In response to Peter Schmidt’s “At the Elite Colleges- Dim White Kids”
With each new academic year that comes around, there are countless more academically undeserving college students walking around a university. At any given college or university at any given time, there will be individuals that were accepted despite the fact that their grades failed to meet their institutions minimum admissions standards. Whether it be recruited athletes, or students that are simply enrolled due to credible connections to the university, colleges across America are denying worthy applicants, and it is happening every year. We are aware of this, yet why do we allow it to continue?
It is said that 15% of white kids failed to meet their institutions minimum admissions standards, yet they are still enrolled in school (Schmidt 2007). Why? This is because of the “cash and connections” that many white students are provided with. Similar to entry into a popular nightclub, students are yielded into schools because they personally know the individuals at the “top.” Picture this: an extremely gifted football player is being recruited to play at Notre Dame University. The coach believes that this is the most talented quarterback that he has seen in the last fifteen years, and he is determined to get this boy to play for his team. Even though his GPA is a mere 1.7, this boy is accepted to enroll at Notre Dame in the fall. How does this happen? Countless valedictorians are being turned away from top-notch schools year after year, and by the same quota, top-notch athletes seem to be getting accepted in their place (Schmidt 2007). Additionally, any extra money seems to be going to the “needy” recruits, instead of being granted to those scholarly individuals who are accepted because of their good academic standard, yet cannot afford to attend the college. In turn, the less-fortunate are becoming discouraged from even applying to prestigious colleges. It is a vicious cycle, and a cycle that allows white students to come out on top. It is no secret that “white privilege” still exists in our society, and it is most evident within colleges and in the work force.
In a country where social mobility seems to be at a stand-still, we as Americans have the unique opportunity to change that. Because of the eliteness that is occurring among the privileged whites in our society, our nation’s leaders are growing complacent enough to foster mediocrity, which is a MAJOR issue. Our country prides itself in being the land of opportunity; yet with these staggering statistics, that does not seem to hold true. With gender inequality in the workplace on the rise in our country, we would assume that this is carrying over to every other aspect of our lives. Instead, inequality is being fostered at some of the most elite colleges in the country. It appears that there is an increase in the number of students who are accepted solely due to their wealth and connections to the superiors of the school. This is obviously unfair to those that have prestigious academic standing to succeed at a college such as Harvard or Columbia.
What could we do to fix this? There is not much that we as citizens can do, it appears to all be in the hands of the ruling class. Those who have the power to change this growing controversy would be the same individuals that created it– the admissions board at any college or university. Instead of accepting a white student with a below average GPA and minimal involvement in extracurricular activities but blessed with supreme athletic ability, maybe we should reconsider and accept the international student with a near perfect GPA and an impressive resume. To someone that is not aware of this tendency within our education system, they made assume that the student with the near perfect GPA would get accepted over the gifted athlete. However, it is understood that that is not always the case. Especially in regards to race, white people in particular tend to have the upper-hand in many aspects of life. “White privilege” is defined as the many advantages that white people accrue from society compared to the disadvantages that people of color experience. It is a widely known phenomenon, and it has been prevalent for ages. Our education system should be the one component of society that is accepting of people of diverse backgrounds, instead of being focused on wealth and race. As much as we wish this to be true, this is not apparent in our society and we must recognize that.
In my humble opinion, I believe that we are all equal and we are all worthy of an education. Wealth and race should play no part in the establishment of a successful individual. However, we live in a country and in a world where the white dominate, and is the source of our many inequalities that exist. While I am just focusing on the education standpoint, we must realize that inequality exists in other aspects of life as well.