As a second-generation college graduate, I was familiar with the march toward postsecondary education that kicked off when my own kids entered high school. We did the online searches. (Okay, that part was new since I graduated high school.) Still, with the benefits of my flexible schedule, access to internet and transportation, and a knowledge of the system, we availed ourselves of twelve schools/university tours in four states, circling back to six universities for a second look. My husband and I made sure our kids had adequate SAT prep and participation in activities that would send their resumes to the top of the pile. We applied for grants and aid to supplement our college savings accounts. In the hot summers before their senior years, I huddled with each of my kids at the dining room table as they wrote their college essays. If you asked them, they would roll their eyes and tell you that having their writer mother hound them to “be more specific” and “find a better transition” was hardly an advantage. But to smart kids from low-income households or whose parents never went to college, it is the lack of this kind of guidance and accessibility that that puts otherwise excellent candidates at a disadvantage. In fact, 53% of low-income students do not apply to a single college that matches their grades and test scores. And only 16 percent enroll in a highly selective four-year college.