Wednesday, October 03, 2007

At the elite colleges - dim white kids

Hat tip: Prometheus 6

At the elite colleges - dim white kids
By Peter Schmidt
September 28, 2007

AUTUMN AND a new academic year are upon us, which means that selective colleges are engaged in the annual ritual of singing the praises of their new freshman classes.

Surf the websites of such institutions and you will find press releases boasting that they have increased their black and Hispanic enrollments, admitted bumper crops of National Merit scholars or became the destination of choice for hordes of high school valedictorians. Many are bragging about the large share of applicants they rejected, as a way of conveying to the world just how popular and selective they are.

What they almost never say is that many of the applicants who were rejected were far more qualified than those accepted. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it was not the black and Hispanic beneficiaries of affirmative action, but the rich white kids with cash and connections who elbowed most of the worthier applicants aside.

Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America's highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions' minimum admissions standards.

Five years ago, two researchers working for the Educational Testing Service, Anthony Carnevale and Stephen Rose, took the academic profiles of students admitted into 146 colleges in the top two tiers of Barron's college guide and matched them up against the institutions' advertised requirements in terms of high school grade point average, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and records of involvement in extracurricular activities. White students who failed to make the grade on all counts were nearly twice as prevalent on such campuses as black and Hispanic students who received an admissions break based on their ethnicity or race.

Who are these mediocre white students getting into institutions such as Harvard, Wellesley, Notre Dame, Duke, and the University of Virginia? A sizable number are recruited athletes who, research has shown, will perform worse on average than other students with similar academic profiles, mainly as a result of the demands their coaches will place on them.

A larger share, however, are students who gained admission through their ties to people the institution wanted to keep happy, with alumni, donors, faculty members, administrators, and politicians topping the list.

Applicants who stood no chance of gaining admission without connections are only the most blatant beneficiaries of such admissions preferences. Except perhaps at the very summit of the applicant pile - that lofty place occupied by young people too brilliant for anyone in their right mind to turn down - colleges routinely favor those who have connections over those who don't. While some applicants gain admission by legitimately beating out their peers, many others get into exclusive colleges the same way people get into trendy night clubs, by knowing the management or flashing cash at the person manning the velvet rope.

Rest of article can be found HERE.

Since we have been subject to Justice ' My Yale Law Degree Isn't Worth the 15 cent frame it's in' Thomas...

Let's see if someone will speak up for these kids. Should their diplomas be in 10 cent frames?

Where's the ' this is injuring them...their degrees are frauds'... Chorus?

Why do I think that chorus will never sing?

Just like the chorus condemning Affirmative Action for its biggest beneficiaries - WHITE WOMEN - never sings..

How come it's only with Black and Brown folk?



Anonymous said...

Read that article and found it interesting.

"Why Blacks Should twice about supporting Ron Paul"

Check the Post

Leave a comment and thanks for your words of encouragement...

Brian said...

College is becoming more and more about "a brand". Students and parents (especially the affluent) seem to be more concerned about prestige and name recognition rather than a good education.

I can't stand these priviledged kids who's parents send them to these big name schools for a name brand piece of paper. These are the people who come out of college and have little work experience or life experience and they end up beating folks like me out of jobs...because I don't have the top designer brand college degree.
And employers are also falling into the same trap. I have found my degrees to be useless (because they are not from a designer brand). I almost feel like Clarence Thomas regarding his .15 cent degree...although not for the same reason.
I went to decent schools which were more practical and focused more on teaching. order to compete, I am trying to get into the top University in St. Louis (Washington U.), although I know I can't afford it. I met with the Dean a couple of weeks have her look at my transcripts...she liked what she saw and told me that I was in...just fill out the paperwork.

But I am still trying to decide what I want to do. This is part of the reason why I need to get away from this blog. I have too many other things going on at the moment.

Check out This Post from earlier this year. Be sure to listen to the discussion. It hits at the heart of your post.

rikyrah said...


I understand what you mean about branding, but it galls me that nobody comments on 'unqualified' White students getting in, but they can harp on the Black and Brown ones.

I told you - get away from the blog and take care of your education. We'll do ok, especially now that we have 2 new bloggers. So, go get that education.

If you go to the school with 'the name', and do good, it will even look better for you, so think of it in those terms. Take your break and take care of business.

PS- did you see my response about adding some sites to the blogroll?

rikyrah said...

Read the link that you sent me to, and I appreciate that post. I have to agree with you about them being finishing schools - that's why I refuse to allow folks to dog Black and Brown folk for getting the ' crumbs' of Affirmative Action that they do at this school. I went to 3 of these schools, and I met folk with lower, much lower GPA's than my public school going self, who were in my classes. They got in because of Stupid White Boy Affirmative Action called LEGACY ADMISSIONS.

You could add up the Blacks AND Hispanics, and it wouldn't total the number of LEGACIES admitted to these schools. So, I don't let anyone do that hustle on me, because I know the real deal.

I would like to recommend to you a couple of books for your knowledge reservoir:

The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges--and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates
by Daniel Golden

The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
by Jerome Karabel

Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class
by Ross Gregory Douthat

redante said...

The debate about affirmative action reminds me of how much social class is an unexplored and unmentioned
factor in the discussion about inequality in the US. The US is still a class-stratified society and the way the affirmative action debate has developed it is working class whites who feel that less deserving black and brown folk are stealing positions in jobs and university slots from them.

In the 2006 decision at the University of Michigan, Proposal 2 amended the state constitution of
Michigan to bar public colleges and other state agencies and institutions from operating programs that grant preferences based on race, ethnicity or gender.The plaintiff was a working class young white woman who felt that it was undeserving minorities who eventually got into the University of Michigan and she
was unfairly bypassed as an undergraduate applicant.

I always wonder in my mind if she had not been so willing to be manipulated by anti-affirmative action activists and based her argument against Legacy Admissions, rather than affirmative action, that the state of race relations and public policy regarding race would be vastly different. I'd like to see an educational policymaker do a study of sub-standard white students getting admitted to the University of Michigan as Legacy Admissions and how much of these slots would have been better given to deserving poor and working class students -- white and racial minorities alike.

redante said...

Correction: Proposal 2 was a state referendum. The issue was originally sparked by a lawsuit on the University of Michigan by a female, white student who was denied admission to the University. It is the lawsuit that I refer to when I say plaintiff.