Recently we have noticed many disparaging articles and books condemning Brown and Duke Universities for accepting the sons and daughters of celebrities (ready the wealthiest of the wealthy) when sometimes their credentials may be lacking compared to more qualified institutions. One such book is Daniel Golden’s, The Price of Admissions: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite Collegesâ€� and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates and a subsequent New York Times article is titled, An Age of Tainted Admissions and Too Much Homework by Janet Maslin.
First, while we agree that these practices are unfair to more highly qualified students, we believe that many of these articles are not considering several relevant arguments.
First, these same people who criticize Brown for accepting the son of a wealthy celebrity are the same folk who criticize Brown for its ever increasing price tag. Well, if admitting one student guarantees a new science building, which in turn means that admission is raised by 5% rather than 8% per student, is it really worth complaining?
Second, the sons and daughters of celebrities are not necessarily the golden children we like to believe they are. For every Paris Hilton out there, there are also sons and daughters of the wealthy who have lived their entire lives in the shadows of their parents. Being schooled while your parents are constantly on tour, or filming movies is a very different experience from that of a standard high school. Frankly, if I was a student I would be much more interested in the perspective of say Natalie Portman (who attended NYU) than yet another guber from Westchester or somewhere outside of Bostonâ€œ even if that kid had an SAT score 300 points superior.
While we understand that in practice these admittance policies to the elite are unfair, they do add value to university life, unfortunately in today’s society we are all to eager to shun those better off than we, rather than to learn from them.