Cheaters Never Prosper

David Collins, Co-Editor in Chief

Applying to college is one of the most daunting tasks set before high school students nationwide. From a young age, the importance of going to a “good” college is drilled into us. Along with this, we’re told that we need to devote ourselves to our school work, standardized test scores, extracurriculars and volunteer work since, according to our parents, our top colleges will accept us if we’ve put in the required work and do it well.

In light of recent events, it is evident that the latter promise from our parents does not always hold true. Several celebrities have been able to bribe and cheat to get their children into top schools, and this most likely has been going on for decades. It was found that high profile celebrities, including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to forge test scores, get their children recruited to athletic teams (despite them not playing that sport), and to bribe admissions counselors. In one scenario, an official changed a 650 on the SAT into a 1510, which is clearly a huge lie, but one that got that child admitted to their dream school.

As of now, it is confirmed that 50 people are under federal investigation, with the total cost of their crimes being worth $25 million. The scariest part is that prosecutors believe “this is just the tip of the iceberg” and that they expect more cheating will be uncovered as the investigation continues.

This scandal has caused some of the implicated schools, namely USC and Yale, to come under fire for the admissions office’s role in facilitating this illicit process. USC’s senior associate athletic director and water polo coach were just fired after being indicted in the investigation. Current college students have opened a class-action lawsuit against Yale, Georgetown and USC under the basis that they were prevented from getting a fair opportunity to get into these schools. Responding to the pressure, Yale rescinded the application of a committed student whose parents paid $1.2 million to have their child admitted. It’s unclear if more committed students, or people who are currently enrolled in these schools, will have their statuses revoked as a result of this federal investigation and the ensuing backlash; though, one can only hope that all colleges will adapt their admissions processes to focus solely on merit, and that they will shun people attempting to buy their way in.
It is unknown just how many students were accepted into their dream schools through this unsavory scheme, and how many hard-working students were denied admission as a result. This scandal will hopefully force colleges to stop providing the rich and privileged a means to buy their way into top schools, and shift the process back to its merit-based roots, just like how our parents told us it would.

I would like to congratulate all of my friends and classmates on getting into their dream schools, and I wish the best of luck to those who are awaiting decisions! We can beat these cheaters, and get in on our own merit!