The Ivy League Was Another Planet
There are a few things that one might take from this article:
1) That good counseling is really important. The writer writes that he did not apply to colleges that did not accept the ACT, which is almost none, and that he signed up and took the wrong SAT II test, despite that fact that you can change this on the test day.
2) That if he "barely got through algebra", even if he was an elite student in Nevada, he would not be going to one of the nation's most selective colleges.
3) Why should this student aspire to go to the Ivy League? Because of the brand? Most of the schools in the Ivy League do not offer a superior education to quality public colleges and a great study showed that students who were accepted to the Ivy League and chose to go elsewhere did as well as those who chose to go to the Ivy League (disclosure- my son turned down this level college to go to Rutgers for free, something he says is the best decision he ever made).
4) Many well endowed colleges are reaching out to the rural poor, but often a lack of educational opportunities make many of these students not competitive in the pool (as is also true of the urban poor) of applicants.
5) Even if a small number of mind-numbingly rich colleges did more to reach out to economically disadvantaged students, few others could match their largesse. Most colleges now are really squeezed financially and few want to increase their costs and reduce their revenues. There are a small number of colleges that could afford to make a real commitment to recruit and enroll more high need students, but in the great scheme of things, it would end up being more symbolic than substantive
6) I have spoken with the Deans of some of the most selective colleges in the country and some are doing just this, but curiously, quietly. I think the impression is that more resources dedicated to recruiting students who are economically disadvantaged might squeeze out other goals of recruiting and enrolling others who are also under-represented on the campuses. These colleges are raising and dedicating funds for this purpose so as to not cut into recruiting and paying for other under-represented groups.