College admissions has become so competitive, with SATs, ACTs, extra curricular actives, community service, grade point averages, class ranks, and so many more aspects playing into the decision making process. However, some students are left at a disadvantage in many ways due to their socio-economic status. As college admissions becomes increasingly competitive, students (and in many cases, parents) are willing to do absolutely anything to gain admission into their dream school, no matter the cost.
Cost comes into play with this process in many ways. To begin monetarily, to even apply to most if not all colleges, there is a pricey application fee. This puts students who come from lower class backgrounds at a disadvantage because they may simply just not be able to afford applying to the schools they wish to attend. Although there are ways to waive this fee, some students may not know that this is an option. Another aspect of this cost is the time and monetary cost it takes to get transportation to take the college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT. Some students may not have a way to get to their testing location. Not to mention the lengths some parents will go to ensure that their child is best prepared to take these exams. Some families will hire an SAT or ACT tutor to essentially teach their child how to take the test. As you can imagine, this is extremely expensive, and is just not feasible for many families. This is where the inequality is very evident. Students who come from wealthier backgrounds can be essentially taught how to take these exams whereas lower-income students are left with studying for the exams on their own, if they can even afford to take them in the first place. On top of that, then these scores are compared to gain admission into colleges and universities around the nation. How is this fair? One child is taught to take the test, while another may not even have the money to buy a study book and attempt to teach it to themselves?
The cost of time that it takes to prepare for college admittance has become overwhelming as well. Students who want to attend almost any college need to have a resume that contains hundreds of community service hours in addition to extra curricular activities. For students who are required to work to help support their families, or those who need to take care of their younger siblings while their parents are at work, this is not feasible. The time commitment required to build up a resume has become absolutely ridiculous. This is not a fair way to compare students who may not have the time or money to participate in these types of activities. These situations also can affect the grades of students who come from lower-income families. While wealthier students may have the luxury of being able to come home from school to cooked dinner and can immediately get started on studying or homework, students from less wealthy backgrounds may have to cook their own dinner or work late hours before they can even begin studying, ultimately affecting the grades they make.
College admissions is far too competitive today. If we continue to compare students who cannot be compared due to their socio-economic status, we will keep putting lower-income students at a disadvantage. Some of the fees that are required to apply for colleges should be eliminated to in some way even out the opportunities available to all students. There needs to be a level playing field for all students. There is so much emphasis on these standardized tests and service hours that not everyone can participate in. In addition these aspects don’t even give admissions officers a true indicator of whether a child will succeed at the college they are applying. Reform of the current process of college admissions must happen so that all students can be provided equal opportunities.