Why are American universities overrated

Elite universities in the USA: They bribe every day

Wealthy Americans have stolen places at elite universities for their children. The excitement overlooks the fact that the US university system basically rewards the rich.


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It is a beautiful dream of studying at an elite university in the USA. Sitting in a lecture hall at Harvard, developing the next big thing with a project group in Stanford, partying in a Yale sweatshirt at two at night after passing the exam and feeling part of a conspiratorial community, knowing that the Yale shirt will also be ten years old later still faded in the closet. And everyone, as the elite universities suggest, can become part of this system, because here, too, the myth of the American dream is being sold: Everyone can make it, no matter where you come from or how little money you have. Work hard, be among the best and you’re in.

Alone: ​​As beautiful as this idea may be, as many universities want to believe their own advertising brochures - very few American students really manage it. And often enough that is not because of not being good enough. It's simply because they can't afford it.

Those who study here get a top job - guaranteed

The expensive private universities in the USA have built up a closed system over decades. It adorns itself with training the best of the best in the country with the highest academic standards, and it does so. A degree from one of these universities basically guarantees a top job.



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The scandal that became public this week does not fit well into this image film of the performance society, in which supposedly everyone can be included. In order to place their children in elite universities, wealthy company bosses, entrepreneurs, investors and celebrities are said to have paid bribes. Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband reportedly paid $ 500,000 to bring their two daughters to good college. They passed their daughters off as rowers for enrollment on the University of Southern California sports team.

This was possible because the country's elite universities see themselves as brands. In order for this brand to remain strong, students are strictly selected - but good grades are only one criterion for this. Another is top sporting performance. Anyone who is a good football player can make it to university with average grades, because he adds value to the team. And the team enhances the university and with it the brand. The actress Loughlin took advantage of this.

It's been bribed long ago, it's just not called that

Investigating prosecutor Andrew Lelling said during the press conference that there should not be a separate licensing system for the wealthy in the country. The universities affected are shocked, sports teachers and other people who have accepted bribes have been fired. But the exclusive ticket for the rich has been around for a long time. The bribery scandal only illustrates how unfair the US education system is. Because bribes have long been bribed in the fight for the supposedly best university place. It's just not called that.

Education is expensive in the US. And that starts even before the first lecture is attended. After all, wealthy families can also buy the services they need to gain access to Harvard or Yale for their children. Anyone who has money can afford a private tutor to practice with. If you have money, your children can study after school and don't have to work at the cash register at McDonald's.

There are also companies that sell parents complete packages in order to get their child as far forward as possible in the race for the best place at university. Application essays are honed and résumés pimped against payment. This is not forbidden, but it has nothing to do with equal opportunities.

Plus, it's not only easier to get accepted at the average Ohio or Texas university than Stanford. It's cheaper too: on average, a year of study in a US undergraduate program costs just under $ 17,000. A private university has to spend more than $ 43,000.