Inequality in education

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 16, 2019

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Submitted: April 16, 2019

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The college education scam that has been reported the past weeks wasn't a surprise. I doubt anyone is ignorant enough to think that money doesn't matter. There have been several cases where famous or rich people have paid thousands of dollars to get their children into elite universities, either by cheating on the tests, like SAT, or by giving the universities some money. There are many ways, and it's understandable people are angry about it.

I read an article in a local newspaper (Helsingin Sanomat) yesterday, and it explained how the selection process for Harvard is a secret one. Harvard wasn't on the list of universities that was in this spring's admission scam, but it's no doubt money will help you there as well. Getting into elite universities isn't all about your test scores and grades. If you're a part of minority, good for you. You might get in easier than your regular white people. If you have an interesting life story to tell, also great. That's what saddens me the most.

As someone who is applying for university this year, this is ridiculous. I've applied to three universities in Finland and one in Sweden. I have to take two entry tests in May, like most people who wish to get into universities. I get some points for my marticulation exams, which are national finals high school students take. Getting into university here is hard, but the requirements are the same for everyone. What matters is your high school exams, and there are a lot of them. You have to take four, but you can take a lot more. I did six, which is technically seven, because Finnish and literature has two exams. With me taking the exams for Finnish, English, math, chemistry, biology and health education, that is about 40 books to read, each between 150 to 600 pages. So yes, it's amazing that we get the spring to study.

If you do well on those exams, you might get a place in the university. If you do okay, you get some points for those, and you have to take another test, depending on what you're going to major in. Usually the tests consists of the same courses you have studied in high school, for example, I applied for biomedicine and I have to know the biology and chemistry courses. That's how it works and that's the way most people get in. 

There are no fees and overall, you can't buy yourself in with rich parents. You don't get extra points if you have a sob story to tell and you don't get extra points if you are a part of a minority. That's great, because I'm not a minority and I have a pretty normal life story to tell. I also am broke, and my parents aren't much richer, so I'm glad the only way to get in is by studying yourself.

What also makes me shake my head about the elite university applications, is the weird thought that if your parents studied there, you can get in a little easier. Alhtough, there are no "elite" universities in Finland, as all are pretty much seen as good ones. Okay, the Helsinki University is the hardest to get in and therefore it's seen as the best, but honestly it doesn't matter when you apply for a job where you got your degree. My mother has studied there to get her master's degree, but that doesn't mean I could get in. In fact, I didn't even apply there. 

Overall, I get that people want their kids to have a future, but cheating like that is just unfair. For rich people, it shouldn't even be an issue, as their kids will have a future because they have money. It's different from someone coming from a poor family. Education may be the way to get out of poverty for them. The thing that also makes me see red about this whole thing, is that the kids in the universities can just stay in. How the hell? They haven't actually done anything to get in, and they most likely knew their parents were doing this. Ridiculous and honestly, just unfair to the less fortunate people who weren't born with a silver spoon in their ass.


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