A High School View on the College Admissions Scandal


Photo courtesy of Kevin Lamp. Stanford is one of the many schools included in the FBI scandal.

Bobby Winebrenner

Currently upperclassmen at Lake Forest High School are awaiting their college decision and hoping their hard work is rewarded when announcements are made on March 31. In a different place, children of wealthy families are excited for their next adventure at Stanford, USC, Yale, or other elite schools around the country. These students, on the other hand, don’t necessarily have to have the highest test scores or grade point average, for their minimal athletic participation and parents’ bribery results in a roster spot and admission to the school. The only cost is $200,000 to $6.5 million according to John Bonavolonta, the lead FBI special agent.

These students were connected with William Rick Singer, CEO of The Key, a college admissions company. Singer pleaded guilty to four charges on Tuesday and said that everything the prosecutor accused him of was true. There were two ways Singer would get these upper-class students into the prestigious schools: “One was to cheat on the SAT or ACT, and the other was to use his connections with Division I coaches and use bribes to get these parents’ kids into school with fake athletic credentials,” said US Attorney Andrew Lelling. Cheating on the standardized tests would cost the parents $15,000 to $75,000 in order to get a third-party to bribe the test administrators and ace the fraudulent test. Those included are Lori Loughlin, also known as Aunt Becky on Full House, and Felicity Huffman, who starred in Desperate Housewives.

As a high school senior who’s still contemplating where to attend school next year, this whole fiasco is just maddening. I, and many others, spent the winter of my junior year traveling to the nearby high school to partake in one of the worst experiences: taking the ACT. Friends of mine worked tireless hours with the hopes of earning Division I roster spots, but most had to settle for Division III. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Division III but to think that some were able to buy their way out of that effort or horrible morning that was the ACT is frustrating.

I also laugh at the notion that these families were willing to spend millions to get their children into these prestigious universities when odds are the gamble won’t pay off. These parents are betting that their son or daughter will earn at least $6.5 million or whatever the cost may be, solely because of the university emblem on their diploma.

As students, we’ve been taught all along that we should attend the school that’s the best fit and the school we like the most. We’re not supposed to read through the U.S. News and World Report rankings and select the highest-rated school we can get into. However, it seems as if we’ve come to the conclusion that the self-pride that comes with boasting about one’s prestigious school outweighs the individual experience and adventure that we embark on.