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Buying Your Way Into College

Forbes Magazine is running an article on “Dorm Room Titans”, or students who follow in the footsteps of Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Mark Zuckerberg and start their own businesses while still in college.

A junior from Cornell, Seth Flowerman, is highlighted in the article:

Flowerman's company, Career Explorations, operates a summer program for high school students that brings them to Manhattan or Boston for an internship…He doesn't draw a steady salary--most profits go back into the business--but he paid for a trip to Spain last summer, bought himself an Audi A4 and covers his own living expenses. His parents pay for tuition.

At a cost of $5,500 for four weeks, the company provides students with room, board and adult supervision. It broke even in its first year and has been profitable ever since.

Career Explorations tapped a nerve. In a competitive world, it gives students an edge when applying to college, and helps them discern early on which careers interest them most.

With all due respect to Mr. Flowerman’s business savvy, programs like these are exactly the problem when we talk about college access and creating an even playing field for the college admissions process (let alone future internships or job offers). A high school student whose family can afford to lay down six thousand dollars gets rewarded, while a student who works his way through high school stocking shelves at the local super market will get passed over.

The irony, of course, is that stocking shelves probably builds more character and job experience than what is effectively an expensive summer camp.

And I wonder if that Audi A4 is a tax-deducted company car…

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on September 18, 2006 (#)

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