The Vermont Connection


“Just work hard and you will succeed.” This phrase and others like it represent the belief in meritocracy, which is repeated and perpetuated in our society by role models, friends, government, media, and ourselves. The myth of meritocracy is a part of the utopian belief in the American Dream, which continues to be an active narrative in Americans’ lives that many do not realize is simply a dream and not based on reality. As educators, how do we confront the meritocracy narrative and better understand how it affects our work and our impact on students? This article updates professionals on current literature and the myth’s effect on higher education. Recommendations on how to challenge and change our views on meritocracy are offered for higher education and student affairs educators.