Low-Income Applicants

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Posts: 2213
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:21 am

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby Theopliske8711 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:25 am

I've asked my parents several times to divorce, in order to cut their earnings and help me for UG and now Law... no luck, such selfish people.


Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:01 am

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby Stinson » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:37 pm

A few thoughts:

To throw some data into what I think many people have been expressing:
http://chronicle.com/article/Pell-Grant ... re/126892/

The short truth is that there is a great deal of variety in the extent to which selective colleges court and accept socioeconomic diversity. (I'll grant that pell grant percentages are imperfect proxies for socioeconomic diversity but there isn't a lot of data on this.) UCLA, mentioned several times in this thread, has a fairly diverse population economically. Harvard, Yale, and U Penn are at the other end of the spectrum. (At Harvard, for example, families making less than $60,000/yr annually are eligible for debt-free financial aid, but students receiving pell grants - coming from families with less than $40,000/yr - comprise around 6% of the student population.) It is important to remember that for all the trumpeting of generous financial aid policies at the Harvards of the world, the social structure of the world is such that very few poor students are in a position to be competitive for admission to places like Harvard.

The structure vs. individual achievement debate about affirmative action in this thread, while laudably civil, has mystified me. I take no issue with the idea that affirmative action is, in part, meant to change institutional racism by placing racial minorities in position to change the institutions. Why in the world would the same logic not apply to poverty? We have mountains of social science data suggesting social mobility is at its lowest rate in decades, that a child's socioeconomic status is enormously predictive of future socioeconomic status. That being the case, why should we not be concerned that tomorrow's leaders draw disproportionately from today's leaders or that having been poor is a rare experience among those we are setting up to be tomorrow's policymakers? If we believe institutional racism may be alleviated by elevating people who have experienced racism, why should we not similarly try to elevate a cadre of people coming from poor backgrounds to alleviate the growing problem of inequality of opportunity across socioeconomic groups?

What has been forward as an answer in this thread is that while we believe racial groups should be equal, we don't believe economic groups should be equal. While true, it's not an answer. I think most people believe that while economic inequality is fine, a byproduct of capitalism or whatever, it's not necessarily right that a person's chance to take their place in that inequality - whether at the top or bottom - should be determined so strongly by how much money their parents make.

Being for socioeconomic AA does not and should not make one against racial AA. It's a zero sum game only if one accepts that a place with unlimited resources like Harvard only has time to alleviate one kind of injustice.

User avatar

Posts: 1713
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:06 pm

Re: Low-Income Applicants

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:32 pm

r6_philly wrote:I got WLed by UCLA despite having called the LA streets home, and having numbers above both 75's.

In the end, everyone likes my stories, but I feel that I am not better off in the application process than if I had come from a middle class family. But it's ok. Most people with poorer upbringings develop determination and strong work ethnic, or they wouldn't be able to make it this far, graduating college and applying to law school. Aside from the debt/cost, we are probably less disadvantaged than traditional students because of our life lessons and what we learned through them. At least I hope so.

Same here.

Return to “Law School Admissions Forum�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests