Working and lower-middle-class children are less likely to participate in structured extracurricular activities than their more privileged peers while growing up (and when they do, they tend to participate in fewer of them). This hurts their job prospects in two ways. First, it affects the types of schools students attend. Elite universities weigh extracurricular activities heavily in admissions decisions. Given that these employers—which offer some of the highest-paying entry-level jobs in the country—recruit almost exclusively at top schools, many students who focus purely on their studies will be out of the game long before they ever apply to firms. Second, employers also use extracurricular activities, especially those that are driven by ‘passion’ rather than academic or professional interest and require large investments of time and money over many years, to screen résumés. But participation in these activities while in college or graduate school is not a luxury that all can afford, especially if someone needs to work long hours to pay the bills or take care of family members. Essentially, extracurriculars end up being a double filter on social class that disadvantages job applicants from more modest means both in entering the recruiting pipeline and succeeding within it.

Why are working class kids less likely to get elite jobs? They study too hard at college. – The Washington Post. How incredibly depressing. I was one of those kids: I worked 25-30 hours a week during term, and full-time on breaks, to pay for my own college education, which was (amazingly) still possible in those days. But I didn’t have to pay a price for it, in part because I chose graduate school instead of trying to get a high-paying job, but also in part because workplace priorities weren’t quite so indefensibly weird then.