A College Admissions Scandal

With all the heat of college admissions being tainted by wealthy families and bribery, enrolling into college has become an even bigger deal for students enrolling into their college of choice. Photo by: Enrique Paz
With college admissions being tainted by affluent families and bribery, many parents and students wonder whether or not the admissions game is really fair. Photo by: Enrique Paz

Nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues, last month’s indictment of Newport Beach, Calif., businessman William Singer’s more than fifty clients by the U.S. Massachusetts attorney, Andrew Lelling, left many news outlets so much to write about. Everything about the indictmentthe celebrity parents involved, their spoiled kids, the bribes taken by the coaches, and the excessive amount of cheatingconfirmed the sentiment that many parents and students have felt for at least the past decade, which is that the college admissions game is un-appallingly and terribly corrupt.

And although this sentiment is ubiquitously shared by parents and students throughout the nation, the question of how elite colleges should prevent superficial applicants from getting into their colleges is never answered. Because really

How do you prevent superficial applicants from getting into your college?

There’s no way to know, because the coaches taking the bribes aren’t going to incriminate themselves or their clients if their bribes are a considerable amount of money, admission officers only know so much, the parents paying for their kid’s fraudulent and amplified application might as well be burning money if they are going to tell anyway (which they won’t), and the kids benefiting from the entire scheme might as well be shredding a hundred of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory golden tickets if they tell (which, again, they won’t).

It’s not all too common that affluent parents pay for their kid to get into an elite college through the means of cheating on the S.A.T. in order to achieve the desired score or by bribing a coach into fabricating their child into some sort of college recruit. However, the omnipresent practice of hiring tutors in order to boost a child’s GPA or S.A.T. score or even a coach to improve their athletic ability in a sport is much more common. Legal too.

Even with this current college bribery scandal now released to the public, what can colleges really do to thwart the next one before another cluster of mollycoddled teenagers with embroidered applications get in? It’s sure to happen again, and it’s happened even before then.

Disregarding the fact that those kids got accepted through cheating won’t help prevent the next one from happening. Neither will barring those parents or kicking out the kids.

Nothing will.

What Needs to Happen

Focusing on the quality of education, as opposed to where you graduate from, is a far important matter. And it is one that colleges around the nation, as well as the nation itself, should fixate on the most. Securing a position at a college usually isn’t an ordeal for most Americans. Anyone can get into a college (community or university). Graduating from a college itself, however, exhibits a much more consequential matter. A study from Georgetown University finds that, on average, college graduates earn over $1 million more in earnings over their lifetime than a normal high-school graduate would. Those with Bachelor’s degrees nearly 84 percent more.

Indicting Singer and those parents as well as ousting out the kids was the right thing to do. The best one, too. However, for the rest of the nation, the focus should be pinpointed on improving the percentage of students that graduate from college. Figuring out how to exponentially drop the drop-out rates in America, as well as figure out how to raise the graduation rates, may be in the best interests of all Americans as well as the future of America. And if our politicians can do that, then, will our college system truly be fair for all people.