By Sydney Balotin, Nina Dermody and Maddie Schnorr

When you were a kid, dreaming of going to a top school like Yale or Stanford was the one thing that made you want to grow up. Now, in recent news, college admissions scandals involving these colleges have been coming to light. A college admissions scandal can be loosely defined as when someone cheats to get themselves, or their children, into a college that they wouldn’t originally have been able to get into. Examples of these forms of cheating are, bribing administrators at universities, changing required test scores, bribing coaches to get onto a collegiate level sports team, and more. Although these scandals have been gaining recognition just recently, there have been many large college admissions scandals in the past that have barely been talked about.

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Youtube logo from Wikimedia.

The scandals that have been blowing up lately are gaining more and gaining more popularity by the week. The ones that most people know of include, Lori Loughlin and her daughter Olivia Jade’s scandal, and Felicity Huffman and her daughter’s scandal. Lori Loughlin, also formerly known as Aunt Becky on the popular 90’s show Full House, had allegedly paid $500,000 dollars to get her daughter, Olivia Jade into the University of Southern California. On top of bribing USC administrators, Loughlin allegedly photoshopped Jade’s face onto pictures of athletes rowing to get Jade onto the USC crew team. Jade had not had experience rowing prior to this, and therefore it is unknown whether she knew of the photoshopping or not. Jade is a popular “influencer” on YouTube who has gained close to 2 million subscribers on the platform. Now that the scandal is out and on every news site, it is unclear whether Jade knew that the scandal was going on or not. During a video, Jade said “I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend, but I do want the experience of like game days and partying, I don’t really care about school as you guys know.” Suspicion started to rise after this statement because USC is one of the top colleges in the country. How would someone who doesn’t care about school get accepted into a top college?

During a video, Jade said “I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend, but I do want the experience of like game days and partying, I don’t really care about school as you guys know.”

Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty for paying $15,000 to have someone correct her oldest daughter, Sophia Grace Macy’s, mistakes on her Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT’s). It is unclear whether or not Macy was aware of her mother’s actions, but as of now, only Huffman is facing charges. Huffman feels as though she has betrayed her daughter and has taken full responsibility for her actions. She shows her regret in the tweet she posted April 8. “…I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions. I am ashamed of the pain I have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community…”  tweeted Huffman. After recently pleading guilty, she may face around 10 months of jail time.

“Although these scandals have been gaining recognition just recently, there have been many large college admissions scandals in the past that have barely been talked about.”

This is not the first time a scandal like this has happened. In 2017, a college freshman named Lauren Isackson was accepted on the University of California, Los Angeles soccer team with little to no experience playing soccer. Isackson’s parents paid around $600,000 to secure her spot at the school. When on the team, she played zero minutes and zero seconds. In her profile, it even listed that she got an honorable mention in 2014 playing for the West Bay Athletic League in Northern California. The athletic department of UCLA was obviously taken accountable for the actions of this “player.”  UCLA recruits some of the best players in the country and the Isackson’s freshman class was supposed to be the second-best freshman class this upcoming year. The roster included five of players from the United States youth national team, one from the Canadian national team, and the top recruit in the country. Isackson was also given a number 41 jersey while her former teammates had numbers from double zero to 28. Isackson is not on the roster anymore, but she is still studying at UCLA.

“Although these scandals have been gaining recognition just recently, there have been many large college admissions scandals in the past that have barely been talked about.”

Many schools involved in these scandals have claimed to not know anything about them, and others have reacted right away, so they are responding in many different ways. Staff at UNC was “unaware of such schemes” relating to Jade and Loughlin. At Stanford University, a head sailing coach was fired after he was named in charges of accepting payments into the program. UCLA will be firing their head coach in soccer, Jorge Salcedo, for being involved in a conspiracy. Yale University’s women’s soccer coach will also no longer be coaching at the school. The tennis coach at the University of Texas at Austin is going to be placed on administrative leave, as well as the head volleyball coach at Wake Forest University.

Students at Jamesville-DeWitt High School also have opinions on this topic. Seniors that have already applied to college and gotten into the school of their choice are speaking out about their right to apply to college.  “I think that it’s unfortunate that some people felt like they needed to buy their way into college and that they wouldn’t be happier at another place that maybe is better for them,” said senior Ana Dieroff. She also said that she feels bad for the student if they didn’t know their parents were buying their way into college for them.  It’s almost awkward if they thought they were smart enough to get in the college on their own. “It is what it is, but it is unfair,” said senior Nico Stella who also said that money plays an unfair factor in whether or not a student can get into a good school. Even juniors who have not yet applied to a university were upset about how things were handled at different places.  “People that can actually get into school, they’re taking up places. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you can get into a school,” said junior Joseph Staples. Students and staff around J-DHS feel this scandal brought in a new view point and opened their eyes to the reality of the college admissions process. “I’m not naive enough to think that there weren’t things going on before, I think this just shined a very bright light on it and a few very famous people got caught in the mix,” said english teacher Courtney Romeiser.  “At this very small collection of schools the process is less about merit and more about creating a particular style of community,” said guidance counselor Cletus Gualtieri. A couple students even applied and got into the schools involved in the scandal. “I’ve actually been looking at Georgetown for a while and that’s my reach school right now,’ said junior Sophie Clinton. “I’m actually going to Yale,” said Dieroff. She said she wishes Yale hadn’t been apart of the scandal, but it isn’t the school’s fault but rather the coaches. These scandals have brought more attention than colleges would ever have expected.

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Yale University from Wikimedia.

Bribing college administrators and pretending to be on sports teams is not the only way that privileged students are getting into universities. There is of course the issue of family legacies. Many students only get into top schools because their parents went there when they were college students. These students may not even be good enough to get into these top colleges such as ivy league schools, but they do because their parents attended them. Would these students have gotten in if their parents didn’t go there? “Harvard [University’s] incoming class of 2021 is made up of over 29% legacy students,” according to the Harvard Crimson. Also according to a review from the Washington Post, “Children of alumni had a 45% greater chance of admission than other applicants.” Although family legacies relating to colleges are not talked about as much as the major scandals, they are still a major issue. Photo Credit: wikimedia.org

“People that can actually get into school, they’re taking up places. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you can get into a school,” said junior Joseph Staples.”

Although the scandals that have been coming to light lately have been shocking for many, it is even more shocking how long these scandals have been going on. Several schools have been involved in various scandals previously that are just being talked about now. The scandals involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman have just opened up a door to all the unfair concepts that have been circling around colleges. After all, “these people are using their wealth and influence to take away spots from people who deserve it,” as stated by senior Chloe Butler.