College admissions process still fair
by Jacob Frausto
When news broke out about the “Varsity Blues” operation regarding the college admissions scandal, I was relieved. This might seem odd, especially considering this being the year that I’m actually applying to these colleges. What’s more, I’m applying to many of the colleges involved in the scandal, as well as others that are typically labeled as “extremely competitive.”
But my thoughts and feelings of this whole deal are perfectly justifiable considering the extent of my time spent researching, visiting, and corroborating said schools. It’s something that I’ve been doing since I can first remember, and I haven’t let go of my faith and hope in these institutions just yet.
Where it might seem logical that the fault here should be directed towards the admissions offices, this is just not the case. The flawed system of standardized testing and college readiness programs are what’s driving the paranoia of worried parents. At the end of the day, every parent just wants what is best for their child, and those who have a few hundred thousand to spend to corrupt masterminds like William Singer will do so. This is not surprising at all. In fact, many were already under the impression that the elite could donate or purchase slots for their children at these higher institutions of learning. This scandal only brought this to light.
As someone who’s been extremely fortunate to have been able to flesh out and thoroughly understand the college admissions process, I can confidently tell you that the standards to getting higher education have never been quite this competitive. With the introduction of technology to the process some years ago, the facilitation of presenting oneself favorably to admission committees has never been easier. As a result, the stakes have never been higher, and students are pulling accomplishments and test scores at rates that are ridiculously oversaturated. The increasing number of applicants overall only adds to the stress that admissions officers must face at this time of the year.
I was recently accepted to The University of Southern California, that has been at the forefront of this entire scandal. After reviewing my acceptance package, I noticed that USC included a statement about the scandal addressing that, “only a tiny handful of the applications we received were tainted by the alleged admissions scheme, which involved fraudulent applications submitted for the sole purpose of cheating USC’s rigorous admissions system.” The letter noted that there were exactly six illegitimate applications. This is next to nothing to the more than 64,000 applications received, and in the end will have little impact on the fate of others.
In summary, what I have deduced is that this scandal is being blown way out of proportion. The biggest concerns that should be taken from this major event should not question the integrity or worth of an education at these institutions, but instead the laughable ways that the admission process has been exploited by athletic directors and business executives. This event should focus our attention on what kind of illicit activities are being contrived by those involved in entrance exam and college prep organizations. These “nonprofits” employ some fraudulent swindlers that are surely endangering the future of the American youth for a profit. At the end of the day, we must remember that these are essentially businesses, ones that are costing us far more than the nearly $60 million in profit that each of these groups make each year.
Based on the interactions and experiences I’ve had during the college admissions process, I can wholeheartedly say that I have full faith in the holistic review process that many if not all universities follow.
However, I’ll leave the ethical intricacies of the college prep industry up to you.