Archived Posts

Network Blogs

Don’t Apply to College if You’re White, Middle Class and Male

May 5

I heard a female comedian the other day say one of the truest things I’ve ever heard:

Look, if you’re a white dude, and you’re failing in America, you’re really a failure! You’re like the definition of failure! You can’t be a white dude and complain about how hard life is. If you’re a white guy and you’re failing at life, you’re basically saying, “I can’t find a way to be successful in a society that was built for me.” That’s America.

Which is probably why Trump is trying to make it white great again!

What this comedian was saying is no one wants to hear white dudes whine about stuff. “Oh, it’s so hard to find a job.” “Oh, I can’t afford a house in the richest part of town.” “Oh, I’m not going to be able to retire until I’m 62.” In comparison to real people problems in the world, it all sounds stupid.

Did you hear the whole Kelly and Michael drama that blew up this past week? All said and done, Kelly comes out and says, “My Dad, who drove a bus for thirty years, thinks we’re all crazy!” Privilege, at any level, isn’t supposed to whine about shit.

So, all that being said, here’s my privilege whine:

College Acceptance and Tuition Payment is completely broken! 

My middle son is about to make his college choice. He’s got some great schools that have accepted him. He has some great ones that did not. His dream school was Duke. He also really liked Northwestern, Dartmouth, and UCLA. He has a 4.05 GPA on a 4.0 scale (honors classes give you additional GPA) and a 31 on his ACT (97th percentile of all kids taking this test).  He had the grades and test scores to get into all of those schools.

What he didn’t have was something else.

What is the something else?

He didn’t come for a poor family. He didn’t come from a rich family. He wasn’t a minority. He doesn’t have some supernatural skill, like shooting a basketball. He isn’t in a wheelchair. He isn’t from another country.

He’s just this normal Midwestern kid from a middle-class family who is a super involved student-athlete, student government officer, award-winning chamber choir member, teaches swimming lessons to children, etc., etc., etc.

Basically, he falls into this no-man’s land of what colleges and universities don’t want these days. Male and White.

Can I keep whining? Whatever, it’s my blog – buckle up! 

What is the other something else, from a financial perspective?

He got into Boston College, another dream school for him, and one that wanted him to come and continue his swim career at the Division 1 level. BC also costs $68,000 per year.

Colleges and U.S. Federal Government hate kids who come from families that do the right thing.  What’s the “right thing”?  He comes from a family that pays their mortgage, saved some money for his tuition and put money away for retirement.

Apparently, all those ‘positive’ things, like being financially responsible, are not liked by colleges and the federal government. Colleges and the U.S. Government would have preferred that I didn’t work, let my house go into foreclosure and was in debt up to my eyeballs. If that was the case, both the college and U.S. Federal Government would reward my bad decision making and pay for my son to go to school, fully!

Because he comes from a family that made good decisions, Boston College, and the Federal Government thought it was a good idea for him to pay $68,000 per year to attend their fine university.

My wife and I have spent our son’s entire lives saving for them for college. We sacraficed to basically give them a fund that would pay two full years of tuition and living at a normal state four-year college. The other two years are on their own. We feel they need to shoulder some of that cost to appreciate what it is they’re investing in.

I get it. No one wants to hear about how the middle-class kid can’t go to the super high-end school of his dreams because he can’t afford it.

I’m struggling with this. I’m no different than any other parent who tells their kid when they were little, work your butt off and one day you can go to Harvard! When I should have said, work your butt off, I’ll make awful financial decisions, and then you’ll be able to go to Harvard.

Here’s what I know, and it’s a hard pill to swallow, if my son did exactly what he did (grades, involvement, etc.) and he was Hispanic (or Black, or American Indian, or from a poor country) and I had no money, he would be getting ready to enroll into Duke. But he’s not.

What did he do wrong? He was born into a white family that worked their ass off to give him every advantage in life.

White privilege is a privilege until it’s not. Until a kid’s dream is broken for something he can’t wrap his brain around. Believe me, I understand this goes both ways. I understand there are black kids who don’t even get an interview for a job because some white kid’s Dad already got them the job ‘behind the scenes’. That isn’t right either! In my mind, I don’t see the difference between these two examples.

Rant over. Colleges are going the route of corporate America. White guys are bad, everyone else is desirable, do whatever it takes, at any cost, to make sure this happens. Well, unless, your old, corporate America doesn’t like older people either, no matter what color or gender you are – but that’s a rant for a different day!

Hit him in the comments and tell me how out of touch I am, then remember this is all about a 17-year-old boy with a dream. A dream he worked his ass off to achieve.

58 Comment to “Don’t Apply to College if You’re White, Middle Class and Male”

  1. Interesting post , let me add a bit of enlightenment for you. I’m African American father of a son who has over 4.0 weighted and a 3.95 unweight. Tested in the 97 percentile on his SAT and worked hard both in and out the classroom including athletics but in a non traditional sport with limited scholarships. Due to income and savings I will be exp cited to pay tuition in 60k range for his school choice so I decided to pick a weekend job and a part time job to help make it through the 1st year. This will of course increase my income and make even more difficult. The issue is the education cost is equivalent or exceeds the price of home and you have limited of paying amount annually without encurring enormous debt. It’s not about you being white it’s about you to me not being wealthy enough to write a check. It’s an income issue. It appears you think someone of a different race doesn’t have have he same concern.

    Nov 17, 2017
  2. To “Minority”: As you may know, Harvard and other Ivy League schools offer nearly zero merit scholarships. Many do offer full rides to low income students. From the Harvard web page “If your family income is less than $65,000, your parents pay nothing.” Families earning under $100,000 attend many Ivy Leagues and top tier 100% need universities for very little money.

    That being said, some Ivy leagues offer special scholarships to very highly qualified Hispanic and African American students, regardless of income. We know two children in very wealthy families who got them last year. I mean I get it, but it’s still disheartening for our child to see friends in families that are much wealthier than we are not only get accepted, but also get full rides despite lower grades, test scores and less leadership and extra curriculars.

    For everyone else, if you earn less than $100K a year it is probably affordable to attend a Harvard or Stanford depending on your cost of living. If you earn more than a few hundred thousand, you can probably afford one kid there, anyway. Earn close to $200K? Your kid will have a ton of debt. Consider two public school teachers making $160000 in the Bay Area. Sounds like a lot of money, but we spend a fortune on our modest 2 bedroom condo and still have a long commute. Harvard or an Ivy League would have meant over $150000 in debt. Now if we taught in rural Oregon or Nevada, we might make $70000 and with much lower cost of living and a free ride to an elite private college, so you can see the disparity. We actually considered such a move if it came to that. We’re fortunate Berkeley is not too far away and almost reasonable for in state tuition, though our child may have to commute to save money after a year in the dorms to graduate debt free. Many middle and upper middle class families don’t have such a good option so we are lucky.

    Nov 5, 2017
  3. Does anyone know the statistics for a rich white male to get in to michigan, and then the statistics when the parents get dicorced (kind of my situation right now) and the statistics for mental disabilities like autism. Autistic people can be very smart and I want to know how colleges would deal with an autistic person. I think they would probably like them a lot more but I feel like it may be one of those things that actually make it worse of a chance

    Oct 29, 2017
  4. I sympathize with the original writer, but the word “white” should be removed from the title. I am part of those so called “minorities” and many years ago I had to turn down the Harvard Business School because they expected me to pay almost the entire tab on a $55K salary. My daughter is being heavily recruited by Harvard today, but they want between $56K and $69K, and needless to say, she will not apply. We are also middle class like you, so the argument is not one of race, but one of economy class.

    Low income minorities and others like those in your picture normally have a story to tell, and in most cases, even additional skills and backgrounds to offer that others cannot. That is worth something to a school trying to bring diversity into the campus. In my case, I was a street smart kid attending one of the worst high schools, working 40 hours a week to help my single parent family. Yet, I was still able to distinguish myself in many ways, including grades and scores. I also distinguished myself in college, on all sort of leadership positions, etc., except for my GPA, which was 2.8 (from a top school must I say). That was sufficient for graduate school at two top Ivy leagues, including HBS, and a full ride at Michigan Graduate Business School. I did not need a 4.0 to accomplish everything I accomplished and the top schools knew it. I was not accepted because I was a minority. I was accepted because my grades were not important in comparison to the story I had to tell. Grades are simply not that important in comparison to other factors. Grades help distinguish students from others when there is nothing of greater value they can offer.

    A middle class kid with perfect scores, but who has lived comfortable all his life, has nothing to offer Harvard other than his money and boost to Harvard stats. That is why middle class kids like ours do not get the money today. It is the same for many Asians that continue to complain today, despite being overrepresented in these schools. If you build a class that looks and thinks the same way, progress would be slow, and few breakthrough ideas would be generated. Everybody will be comfortable in their own cocoon, and think alike.

    Oct 27, 2017
    • I can appreciate that you want the word “white“ out of this article. However, I would need to add that if you look for scholarships for any minority class, or female, you will find them. However, I challenge you to find scholarships where the qualification is to be white and male, that is open to the middle class. I have three extremely intelligent son’s. Our household income is around $65,000. My sons don’t qualify for any of the scholarships available, unless the fit for qualifications and the appeal to the decision makers is satisfactory ,aka the “shoe size is an exact fit” for any particular scholarship in their field of study. In addition, the student loan offers total $5000 per year. $3000 of those being unsubsidized for a state university that matches the field of study needed and requires 2 years on campus living and in total cost $22,000 per year.

      So while I agree with you, it does apply even to minorities, the struggle of the white middle class male ( especially white) reaches further than nearly anyone is willing to admit.

      Mudfle class mom of white male students
      Nov 7, 2017
    • The fact that your daughter is being recruited by Harvard may have something to do with your being a minority. My brother got rejected from schools like Vanderbilt and Northwestern (elite schools but not quite Harvard level) even though he had a 4.0 unweighted GPA, a 4.4 weighted GPA, and a 1590 on the SAT (one question off from perfect). These schools had SAT averages of 1530 and 1510 respectively. His scores were better than 75% of the students who were accepted at Vanderbilt and 85% at Northwestern. He played three sports (was all-conference in 2 and all-state in 1) was a section leader in the band, volunteered in the community for National Honor Society, and was President of his Class all four years of High School. The only reason he was denied was because he was a White, middle class, straight male. Whites are definitely at a disadvantage in the admissions process.

      Dec 30, 2017
  5. Hello, my name is Shaniki I was accepted to Havard. And I did not get offer a grant or scholarship. And I’am African American woman. And also I am consider a high advance student. I have to pay my way if I decided to go. And my parents at the time where also considered middle class. If you feel like you are begin mis treated you can always look into another Unversity. Or perhaps pray about it and research a little more. Because it’s sound like your kid may need to go to a oversea advance Unversity like me. He seem like he advance they might not have a job here for him United States even if he or she graduates from Harvard. So like me your best bet is to send him or her to Unversity in England he or she might have a better chances and also may have to work oversea because United States might not have a job or the money to pay him when he graduates from Harvard.
    Talk soon!

    Shaniki Smith
    Oct 4, 2017
  6. Tim,
    I came across this blog as I was searching for statistics on scholarship money awarded to minorities versus whites. I’m researching the topic because it is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to explain to my white daughter why her peers who are minorities with the same or lesser academic credentials received acceptances that she did not and received a scholarship money that she did not. Their applications are almost identical with the exception, of course, of race. And no, this was not one single scholarship or one single University, or one single student. It was a pattern across the board. Like you we are a middle-class white family who also has been financially responsible. We are financially able to pay for her college, however being responsible parents we have put the responsibilities of half of her college costs on her. Any scholarship money she receives goes to her half, since she earned it. She, like your son, worked extremely hard in high school. Her class rank was 1 out of 617 graduates, scored 35 on the ACT (out of 36) , Was a student leader, an athlete and volunteered her time. She is so disillusioned, watching her lesser-qualified minority counterparts receives acceptances and scholarship money that she did not. Don’t get me wrong, the students worked hard as well, but make no mistake about it they were not disadvantaged in any way. They also come from a similar middle-class family, living in the same middle-class neighborhood that we live in. So, as I see it, it boils down to race or the color of your skin. Why is it OK to discriminate against any race, including whites?

    Sep 13, 2017
  7. I graduated High school in 1976 with a General Diploma and a 2 year course in Trade Electricity. After that, I worked in an EJ Korvets Department Store, Hardware Dept & Auto Parts Dept until getting a part time job working for an electrician. My Dad was acquainted with a couple who managed and apartment complex and they hired me there as a maintenance worker. This job was a union job which started at $200.00 a week which was good money back then. I did not like the job, because it involved mopping hallways, garbage duties and worse, doing nothing most of the time, which drove me nuts. The mantra was work a few hours, go hide until 3Pm and then pretend to work for another hour.

    Bored with the job at the apartment complex, I answered a job posting for a Burglar Alarm Installers Helper. I was interviewed by the two owners of the company and hired on the spot. After working there for about a year or so, myself and one of the installers began subcontracting for another Alarm Company. I was making about $300.00 a week by about 1978 which was pretty good money for someone 19 years old, with a High school Diploma.

    So myself and my partner are doing the subcontracting when he sells me out and decides to take a full time offer as an employee with the company we were subcontracting for. He says his wife told him to take the offer because it was more stable and they were giving him a helper. By then, I was an installer and the company did not want 2 installers. So now I am basically out of a job.

    So with no job, I open up the yellow pages within an hour, 3 companies want me to come in for an interview. One of the companies was from another state but sold jobs in my state and would send installers from their state here to install the jobs. They were about 3 hours away and were really interested in having someone in my area to install the jobs.

    I decided to try the company from out of state, because I am thinking, I’ll be running things myself over here. So the person drives all the way from another state, 3 hours away and buys me lunch and explains to me that I could be a company employee and get paid $350.00 a week or I can be subcontractor and be paid 30% of the install fee. As a subcontractor , I would need my own insurance, drills, drill bits, staple gun, staples , screws ets, all which cost basically peanuts back then with the exception of the power tools. heck, the insurance policy was only $500.00, $250.00 up front, $250.00 balance after 3 months.

    So I have 2 friends that are working for a roofer making 40 bucks a day. I hire them to work with me for $50.00 a day each and off we go putting in these alarms in Mansions and exclusive homes situated in High End Connecticut neighborhoods.

    So this is just one of the very many opportunities that were available back then to high school grads who were willing to work and take on responsibility. The home security industry was in it’s infancy and there was a need for installers. Over the years the corporate industrial complex has invaded the home security industry, as well as many other industries that were once rules by small business and family owned businesses and because of that opportunities like this do not exist for White Males or anyone else.

    After paying my 2 friends to work with me, I was averaging $600.00 a week pay for myself in 1979 and 1980 at 20 and 21 years old. i have no idea what that would equate to in today’s money, but most people without college aren’t even making $600.00 a week now. Maybe $750.00 or $800.00 in New York, but pales to $600.00 a week in 1979.

    In 1992, I was earning $1,000.00 a week repossessing cars for a detective agency. Most Repo Agents working for a company are not making that now.

    The real reason white guys are not making money now is because there is no one willing to pay it. The corporate structure or what we used to call ”the suits” have taken over every coporatized almost every industry.

    Aug 8, 2017
  8. My school gave me a retention hearing and has suspended me for eight months. What can I do

    David Core
    Aug 8, 2017
  9. I think it’s great you’re so proud of your son.

    A 4.05 GPA and 97% percentile scores are really nothing special for schools like Dartmouth and Northwestern. A 97% SAT is 1450-1500. 1500 is AVERAGE at Dartmouth. A 97% ACT is 31. 32 is AVERAGE at Dartmouth. The AVERAGE weighted GPA at Dartmouth is 4.03. Your son’s 4.05 GPA is AVERAGE for these schools. You don’t mention what his SAT II scores were, but Dartmouth “recommends” them. Smart people go the extra mile and do what’s recommended.

    How many admission slots at Duke, Northwestern, and Dartmouth went to children of “legacies” with lower grades, test scores and lesser achievements? Dartmouth openly states they admit legacies at 2.5x the rate of everyone else! It’s economics – schools are a business, and those are the parents who donate freely for the new library.

    How many admission slots went to 4-star recruits in DI sports? Hint: also a lot. You say your son wants to swim at DI level, but was he good enough to be recruited in his sport? And is swimming a sport these schools recruit? Or is it football and basketball?

    Legacies and athletic recruits are the ones who fill up the slots with lower GPAs and test scores, leaving the remaining limited slots to be filled from applicants who will do the next thing the schools need – raise their ratings in USN and Forbes. They can’t do that by admitting kids with 97% test scores and 4.05 weighted GPAs. They need kids with 99+ percentile test scores and 4.3 weighted GPAs.

    I get it: you’re upset for your son because he wasn’t accepted at his first choice schools. But isn’t it a bit intellectually lazy on your part to point the finger at the supposed “advantage” of being minority and female, instead of educating yourself about how the college admissions process works at these very selective schools and perhaps telling your son if those really are his choice, he’s going to be competing against an applicant pool with 34-36 ACT scores and 4.2-4.3 weighted GPAs, so he needs to raise his game? Because that was the hard conversation we had with our kid. “If you want to be admitted to that school, you’re not a legacy, you’re not a 4 star athletic recruit, you need to be well ABOVE average on your grades and test scores to have a shot.

    Aug 7, 2017
    • You cant be above perfect scores and if you think can go back to school and if your school was anything like mine teachers help students cheat so scores are a joke. But more power to legacies cause its not like being a moron stopped george bush from being president although it certainly should have. But hey lets keep rewarding stupid people for being good at sports and illiterate or born rich so they can buy diplomas. This world is doomed to turn into an idiocracy

      Leo Cleveland
      Sep 9, 2017
  10. I personally. Believe that anything we do now a days should be on merrit alone. We should never be asked what our Nationality. Gender maybe depending on the situation however if we are in the 21st century and want/ going for a level playing field, Nationality of person should NOT MATTER!
    Thank you

    Aug 2, 2017
  11. .

    Deborah Solt
    Jul 27, 2017
  12. We recently toured prestigious northeastern colleges. After the tour of my son’s top wish list school he said, “Mom, I don’t feel like they even want me to apply.” His racially diverse, economically challenged best friend tours the same school the following week and is welcomed with open arms.

    What do I tell my son when his best friend is accepted and he is not? Their scores are identical and they’re involved in the same activities.

    Virginia Gray
    Jul 22, 2017
  13. I feel your pain. My kid has a 36 ACT score, straight As for a 4.7 GPA, perfect SAT2 subject scores and a boatload of AP classes and scores of 5. Visited the schools, made good impressions on interviews and wrote solid essays. A lot of community involvement and accolades, too. Nope, not enough for the Vanderbilts or Cornells of the world. Like you, we couldn’t check any of the right boxes, like minority or foreign or wealthy donor or superstar athlete. All that hard work on academics, but still not enough to overcome being white and male. So, rejection letters and disappointment followed.

    Yes, that’s a life lesson. No big deal, a number of good schools with wiser admissions policies did offer a spot because he’s an exceptional *student*. Then we learned the financial aid game is just as bad. Not wealthy enough to pay for private school tuition without 6 figures of debt, but too “rich” to get a dime of financial aid. No varsity sport to get a free college education based on athletic accomplishments. Still, we should qualify for merit scholarships from all these perfect educational accomplishments, you know at a school whose purpose is higher education, right? Nope, but we learned who got them. Kids with lower test scores, lower GPAs and inferior classwork, but they checked a more important box or led their team to the state finals. Great for them. These universities can give money to whomever they want to attract the kind of students they want. But why even call them “merit” or “academic” or “scholarships”? Just call them “diversity grants” and be truthful about it.

    There’s no pity needed for our kid. Like you, we saved instead of spent. We didn’t lead a lavish lifestyle or make stupid financial choices, unlike families we know deep in debt from luxury houses and cars, but still somehow qualify for financial aid. We are blessed that we can now pay for a state college education with little debt. It’s a good school. All will work out for the best. But if your kid is a true scholar and you think they will earn admissions or scholarships based on hard work and excellent academics, you may be surprised that some of these top rated institutions of higher learning place a lot more value on things other than academic achievement. Just google top schools for admission rates by sex and ethnicity for proof.

    Sue Dunham
    Jul 17, 2017
  14. Ya I grew up dirt poor remember standing in line for hours for a loaf of bread an a block of cheese. The school I went to had text books that were 50 years old I graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and 1542 sat I was involved in pride club and a student conflict mediator. I applied to around 20 different schools and was denied to all 20. My best friend Rodney graduated with a 2.9 GPA and only scored 1300 on his sat. We applied to all the same schools he was accepted to 13 of the 20 schools he was a poor black kid and I was a poor white kid unfortunately I was never able to go back to school I was turned down for federal financial aid. My best friend full scolarship. Just for being black. And somehow or another I’m privileged because because I’m white.

    Matthew Sturgeon
    Jun 24, 2017
  15. Need to watch the high school counselors. My son and I went to all the meetings about college. Every meeting was about low income families and how to get a free ride to college. As you can tell from my grammar I’m not a very educated person but I worked hard and made a very good life for my family. I will never give up on teaching my son that some things are not fair but never quit. He will be the first child in the family to attend college and there’s no doubt he will appreciate every dollar in life. Sometimes free is a bad word. Looks like a lot of overtime for me in the next few years.

    Jun 23, 2017
  16. I’m sorry your son didn’t get into his dream school. I am also very aware that middle class families can be left behind by colleges, even those with good financial aid–due to rich kids being able to pay in full and the lowest income students getting full rides, those in the middle lose out. However, as someone said above, your son’s scores/grades weren’t quite good enough to expect to get into those schools. I go to an elite university (top 20) and I had a perfect SAT and 4.3 GPA. At Duke/Northwestern/Ivies, etc, you probably need to be at at least a 4.15-4.2 and an SAT above 2200 or ACT 33+ to have a good shot–and then you often still need something extra to set you apart, regardless of race.
    I hope your son is happy wherever he goes.

    Jun 5, 2017
  17. Tim. You are correct almost everything you just said.
    Discrimination is not only with the middle class,
    But those upper class as well. These schools
    Hate rich white kids.
    You are fortunate that the you live in the mid
    west. If you lived in the Northeast your son probably would never had been accepted to
    BC with a 31 ACT.
    Now some more bad news. Wait till they apply for internships. (This is new). WHITES NEED NOT APPLY.

    May 4, 2017
  18. Just wanted to update my status. Just as my son and I were settling into the idea that he would graduate GA Tech $40,000 in debt (but with a great degree!) we find out he has been accepted to Johns Hopkins and Rice. Both offered him full-rides. He’s white, he’s male. He works 15 to 20 hours a week and goes to GA Tech full time as a high school senior. In order to do that, he had to take an entire year’s worth of math online over the summer and self-study Calc.BC because his school didn’t offer it. He’s an extremely hard-worker and out of all the comments, I felt his experiences aligned more with T.Wood than any of the others. His scores – 1520 SAT, 33 ACT and 99.119 GPA. He made a 3.5 his first semester at Tech. He not only stands out academically, but he went above and beyond by having the discipline to self-study subjects not offered, going to Tech as a high schooler, all while holding down a part-time job. I’m ecstatic, but I know there are plenty of students who worked just as hard as he who didn’t get in.

    Tracy Coral
    Apr 15, 2017
    • Nice! Love these stories! Congratulations to you and your son!


      Apr 19, 2017
  19. 4/14/2017 We are devastated! My son was accepted into a private and prestigious university and was going to be a collegiate athlete and swim for this school. 4.56 GPA, 7 AP courses, private Catholic HS, yr round swimmer for 10 yrs, active swim coach for Special Olympics etc….We are middle class, father is a Sgt for a mid-City police dept in Ohio; I am unemployed losing my job after 26 yrs with the company…FAFSA said our EFC was 24K and this university said we could afford 64k via federal plus loans! Bitter! Angry! Sad that my son has found that hard work DOES NOT pay off! He is your typical middle class white kid who doesn’t deserve this! Something has to change!

    Betsy Noonan
    Apr 15, 2017
  20. Bottom line is if your child is white and is not a legacy or an athlete the elite colleges and universities will only admit them if they have written about some time of social hardship in their essay, i.e.: they have 2 moms, they are gay, they were abused, picked on or bullied and miraculously overcame the obstacle to lead normal lives. Other than that maybe 1 out of 10 kids from hard working families that provided a normal childhood get in…if their grades are perfect and they did perfect on the SAT’s. Basically these schools are now comprised of international full pay students, minorities, athletes legacies and screwed up white kids. These colleges are becoming less and less about being incubators for the next generation of leaders as their core mission focuses on diversity.

    Silence Dogood
    Apr 4, 2017
  21. This goes for white middle class white girls too. We too are being punished for doing everything right. It’s just so unfair. My daughter, who has never, not once, gotten anything lower the an A- (A- causes her anxiety), is graduating a valedictorian (summa cum laude) and has been accepted into every university she has applied to (over a dozen), including UCLA but we can’t afford to send her to any one of them.

    We had been counting on scholarships (full ride, hopefully, because, why not?). We planned ahead for college and about 5 years ago I took on a job with IRS to help save for it. IRS is a great company for hiring disabled, of which I have two. We met with the high school counselor at the beginning of the year and asked all the right questions, all scholarship related. But this guidance counselor didn’t guide us very well. She failed to mention that UCs don’t award merit scholarships anymore (that’s all we have to go on). And the UCs are where she applied.

    So now we have a very disappointed daughter, who has worked harder than anyone at her school and who is literally graduating at top of her class, who is now going to be attending a community college. It’s like a slap in the face. I can’t tell you how heartbroken we are (wait, maybe I can).

    We have learned a lot but too late. If I knew 5 years ago what I know now we would be seeing a different outcome: I would not have gone to work, my spouse and I would have gotten a divorce (so we can use my “no income” to get those “pity” scholarships and my daughter would be entering UCLA next fall *possibly on a full ride scholarship (*but we still have the problem that she’s white).

    Now I feel even that is going to go sideways as right now she was accepted to UCLA (and others) based on her 4.32 gpa. But will those offers, and that gpa, still be around in 2 years (we have 2 years to get poorer than we are already)? I worry about the grades because she exhausted herself and sacrificed everything to get them only to get this “slap in the face” reward for it. I personally couldn’t keep it up in the face of it all, so I can’t expect her to as well.

    How is your son doing?

    Tricia Sutton
    Apr 3, 2017
    • Tricia,

      You’re right, I do need to add white girls to this post! Sorry to hear about your daughter. You do bring up another broken system within the college tuition system – Divorce!

      I personally know a family who had three kids, parents got divorced a couple years before kids got to college age. Mom didn’t get a job, but did take full custody of all three kids. Dad supported Mom and Kids from another address behind the scenes. All three kids went to state university tuition free, with living expenses!!!

      It’s a crazy world we live in. My son is doing great! Thanks for asking.


      Apr 6, 2017
  22. This needs to be updated to include white girls. From what I understand, white girls with excellent stats are currently the top demographic applying to the tier 1 schools.

    Frustrated mom
    Mar 27, 2017
  23. I just came across your blog and i have to say, it is as if you were writing this about My son. He too is 17. He too was born in to a white middle class family. He too is involved in our community, is a straight A student earned in AP classes, and works his ass off. He’s 15th in his class of 400, and was rejected from Boston College, Northeastern and Babson College. I don’t know what these schools are looking for, but its not white middle class males. White privilege my ass. You tell your kids to work hard, to be kind , to do the right thing, for what? To have your dreams crushed.

    Mar 17, 2017
  24. I am so disgusted and sorry this is happening to YOU and to Anyone else.

    I am so over the racism against White people…and especially to White Males!
    WE also MUST NOT Care and Fight Against ALL these People that would call us Racists for caring about OUR OWN RACE!! Think about how ridiculous this is getting!! This Must STOP!!!!
    WE Must then HELP OUR Fellow White Caucasians in America and across the World!! We have had ENOUGH! MOST of us have cared and helped other Races and nationalities just to be Shit on in the End and NOW!!!
    WE White/Caucasians/Europeans MUST Help Our fellow White/Caucasians/Europeans from NOW on…..and that means in every Way Shape and Form!!! Other Races and Nationalities are able to help their Own with NO Problems…..but Whites/Caucasians/Europeans CANNOT!???
    Let’s do something….NOW!!!!

    White Latina
    Feb 28, 2017
  25. I am sick to death of hearing about “white privilege” mainly because that so called privilege does NOT apply to to many middle and lower middle class whites. No, these young men are considered “rednecks” and “hicks”, slights that are socially acceptable, but God forbid you should sling a epitaph at someone who is not white and male. The fact they are white works against them, despite their economic status It is tragic that young middle to lower class and even lower class, particularly males, are told they are “privileged” and despite their academic prowess, are turned down from schools because they are male and white! Yes, people this is prejudice. I teach these kids and know them and their families. They do all of the right things but are prejudiced against merely because they are white and male. Seriously? If a child, any child, can rise above their poverty or otherwise poorer upbringings, they should be celebrated despite their color or race. Did we not realize this with our young people of color? So why are we now doing this to poor and middle class white males? I advocate for all my students, despite their race and gender, and I focus mainly on young people whose parents are not so well off. I do not see their color, only their predicament and abilities. Sadly, so many want to stigmatize the middle class and poor white males. Is it coincidence that this group is most likely to commit suicide? We are doing this to these children. What is wrong with everyone in this country? All children, and I mean ALL children should be looked at as tabula rosa and NOT as an extension of peoples’ behavior in the past. Do not visit the sins of the fathers on these young men. Stop punishing them for something they did not do!

    Jan 31, 2017
  26. My son has 99.119 GPA (his school doesn’t do grade point GPA) and he made a 33 on the ACT and a 1520 on the SAT. He has had a job since he turned 16. We are on food stamps. My white, male son applied to many prestigious colleges. I’ve prepared him to not be accepted to any. He will undoubtedly get into GA Tech as he is already going there his senior year for Move On When Ready. I’ve prepared him to NOT get any type of school financial aid…GA Tech acknowledges that they consider minority status for school financial aid. He can expect the GA Zell Miller scholarship ($10,000) and Pell (~$5500) and a loan (~$5500) and he will still owe $3000. He’ll continue to work through college. I’m staying positive and will continue to believe that hard work WILL equal success.

    Tracy Coral
    Jan 14, 2017
    • This kind of thing will make White people and people with half or more white DNA in them to Stop using Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Business people and so on that may have had Affirmative Action, and of course are Not White. How do we really know those people were the most intelligent in their College Classes. How do we know they didn’t get to bypass a white student because of their colour. This can and will have repercussions!
      Why do white students get screwed over because they are White?

      I say boycott the Non-White Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Businesses, and so on until this racism is addressed properly, and Stops!

      This is unequal. This is racism against people because they are white.
      Have you had enough yet?

      NO MORE
      Feb 28, 2017
    • This kind of thing will make White people and people with half or more white DNA in them to Stop using Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Business people and so on that may have had Affirmative Action, and of course are Not White. (As it Should)
      How do we really know those people were the most intelligent in their College Classes. How do we know they didn’t get to bypass a white student because of their colour. This can and will have repercussions!
      Why do white students get screwed over because they are White?

      I say boycott the Non-White Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Businesses, and so on until this racism is addressed properly, and Stops!

      This is unequal. This is racism against people because they are white.
      Have you had enough yet?

      Sophia Othello-Estrada
      Feb 28, 2017
  27. My child is in a similar situation. We are considered “Middle Class” but it never really feels like it. My son was always an ABOVE AVERAGE student. He graduated high school with a 5.33 GPA (weighted) 4.0 (unweighted) scored a 31 on his ACT and got accepted into the University of South Florida (yeah I know not Ivy League). The problem we have ran into, is they always say ” Get good grades and school will be paid for with scholarships and grants.” Well that is the biggest joke I have ever heard! My son, because he is not a minority and because we are a middle class family by the government standards, has to take student loans to cover what he didn’t receive in scholarships and grants because these universities cater to minorities. My son is bright, hard-working and deserves the same opportunities as everyone else. These scholarships and grants should not be race or gender based, they should all be academically based. I think its insulting to think that because you are a minority you have these scholarships because you can’t get in on grades alone. Minorities have the same opportunities, if not more, to excel in school as my son had. Please get off the crutch of ” Oh, I’m an impovrished minority so I deserve hand-outs.” No, you can pick your self up just like everyone else, work hard, get good grades and earn the scholarships and grants. If you are an exceptional athlete because you trained hard and achieved your goal and so you get scholarships, good for you! If you are an exceptional scholar, you worked hard all through school, joining clubs, participating in your community and getting good grades and then you get a scholarship, good for you! But, to get a scholarship because you were born a specific gender or race and you have never had to work for what you are receiving, that is a dis-service to not only the student, but to the more deserving students that didn’t take school lightly and earned that money fare and square is. That’s my two cents……

    Aug 11, 2016
  28. As an HR professional, do you strive to hire “average” or “exceptional” employees?

    Here are the numbers I found on
    BC – ave. ACT = 32; ave. GPA = 4.03;
    UCLA – ave. ACT = 28; ave. GPA = 4.29;
    Northwestern – ave. ACT = 33; ave. GPA = 4.11;
    Dartmouth – ave. ACT = 32; ave. GPA = 4.03;

    Unfortunately, your son was not above “average” for both ACT and GPA for any of the school listed above. Therefore, at best, he is “average”, when compared to others competing for the same spots. He needed something “extra” to set him apart from everyone else.

    A fellow hs teacher sent me an interesting article earlier this year entitled: “Why a Perfect SAT Score Can Keep You Out of Harvard” that talks about this issue.

    Now an “average” employee would still be a good hire, capable of doing everything successfully, but when trying to fill a spot, the “exceptional” employee, the one whose resume or interview really made a mark because of something special, is probably going to get the nod.

    Just because you did everything right doesn’t mean you are going to get in, it just means you get an opportunity to get in.

    Jul 21, 2016
  29. It is interesting the comment about how it is only legal to discriminate against WCM. Hence the rise of Trump.

    I grew up in poverty, got good grade, and cobbled together scholarships and work/study to pay for my college. After working hard and a few jobs later, it didn’t matter what undergraduate school I went to; it mattered what I learned and accomplished in the workplace. My resume speaks for itself, as does yours. With some hard work, your son with have the same result. College only sometimes gets your foot in the door. Hard work keeps you there. It sounds like he has a father that will teach him that, and he will do well in this world.

    It’s often beneficial to see inequities in life at a young age. Sometimes those inequities can drive a person to achieve greater things. When you don’t get what you want when you want it, it can drive a person to prove themselves. Perhaps that will be the case with your son. Perhaps he will use this as a launching pad to achieve something greater than if he had actually been able to go to his “dream college.” Adversity is not always a bad thing.

    May 11, 2016
    • Tami –

      Totally agree with everything you said!


      Tim Sackett
      May 11, 2016
  30. Let me start off by saying that, overall I typically find your posts annoying and irrelevant, to the point where I stopped following your blog. However, another blog I follow posted a link to this post and I read it because my son is a year behind yours and I found a lot of things about this post that I could relate to.

    If you think white male students are in a bad spot, then right behind them are asian students. My son has the worst of both worlds because he’s a white/asian mutt. When we talk about the application process, we seriously discuss the pros and cons of whether to check the race box as white, asian, or multirace. My son is not as accomplished as yours and I know he will never get into his dream schools. But like you I have been financially responsible and saved for his education. And like you, despite having an ex-wife who will basically contribute nothing towards his schooling, I know that most of the aid he is going to get is in the form of loans. Like you I’ve sacrificed to save enough that he will hopefully graduate with minimal debt. But like you I am annoyed that because I did the right things, my son will be asked to pay pretty much full freight.

    I doubt Bernie, if elected, would ever be able to make college free for all. But I agree with you that colleges are not non-profits.

    May 10, 2016
    • Jay,

      Let me start off by saying – You made Kris Dunn’s year with your comments about me! I was with him when this comment came through and we both had a big laugh and you kicking me under the bus to start off your comments.

      Beyond that, thanks for your comments. Maybe you’ll come back again if KD links something of mine of value!


      Tim Sackett
      May 11, 2016
  31. Tim, your burning rant is deadly accurate in many respects in my opinion. And it’s not hard to see the PC of every decision made at colleges and universities. The higher education system in the U.S. is broken. It provides diminishing educational value at increasing cost with each passing year. My suggestion? Have your son take a “break year.” Travel the world, experience stuff, get a menial job, learn some marketable skills, then reconsider what kind of education he really wants based on what he’s discovered about himself and the passions he want to pursue. He may just discover that the “prestigious” school that puts him and your family into massive debt is irrelevant to his future and his success.

    May 6, 2016
    • Phil,

      Thanks for the suggestion! I really like that idea.


      Tim Sackett
      May 9, 2016
  32. I’ll bite…I’m a 40 yr old black guy who graduated from Boston College. My question is why should your son be any different from any number of people (black, white, and everything else) with whom I graduated from BC who are still eyesballs deep in debt? I’ll let you know…I was your worst nightmare as a high school senior…black (obviously), poor, inner-city, very good grades at a terrible school, good (not great) test scores, high 80s to low 90s fastball (left handed), and only the second person in my family to attend college. I’ll admit it, if I were white, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into BC (but for the left handed pitcher piece). But I tell you this, BC made a hell of a bet on me because I did better than 90% of the frosh that entered BC with me and after four years had my choice of Ivy League law schools. There are kids just like me this year who got into Duke or Northwestern or UCLA, but they didn’t take your kids spot…more likely, there is another middle-class white kid from your general neck of the woods who was admitted to those schools over your son. I sit down with alumni relations from BC on an almost annual basis (they think I have money to donate) and I hear the same thing…they want diversity in the incoming class, but that runs the gamut, diversity of race, ethnicity, religion, background, socio-economic status, hometown, high school, and on and on and on. I understand this hurts your son to his core, and as a father I understand your frustration; but I would say you haven’t been wrong…you’ve been asked to face reality. Ultimately, I think it is your white privilege that allows you to feel that you and your son deserve better that the rest of us.

    Let me be clear, I respect your perspective, but it’s cringe-worthy to think that this is your struggle. White guys = bad…that’s your thesis? Then explain to me why I stood in (and controlled…even if I do say so myself) a boardroom last week with executives from my company and each of its five subsidiaries and I was the only non-white person in the room (in the interest of full disclosure, there were a male Latino and black female execs on the phone). In a room of 25 – 30 people, there was me, 6 or 7 white women and a sea of the dreaded Christian White Males. Of the other 10 – 15 people on the phone, there were 2 non-white males. THAT’S MY REALITY. My reality is also that no one else in the room had my educational pedigree…NO ONE! That is not to say those people don’t deserve their seats at the table (there were some damn brilliant people at that table), but it is to say that I likely would not have been at the table if the schools listed on their resumes were on mine.

    My reality is also kicking my kids in the @$$ to let them know that the cushy lifestyle that they live at my expense is not reality. I’m sure my kids are much more like your son than they are like me at the same age. My reality is struggling to figure out how to give my kids that fire in the belly when there isn’t anyone in their life struggling to make it on a day to day basis. My middle schooler has head more than he would like that being brilliant (which he is) isn’t enough…letting him (and his younger sister and brother) know that even when you do everything right, life sometimes kicks you in the balls. As a black man, that is something I learned early in life, and frankly, I envy the fact that you are just now learning this lesson in middle age. Although it hurts, I venture to say that in the long run, you son will be better for having learned this lesson at 17 and not when he is downsized out of his junior executive position at 45.

    May 5, 2016
    • T.Wood,

      I appreciate your thoughtful response. This is my son’s dream, not mine. I don’t think I’ve been wronged. I pushed him to go to community college, a state school that would give him a scholarship. He had bigger dreams than that, as I’m sure your children will have as well. I paid my own way, working multiple jobs throughout college and leaving in debt with my undergrad. Worked full time, with two kids, and went to night school to get my master’s degree, again that I paid for 100% out of my own pocket. My privilege is I worked my ass off to get where I am. Also, I happen to be white. I’m not going to apologize for that.

      As an HR Pro I know exactly what problems we have in corporate America at the highest levels with the lack of diversity and inclusion. I wrote my Master’s thesis on Women in Leadership. I was raised by a single mom. I’ve seen firsthand the diversity issues within leadership and worked in every organization to better those results.

      I also wouldn’t say I’m ‘just learning this lesson’ right now, but as I’ve pointed out, on this issue, white guys aren’t allowed an opinion.


      Tim Sackett
      May 6, 2016
  33. Are you unaware of how many legs up your kid has received simply by being a white man in this country and how many advantages that gives him many of his peers and will continue to give him throughout his life? Do you understand WHY it is that there’s sometimes more financial aid available for students from less privileged backgrounds — that it’s to try to make up a small piece of the disadvantages they’ve been burdened with?

    Or do you only see your kid’s race for once not giving him an advantage over others and think that’s unfair? Tell it to the parents of minority kids who get a crap deal over and over.

    I think you’re really out of touch on this one.

    May 5, 2016
    • I am actually aware, and I stated that very clearly in the post. I have advantages. Many, many advantages. I put my name on it. Unlike you making up a fake email address to post.

      I actually understand this entire argument at a very high level. Reached out to minority college professors to read my post and get their response before posting it.

      What you are saying, in your response, was what I was saying, but you won’t hear it because it’s coming from a white guy. Every kid, white or black, should have equal access to reach their dreams. That must be the out of touch part you speak of.

      Tim Sackett
      May 6, 2016
  34. Tim –

    No need to apologize. You speak the truth. Preach it brother!!

    PS – you don’t understand. #honkyproblems

    May 5, 2016
    • This made me laugh!

      Tim Sackett
      May 6, 2016
  35. Um, what makes u think Blacks and Latinos who do the “right” thing families don’t go into mega debt to pay for college? You are describing the plight of ALL working Americans and building it as a White platform.
    Newsflash, Black, Latinos, Asians, Women, etc. continuously get passed over for our choices in school, work, housing, capital, healthcare, etc.?
    But so many of you are tired of hearing about “us complaining” but chime right in when it affects you.
    You are Freaking Galaxies away from being close to the pain by stereotypes, violence, rejection, and discrimination that non Whites deal with today and yesterday. I guess colleges are a breeze for poor families? Oh, and those foreign students pay up front, and those ball players generate millions for the NCAA. Yes, $ trump fairness in America. BTW, have you asked all the White Male college presidents, faculty, administrators, alumni, congress people, Executives, and Board members why life isn’t fair for working Americans?

    May 5, 2016
    • Michael,

      I tried to say throughout the post, in no way do I understand the stereotypes faced by minorities in America. But, as you point out, I clearly can’t understand. Because I’m white and male, I have many, many, many advantages in our culture. So, I must never know what being wronged is.

      I never once said anything about anyone else complaining. I was talking specifically about my issue. About my son’s dream being crushed. I also mentioned my hope would be all kids get their opportunity. Not my son, over another kid.

      I’m sorry that didn’t come across to you.



      Tim Sackett
      May 5, 2016
  36. As someone who has been in academia for 20+ years, let’s clear up some misconceptions spread throughout the post and in the responses:
    1. Duke University has an acceptance rate of under 9%. They had 28000+ applications for approx. 2500 slots. Lots of highly qualified white middle class males were turned down, as were lots of qualified women and minorities.
    2. Acceptance rate is going to be further influenced by the program/school within the college or university. Competition may be fierce for business, but not so much for art or history.
    3. Boston College has an acceptance rate of 29%. Even with that small rate, as a white, middle class male, he got in.
    4. The problem is, two of your examples are some of the most prestigious, difficult schools to get into. Your forgetting about the 99.9% of other colleges who would throw money hand over fist at your son because of how great he is. Duke and BC have the power to pick EXACTLY the class of freshman they want. As “full-need” schools, the FAFSA and a few other documents provide the school with all the information they need to build the class to meet the needs of what they’re trying to hit.
    5. Colleges actually want white male students. Females started exceeding males in enrollment in 1979, and have never caught up. At the college where I work, we have a 58%/42% female/male ratio.
    6. In terms of financial aid, BC and Duke aren’t tuition driven schools; their endowments cover whatever they need. The worst part is, your son would probably get aid before the same student who is female because of the majority of students in college are female. Those schools have the power to say, “It’s a privilege to be admitted, and now it’s a privilege to pay for it. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. There’s 1000 students in line behind you.”
    7. The FAFSA is definitely not perfect, but most dual income families will not receive additional aid from a college or university these days. The families that are responsible and have been saving will be seen as fiscally sound and not eligible for additional aid. However, many may be eligible for specific scholarships.
    8. At our particularly small, liberal arts school, we have a student body that is predominantly white and middle class. Yet, 97% get some form of scholarship or financial aid.
    9. The poor don’t get free rides either. According to my financial aid people here in Wisconsin, for $0 EFC families, the most they receive from state schools is roughly $8,000 from state/federal, depending on the state of course. Almost all of the 4-year UW schools tuition, room and board is less than $17,000 a year.

    May 5, 2016
    • Bruno –

      I hear you. I respect you. That is one point of view. This is your profession. I get that. Until you actually go through the college financial aid process, from end-to-end, it’s hard to fully grasp. The colleges are selling one thing, the reality is another. Non-profit is a word. This is big business, at all levels, even yours.


      Tim Sackett
      May 5, 2016
  37. Some day white males will be a minority and ‘protected’ from discrimination. It’s going to be a while.

    May 5, 2016
  38. Great thoughts and I feel horrible for your son. Having a daughter that’s about to graduate but with almost every other circumstance the same as you I completely empathize with your post.

    I think the bigger picture here is the overall cost structure setup by universities in general. We’ve been sold a bill of goods on what the value of an education is and that it is somehow dependent on how much you pay for it. Most universities host freshmen classes in huge lecture halls with a TA teaching the class. Other than very particular fields, graduates from “prestigious” schools are no more guaranteed a job than anyone else.

    Our world is changing, knowledge is more accessible and the workplace is starting to slowly realize that a degree is not all it’s cracked up to be. I think in 20 years, there will be fundamental changes in how college works, including the cost structure. Not much help to our kids today but that’s why my daughter is going to attend two years of community college and then transfer to a university. I don’t buy into the garbage system and don’t want her to either.

    Rich Vedas
    May 5, 2016
  39. I can’t agree more. My white husband jokes white Christian males are the only group you can still discriminate against. I always want to disagree with him but can’t.

    On the financial front, I am a latino woman and maybe -probably- checking the latino box would help my kids get accepted into the college of their choice. But my current middle-class status means zero financial support. While I live in a region that is often considered to have one of the highest costs of living, the financial aid system does not consider locality a factor, only income. My former not-so-middle-class status means zero savings for college. So.. that community college down the street is looking mighty good these days…

    May 5, 2016
    • Jessie,

      You make a fun point – “White Christian males” are the only ones we can still discriminate against. I see this constantly from many of the top Diversity and Inclusion professionals in the world. They espouse “inclusion” but only if it doesn’t include the white guys. Isn’t that the opposite of inclusion?

      Weird, changing times.

      As I said, I’m grateful for who I am and living in a world where I clearly have advantages. I can’t complain or whine about that. When it hurts your kid, is when it’s tough to take. He’ll be fine, no doubt.

      Also, I have one kid in community college as well. We all find a way – even the white guys! 😉


      Tim Sackett
      May 5, 2016
  40. Wow, great read. There is a stereo type for white males. It goes unspoken but it is still unfair. (this coming for a white male so I am immediately discredited to even have an opinion)

    Can’t wait for the article about corporate america hating old people.

    recent story – My mother in Law is a great human being, raised 5 kids, and then went back to college in her 40’s, got laid off in her 50’s (recession), and couldn’t find a job anywhere because she was “overqualified” or “culturally not a fit”. She is now doing customer service for a floor mat manufacture for a little over minimum wage (but hey! she gets not great health benefits).

    It is unreal how over qualified she is for that role but she had to pay the bills and needed health insurance. Now her resume has 2 years of customer service on it and is basically stuck in that rut of “not being in your field anymore” so is basically doomed to remain in an hourly customer support role.

    Do unbiased hiring managers exist?

    May 5, 2016

Leave a Reply