Ask A Genius 566 – Affirmative Action for the Rich (4)
March 15, 2019
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Rick Rosner: Thing three is, even without cheating as many do, huge advantages for rich people. For one thing, there is no good guide to applying to college. Every family, every kid, has to kind of learn anew the principles of putting together a good application and putting together a good academic record.
It is not clear. There are a gazillion steps in the whole process. If you do it right, it is the culmination of 12 years of school. But it is the culmination of 4 or 5 years to apply in the case of the most prepared applicants.
The less prepared applicants don’t even know this. It is the difference between the chances for a kid with two parents with a family income of $300,000 who goes to a private school versus a kid with a single parent going to a public school in an inner city.
The inner city school may have one school counsellor for the graduating class of 500 or 600 or even zero counsellors. That counsellor may or may not give a shit, or may or may not have clues.
The counsellors at private schools cultivate relationships with the admissions people at certain colleges. They cannot be friends with every admissions person at every college. But they can be friends with admissions people at a few pretty selective colleges.
A week before calls go out. They can say, “So-and-so, my student, is the most gifted and talented kid I have seen in the last 5 years.” Often, that will make a difference. A counsellor at a city school does not have any of these connections or has very little idea.
They may be able to point kids at appropriate colleges. Or a vague idea in their ideas of all the crazy crap that all the most qualified and most prepared kids are doing to get into colleges.
So, you don’t have to cheat to have a huge advantage if you’re a kid whose parents are still married, if they have a decent job, read, are good at researching stuff online.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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