children of color black hispanic ivy league

Should Children of Color Shoot for the Ivy League?

Posted on Posted in Blog, Color Me Educated

Should Children of Color Shoot for the Ivy League?

 
There’s no question that going to college makes a difference in one’s life.  But, does it really matter where you go to college?  Currently there are 8 colleges/universities considered to be Ivy League.  There are also Black Ivy’s as well as a list of colleges and universities considered to be elite.  In some ways, I see a Ivy or elite college degree as a ticket.  A lottery ticket if you will.  A very expensive lottery ticket, but one nonetheless.  This lottery ticket has the potential to open the doors to lucrative career opportunities and can convey prestige, intellect and capability to a potential employer, mate and social networks.  Want proof? Many top CEOS of Fortune 500 companies attended elite colleges.  34% of US presidents have attended Ivy League schools and many more have attended colleges deemed elite.  Should then parents of children of color strive for a college degree from an Ivy League or elite college?  
Research has found a positive return on attending a selective college for children of color and/or children from low socio-economic family backgrounds.   Possible explanation:
  • Students from well-off families who apply to selective colleges may be able to rely on their families and friends to provide job-networking opportunities.  While, on the other hand, Black and Hispanic students and/or students from families with less access to powerful social networks tend to benefit more from attending a selective college.
This same issue was addressed in the documentary American Promise.  (A must see!)  The documentary follows two African American boys from elementary through high school as the boys and their parents try to navigate their way through Dalton, an elite, white private school.   The documentary showcases many things.  First, the ways in which both boys deal with finding a place to fit in amongst their mostly all White classmate.  Second, how the boys deal with trying to catch up with classmates that have had years of access to 1% wealth-type opportunities and exposure.   Third, how the boys deal with girls.  One boy, Idris, reveals that he likes several girls, but that given his options – mostly are white – he can’t seem to find any that will date him.  Research has found that the issues the two Black boys, not from 1% homes, faced at elite schools were not unique.
By the end of the documentary one of the boys (Idris) has made it all the way to senior year at Dalton, while the other boy (Seun) was asked to leave after eighth grade.  The major sticking point for me was the ending.  Both of the boys got into a college.  However, one boy (Idris) got into several elite colleges (Black and White), but not an Ivy League school. 
The documentaries conclusion left me wondering if it was all worth it. 
  • Should their parents have subjected them to a school where their intelligence and culture were not often validated? 
  • Should they have sacrificed their children’s self-esteem for a chance/opportunity?
Perhaps the parents went about the entire process more for themselves and less for their children.  Perhaps.  Maybe even if the boys in this documentary came from 1% homes their experiences would have been a bit different.  Even still I understand why the parents took the chance.  Who wouldn't try to cash in a ‘lottery’ ticket for potential opportunities for their child?

Should parents of children of color aim for an Ivy League or elite school for their children?

children of color black hispanic ivy league
There’s no question that going to college makes a difference in one’s life.  But, does it really matter where you go to college?  Currently there are 8 colleges/universities considered to be Ivy League.  There are also Black Ivy’s as well as a list of colleges and universities considered to be elite.  In some ways, I see a Ivy or elite college degree as a ticket.  A lottery ticket if you will.  A very expensive lottery ticket, but one nonetheless.  This lottery ticket has the potential to open the doors to lucrative career opportunities and can convey prestige, intellect and capability to a potential employer, mate and social networks.  Want proof? Many top CEOS of Fortune 500 companies attended elite colleges.  34% of US presidents have attended Ivy League schools and many more have attended colleges deemed elite.  Should then parents of children of color strive for a college degree from an Ivy League or elite college?  
Research has found a positive return on attending a selective college for children of color and/or children from low socio-economic family backgrounds.   Possible explanation:
  • Students from well-off families who apply to selective colleges may be able to rely on their families and friends to provide job-networking opportunities.  While, on the other hand, Black and Hispanic students and/or students from families with less access to powerful social networks tend to benefit more from attending a selective college.
This same issue was addressed in the documentary American Promise.  (A must see!)  The documentary follows two African American boys from elementary through high school as the boys and their parents try to navigate their way through Dalton, an elite, white private school.   The documentary showcases many things.  First, the ways in which both boys deal with finding a place to fit in amongst their mostly all White classmate.  Second, how the boys deal with trying to catch up with classmates that have had years of access to 1% wealth-type opportunities and exposure.   Third, how the boys deal with girls.  One boy, Idris, reveals that he likes several girls, but that given his options – mostly are white – he can’t seem to find any that will date him.  Research has found that the issues the two Black boys, not from 1% homes, faced at elite schools were not unique.
By the end of the documentary one of the boys (Idris) has made it all the way to senior year at Dalton, while the other boy (Seun) was asked to leave after eighth grade.  The major sticking point for me was the ending.  Both of the boys got into a college.  However, one boy (Idris) got into several elite colleges (Black and White), but not an Ivy League school. 
The documentaries conclusion left me wondering if it was all worth it. 
  • Should their parents have subjected them to a school where their intelligence and culture were not often validated? 
  • Should they have sacrificed their children’s self-esteem for a chance/opportunity?
Perhaps the parents went about the entire process more for themselves and less for their children.  Perhaps.  Maybe even if the boys in this documentary came from 1% homes their experiences would have been a bit different.  Even still I understand why the parents took the chance.  Who wouldn't try to cash in a ‘lottery’ ticket for potential opportunities for their child?

Should parents of children of color aim for an Ivy League or elite school for their children?

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