Scandal in America’s Top Colleges

Brian Kataro, Staff Writer

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One of the most important parts of a student’s life is the application process to colleges, which can make all the difference when applying to certain jobs. Being accepted into a college requires hundreds of hours of preparation, hard work, and grueling pressure when not only taking the exams that are often required to enter (such as the SAT or ACT), but also the nerve-racking interviews and background checks that also are common among schools. Hearing all of the strain that students go through makes it even more angering when learning about a recent scandal that occurred in some of America’s most well-known colleges, in which over 50 people have taken part in a system that unfairly places their child in a college of choice with the help of connections and large sums of money.

The allegations, which were based off of a recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, unveil a large and hidden web of connections and false-donations that have been going on for years. According to CNN, the head of the operation is apparently William Rick Singer, who is said to have had over 700 clients to whom he gave unfair advantages to for profit. From the unveiling of multiple documents and transaction records, detectives have gotten a general view of how Singer was able to get his clients into some of the most prestigious colleges in the country, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, USC, Wake Forest, Georgetown and the University of San Diego, along with public schools UCLA and the University of Texas in Austin.

Singer had multiple options through which he could have aided students in their efforts to get into their colleges of choice, including having other people take the tests for the students and passing off those SAT/ACT scores as their own. In other instances, Singer was able to, with the parent(s) of the child, use a “psychologist’s note, coordinated through Singer, [which] allowed [the student] to take the test over multiple days”, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Another scheme involved members from the colleges themselves, in which athletic directors would be given bribes from Singer in the form of donations to their athletic department (without the college’s knowledge). These directors would then mark the students as “recruits” for the teams that they were on, which varied from football to water polo, with some students, such as Jovan Vavic, literally having no experience whatsoever in the sport. Keep in mind that the parents of these students, many of whom are big names in Hollywood (such as Lori Loughlin from Full House & Fuller House), paid hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, in order to get into the colleges.

Due to the investigation, many of the people involved in the scandal were fined millions of dollars and the staff members in the colleges that were a part of the plan were fired, yet (as of the date this is being written), all students who have not left on their own accord are still attending the college’s classes. This truly is just another example of the power that money can have, as it can allow strings to be pulled in the background, allowing unfair advantages to those who have a large enough reserve of funds to not be forced to play by the same rules as everyone else.

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