In a meritocratic society, those who land on top want to believe their success is morally justified, they get it on their own. And their kids can have the same belief with the admission to elite colleges.
In an unequal society, those who land on top want to believe their success is morally justified. In a meritocratic society, this means the winners would like to think that they have earned their success through their own talent and hard work.
This is the gift most of these parents wanted to give their kids. If all they really cared about was enabling their children to live in affluence, they could have just given them trust funds. But they wanted something else. They want the meritocratic cachet that admission to elite colleges confers.
The consequence is, for the more we think of ourselves as self-made and self-sufficient, the harder it is to learn gratitude and humility. And without these sentiments, it is hard to care for the common good.