Hidden Secrets to College Admissions Revealed

Riley Sims, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The biggest college admissions scandal in U.S. history occurred on March 12, resulting in federal prosecutors charging 50 people for bribery. It’s estimated that parents paid around $200,000 or more to have their child admitted into prestigious universities like the University of Southern California, Stanford University and others by falsifying test scores, grades and athletic activities. The most notable parents involved in the scandal are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. What these parents did was wrong. Not only are they teaching their kids that money is the answer to all their problems, they committed an illegal and immoral crime that prevented deserving students entrance into these colleges and tarnished the college application process.

The parents involved sought assistance from William “Rick” Singer, a college counselor whose consulting company helped get children admitted into universities by falsifying their applications. This involved cheating on the SAT and ACT exams and creating deals with athletic coaches. Singer would often hire a third party to either take the exam for a student or change the answers to the student’s exam to boost their score. Singer would also work with coaches to fake athletic credentials. For example, photoshopped or posed photos of the student playing the sport would be submitted with the student’s application. Parents didn’t just pay for their children to get into college, they faked their children’s applications to make them seem smarter or more athletic. This is extremely offensive to students who actually worked hard in high school both academically and athletically. Getting into college today is extremely difficult, because the application process has become more demanding. According to an article from, The New York Times, universities are looking at more than grades and test scores. They are also looking at things such as portfolios and teacher recommendations. This means that a student has to be more well-rounded in their application. Students today may spend hours studying for school and even sacrifice weekends and holidays attending review sessions, test prep classes or extracurricular activities. Athletic students attend long practices after school and put many years of practice, competition and commitment into the sport. The students who are cheating on their college entrance exams and faking their academic credential are reaping the benefits of getting accepted into top universities without putting in the real effort and taking away spots from students who honestly earned them.

One of the worst things about this scandal is that these kids’ parents are spending their money on cheating their children’s way into college when the money could be used more positively to boost the student’s test scores and grades. These kids from higher income households have an opportunity that a lot of kids don’t; they can afford prep sessions and tutors. Entrance exams like the SAT and ACT have received a lot of criticism for creating an unequal playing field. The cost of prep courses, according to Prepscholar, can cost anywhere from $30 to $150 a hour. These parents could’ve helped their child work for admission, which would have taught them studying and analytical skills that they will need in college. However, the parents instead decided to teach their children that money can buy anything and that as long as they’re rich the kids don’t need to work hard in life. If that’s the case, then why should parents even send their kids to college when their kids can live off of their parent’s money for the rest of their lives? It says a lot when these students are legal adults and still need their parents to solve their issues. While some of these students may have had no idea their parents were involved in bribery, it doesn’t mean they were never exposed to this type of privilege in other settings. The moral question here isn’t if they knew their parents were involved, but how did they react?

What these parents did was wrong, and they deserve to be punished. Huffman and Loughlin are currently on bail and are scheduled to appear in court on April 3. Other parents involved in the scandal are facing similar situations. I believe that the best things these colleges could do is expel the students who obviously knew what their parents were doing and make the others reapply. If the students choose not to return or aren’t accepted again, the university should give their spot to transfer applicants who may have not been granted admission the first time as a result of the scandal.  As a society, we need to look more into the flawed college admissions process and fix it to prevent any more falsified applications.