New Pathways Are Bringing Qualified Students Into Elite Colleges
Picture an Ivy League school, and the first images likely to appear are of wealthy, well-educated students strolling around campus. And the reality is not far off: For decades, elite schools have relied on “feeder” high schools to provide a supply of high-achieving students, many of whom can swing the sky-high tuition and have been coached up on test preparation.
If you’re a high school kid from a low-income family, and no one in your family has ever gone to college, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll apply to elite colleges. The tuitions and barriers to entry feel altogether daunting. But a recent study showing a lack of economic diversity has shaken officials at elite institutions.The problem, known as “undermatching” means that even academically qualified students don’t apply, and therefore aren’t in the pipeline for admissions.
But as Nick Anderson writes in the Washington Post, a host of new non-profits have popped up to find and groom underserved students. for colleges they might not have considered themselves qualified for.
“They’re looking to programs like ours to do some of that vetting,” said Steve Stein, chief executive of SCS Noonan Scholars, based in Boston and Los Angeles, told the Washington Post. Their organization, along with others like QuestBridge, Posse Foundation, College Advising Corps, ScholarMatch, and College Possible, helps thousands of disadvantaged students a year apply to highly ranked colleges and universities.
“We’re looking for a cohort of super-bright young people who have tremendous leadership potential,” Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America executive director Beth Breger, executive director of Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America, told the Washington Post. “You cannot dream what you cannot see.”