A correlation has been found between a student's financial status and his or her performance on the ACT or SAT. The wealthier the student, the higher the score most likely will be. In MPS (Milwaukee), many high schools do not offer ACT/SAT prep courses. If they are offered, many families cannot afford them.
Low-income families also cannot afford specialized tutoring services that can help their child. The poor child who wants to go to college has to be extraordinarily motivated and seek out the help needed. Many affluent children find it in their college-educated family or on their own computer.
Personally, I find a standardized test score a poor marker for future success. A true picture only emerges from application essays, transcripts and recommendations from people who know the young person. Motivation and drive are not covered on a test....
Many prestigious colleges no longer ask if a child will request financial aid on applications. They want the best and most unique, regardless of finances. This message must get out to all students.
If our poorest and most disadvantaged are given proper guidance, more would achieve success in college. Those in the community who believe in equal access for all students can share their expertise. Offer to visit a high school to talk up your alma mater. Mentoring programs exist all over Milwaukee, and they need volunteers and financial support.
Professionals can also offer visits to low-income students interested in their career field. Chue (the author's adopted son) became even more excited about studying medicine after visiting doctors at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital.
We can support scholarship and student loan programs that help the disadvantaged. Poor students are in all communities, but the hardest affected are in rural and urban areas.
So far, Chue has been pleased with acceptance to Purdue and Valparaiso. He's still waiting to hear from the others before making a final decision. He knows he will be attending a top school this fall.
Every qualified young person should be so lucky.
Or at least given a chance.