The overwhelming pressure to get into an elite university has resulted in dozens of people, including prominent celebrities, facing charges in connection with a nationwide college admissions cheating scandal. The bribery chain involving standardized testing companies and top college coaches illuminates the insane competition to get teens into top schools.
This morning the Justice Department said bribes made it possible for wealthy students to significantly raise their SAT and ACT scores and ease their admissions into elite schools through deception. Between 2011 and February 2019, affluent parents desperate to get their children into highly selective schools paid approximately $25 million to William “Rick” Singer, the founder of a for-profit college preparation business based in California. He used the money to bribe coaches to claim that the children of these wealthy parents were recruited athletes. Almost unbelievably, college coaches agreed for a price to categorize the students as sought-after soccer, rowing, or tennis players, which entitled them to priority admissions.
Money also paid for cheating on the SAT and ACT. Parents paid between $15,000 and $75,000 for their children to be given the answers before the test or to have their wrong answers changed. In some cases, other people took the tests for the students. Singer also facilitated cheating on the entrance exams for students by instructing their parents to seek extended time on college entrance exams, which included having the children claim to have learning disabilities in order to obtain the required medical documentation.
Among the campuses involved: Yale University, Stanford University, Wake Forest, Georgetown, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California, and UCLA.
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among those charged in the scheme. Ten former or current college coaches from some of the nation’s most prestigious campuses also now face charges.
The college advisors at International College Counselors believe students should go to the best colleges they can. This means without cheating.
“There’s no excuse for cheating. Securing an unearned place in a university means a hardworking student got cheated. They may have earned the privilege of getting into their dream school, but now there’s no room. Plus, if a student doesn’t get into a college based on his or her own merit, that student most likely won’t do well,” said Mandee Heller Adler, founder and CEO of International College Counselors.
There is a school for everyone. Families looking for extra help should look for reputable college advisors certified by organizations such as IECA.
“College advisors, like the ones at International College Counselors, can find a best fit college for every student – honestly,” added Adler.