Prestigious Colleges Need to Change Their Ways

19 Mar

A recent study has revealed that most students from low-income backgrounds with the highest GPA’s do not even apply to prestigious colleges.  Why is this?letter grades

Obviously, college is expensive, but that’s what financial aid is for.  Unfortunately, most students are unaware of the large amounts of aid that await them, but automatically assume that if the college is academically competitive, then it must be that much more expensive than those with high acceptance rates.  However, this is not necessarily true. Also, it has become apparent that top colleges have failed to appeal to low-income students, since most apply to community or public colleges instead.

Along with being unaware of the amount of financial aid available, students in low-income families are often even uninformed of top colleges to begin with, and apply to state schools because they are more familiar with them.

This does not seem to be a problem for low-income students living in major cities, as they are more likely to be familiar with colleges all around the country, rather than only in their area. This limited national college knowledge seems to be the case with students living in more rural areas.  Also, as of now, colleges tend to seek out and focus recruitment efforts on low-income areas in big cities such as Boston, New York and Los Angeles, and neglect the small towns that tend to need more consideration.

The consequences for these bright students overlooking selective colleges is that they are applying to schools with fewer resources and career opportunities, and are exposing themselves to a lower graduation rate that could negatively affect their studies.  The data has proven this to be true, as 89 percent of high-achieving, low income students attending selective colleges graduate, whereas only 50 percent of these students at nonselective colleges do so.Rural classroom

The study has proven that colleges need to reach out to more diverse areas, instead of only recruiting from large cities where students are more likely to have more knowledge of prestigious colleges and financial aid anyway.  The places that need the most attention are the more rural areas of the country, as these students often automatically believe prestigious colleges are out of their price range no matter how talented they may be.

Colleges need to make some changes. Everyone should be given equal opportunity to attend the college of their dreams.

-Brittany Peterson

Image sources: (letter grades), (classroom)


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