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Fake it till you break it – the US college admissions scandal

Fake it till you break it – the US college admissions scandal

The recent US college admissions scandal hit the news largely because a few celebrities were involved, but this kind of thing must be going on all the time. To recap the scandal:

The FBI says pushy parents paid $25m in bribes to get university places for their children.

Actress Lori Loughlin is alleged to have paid $500,000 for college places for her two daughters, in a deal which also got them on to the University of Southern California rowing team.

Actress Felicity Huffman is alleged to have paid $15,000 to have her daughter’s exam answers corrected.

A scheme run by college admissions racketeer Rick Singer allowed parents to pay to have their offspring’s test scores faked or to get fraudulent places on university sports teams.

Singer confessed to unethically facilitating college admission for children from over 750 families. He faces 65 years in prison and a $1.25m fine.

Many leading news sources state that the US college admissions system is broken.

A lot of wealthy parents and a few celebs are in deep doo-doo as well.

This exposé of the ugly side of money and influence in elite US college admissions has revealed the lust for ivy league college places among America’s well-heeled parents and what some of them are prepared to do to obtain them – even consort with criminals. It’s not pretty, and it’s clearly driven by the simple desire for prestige. But a BBC news article today asked the question, would it have been worth it in terms not just of prestige, but of actual career progression and income for the children?

The article quotes research that shows ‘Many affluent parents may be spending a huge amount of time, money, and energy to secure a bumper-sticker-worthy college place, with little by way of tangible results.’

Parents want their children to get into top universities, ostensibly because the fact of having studied there will earn them better incomes and more life success. But logic also dictates that elite institutions will only accept the very brightest, who would have been successful anyway even had they attended a less prestigious college.

The journalist writes, ‘It’s not the schools driving the impressive results; it’s the students they let in’.

So parents desperate for their offspring to get into an elite university aren’t really doing it for their child’s future prosperity – they’re doing it for their own bragging rights. And it begs the question of what exactly students who have cheated their way into an ivy league college and/or a college sports team will actually do once they are there for real. How long can the fraud be maintained?