WLAA Guest Column: For Community HS senior, admissions scandal hits home

 

By Ava Millman

This morning before school I anxiously went online and checked the status of each of my college applications, despite already knowing that I will not hear anything until March 28. This may seem pointless, but getting accepted to a school means so much to me that even just the thought of receiving an admissions decision heightens my curiosity to the point that I cannot resist looking.

My status was identical to the time before, and I left for school knowing that I will have to wait at least another day to get my final answer.

This powerful sensation of anticipation and yearning that I feel so frequently suddenly fluttered away when I read the New York Times article, “College Admissions Scandal: Actresses, Business Leaders and other Wealthy Parents Charged.”

I sat in disbelief reading that officials from the University of Southern California, one of the schools I have applied to, were actively taking bribes that diminish my chances of acceptance. I have spent the majority of my life working to be accepted into a good school, and to find out that there might be kids that cheated the admissions process is unbelievable.

Now I am in a situation where not only am I competing against other smart, talented and hard-working students, but I am also competing against kids with falsified transcripts, test scores and athletic profiles.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation indictment alleges that these students all participated in an elaborate scheme run through a college consulting company called The Edge College and Career Network, a place where affluent parents can pay their childs way into a university. The FBI recently released the indictment exposing the operation and dozens of their clients.

Honestly, I am not surprised that so many parents got involved in the scheme. I mean, who wouldn’t want their child to be accepted to a top tier university?

 

As a student who spent months preparing for my ACT and SAT tests, I would have killed for even an extra minute to complete it. However these parents wanted more than just extra time for their children.

The charges in the FBI’s indictment are appalling. Alleged acts of cheating include paying a proctor to correct a student’s answers, hiring another student to take the test and lying about disabilities to receive accommodations.

After reading through the official investigation some of the tactics used to get students accepted are almost humorous. For instance one boy that wanted to attend USC. At USC and many other schools, the academic standards for athletes are lower than for regular students. Therefore, it was arranged for the boy to be listed as a football recruit despite the fact that he had never actually played football. The USC coach was bribed, a fake profile was created and they even photo-shopped his face onto another player’s body to complete the recruitment packet.

After having spent the last two years taking standardized tests, writing essays, having interviews and participating in extracurricular activities to improve my resume I can honestly claim that it is infuriating that someone had the audacity to cheat the system. These parents allegedly cheated every other student that applied to one of the schools that their kids wanted to attend.

On March 28, I will find out whether or not I have been admitted to USC, but regardless of the outcome there will remain a part of me that is skeptical of the entire admissions process.

Ava Millman is a senior at Community High School and one of four editors of The Communicator, the award-winning school newspaper. She is a regular contributor for WeLoveAnnArbor.com

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