Is Daddy’s Money Still a Foolproof Way to a College Acceptance?

Tiffany Ly

As the oldest child and first of my family to attend college, my parents relied on me to teach them how the college application process works as I struggled to figure it out myself. After reading a variety of articles on the selection process at elite universities, I began to question whether my family’s race and wealth would be determining factors for acceptance.

Sure, you can say that significant attempts have been made to create greater racial equality on college campuses – usually in the form of affirmative action and diversity programs. Standardized tests like the ACT and SAT were created to give students coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds a more fair chance.

However, these tests only evaluate students’ analytical abilities, which are a small fraction of the skill set needed for students to become future leaders who will make a difference in the world. The tests fail to evaluate students’ creativity and practical skills, oftentimes leaving brilliant and able students with the short end of the stick. The SAT and ACT are also overemphasized in the admissions process; prospective students believe that this one test score will either make or break their chances of being accepted.

Although standardized testing was created as a solution to address the lack of students from low-income backgrounds, many studies have shown that high results on the SAT and ACT correlate with families of greater wealth.

Despite the attempts done to try to change this, wealth will always be an influential factor for admission into elite universities. Former admissions officer from Dartmouth College said, “Of course there are files every year that the dean simply says aren’t debatable. It’s pretty easy to Google those kids and see Daddy is a U.S. Senator or gave the university $7 million.”

The racial divide is still prevalent.  Statistics show that even with affirmative action, blacks are still the minorities of graduating classes of every college.

The college admissions process and whether or not you’ll be accepted, especially to the top universities, is heavily based on your family’s socioeconomic class and race. Despite how much racial and monetary equality the universities claim to have, nothing has created a more level playing field.




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