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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

How affluent kids differ from the other students

Let us take a look at the idiom: born with a silver spoon. It suggests having doors opened – figuratively and literally – for the individual without them lifting so much as a finger. It paints a picture of wealth and privilege. How then, do these individuals differ from the rest when it comes to education? If there is technology capable of transferring information and knowledge instantaneously from an archive to a human brain, you will be sure they would be the first in line. But seeing as that is not possible currently, let us delve into the kinds of privileges bestowed on them.

In China, there is a classification not heard elsewhere: “Tu Hao“. Translated, it means people of wealth. However, the trends of application have distorted the original meaning to nouveau riche or simply, new money. While the concept is not new, the way this term is used is derogatory. Aimed at extravagant families or individuals who have a habit of taking things for granted and place heavy emphasis on materialism.

Many children of these families are enrolled into special schools to teach them how special they are. Many more opt to sent their children abroad to boarding school in an attempt to teach them sophistication and how to act affluent, with ostentatious results.

It is the same in America, even though it is less glaringly obvious. One of the contributing factors as to why has to do with the mentality. The Chinese are more family oriented and therefore wants their offspring to represent them in the best light possible. As for the Americans, they prize individualism and take pride in their offspring’s ability to be as true to themselves as possible.

However, celebrities have been known to enroll their offspring into prestigious schools and there are elitist middle class families as well who want to push their children to realize their full potential. These parents do not care for the cost, so long as there is a price. Employing tutors, enrolling their children into afterschool activities to improve their grades, anything to give them a sharper and more defined edge they already possess over the rest of their classmates.

With so much backing them, it should not take much effort for students of affluent backgrounds to succeed. True enough, they are eight times more likely to graduate than those of poorer standing. Furthering this claim, is the notion that the privileged dominates college enrollments. While their disadvantaged peers have a 27 percent chance of entering the university of their choice, the numbers for those with a privileged background shot up to 58 percent chance of entering the same university. Although, it should be noted that not everybody sitting for the exam has the luxury of $3,500 in their pocket to hire a professional exam taker to sit in for their entrance exams. Aside from that, they are also more likely to be granted access to Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) in New Zealand.

What these privileged offspring is more inclined to do, while away from the pressures of their parents, might take to their newfound freedom with forceful enthusiasm. Succumbing to campus life means a hit on their grades and no time to write papers. This is why “write my essay” services are becoming more common. Many of them are only out for making a quick buck but it is interesting to note that while it might not be the underprivileged who has the same opportunities, but that they are able to make their own from the ambitions of those who are. Barry Petchesky, a student at the time, charged his services at taking a fellow student’s test at only $200. He went on to do a few more, but he was no Ivy Leaguer, and you would be hard pressed to find an elitist student scrambling for money in such fashion.

While the disparities between the two classes are increasing, should it truly matter? Take it from Bronte Teale, an aspiring doctor on the inequality in education. In a speech she gave, she talked about having a conversation with her privileged classmates who said if medicine cost $100,000, it would not deter them from pursuing it. If it cost $200,000, they would still pursue it. And Bronte, from a single parent household on a single income, said that it is a different story for her. She would like people to think about the implications of this, as the cost of education rises, saying, “Can you imagine a future in which the only people who become doctors are simply the ones who can afford to? That isn’t equitable, and it’s not what’s best for our community. Diversity in the medical workforce has the power to improve healthcare outcomes for disadvantaged or minority communities. Its significance shouldn’t be underestimated.”

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