The Clarion

Cheating the admission system

Yes, undeserving rich kids still get into prestigious colleges. What else is new?

Most+students+focus+on+admission+tests+to+gain+entrance+to+college%2C+but+even+with+that+process+there+has+been+a+built-in+advantage+for+affluent+families
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Cheating the admission system

Most students focus on admission tests to gain entrance to college, but even with that process there has been a built-in advantage for affluent families

Most students focus on admission tests to gain entrance to college, but even with that process there has been a built-in advantage for affluent families

Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS

Most students focus on admission tests to gain entrance to college, but even with that process there has been a built-in advantage for affluent families

Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS

Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS

Most students focus on admission tests to gain entrance to college, but even with that process there has been a built-in advantage for affluent families

Katie Paape, News Editor

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The internet has been exploding over a scandal involving rich and famous parents who bought their children’s way into college. Most notable of the large pool of participants in the scandal is Lori Laughlin who paid $500,000 to guarantee her daughters’ acceptance into UCLA. Known for her role in the TV comedy, Full House, the Hallmark Channel, and family values, Laughlin seems an unlikely candidate of dishonesty and fraud, but this is the sentence she faces today.

When the news broke, thousands of ruthless comments began to circulate around social media, including Laughlin’s daughter’s YouTube channel. Even Laughlin’s Full House costars Instagram pages were blown up with comments and criticisms.

People are justifiably angered by undeserving kids taking valuable spots in elite colleges, but, in many ways, this kind of “cheating the system” has been around for decades, and in many cases, is perfectly legal.

Laughlin’s case was reported because she and other rich parents were blatantly photoshopping their children into sports team photos and hiring people to take their entrance tests for them. However, there are many ways rich parents can get around the competitiveness of elite schools – and unlike photoshopping – it’s perfectly legal.

How are they doing it? The two main causes are athletics and legacy preference.

It is well known that students with athletic talents are more likely to get into competitive colleges than nonathletic students.

This is the result of a variety of factors like recruiting, the desire for a “diversified class,” and having competitive sporting teams who make money for the colleges. High school coaches are even playing a significant role in the application process of their student athletes.

According to an article by USA Today, if you have two students with the same test scores and GPA, the athletic student is 1,000 times more likely to get into Harvard.

There is no doubt that high performing athletes work extremely hard to get to where they are, but the question you have to ask is, is college about athletics or academics?

The other way wealthy parents can assure their children’s acceptance into elite universities is through legacy preference, a clause that gives students a better chance of acceptance if a parent is an alumnus of the college. Though this is becoming a topic of increasing controversy.

Legacy preference was originally put in place to build community and encourage alumni to continue to donate to their alma mater; which they are more likely to do if their children attend the school as well. Some also claim that funding from these rich families helps provide scholarships for less-privileged kids. However, admitting more privileged kids seems counterintuitive for their claim of helping lower income families.

Even if parents started to admit their children without abusing athletics and legacy preference, there will still be elite private prep schools, special tutors, and other ways to get around certain standards simply because they have the money to do so.

I don’t think college admissions have ever been 100 percent fair, and I don’t think they ever will be. This college scandal really shouldn’t come as a major shock to anyone. We must understand that really, it doesn’t matter what college you get into.

What matters is how you choose to live your life after college. Use the education you have been privileged enough to get wisely, regardless of where you got it.

In the book “Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be,” author Frank Bruni writes that there is no correlation between success and what college you attend. What is important, however, are the traits you have as a student. Persistence and determination will get you much further than the name of your school on your diploma.

As Elon Musk is famously quoted, “I didn’t go to Harvard, but the people who work for me did.”

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Cheating the admission system