The college quest

More students are sending more applications to the same number of competitive colleges and universities, reports the New York Times. Working class black and Hispanic students in the story are applying to ultra-competitive schools that middle-class white students with higher SATs consider longshots. I hope someone’s explained safety schools to the disadvantaged students and their parents.

About Joanne


  1. It’s not just lower economic classes of blacks and hispanics. My stepdaughter (rural, white, poor) had been talking about going to Chapel Hill or Duke. Well, maybe eventually, but she’s not ready for something beyond a community college for right now. What’s sad is that I know Chapel Hill and N.C. State do let in marginal students like her because they have a quota for state residents (something like 80% must be from NC by law)… but they don’t do much to keep students in college. I remember the attrition rate for State was about 20% from freshman to sophomore year – during the 1990s.

    I think I’ve convinced her to go to one of the community colleges in Durham, as her aunt is already taking classes there, so she’d have some practical support. My black cousins in SC have been going to a community college before trying for a 4-year degree. I think this is a better path to success for them, as the community college experience gets them prepared for a more difficult level of academic work. As well, if they stop after community college, they’ll have an associate degree, which is better than the nothing they’d have from dropping out of a university.

  2. dr. cookie says:

    In one life, I am a doctoral candidate and researcher at a big, prestigious university. In another, I am mother of two middle schoolers.

    I can see that getting into the undergrad program at the university is not quite the cakewalk it was several years ago. More and more international students, and others are applying.

    But the mothers in my upper-middle class white neighborhood don’t see to be concerned. Many assume their kids will get in, even if they don’t push particularly hard. The kids don’t take the most challenging courses, don’t play musical instruments, don’t have many afterschool activities besides soccer, don’t take a language. There is this sense of entitlement among the moms, a sense that just hanging around with the right people is enough to guarantee a ticket for their children.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when the real bulge of baby boom echo kids become HS seniors, in about five or six years.


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