The New York Times recently published an excellent article entitled “You Draw It: How Family Income Affects Children’s College Chances.” What’s particularly unique about this piece is that it’s interactive – before delving into the meat of the article, there’s a small exercise for the reader to complete, wherein he/she is asked to guess the likelihood of children from families of various income levels attending college. Once you draw your line on their graph, the rest of the article materializes and the information revealed is quite sobering. I don’t want to give it all away, but suffice to say that there is definitely a relationship between parental income rank and the likelihood of college enrollment by their children. Now, this opens the door on a whole slew of issues surrounding not only income inequality and the ever-growing gap between the haves and have-nots in the United States, but also inequality of opportunity and, associated with this, inequality as it relates to social capital*. Given that many tout education as a crucial component of the cure for these social ailments, and rightfully so, it’s worth noting that the system often functions in such a way that those from wealthier backgrounds have distinct advantages throughout the college admissions process. For example, from another New York Times article, consider these numbers, comparing the family incomes of SAT test takers with their average scores:
While inequality is a complex and multifaceted problem with no one “fix-all” solution, there are attempts being made to make the playing field more level. For instance, in terms of test prep services, there is an admirable new partnership between the College Board and Khan Academy that “directly addresses one of the greatest inequities around college entrance exams: the culture of high-priced test preparation.” Admitster also seeks to address inequalities, and we do so by providing a wealth of information alongside powerful college admissions tools that everyone can access, regardless of background or family income. When you take advantage of the current free registration at Admitster, you gain use of the company’s very-cool Acceptance Predictor and ‘What If?’ Engine, both of which help you to determine your best strategy for getting into the schools of your choice. Further information on the ‘What If?’ Engine, and how this tool can be of great use to you, is coming to a blog near you (yes, this one) soon!
* For more information on social capital, see the Harvard University’s Kennedy School Saguaro Seminar website.