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New York university requires all applicants from high school to answer the following question: “Are there any significant experiences you’ve had, or accomplishments you have realised, that have helped to define you as a person?” The admissions staff explain that the answer to this question will help them to “get to know you better.” In what was either a shameless act of self-publicity or a deplorable breach of confidentiality, the reply of one applicant found its way into cyberspace, where, in the US, it has now acquired a mini-cult status:

“I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and…

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