The system is rigged

I’ve heard it for years

Now, I believe it


Totally rigged



The college admissions system

That which was brought to the light by Aunt Becky’s schemes to get her children into schools in California, with that being the reductio ad absurdum 

Our eldest is in the thick of it.  She has been accepted by several schools. Truly competitive places. We are beyond proud of her. I take nothing from her accomplishments, which are many. A first choice. A second choice. A third choice

Amazing accomplishments

Stock image of a certain school in Chapel Hill


But, she has had every educational advantage from the time of pre-K through her senior year of high school

She has had years of summer camps, travel, exposure, enrichment, jobs

She has had years of hard work

Lots of hard work

Her hard work would have been a lot harder had she had to worry about from whence cometh her next meal

Her hard work would have been a lot harder had we not been able to hire that standardized testing tutor who helped her scores move into the more competitive range

Her hard work would have been a lot harder had we not been able to go on extensive college visits

Her hard work would have been harder had we not had a network of friends all over the country who could fill us in on tidbits, advice about certain schools

Her hard work would have been a lot harder had we not encouraged her every idea

Her hard work would have been a lot harder had she not been read to every single night as a young child

None of that is to take away from her

She did it

Completely did it

It just helps to have some help

Because the system is rigged for children such as mine


Stock image of a certain school in Charlottesville

They can afford tutors

They can afford technology

They can afford the latest clothes

They can game the system

They can figure out how to take tests

They can get better grades

They were read to constantly as babies and young children

They had the phonics of fourth graders in kindergarten

At or above grade level always

They always succeed

Just like their parents

Those same parents also benefited from a similarly rigged system some thirty years ago because their grandparents benefited from a similarly rigged system some sixty years ago….and on and on back until…well…who knows


Completely privileged

However, the days of calling someone you know to get your child into a certain school because that family friend served on the Board, well, they are over

Doesn’t change the fact these children are in separate classes of competition

We all gawked in horror at Felicity Huffman and crew trying to buy their children’s way into colleges

Yet, who among us wouldn’t go to a Club Fed for two weeks if it ensured our child got into the school of his or her choice?

Don’t lie

We would all do it

My children have benefited from, and will continue to benefit from, their parents’ education, job choices, income levels

So many just cannot compete with that accident of birth

As I have read article after article about this very fact, I have been skeptical

I have poo-pooed such broad statements from these polemics

Now, I could not agree more with them

I have lived it

The whole system is rigged to ensure that certain students from certain socioeconomic groups remain in those socioeconomic groups

Education is the great affluence builder

For those with great affluence

It is not an equal playing field

In the 18th Century, a gift of land ensured entry into the right class

In the 21st, a gift of education ensures remaining in the right class

Those with more education statistically have higher incomes, better health, happier lives, more friends

Those without the disposable income cannot enlist the same resources

Those without the disposable income cannot enlist private college counselors to assist in the decision making process

Those without the disposable income cannot send a child on a weekend to stay with a friend

It’s a club, really, and, good luck getting into it if you’re not already in it by accident of birth

Again, I take nothing from the dogged pursuit of excellence by my eldest and by her younger sister and all of these talented young folks

I just know that they have an easier time of it than so many

They and most of their friends


Stock image of a certain school in Winston Salem


Affirmative action? I am now all for it provided it’s not setting up a child for failure

Because I have seen that, which is almost as depressing as the system itself

Which is totally rigged

In favor of children like mine

I don’t care what you say about that child you knew from the wrong side of the tracks whose father was (deceased)(making minimum wage)(in prison)(out of the picture)(in and out of rehab)  and whose mother was (deceased)(making minimum wage)(in prison)(out of the picture)(in and out of rehab) and who was raised (in foster care)(by his grandparents)(by an aunt) who did really well at (name the school) and went on to (medical)(law)(dental)(engineering) school


Take a survey of any of the top boarding schools, the top private schools, the top public schools with a relatively affluent student population

Most, if not all, of those children are headed to college and got into competitive schools

That’s who the college admissions process favors

Flat out favors

I know

I’ve seen it in action over the past two years and will see it again in a few more

Thrilled to death that it does favor children like mine

Legacy admissions may be going the way of the Dodo

The current legacy of admissions is here to stay

At least for the foreseeable and my-family-benefiting-future

5 thoughts on “Rigged

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