Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?
Not necessarily. Applicants with financial resources generally have access to experiences and services (i.e. tutoring) that can give them a leg up in the admissions process. In addition, they are sometimes legacies at competitive colleges or have families who have connections at some of these schools, which can help. Finally, at certain schools, being a full-pay applicant who does not request financial aid can be helpful. However, many schools are looking for diversity in the student body and may give a preference to minority students, economically-disadvantaged students and/or first-generation applicants. In general, schools want to see that you have taken advantage of the opportunities and resources available to you.
Rich kids do not have an automatic advantage in college admissions as students are measured based on the coursework from the school they attended and how they fit into the enrollment objectives of the university. Sometimes, a legacy student (someone in their family has already gone to the university) can help a student’s chance of getting into their dream school but that percentage is usually very small.
The honest answer to this question is unfortunately “yes” – at least at most colleges. The bottom line is that schools want students who can pay the tuition or at least have the capacity to pay the tuition – even of the school offers a gratuitous scholarship. The exceptions to this rule are sometimes the need blind colleges that claim to take financial means out of the admissions equation.
Yes, wealthy children do not have to worry about financial aid and can make college application and acceptance decisions based on pure desire. They can visit colleges, pursue amazing activities at home and away from home. Also colleges that are not need blind often accept kids that don’t require financial sooner than kids who do as that enables them to offer aid to other students.So yes, life always gives advantages to rich kids.
I’m not particularly fond of the term “rich kids” but if you are asking if colleges look favorably on those students who can pay their own way–the answer is yes. However, this only applies if the student meets all the other qualifications for admission.
Ability to pay is an advantage at some but not all colleges. Determine from the colleges’ websites whether they are “need blind” or “need aware”. Need aware colleges’ finances require that they take a student’s ability to pay into consideration when making the admission decision. Need blind colleges are able to admit whom they choose without regard to a family’s finances.
I would really question that wealthy students have an automatic advantage in college admissions for the same reasons as prep school kids. Colleges are seeking first-generation and underrepresented minorities, and that means that wealthy applicants still need to prove themselves. I do work with some wealthy families, and they receive the same advice as any students: challenge yourself to the max in high school and show colleges that you are ready for their demanding courses. That is not to say that wealthy students aren’t sometimes well connected with certain colleges – they can be – but colleges know what they’re dealing with.
In the current difficult economic climate, ability to pay does play a role for need aware schools. The few schools that are need-blind do not consider finances in admission decisions. Universities are also aware that students who come from low income backgrounds do not usually have as much guidance available regarding college as students from wealthier families.
as a private counselors for the most elite families or middle class families, I am in the better position to share with you about the extra help that will add advantages to the student for college admissions.
I don’t personally agree with the fact that only rich kids use counseling services or counselors to help with the admisisons process. they are afforable to many middle class families and some counselors will offer discount for disadvantage families such as me.
the advantages of useing counselors will work for the benefit of the students, therefore, actually save time and money for students in the end. it is the best way of helping students with college access and success.
Yes and No. Academic opportunity and achievement is largely correlated with wealth, but students are often evaluated in context which means that at many selective colleges, wealthier applicants actually have a harder time standing out. At some schools that do not have large endowments however, being able to pay the full tuition can be an advantage.
Legend has it that F. Scott Fitzgerald opined that, “Rich people are different from the rest of us.” To which Ernest Hemmingway countered, “Yes, they have more money….”
Rich kids MIGHT have an advantage in CERTAIN situations, but it depends on what is meant by the term “US”. If by “US” you mean people living at or below the poverty level, then categorically, the rich by definition do NOT enjoy an advantage when filling out the FAFSA or even other financial aid forms, as these forms are driven largely by formula and those formulas favor families with lower AGI’s and negligible assets.
Having said that, not to take a superficial view of life, people, or the burdens we all carry, rich people have the obviious advantage that Hemingway pointed out which
goes a long way in buying better schools, tutors, books, learning environments, test prepping, etc.
(1) One situation where wealthy families might enjoy an advantage is in filling out a college’s application. Some schools ask the student on the application if they intend to
file for Financial Aid. Some schools as you will recall, are NOT NEED BLIND. ie all things being equal–and in life things are rarely equal–if a student is going to be a FULL
PAYER that student might get an advantaged consideration. If my student were coming from a wealthy family, I would be certain to have him/her apply to schools that are NOT NEED BLIND. This is more difficult than it appears at first glance because some schools actually cross back and forth from the NEED BLIND CAMP from year to year, probably depending on the performance of their endowment funds.
(2) A second way that wealthy kids MIGHT benefit I discuss in my UNIGO answers relating to HIGHLY SELECTIVE SCHOOLS.
No way! It has even been suggested that they could be at a disadvantage, especially those who attend selective high schools as there is more competition for spots in top schools.
Students for whom cost is not a factor benefit in a myriad of ways. Here are my top 3 ways that students from financially comfortable backgrounds may have an advantage in the college admission process:
1. Early Decision: Applying through a binding agreement is a more viable option for students for whom final cost is not a factor. Most colleges and universities offer admission at a higher rate through early decision.
2. Need Aware: Increasingly, the economic downturn is impacting admission decisions colleges make with clear benefit for “full pay” families. Check out the NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/business/economy/10reed.html?pagewanted=all
3. Far and wide: When cost is not a factor, students apply to schools far from home with greater ease. Visiting schools nationally and having the capital to return home via air once enrolled are privileges afforded to financially comfortable families.
There are advantages to being in the middle and upper classes, but not in the way you might think. Look at it this way: parents who do not have to worry about keeping food on the table have more opportunity to encourage their children’s academic studies. Parents who have a college education are more likely to spend time talking with their children about college. These families are more likely to live in a neighborhood with good schools. That being said, there are also advantages in being a first generation college student. Colleges like to encourage these students to come to their college, and they have many support groups available to help these students succeed. Students from less fortunate backgrounds often work, which takes time away from their studies, while the more fortunate student doesn’t have to work. One other issue: in this economy colleges are looking for more full pay students (students who do not receive financial aid). However, it does not mean they are accepting students who are not qualified. Being full pay might help when a decision is down to two students: one who needs financial aid, and one who does not.
Not necessarily. It can help at some schools, for running a college is not cheap, schools have to pay their bills, and tuition is no small part of how they do it, but most school also have large amounts of financial aid intended to ensure that students who are not rich cannot only get the opportunity to go to college but can also bring their talent to the school community. At the same time, wealth can help in other areas beyond direct admission whether it be tutors, test prep, or independent counselors. For better or worse, financial inequality is a piece of our society, but college is one vehicle for addressing it both in the long and short term. Present who you are and good thing can happen regardless of your bank account.
It would be idealistic, but naïve for me to say no. Students who’ve grown up with money do have some advantages. They’ve probably attended good schools with recognized academic programs. (However, there is still a bottom 50% to every top school.) They’ve had the means to hire private tutors, test prep coaches, and private college consultants if needed. Parents probably didn’t limit their participation in extracurricular activities based on cost. (But they still are limited to 24 hours a day like every other student.) In researching colleges, they could afford to visit more campuses and apply without regard to financial aid. Money can buy advantages, but it doesn’t guarantee admission.
No, not for the schools that matter. Mid-level privates will give an edge to full-pays, and will court wealthy families as potential future donors. But, the money alone really doesn’t mean a thing to sweatshirt schools with massive endowments.
I’ve found that the further you get into the top 25 schools in the country, the less inclined schools are to look at bank accounts. What I have found, though, is that these schools look for is connections. Who’s important in China? Who has a father high up in the Communist Party, where we could use a personal connection to get a foot in the door in a heretofore closed-off province? These are certainly not questions at the front of anyone’s mind when reading an application for the first time, but these connections can ultimately play a role – especially if they’re significant enough.
This all said, I think that colleges are just as inclined (if not more so) to give an advantage to low-income students. Of course, there are a ton of things about college admissions that are sketchy, but you can’t impugn the motives of most people in the industry; people in admissions are almost all true educators. They love to hear about students with commitment, passion, overcoming obstacles, and so forth. The Dean and Provost might push for connections, but the worker bees in the office will always be pulling for the interesting kid who’s had to work and fight for what they have.
No one has an “automatic advantage”, but some schools do take into account an applicant’s ability to pay as well as whether or not he or she has family members who were alumni (and possibly made financial contributions to their alma mater). That being said, some schools are also “need blind” and actively recruit first generation college students and under served populations.
Don’t worry about whether rich kids (or poor kids, for that matter) have an unfair advantage. Work at your absolute best, craft stellar applications, apply to an appropriately diverse range of schools, and you’ll create your own admissions advantage.
If there is a building on the campus with their last name on it, yes. If not, then no, only if the school is not need blind, and most schools are. Colleges are non-profit institutions that are dedicated to learning. A college that does not uphold the philosophy that education should be an opportunity for all regardless of income or any other defining factor is probably not a school you want to go to anyway.
Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.
Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!
We receive compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”). So what does this mean for you?
Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking. Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study. By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.
The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Disclosure: “What Determines Top/Best?”
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.