Unless you’re under a rock - or on a beach in Cabo for spring break (which is more likely) - you’ve heard about the college admissions scandal. Dozens, including coaches, athletic directors, test proctors, and parents, have been charged with various crimes related to essentially buying a spot at a competitive university.
We all want to gasp and decry the unfairness of it all. But, whoever thought this process was fair to begin with? I mean really? We all would like to think that it’s an even playing field when it comes to college acceptances, but it’s not and never has been. Any one of these factors - wealth, race, first generation status, choice of major, legacy status, athletic ability, a $20 million dollar donation to fund a new athletic locker room and so on - can give one applicant an acceptance over someone else more academically qualified.
In fact, one of our own, the University of Texas, has been implicated in this scandal. This one hits home for me as I have many students who aspire to gain admission into UT where the acceptance rate for those not automatically admitted is around 13%. This number is getting smaller and smaller each year, and there is no indication that this trend is going to change. To put this in perspective, nearly 20 years ago about 46% of those offered admission at UT were auto-admits based on the "top 10% rule." Now, the number hovers around 75%. Similar trends can be seen at Texas A&M and other Texas universities as well. In fact, acceptance at our neighboring state schools is becoming more competitive too due in part to the Texas students who are flocking into their schools, but this is a conversation for another blog.
As a college admissions consultant, I can tell you that the process is competitive (and a bit unfair), but then again life is not fair. It’s our job as parents, teachers, counselors to teach our kids how to play this game of life wisely, creatively, maybe sometimes shrewdly, but never unethically. I am a firm believer that hard work does pay off and that in the end the good guys do win. So, did someone else miss out on attending USC because wealthy actress Lori Loughlin’s daughter was unfairly accepted based on the lie that she was a strong rower? Maybe, but the optimistic spirit inside of me says, no. That hardworking, ethical student who played by the rules is thriving and happy and even more successful at whatever XYZ university he/she ended up at.
There are two things to take away here. First, college acceptance is getting more and more competitive. Second, there are people out there who are not guided by an internal moral compass.
The competitive and complicated nature of the admissions process is overwhelming, and there is nothing wrong with getting someone to help guide the process - a counselor, a teacher, a parent, a paid college consultant…whomever. College admissions consultants can help students in highlighting their assets, not fabricating them. Their wisdom, advice, and guidance are invaluable and can most assuredly give students an edge in the process. And, utilizing resources available is not unfair, it’s wise.
Unfortunately, there are unethical people in every walk of life, and parents need to be the ones modeling hard work and honesty, not subverting these values. The sad thing in all of this is that the parents were the ones driving these lies and bribes. How do those kids feel now knowing that, without the deceptive intervention of their parents, they most likely would not have earned a seat at that desirable university? How does it feel knowing that your parents lacked so much faith in you and your abilities that they were willing to break the law to create the appearance of success? Talk about awkward family dinners with Aunt Becky.
I provide comprehensive college admissions consulting to those in the Katy, Sugar Land, Fulshear, Cypress, and west Houston areas as well as virtually. My approach to the college application process involves strategy, skill, and a sincere desire to see my clients succeed. It’s not my job to forge a path where none exists. It’s my job to help my clients realize their fullest potential and to position them in the application process so that they have the greatest opportunities. I am a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association and subscribe to the HECA standards of good practice.
I am a wife, mom, and educator. I love learning and helping others learn. Few things are more rewarding than helping kids find their way.