The Truth Behind College Admissions
This past March, the United States federal prosecutors exposed a criminal conspiracy within the admission process of several prestigious universities.
Also known as the College Admission Bribery Scandal, the conspiracy uncovered unlawful schemes in the admission process of universities, where numerous parents used the money to fraudulently falsify the reported SAT scores of their kids’ and bribe college officials. The scandal also uncovered a scheme among undergraduate sports recruitment, accusing several students of falsely reporting sports team memberships in their application in order to secure their admission.
Allegedly dating back to 2011, the scheme has been predicted to have been ongoing for years. Elite schools such as Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, and the University of Southern California have all been accused of involvement in any form of admission bribery. An FBI investigation was conducted on celebrities such as Lori Loughlin who agreed to pay bribes totaling to $500,000 to have her daughters pose as fake crew recruits at the University of Southern California. Those indicted, such as Loughlin, were also charged for hiring test overseers to take the SATs for their children.
As the court hearings and prosecutions continue on, many students of the Hopkins community have expressed their opinions on the scandal: “I’m not very surprised,” stated Hope Wanat ’20, “It seems inevitable that there will be some who would use their wealth to try to gain an unfair advantage.” Others are disappointed at the news, believing the scandal negates their own efforts in high school and any prospect of their chance at college admissions. Javier Muliero ’20 stated, “It feels like all my hard work is being outdone by someone else’s financial status. I am trying so hard to do my best throughout high school and it is like a slap in the face.” Izzy Lopez-Kalapir ’20 had similar feelings and is scared of being disadvantaged because of people “who don’t play fair”: “With the new scandal, I think it will be harder for me when I have to apply. These students are taking up a spot in admissions that another, perfectly qualified student deserved. It makes me wonder whether my effort in high school will amount to anything if there are others who can just pay their way through.”
Along with having deep impacts on the Junior and Senior class, some underclassmen are already expressing concerns due to the scandal. Nick Wilkinson ’21 stated, “This scandal just scares me for when I apply next year. I think it will cause me to stress more than if the scandal was not brought into the light. I know that it is a crime, however, I think it will negatively affect me.”
The college counseling office expressed understanding of the student-body frustrations on the matter. Director of College Counseling Erika Chapin said, “the college search and application process inherently makes students a bit nervous.” Chapin expressed frustrations regarding the scandal: “this scandal has really highlighted just how unfair the college admissions process can be.” With all the varying opinions on the matter, Chapin emphasized the support College Counseling office can provide for students who may want to talk: “If students are expressing particular concerns, we talk about them directly using relevant facts and information.”
Regardless of the opinions that students have on the issue, College Counseling stressed the importance of talking about it with someone. Chapin put it simply, “I recommend people speak to a trusted adult if you are bothered by the issue. College Counseling resources are available to all students.”