College scam hurts Park student’s chances


Art by Maggie Klaers

The arrest of 50 celebrities, business owners and a number of other wealthy individuals has exposed what many already assumed about college admissions; the wealthy have the easiest access to the most elite schools. The Echo Editorial Board feels it is unfair for colleges to prioritize money over actual academic or athletic excellence.

The largest reported college admission scam involved parents bribing counselors to give their kids fake academic credentials, paying for extra time on standardized tests or even paying someone to change their answers after they finished. When students get into an elite school by cheating, they are not only setting themselves up for failure, but they are also taking a spot from someone who could have been working for that spot their entire high school career. There are students at Park who have been working very hard to get into an elite school, and the fact that they could lose their spot because of a bribe is unbelievable.

The students of the parents involved in the scandal claim they were oblivious to what was going on, but the Echo editorial staff believes in some cases there is no way they were unaware. The students who were accepted into an elite school for a sport they don’t play had to know something was going on. Students who didn’t study for the ACT but received a score of 32 had to be aware. Only those who were aware of the actions being taken to get them into college should have actions taken against them.

Legal pathways used by those who are more privileged in order to get access to elite schools are even more widespread than fraud. Most common college counselors cost around $200 an hour and having a good college coach can increase your chances of getting into your dream school. However, that option is not available to the majority of students. Some students at Park have a college coach to help them through the process, but there are plenty of students who are unable to hire one because of financial issues. There are programs, including College Possible, that try to make coaches available to everyone. The question is, are the students in College Possible getting the same amount of help as someone paying $200 an hour?

Although not everyone can afford college coaches, we believe—while it may not be fair to everyone—it is okay because they are there to bring out talents someone has.

College admissions should be more open about the process. Students should know what colleges actually look at, including grades, family income, standardized test scores, and extracurriculars. They should also know if it’s worth paying for a practice test such as the PSAT. When the admission process is behind closed doors, it opens the door to corruption.