College has become a scam in America.
We have all heard the horror stories of crippling student debt and graduates that are lucky to land minimum wage retail jobs. But one part of the college scam not receiving much attention is the admissions process.
No longer are good grades and good test scores enough to get you into a desirable university. No, it takes greater resources, time, and existential insight. These new conditions favor the affluent and unscrupulous.
Rich students dominate most top universities. These bastions of higher learning claim to want “diversity,” and they generally are ethnically, religiously, and even geographically diverse. However, socioeconomic differences are sparse.
Many assert that low-income families are either intimidated by the cost of these schools or simply are ignorant of the financial aid packages available for their children. They blame low-income students and their families rather than the root problem inherent in the system.
That problem is the ever increasing cost of jumping through the right hoops and creating the appropriate narrative in order to gain admittance.
You can pay $30,000 or more a year per child to send them to a top prep school. There they will be properly challenged, get to play a sport like lacrosse, and be offered the chance to build orphanages in Africa so their resume looks properly polished for an Ivy League school.
Unless you are in the 1%, your child is not going to such a prep school.
But there is still hope. In public school, you can push your child to focus on one particular subject which they study in their spare time -- the more obscure the better, like the molecular biology of Surinam cockroaches. Make her play a sport or two, enroll in every other extra-curricular, and send her on a summer trip to build a well in Guatemala.
On second thought, that does not seem like a thrifty alternative either.
Many of the paths to the best schools require unpaid internships, founding charities, academic camps, and excellence in sports. The average child and parent are unlikely to be aware of such requirements, much less possess the resources to pursue them.
What this system has become is affirmative action for rich families. Only they can afford to meet these stipulations or pay others to help their kids meet them.
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