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The Problem with College Admissions

By Nikhil N.

College is a requirement to get a good job. At least, that’s what we’ve been told our whole lives. But is it really? It takes a lot of money to go to college, money that must be acquired through a job. But without college experience, it’s hard to get one. This paradox is one that plagues many families struggling with the high prices of tuition. But wait, there’s a solution! Take out a college loan and pay it back once you have the stable job that college guarantees you. That sounds like a splendid idea, until you learn about interest and suddenly have racked hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt by your thirties. Great.

The problems within the college system don’t end there; the admissions system is pretty flawed too, using arbitrary standardized test scores (I’m looking at you, SAT) to determine who’s in and who’s out. But even worse is how universities discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, and sexuality so they can tout their diversity. For example, researchers at Princeton University found that Asian American students need an additional 140 points on their SAT scores in order to be accepted into an Ivy League school. Many of these schools place a 20% limit on admissions of Asian American students. We’re told that college is about academics, but clearly it’s not that simple. As soon as they’re born, two different peoples’ chances of getting into the same school vary pretty significantly. 

Wealth is another big factor in admissions. Remember Lori Loughlin? Loughlin, the Full House actress, infamously paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to cement her children’s acceptances into top colleges. The legacy system is also pretty messed up – even if there’s a better applicant, colleges still pick the legacy because they’ll have more school spirit. That logic, even if we accept it as a valid argument, doesn’t make sense. The kid that worked harder is probably going to be more proud of what they achieved than the kid whose dad went there, thereby having more spirit. Don’t even get me started on College Board. “Take the SAT! It’s the only way to get into a good college! You’ll have to pay us to take it by the way. Oh yeah, you also have to pay to take each AP exam, which is also necessary for getting into a prestigious institution. Oh yeah, you also have to pay to send your SAT scores to schools even though you already paid us to take it. We’re a non-profit!” 

How about we lessen the costs of applying to colleges, reduce overall tuition, make scholarships and aid more accessible to lower income families, and stop discriminating in the applications process? Sadly, to these big corporations, it seems money is more important than the education of our children and the future of our nation. 

 

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