Another Quora Answer
If now the poor can get into college with SAT's new "adversity score," and the rich can use money, what can the middle class do to get into a good college?
John Linneball, Sole Proprietor at John Linneball Tutoring (2014-present)
No one gets into a selective, or “good,” college simply by virtue of being poor, a minority, or otherwise disadvantaged. The student has to be qualified to do the work, and likely to succeed in life. Similarly, having relatives who can literally buy your way into the school, while probably more likely to work than being disadvantaged, won’t work if you’re obviously unable to do the work and probably won’t get far in life. Why, you ask? It’s simple - students are not just the customers of these businesses called “colleges;” they are the product.
Businesses donate money to colleges that produce people they’re likely to hire. Government grants go to colleges with good faculty and (usually graduate) student assistants. People are more likely to apply, and will pay more to attend, schools that produce people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Bonnie Raitt, and the like. That is one reason why Harvard University, the alma mater of all three of those people, as well as politicians, celebrities, scientists, businesspeople, etc. that we all know, can charge much more than a decent local college.
Your question is basically a twist on the question about financing college. The extremely poor basically pay nothing other than student loans (which used to be capped, but now students can take out private loans, but SHOULDN’T!) and work-study jobs. The wealthy can simply pay the tuition and fees. The middle class family has to pay as much of its income as it can, gets SOME grants, and the rest must be paid through the student’s loans and/or work-study job.
That leaves the middle class family feeling a bit sore, since they feel like they’re being penalized for working hard and saving, whereas the poor family might be poor because they were irresponsible with their money, the wealthy family may have simply inherited the wealth, etc. The problem with that attitude is most poor people usually are poor for reasons they don’t control (e.g., factory closings, poor educational opportunities, etc), and most wealthy people were originally poor and/or middle class, and worked hard to become wealthy. But I digress.
Colleges, certainly elite colleges, recognize talent, regardless of the students’ backgrounds. I knew two students from much (economically and socially) worse backgrounds than mine, who performed better than I did at the same college. I also knew students whose families probably had net worths of millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars. Similarly, they worked very hard, and succeeded in college and in life. Most students I met were from socioeconomic backgrounds similar to mine, worked hard, and also “made it” in college and in life.
If you work really hard, you’ll get admitted to a good enough college, get enough financial aid, and you’ll make it. I promise that. I can’t promise you Harvard, or whatever your dream college is, but I can guarantee you that your background won’t hold you back if you’re academically qualified to attend an elite college, and even if you’re just average academically, hard work will get you a degree from a good college, a good career, etc.
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Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.