Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

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.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

Almost never!

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Advantages

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.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

Yes

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.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

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.

Natalie Sanchez Campos
Owner Next Step LLC

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

No.

Suzanne Shaffer
Owner Parents Countdown to College Coach

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

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.

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

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.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

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.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

Do rich kids have an automatic advantage in college admissions?

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.