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College Admissions Scandal: A Look Inside the Admission Atrocity

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 2391 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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 A major investigation and scandal was unveiled by the FBI on March 12, 2019 regarding well known celebrities and other wealthy parents paying for their kids to get into elite universities. The 2019 college admissions bribery scandal involves the influence of college admissions decisions at several major American research universities. The scandal revealed by United States federal prosecutors gave the notion that at least 50 people were alleged to have been part of it. This scandal could have harmed the chances of students applying to major universities and led to them getting denied from that college. Questions have arisen regarding how has the College Admissions Scandal affect all applicants to colleges in the United States along with those involved in the scandal? The College Admissions Scandal will lead to many penalties for those involved and much stricter background checks and regulations in the college admissions process and for the people associated with it. In order to further identify what will happen moving forward in this scandal, research has been conducted to establish a basis in this polarizing current event. One can only hope that justice is served where it is due and that guidelines will be put into place so that something this negatively impactful never occurs again.

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The college admissions scandal has been a major breaking news story and has been covered by many major news sources while the information unfolds with the first time being via ABC World News Tonight. News about the scandal is being unveiled by the day in all platforms of media with many Americans tuned in to see what is going to happen next. Information regarding who was involved in the scandal and what the quantifications of this scandal were detailed by Forbes Magazine in an article titled, “The College Admission Scandal: Voices Of Reason Part One”, by Brennan Barnard. This article revealed that a number of parents of college applicants are accused of paying more than $25 million between 2011 and 2018 to William Rick Singer, a college admissions counselor and organizer of the scheme, who used part of the money to inflate student test scores and to bribe college officials. Singer controlled the two firms involved in the scheme, Key Worldwide Foundation and The Edge College & Career Network. Singer pleaded guilty to the scandal as he supported the FBI in gathering evidence in the scandal. He said he was involved with college admission for children in more than 750 families for 11 universities (Barnard). Among the accused parents are prominent business men and well-known actors.

When discussing the College Admissions Scandal it is important to take certain things into consideration such as school involvement and sides of the story being told. Barnard does offer the fact that this scandal does not affect the majority of students who apply for college admissions, but only a small percentage who applied to the elite universities. It is also important to remember that students and parents in this scandal have yet to publicly speak (Barnard). This information provides a background to base any further evaluation of the scandal off of moving in the future. The current information shows that 50 people have been linked to the scandal by taking money from families to better the admissions chances of their children into elite universities whether it be through bettering standardized testing scores, making up accolades, or making athletic recruitments with fake evaluations. It is shocking that the scandal has involved 750 families and 11 universities totaling over $25 million paid to one man alone! This amount of money could have sent so many other students to college that can’t afford to go to these elite universities! The other revealing information was that this scandal has been occurring since 2011 with William Rick Singer. This led to identify why the scandal has been going on for so long and if scandals like these have occured in the past, but weren’t covered in such a light by the national media.

While this scandal has seemed like a new breaking phenomena, college admissions scandals are nothing new and have occured in the past. Scandals like the college admissions scandal in 2019 are not unheard of and have happened in universities all over the United States. One major scandal occurred at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “The Chicago Tribune obtained over 1800 pages of documents through the freedom of information act (TFIA) from university officials detailing admission favoritism for over 800 students during the admission season 2005-2009” (Bayar). This evidence shows how the admissions system has truly been broken for a long time and needs to be fixed in order to give every student an equal opportunity at a higher education and to put an end to more admissions scandals that could be negatively impacting students at universities all over the United States. A scandal like this allowed over 800 students to better their chances due to an unjust favoritism, but this means that over 800 students were denied the opportunity to further their education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well. It seems that when these scandals are reported they are always discussing the students who cheated the system, but they never discuss all of the students that were in turn denied admission because of these scandals. The lives and futures of so many students can become completely changed due to these flaws in the current admissions processes of universities across the United States.

In order to better understand where the flaws occur it is important to look at the current admissions system. “College Admissions for the 21st Century”, by Robert J. Sternberg discusses the ins and outs of the college admissions process in the 21st century and how it has grown from the past. The book has sections that cover college admissions and testing, the traditional college application, alternative admission practices, intelligence and success, assessing hidden talents, encouraging creativity, practical intelligence, and wisdom, and implications for students, colleges, and society. Information is provided for all the factors considered in the admissions process and how they are valued. The college admissions process has many different aspects and how it should be used to fairly gauge each student. The main takeaways of our current admissions system are that standardised tests are incomplete since they only measure memory and analytical skills. Tests need to measure other qualities, creative skills, practical skills, and wisdom-based skills need to be accounted for. Using other guidelines will reduce racial differences in acceptance and enhanced admissions procedures will benefit candidates, schools, and society (Sternberg).

There are many flaws in the current admissions system and there needs to be a fixes to help better the admissions system and make it more fair for students to be evaluated based on their true knowledge and overall skill sets. According to reports, all the admissions scandals have been targeting the flaws of the testing aspect and the hidden talents. I believe the issues occur most in these areas due to the fact outside sources can interfere and it is harder for work to be verified as that of the student. An outside source can vouch for someone’s athletic ability or participation in a certain extracurricular event without many guidelines to compare or base performance off of. Different levels of participation or ability can be seen by different people. There has also been an issue with people standing in as the student to take the test by using their student identification. In order to crack down on these issues their needs to be standard guidelines and rating systems when it comes to athletics and assessing talents along with better identification checks for students to make sure that work is being done by the actual student grading their true ability and not someone who is cheating for them.

In order to better shed the light on a major scandal or crisis it is important to get the views of those impacted. Views of the people involved in the scandal have been publicized constantly in the media, but the one view that hasn’t received much publicity is the views of the students who are in the education system when these scandals have been occuring. These views were shared by a newspaper article from the New York Times titled, “What Students Are Saying About the College Admissions Cheating Scandal”, which involves nearly 500 middle and high school students who shared their reactions in the Student Opinion question, “What Is Your Reaction to the College Admissions Cheating Scandal?” Most said they were appalled, but not surprised. Those who are in the process for applying to colleges right now shared how the news has changed their views of the fairness of college admissions since they now realize that corruption can exist in a system that is supposed to be equal for all (Network). This news has negatively impacted the students who are currently applying for colleges or who will be attending college this year due to the fact that they are going through the same system in which this major scandal exists. The college admissions scandal has created backlash in those who are not directly involved, but who are still involved with the systems and companies that were tied into this scandal. It made students really question what fair truly means and wonder how could people just pay large sums of money to completely cheat the system they’ve had to work hard in for so many years. It sets such a negative precedent that money can truly buy you anything and that education may not be as much of an equalizer as we truly think it is. It is very important to gain the interest of those affected by the systems that are related to the scandal or students that are part of the academic communities directly affected by the scandals. The students that have had their admission chances hurt by these scandals could even use their voices to push for a movement of stricter regulations of the admissions process moving forward and could even seek retributions for their denial of fair treatment.

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Now that the admissions scandal and system have been under scrutiny it will be interesting to see the solutions and outcomes of admissions scandal and moving forward. Federal officials have began charging parents and consultants in the multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat college admissions standards. The parents being charged have allegedly paid consultants who then fabricated academic and athletic credentials and arranged bribes to help get their children into prestigious universities. The Justice Department’s statement regarding their current charges lists each of the 50 defendants, along with some basic facts about them and the charges they face. These charges include offenses such as racketeering, money laundering, defrauding the United States, obstruction of justice, mail fraud, and wire fraud (Chappell). These offenses range from minor to major and are even considered to be crimes against the United States. The offenses involved many big public figures and people in positions of power. Rudolph Meredith, who was the former head coach of Yale Women’s Soccer, was charged for information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud (Chappell). Famous actors Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud (Chappell). There are no sentences distributed yet and many court dates are being arranged to put these defendants on trial. Some defendants are taking plea deals to lower their charges and punishments. As news unfolds it is clear that we will see major fines, expellings of students, and even jail time for the crimes that have been committed in the College Admissions Scandal.

After conducting this research and being able to develop a viewpoint I have a clear idea of what will happen as a result of this scandal. The College Admissions Scandal will lead to many parents and consultants tied with scandals seeing jail time, students who were accepted unrightfully being removed from colleges, a possible lawsuit from those unrightfully denied admission, and much stricter background checks and regulations in the college admissions process and for the people associated with it. Many students that were denied admission to these major universities due to this scandal may come together and make a massive campaign to fight for these stricter regulations. Just to think that the money spent to illegally get students into college could have paid for so many other students to get into college truly justifies how detrimental this scandal is to the lives of many.

Works Cited

  • Barnard, Brennan. “The College Admission Scandal: Voices Of Reason Part One.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 Mar. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/brennanbarnard/2019/03/30/
  • BAYAR, Adem, and James H. KERNS. “Clout Goes to College: Admissions Scandal at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.” Participatory Educational Research, vol. 2, no. 1, Apr. 2015, p. 34. EBSCOhost, proxy.hvcc.edu:2443/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=102025932&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  • Chappell, Bill, and Merrit Kennedy. “U.S. Charges Dozens Of Parents, Coaches In Massive College Admissions Scandal.” NPR, NPR, 12 Mar. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/03/12/702539140/
  • Network, The Learning. “What Students Are Saying About the College Admissions Cheating Scandal.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Mar. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/learning/
  • Sternberg, Robert J. College Admissions for the 21st Century. [Electronic Resource]. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2010., 2010. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat02817a&AN=HVC.ebr10448661&site=eds-live&scope=site.


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