College admissions fraud and its effects on all academics

Savannah Pinnock, Opinion Editor

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SAT preparation books, AP test preparation books, college applications, extra curricular activities and studying. What is this list of things you ask? What is their significance?

To many, this list is just a few of the tools juniors and seniors in high school must use in order to be accepted into the college and/or university of their dreams.

The vast majority of students around the world rely on their academic integrity and intellect in order to get into their preferred school of choice.

However, in light of recent events, it has been revealed that approximately 50 individuals took part in a college admissions scheme that has cheated many out of positions in Ivy League and other prestigious schools.

These individuals have tampered with the pure traditions that surround the college admissions process.

According to Holly Yan writing for CNN.com, federal prosecutors state that fifty people were involved in a scheme that which consisted of “cheating on standardized tests or bribing college coaches and school officials to accept students as college athletes–even if the student has never played that sport.”

As students, staff, professors, alumni and pedagogical affiliates, this news is incredibly repulsive. One of the fundamental components of being a student is the idea of academic integrity and/or honesty.

Alongside this, millions of students have taken their SATs with the understanding that it is undoubtedly standardized and non-corrupted. This news makes many college students feel cheated and emphasizes the disparity between the rich and the poor.

Although this difference does in fact exist, the college admissions process has done an excellent job at making sure that one’s admission is contingent on one being well-rounded, intelligent, capable and ambitious. Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are the faces of this scheme.

However, it must be said that they are not the only people involved in this scheme, just familiar faces involved.

Across the country, millions of American students are outraged and livid in response to this occurrence.

In light of these events, Wilkes senior communication studies major Natalie Carleo states, “It makes me really angry. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you should get any special treatment when everyone else works their butt off.”

Bryanna Chase, a freshman criminology major at Wilkes states, “It’s a serious issue, but if there were no celebrities involved you wouldn’t even have heard of it. It happens more often than you think.”

As a junior English major, I feel as though this event interferes with the integrity of the admissions process. The process is only successful when everyone adheres to the rules. To disobey the rules is essentially saying that you are above the law due to wealth, social status or other factors.

However, thousands of hardworking teachers, professors and organizations work hard to make the admissions process and entrance exams standardized. It has been this way for decades and it gives everyone a virtually equal opportunity to go to the college of their dreams.

Due to this scandal, somewhere there is a student who rightfully earned a spot at an Ivy League or prestigious school and was cheated out of it. This act is dispicable and seeks to lower the strength of America’s college admissions process.

Fortunately, with the work that is being done by these institutions, the only thing that has been lowered is the reputation of these parents and individuals involved.

It must be understood that until further notice, the students who have been a victim of their parents actions are not to blame. Also, there happens to be a great deal of affluent academics who received their positions via hardwork and dedication.

Although this may be apparent to many, it begs the question, what impact will this have on academics and the admissions process as a whole?

Well, according to Yan, this college admissions scam is “thought to be the biggest ever prosecuted in the United States.” Due to the gravity of this situation, it is safe to assume that the current rules and procedures that are enforced for standardized tests will be stricter.

Colleges and universities may also pay close attention to one’s income and occupation in order to discern if the student’s family has conducted any form of admissions fraud.

However, the truth is that this event is still unfolding. Over the course of the next few weeks, months and years, colleges may issue heightened regulations in response to this event.

At the moment, one cannot know for certain what affects this scandal may have on college admissions and students as a whole.

For now, one can be comforted by the understanding that this event may allow for the disadvantaged applicants to receive the spot that they deserve and earned.

This event may also provoke the change necessary to inspire affluent celebrities and everyday people to understand that with wealth comes power.

Use that power wisely and don’t allow it to infringe on the happiness of someone who may have to work a bit harder in life than you.

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