It is the tradition of many pundits and media outlets to offer year-end awards as the days in December wind to a close. My personal favorite (for sheer entertainment value) is the McLaughlin Group awards, presented in two episodes available here and here on YouTube. The Daily Beast has offered their favorite longreads of 2012. Popular Science suggested theirs too. I can even spare a few kind words for David Brooks, who writes about his favorite essays of the year in his annual Sydney Awards columns.
For my money, the most interesting and provocative read of the year was "The Myth of American Meritocracy," authored by Ron Unz, editor of The American Conservative. It gives short shrift to the significance of diversity in education, but nonetheless makes a compelling case that left-wing visions of diversity and right-wing visions of meritocracy in their purest forms are not only unattainable but undesirable. A new admissions paradigm for our elite institutions is required because, as it stands, the current procedure is utterly corrupt.
Give yourself some time though... it's long even by longread standards.