Staff Editorial: shut the side door for good

Everyone is at fault, and money is the number one reason behind it

Fingers type feverishly as a student rushes to log into their admissions portal. This high school senior has been counting down the seconds to the day their dream college releases its admission decision. What seems like a million hours spent in clubs and tests could possibly pay off at that instant. A wave of euphoria washes over the student as they open the online portal…they were denied.
While this student may have been very deserving of a spot at this university through a polished application, hard work, and achievements piled up over the years, they were denied because some other students got the spot by way of a “side door” their families created for them through the optimal tool of influence: money.

“If I can make the comparison, there is a front door of getting in, where a student just does it on their own. And then there’s a back door, where people go to institutional advancement and make large donations, but they’re not guaranteed in. So that was what made it very attractive to so many families, is I created a guarantee,” explained William Singer while in court (William Singer, the Man in the Middle of the College Bribery Scandal. New York Times).

Sure, it can be argued that Singer worked out most of the dirty work, but a large portion of it— faking student acceptance onto sports teams— would not have been possible without accomplices within the colleges themselves: the coaches. And what, might you ask, did the coaches receive in return for committing an act of fraud to allow a student to enter a university they did not deserve acceptance to? Ding, ding, ding; you guessed it! Money. In other words, what this threefold scandal really boils down to is the passing of money from one part to next, only made possible by the wealth of the source and the greed of all three.

What this leads to, then, is the question of whose fault is it really? The parents with a poor choice of investment? Singer and all his accomplices that worked out the whole deal? Or the institutions themselves, for letting this go on right under their noses. And then, of course, there is the question of the students themselves. The truth is that in one way or another, everyone is at fault.
The parents are at fault for bribing the colleges, but also for setting a bad example for their kids. By doing this, the parents are doing their children a huge disservice.

Instead of encouraging their children to study hard, be involved, and do what they can to stand out, families are encouraging laziness and cheating. Additionally, in a way, the parents are setting their children up for failure. If the student was not capable of getting into the particular college on their own, then it most likely means that that college is not the right place for them. So in this case, how will the student survive once they get there? These students that get in through such scandals will have a hard time adjusting to the college if they weren’t meant to be there in the first place. They might have a really hard time keeping up with the rest of the competition which can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. So in the end, the parents ended up not helping at all.

Colleges have been taking measures to prevent similar frauds. According to CNN, the main colleges involved in the scandal (USC, UCLA, Stanford, Yale, etc.) have updated their admissions review policy and/or turned to an outsider third party to review their admissions process. Will this solution be effective? To some extent, but not completely. As long as the factor of money plays a role, loopholes will always exist and someone will find their way through them. After all, humans are still human.