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View Diary: The Myth of the Meritocracy: Brilliant But Poor Kids Are Not Even APPLYING To Top Colleges (223 comments)

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  •  You'd think in the day and age of the internet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, denise b

    a "high achieving" kid could find out this type of thing on his or her own.

    •  I don't know how familiar you are with the current (4+ / 0-)

      ... college application process, but it is incredibly complicated and complex. The financial information (FAFSA), essays and other items needed are tough to navigate for students with highly-informed, engaged families.

      Things are far different than when I was applying for college back in the `70s.

    •  I've been researching college scholareships (4+ / 0-)

      for low income kids for some time now, and I can assure you, despite the clearing houses online that aggregate them, it's bewildering, and the time required to fill them all out can be daunting.

      Many local scholarships are ridiculously difficult to find.

    •  Have to have internet access. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ice Blue, Roadbed Guy, Ian Reifowitz

      Libraries around here only allow you to use their computers for a limited span of time at a time, one system doesn't allow personal media use so no saving anything, and there's one county library that doesn't have wifi so even if you have something wifi-capable you have to join the line.

      Oh and the printer fees are practically abusive per page, compared to what places like Office Depot want in areas that actually attract office supply chains, so you can expect to pay out a dollar or more per admissions essay.

      $80 for a wifi-capable low-end tablet at Big Lots that can access the internet at a coffee shop or fast food place that has an open connection. IF you can afford the $80. IF the local Big Lots carries them - they are a store-only item, and I haven't seen them in any store around here. And then printing is still an issue, because you have to email it to yourself and then pay the printer per-page fees at the library.

      Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

      by Cassandra Waites on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:33:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those are good points (0+ / 0-)

        However, my perspective - from being a somewhat low level flunky hanger-on at a lab at a major research university - is somewhat different.

        At some point over the past 2 or 3 years the president of the university decided that it'd be good if disparate parts of the university got to know each other better and sponsored "getting to know you lunches" with random other people at the university.

        Not to turn down a free lunch, I signed on and found myself at a table with somebody from the undergrad admissions committee who made a strong case of how they were desperately seeking low income/disadvantaged students (I could make no judgement of whether this was for PR value or for sincerity).  

        But when I challenged this guy on this, and inquired why the results were so paltry, he had anecdotal evidence of how even top "brilliant" candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds tend to be overwhelmed and flunk out when brought into the university even with full funding - noting that that tends to cause a lot of ill will all around and makes the admission committee really skittish about admitting the "brilliant" candidates of the type touted in the recent NYTs article.  

        I dunno, I clearly am not an expert on this and have no particular insight, other than that things are not nearly as cut and dried as pointed out by those on this site who claim that there simply is a gap between the rural poor and elite universities that precludes even any communication.  That is not true - I have been on both sides and know that there is a vivid awareness of the existence of each side of the gap - but not really any sense of how to bridge that gap.

        To me the very idea that there is no awareness that the gap even exists is a smokescreen of some type to divert attention from the real problem.

        •  The study shows that these high-achieving (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy, Cassandra Waites

          low income students actually do very well at the elite colleges, graduating at a far higher rate than those from the same cohort who attend other colleges. That was in my post and in the original NBER study on which the NYT article is based.

          •  Sure, I guess I am conflicted about (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites

            sitting at the same table as someone, and having them tell me something in all apparent sincerity that does not match up with what is published in Judith Miller's newspaper.

            But, like I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I have cognitive issues that perhaps prevent me from having a really good grasp of whether somebody can look me straight in the eye and lie to me.

            Although in this situation I'm really struggling to find a compelling motive why he'd do so.

            •  The really high achievers (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ian Reifowitz, Catte Nappe

              have a natural intellectual work habit.

              The kid who does extra research just for fun is going to have their upper limit of what they can learn be set by what's available to them and natural capacity. When nothing is handed to them on even a tin platter, those are the kids who get the high grades and the high scores. And those kids are the ones who will have most likely naturally learned the stuff in the gap between what their school wants for graduation and what the professors at colleges think incoming freshmen are supposed to already know.

              The kids who do just what the school systems in the lower-income areas ask of them aren't going to get those scores. The expectations of what's absolutely required is too low for that. And they are the ones who get stuck using up scholarships or running up loans taking remedial classes to make up for what the college thinks they were supposed to learn in high school.

              Middle-income areas, that doesn't hold true. I got opted into the AP math track in the 6th grade and the AP lit track in the 8th grade, no informed decision asked from me. I had the guidance office pushing me into classes I couldn't handle in late high school because of course I wanted every honors and AP class they offered even in things I had no interest in at all. Doing just what was expected even off the honors track at my high school would give a pretty high set of standardized test scores, relatively speaking.

              Upper-income? Particularly the private prep schools? Coasting by without ever doing more than the teacher asks of you will lead to damn high scores - and if it doesn't, there are test prep sessions for that.

              So given an upper-income student who did the minimum his parents would accept but test-prepped into SAT scores and a lower-income student who got yelled at for always having his face in a book, with equal scores, it's the lower-income kid who is going to live in the library and do extra reading when he doesn't understand and the upper-income kid who is going to expect all required knowledge for comprehending the course to be in the textbook.

              Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

              by Cassandra Waites on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 01:36:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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