Imagine being brilliant—Massachusetts Institute of Technology kind of brilliant. You’ve aced the course work in electrical engineering and computer science and you’re ready to work as a Wall Street analyst. But there’s one test left, and it has absolutely nothing to do with electrical engineering or computer science. You have to swim 100 yards.
That’s the situation Stephanie Yeh faced in the spring of 2006, according to Douglas Belkin in the Boston Globe (May 8, 2007). MIT is one of a handful of top schools in the country that require students to pass a swim test before they graduate. Yeh, who never learned how to swim, apparently wondered about the rationale for a swim test. Her response to the requirement was “I mean, who cares if you can swim?” In other words, is this test really necessary?