Mismatch theory harms students

In a well-intentioned attempt to reach out to low-income black and Hispanic students to apply to elite college, school counselors are unwittingly setting them up for failure.  The latest example is the T.M. Landry College Preparatory School (“Louisiana School Made Headlines for Sending Black Kids to Elite Colleges. Here’s the Reality,” The New York Times, Nov. 30).

The Ivies and their ilk are brands that have great appeal.  But they are not for everyone because of their rigor.  Counselors need to be more realistic in directing students to apply to all schools after high school graduation.  Some are better served by attending a community college, while others to a state university.

I say that because when students are rejected by marquee-name schools or can’t handle the work and drop out, their self-esteem is going to be severely affected.  I understand the sex appeal of certain colleges and universities, but students need to be reminded that they can get a solid education at second-tier schools.  Moreover, they often get far greater gratification by pursuing a vocation course of study in high school, accompanied by an apprenticeship.

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