Is Spencer’s principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ a good description for the college admission process? essay sample



Herbert Spencer was a famous follower of the principles of idealism and Darwinism in the nineteenth century. Admiring the concept “survival of the fit” used by Darwin in his theory, H. Spencer developed the school of Social Darwinism. According to this principle, the “fittest” individuals take a rule of the remaining society. “Fittest” in this context does not mean a physically strong individual, but an affluent and powerful personality in economic and political respect.

If not over-exaggerated, “survival of the fittest” can be applied to the modern relations in business, policy, and other dimensions. Individuals who achieved the highest results and outrun their competitors will obviously take the lead. Perhaps, the same refers to college admission process: individuals with the top grades are accepted in the first place. Nevertheless, this procedure is under the influence of different policies which make sure that several categories of students achieve certain preferences regardless of their grades by admission. Thus, students coming from the national minority groups, a low-income family, or children whose parents studied at the same university can be accepted with lower grades if educational establishment provides any of these preferences.

Allowing preferences in higher education is a debatable topic: some parents become indignant if they find out that some applicant with low grades was accepted to the college instead of their child. However, such policies provide extra opportunities to the children of previously discriminated social groups. Thus, the intervention of the government makes college admission process slightly deviate from the principle “survival of the fittest”.

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