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This analysis of college admissions practices reveals that colleges discriminate badly against students from rural communities, merely because they are from those communities. Key quote:
Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. “Being an officer or winning awards” for such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and Radford, “has a significantly negative association with admission outcomes at highly selective institutions.” Excelling in these activities “is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission.” [emphasis mine]
Amazing isn’t it? If you grow up in a rural American community in flyover country, do well as a teenager by participating responsibly as a leader in the kinds of after-school activities popular in rural communities, elite American colleges are going to hold that against you.
The article also describes bigotry against whites and asians (for racial reasons) as well as individuals with a military background. It is worthwhile reading the whole article.