Carlene Buccino, current Columbia University Student, wrote an op-ed for The Baltimore Sun explaining why she believes that she was accepted into Columbia because her family could afford an expensive SAT prep course.
She finds that most Ivy League students did the same and believes this to be “massively unfair”.
“I bought myself a higher score because my family could afford to, and many of my peers at Columbia did the same. We like to think we’re all here because we earned it. But many of us are here because we could pay the price of admission,” Buccino writes.
“Admission into the Ivy League and other top schools is also considered to be meritocratic. A major part of a student’s application is his or her SAT score. Admissions officers use this ‘standardized’ test to compare students from different backgrounds against each other.
But in practice, the SAT is far from standardized. Many high schoolers take prep classes that teach not actual knowledge but SAT-specific tricks. Some of these classes, like Princeton Review’s SAT Honors prep class, can cost roughly $2,000.”
But is this really “buying” your way into college? Sure, some families are better off than others. Does this mean that they shouldn’t pay for courses that will help you with your college entry exams? Is this a form of cheating? Absolutely not. Yes, $2,000 may be a lot to pay for prep courses.
But college is much more expensive. If you can swing the bill for college then you should not have a problem swinging $2,000 for a good SAT prep course. Does this also mean that those kids that went to private schools that cost tens-of-thousands of dollars a year are also given an “unfair” advantage?
Paul Hudson | Elite.