There’s a built-assumption that high-achieving students don’t face struggles at elite institutions, but this is far from the truth. From the outside looking in, focusing on the already privileged can seem unnecessary. After all, even making it to these top institutions is a feat few accomplish.
I have considered the contextual importance of supporting low-income and first-generation students at top colleges and in higher education. For me, it’s not about making elite colleges oases for these students, but about making an accessible and inclusive education a reality at every college. Since I attended a highly selective university, I am most interested in these schools. I understand that low-income and first-generation students might be the most socially marginalized on those campuses. They face the additional barrier of being on a campus that is overwhelmingly populated by the wealthy. I want to help change the classist and elitist culture that manifests itself because of this wealth disparity, which can only be accomplished with greater economic diversity on those campuses and through a culture that is open about discussing class identity.