Getting in is only half the battle. The Privileged Poor reveals howand whydisadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges, and explains what schools can do differently if these students are to thrive.
The Ivy League looks different than it used to. College presidents and deans of admission have opened their doorsand their coffersto support a more diverse student body. But is it enough just to admit these students? In The Privileged Poor, Anthony Jack reveals that the struggles of less privileged students continue long after they’ve arrived on campus. Admission, they quickly learn, is not the same as acceptance. This bracing and necessary book documents how university policies and cultures can exacerbate preexisting inequalities and reveals why these policies hit some students harder than others.
Despite their lofty aspirations, top colleges hedge their bets by recruiting their new diversity largely from the same old sources, admitting scores of lower-income black, Latino, and white undergraduates from elite private high schools like Exeter and Andover. These students approach campus life very differently from students who attended local, and typically troubled, public high schools and are often left to flounder on their own. Drawing on interviews with dozens of undergraduates at one of America’s most famous colleges and on his own experiences as one of the privileged poor, Jack describes the lives poor students bring with them and shows how powerfully background affects their chances of success.
If we truly want our top colleges to be engines of opportunity, university policies and campus cultures will have to change. Jack provides concrete advice to help schools reduce these hidden disadvantagesadvice we cannot afford to ignore.
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About the Author
Anthony Abraham Jack, a native of Miami, received a scholarship to attend Gulliver Preparatory School, an elite private high school in South Florida. He went on to receive degrees from Amherst College and Harvard University. He is currently a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Can Poor Students Be Privileged? 1
1 "Come with Me to Italy!" 25
2 "Can You Sign Your Book for Me?" 79
3 "I, Too, Am Hungry" 132
Conclusion: Beyond Access 181
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book provides a clear and compelling look at an often overlooked issue in discussions around leveraging educational opportunity to improve equality. Jack sheds light on the experiences of "the privileged poor" and "the doubly disadvantaged," and in so doing, shows how the infrastructures and cultures of elite colleges are reinforcing inequalities even while expanding access. Colleges need to understand their students to craft effective policies that maximize their students' chances of success, and this book offers both a starting point for hearing those students' stories as well as specific suggestions on how to improve. This book is an informative and enlightening read for anyone broadly interested in inequality and/or education.