By: Sarah Hirschorn and Emma Botelho (Online Editor in Chief & Correspondent)
The college admissions process is undoubtedly one of the most difficult stages in a student’s high school career. With the recent news of bribed admissions, students and adults are questioning the integrity of the process itself.
Among the forty-eight individuals caught participating in this scheme, Hollywood celebrity moms, Full House star Lori Loughlin and Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman were also implicated. The scheme allowed the individuals to pay a bribe to get their children into top-notch schools such as Yale, Harvard, and Univerity of Southern California. The scam was orchestrated by college entrance counselor William Rick Singer, who then gave the funds collected to ACT and SAT administrators and college sports coaches. Parents paid bribes up to 6 million dollars.
“I’m shocked and really sad to hear that because people get a lot of money and think they can do anything even if its unethical… and when people like that who are held at such high esteem do something so unethical, it is really shocking…I’m really glad they got caught,” said Ms. Joan Glasheen, SHS school counselor.
Glasheen adds that this disappoints her because she sees how hard students work to get into their dream schools and that people are bribing their way into college is very sad.
SHS senior Sofi Shlepakov says the scandal will cause tension for students applying to colleges in the future and those who have already been admitted. “As a senior waiting to hear back from school it really stresses me out knowing that I may not have a chance, or even get rejected, by a school because [others] cheated their way into it. I think this is going to cause a lot of tension for kids applying to college in the future but also for admissions at the schools where these kids got accepted,” said Shlepakov.
Shlepakov adds that nothing is actually going to happen because the people participating in this scandal are wealthy enough to push this story under the rug.
“It shows how corrupt the college process is. It’s all a money making scheme. College Board is a massive money grabbing corporation and depending on how many applications students send out it costs up to at least $1,000 just to apply,” Shlepakov added.
SHS history teacher Ms. Courtnay Malcolm says this story highlights the existing problems in the college process. “I think it further legitimizes an already flawed process and sets a terrible example for the thousands of students who work hard and play by the rules,” said Malcolm.
Malcolm adds that she absolutely thinks that the falsely admitted students should be immediately expelled or have their acceptances rescinded.
“It perpetuates the perception that hard work and respecting the process are a waste of time; that there are two avenues into college, one for the rich and one for everyone else,” Malcolm added.
Malcolm adds that the people who participated in this scandal should face public shame and should be charged with substantial fines.
SHS Athletic Director Dr. Nick Schlierf says he feels bad for the kids who thought they got into these schools on their own, but later found out that their parents cheated their way in. “It’s no surprise to me that the rich were bribing their way in. I had no idea they would go to such lengths to produce fake profiles and pay up to half a million dollars to make sure that their children went to a particular school,” said Schlierf.
“Just as the federal charges that are coming out read: this is fraud. They are cheating a system that is in place to allow those based on merit get into the system. So as with any fraud whether it is your taxes or this college admissions scandal, whatever the fraud charges are laid out, these parents should be liable for that situation,” added Schlierf.
Schlierf says that if students were aware of what their parents were doing for them then they also need to pay the penalty. “I believe fraud doesn’t necessarily carry prison time but there should be fines and it should go on their records wherever they are trying to apply that they were involved in the scandal in the application process in the future for those kids. That criminal record is going to travel with those parents wherever they go once these charges go through and are proven,” Schlierf said.
Schlierf says that the children should be “allowed” to continue their college career as long as they were not part of the scandal. “Depending on how they’re doing at the school if they are doing well, the C and above average that allows kids to stay on and continue to pursue their degree, it all goes back to how much the kid was involved in this false application because they don’t deserve to be there if they took a spot to form a legitimate person trying to get ion, if they falsified data that meant they were not eligible to compete,” said Schlierf.
SHS junior, Lydia Singer says that hard work reaps the reward in the college process. “You earn your way into the college you want to go to by working hard for it. It is incredibly discouraging that people put all they have into their work just so a wealthier person can take their sport, undeservingly,” said Singer.
“I do not understand why people would cheat their way into a school that they wouldn’t be accepted into in the first place. I can only imagine how much they would struggle in a school where they do not belong. There are other schools made for them. Yet the title of a school is what is most important now, and it’s a shame,” Singer added.
Singer says that college applications will lose their value and purpose if people can continuously pay their way through the admission process.
“I can only imagine how much they would struggle in a school that they do not belong. There are other schools made for them. Yet the title of a school is what is most important now, and it’s a shame,” said Singer.
Earlier this week, Loughlin was released on a 1 million dollar bond while Huffman was released on a 250,000 dollar bond. Both of their hearings were scheduled for April 3.