Some parents involved in the college scandal bribed testing officials to guarantee their children higher scores on the SAT.(Flickr)
On March 12, news broke that well-known actress Lori Loughlin, among other affluent parents, had been charged in a college admissions scandal. By one form or another, whether it involved fraudulent athletic recruitment or standardized testing, the offenders used bribery to guarantee their children places in some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions.
We’ve always known that the college admissions process is subjective. In the past, colleges have stressed the idea that students do not get admitted solely based on hard statistics, such as GPAs or SAT scores.
Instead, colleges look at students’ passions, their experiences, and ultimately, what kind of presence they could contribute to the campus communities.
This practice of subjectivity has certainly created a cloud of ambiguity around college admissions and has raised concern among many who see the system as simply “unfair.” For students who are currently striving towards their educational goals, these exposed crimes have only created even more distrust in the admissions process.
Rather, the overlying issue of a social construct is to blame.
Over the years, students have embraced the idea that a degree from a prestigious school dictates future success and happiness.
Here at Academy, as several Junior speakers have noted throughout the year, there still exists a competitive culture among the students who believe that better grades will lead to a “better” college and eventually, to a “better” life.
Parents who think similarly to those indicted in the college scandal feed into this restricted mindset by seeing their children as part of the family’s “brand” and feel that their child’s failure to get into a certain college would reflect as a failure on their parts as well. This shows how little confidence that some parents have in their children, and the measures that they take, known as “snowplow parenting,” may actually harm, not help their children in the long run.
Fortunately, Academy students and parents can and have begun to adopt a healthier perspective by placing an emphasis on achieving personal bests.
Our college counselors help further mitigate the school’s competitive culture by advising students and parents to designate only one day of the week for talking about college-related topics, and when students begin their college research, they are urged to narrow down colleges not by rankings but by overall fit.
As students continue through their academic careers, they need to recognize that the takeaway from the college scandal should not be the specifics of the misconduct allegations, but on the value of maintaining integrity and staying true to oneself.
Only by sustaining and spreading these types of thinking, can students grow in a nourishing environment that provides them with the opportunities to discover themselves and cultivate interests.