as, “I just got lucky.”

It is also important to learn how to give genuine compliments. A genuine compliment happens when you recognize a person’s effort to achieve a result.

For example, if you know your friend spent the past six months dieting and working out, compliment her by saying, “You look great! Please tell me your secret to staying so disciplined hitting the gym three times a week and cutting out the cookies. I’m having a hard time getting motivated going just once a week.”

Recognize a person’s genuine struggle before complimenting them on their triumph. It shows you empathize with what they’ve gone through to achieve their results. By putting yourself in an inferior light, it makes the person more empathetic to your situation.

8) Speak with clarity, volume, and confidence

If you mumble with your shoulders slumped people might get annoyed they can’t hear you clearly. Eventually, they might start ignoring you altogether. Learn to speak clearly and with confidence. You’ll come across as more charismatic and inspiring.

A person who has great communication skills will trump a person with more knowledge and expertise any day. Ideally, you have both.

9) Be great or at least passionate about something

Try to be really good at something. It can be anything from a sport, to music, to art, to dance, to writing. By being a top one percent performer in something, you will feel more confident because you became a master at your craft. People admire others who are passionate about something.

10) Be inclusive and kind

People who are more welcoming of others are more welcomed themselves. Conversely, people who are more exclusive tend to have been hurt or excluded themselves.

People will better remember how you make them feel, not as much as what you say. It’s natural to feel insecure about something. But if you show kindness and welcome others no matter who they are, they will like you more.

11) Learn how to make fun of yourself and not take things too seriously

You can disarm someone’s envy or distrust in you by making fun of yourself first. Poke fun at your flaws, highlight your struggles, and try to look on the bright side of things.

Just be careful not to joke around too much amongst serious people or in a serious setting. Learn how to read the room and match the atmosphere.

When A Better Personality Is Needed

One of the problems with being unemployed and financially independent is that you stop interacting with as many people. As a result, your social skills may atrophy because you have less practice.

Just like getting good at anything, you must practice, practice, practice at improving your personality! You don’t read a post about how to develop a better personality and then suddenly you’re the most charismatic and charming person in the world.

Leaving work for good in 2012 has decreased my desire to be liked. I’m no longer trying to get paid and promoted to the promised land. As a result, I haven’t worked on improving my personality much at all since.

It was only when I went on my book marketing tour in 3Q 2022 did I need to try to be more likable. If I didn’t, fewer people would invite me on their podcasts, YouTube channels, or TV shows. Which also meant that fewer people would purchase Buy This, Not That.

So I decided to jump back in the fire and worked on being more personable. After every interview, I got a little better. The marketing process was both scary and exhilarating, hopeful and dreadful. I felt like I was back at work, selling a product that most people would reject. But in the end, my book became a national bestseller, so something went right despite my poor personality.

In a big way, the need to make money and the desire to become more popular will naturally force you to improve your personality. If you don’t care about these things, then you won’t bother. After all, everything is long-term rational.

Some of the worst personalities reside with people with amazingly good looks who were also born into great wealth. It’s not their fault. They just didn’t need to try as hard to get ahead. 

Personalities For College Admission

Harvard admittance rates by academic decile and race
Harvard admit rates by academic decile and race

Having a great personality will make your life better. You’ll have more friends, increase your chances of finding a significant other, get more job offers, be invited to more events, raise more money, make more money, and be more loved by more people in general. You’ll probably be happier too.

I can see why some universities have a personality score variable for each applicant. It’s just unfortunate schools like Harvard are penalizing Asians for our personalities. An intense focus on education is part of many Asian cultures. Shouldn’t that be celebrated instead of condemned?

Using a subjective score to deny someone admission despite having objective higher scores is a tough pill to swallow. But that’s just the way things are for any private institution. Private institutions can do what they want, just like private citizens can apply to wherever they want.

The one caveat is a private university taking federal funding. If it does, it must follow Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin. Let’s see what the Supreme Court rules this time.

Reader Questions And Action Items

Readers, what do you think about Harvard rating Asians lower on its personality score? What are your suggestions for how we can improve our personalities? How much does having a good personality matter for getting ahead? What are your thoughts on affirmative action? If you are Asian, besides strong academics and productivity, what are you doing to improve your chances of getting accepted?

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Related posts to read:

Recommended 529 Plan Amounts By Age: Be Careful Saving Too Much

The Difference Between Private School And Public School People

The Bank Of Mom & Dad Strategy For Buying A House And Having A Family

The Fear Of Spoiling Our Children By Giving Them Money May Be Overblown

The Right Amount Of Money To Give And Leave Our Children

A 529 Plan Is One Of The Best Generational Wealth Transfer Tools

For a good book on charismatic communication, check out the book Cues, by Vanessa Van Edwards. She is a fellow Portfolio Penguin author.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

How To Develop A Better Personality To Get Into An Elite University is written by Financial Samurai for

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WATCH: Rapper Tells Joe Biden Voters ‘Get Out of My Concert’

WATCH: Rapper Tells Joe Biden Voters 'Get Out of My Concert'

( – Rapper Waka Flocka urged “all Joe Biden voters” to “get out of my concert” during his Monday performance in Salt Lake City, Utah.

(Viewer Discretion Advised)

Concertgoers could be seen applauding the rapper’s proclamation by raising their arms and making the amiable “hang loose” hand sign.

Following his statement, Waka Flocka began to sing “Grove St. Party,” a song from 2010.

Viewers used social media to voice various opinions; some expressed disapproval of the artist, while others offered support.

“As much as I don’t like Joe Biden this was wrong,” one X user reacted. “They paid money for a show like everyone else and while performing a show they should keep politics out of it.”

“This is wrong to be honest everyone is entitled to vote who they want,” another echoed.

Another wrote, “Insane,” while another stated, “This isn’t right.”

Not everyone in the comment section felt the same way.

“We need more of this,” one X user wrote.

“This is great and is a liberal’s nightmare!” another exclaimed.

“I normally would be against this type of political bullying, but seeing how everyone on the left treated those who wore MAGA hats in 2017, this is a dose of what goes around comes around,” a third said.

“Give them a taste of their own medicine,” another echoed.

“Waka funny af doing this omg lol,” another X user laughed.

“Good. This needs to happen more,” another declared.

It’s no secret that Waka Flocka supports President Trump. In October, the rapper endorsed the 45th president’s 2024 bid for the White House by posting a photo of himself alongside Trump.

More rappers appear to be open about supporting President Trump ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

It’s not looking too good for Joe Biden or the Democratic Party.

Copyright 2024.


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IRS Out For Blood More Than Doubling Penalty Interest

IRS taxes increase

In a blatant act of financial tyranny, the IRS is intensifying its assault on hardworking Americans by shamelessly jacking up the interest penalty on underpaid taxes from a pitiful 3% to an exorbitant 8%. This calculated move, recalibrated quarterly, serves as a stark reminder of the insatiable appetite of the IRS, an oppressive behemoth relentlessly extracting every last penny from citizens already shackled by burdensome taxation.

Specifically targeting non-corporate taxpayers, the IRS demands the federal short-term rate plus an additional three percentage points, a blatant money grab that directly targets struggling self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. These individuals, already grappling to make ends meet, find themselves in the crosshairs of a government voraciously hungry for more of their hard-earned wages.

For those daring to resist this blatant financial coercion and falling short on their payments, brace for the punitive underpayment penalty. There’s a meager concession – if the amount due is under $1,000 after begrudgingly considering credits and other tax factors, citizens might receive a temporary reprieve from the claws of the taxman.

This audacious maneuver puts the self-employed and independent contractors in the IRS’s oppressive grip, coercing them to make quarterly estimated tax payments under the looming threat of severe financial retribution. The January 16, 2024 deadline for the fourth quarter of 2023 is fast approaching – a date that casts a dark shadow over those grappling with the suffocating weight of government overreach.

While the regular W-2 employees might momentarily sigh with relief as taxes are conveniently siphoned from each paycheck, tax experts issue a stern warning against such complacency. Joseph Doerrer, a CPA and financial planner from New Jersey, challenges individuals to scrutinize their tax situation, posing the provocative question, “Are you where you should be?” A question that echoes as a stark reminder of the government’s overreach into the pockets of hardworking Americans.

One taxpayer, Sameet Durg, found himself blindsided by an underpayment penalty reaching into the thousands – an unwelcome surprise that serves as a chilling testament to the relentless demands of the IRS. Durg, a marketing executive, now watches his finances with unwavering vigilance, refusing to endure a hefty hit come April.

As the IRS unabashedly cranks up the interest penalty, taxpayers are left grappling with the heavy-handed tactics of an agency that seems insatiable in its quest to confiscate more of their hard-earned money. This move underscores the urgent need for citizens to vehemently resist the oppressive tax regime, actively defy the IRS’s overreach, and reclaim sovereignty over their wages.

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GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

( – Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of all charges related to the collapse of his Bitcoin exchange, FTX.

“A New York jury in Manhattan federal court agreed with prosecutors that Bankman-Fried defrauded investors, customers and lenders in connection with the collapse of his crypto empire,” reported Fox Business.

“Prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried, who founded and controlled both FTX and sister hedge fund Alameda research, of misappropriating and embezzling billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits, scheming to mislead investors, and instructing other executives at his businesses to do the same,” it added.

Bankman-Fried was charged with five charges of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud in the first two criminal trials.

The maximum sentence for each crime was 110 years in prison.

The hearing for Bankman-Fried’s sentence has been scheduled for March 28.

The Southern District of New York’s U.S. attorney, Damian Williams, commended the decision and said that Bankman-Fried “perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”

“The cryptocurrency industry might be new, the players like Bankman-Fried might be new,” Williams said. “But this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time.”

NBC News gave some background information and historical context before the decision:

“FTX and Alameda quickly collapsed in November 2022 after some of their financial liabilities were exposed.

The fact that Alameda had taken billions of dollars from FTX’s customers and that much of Alameda’s balance sheet was comprised of digital currency assets it had created was central to the case against Bankman-Fried.

Unnerved by disclosures about the firm’s financial position, many of FTX’s customers tried to get their money back. That set off the equivalent of a bank run.

The value of Alameda’s investments crashed, and FTX couldn’t return much of that money because it had been given to Alameda. Some went to the fund’s lenders, and billions were spent on sponsorships, commercials, and loans to top executives. That, too, was a major part of the case against Bankman-Fried.”

Following the collapse, more FTX and Alameda executives were prosecuted, including former CEO of Alameda Caroline Ellison, co-founder of FTX Gary Wang, and chief technology officer of FTX Nishad Singh.

All three pleaded guilty, agreed to cooperate, and testified against Bankman-Fried.

In exchange for their cooperation, they will receive less severe punishments.

In his defense, Bankman-Fried stated that he never intended to deceive anyone and that, following the failure of FTX and Alameda, the government had been searching for someone to blame.

“Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” Mark S. Cohen, counsel to Bankman-Fried, said in response to the verdict.

Williams stated that he hoped the conviction would be an example for others.

“It’s a warning, this case, to every single fraudster out there who thinks that they’re untouchable, or that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, or that they’re too powerful for us to prosecute, or that they could try to talk their way out of it when they get caught,” Williams said. “Those folks should think again.”

Copyright 2023.

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