Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

How fair are college admissions?

Money talks, and colleges listen
Courtesy of the official Full House Facebook page.

It appears Aunt Becky has forgotten the family values her character attempted to instill on “Full House.”

In case you haven’t heard, actress Lori Loughlin is one of 50 wealthy people whom the FBI has charged with participating in a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme which enabled their not-so-academically gifted children to attend prestigious universities. If you want to read all the gory details of how, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, the “largest-ever college admissions scam” came to be, I recommend this article from the Washington Post. It involves fraudulent athletic profiles, corrupt collegiate coaches and lots and lots of money.

I’m not really here to talk about money greasing the palms of admissions counselors. It’s no secret that money talks, and colleges listen. Wealthy families have long made donations and grants to universities in order to secure acceptance for their children. How else did Jared Kushner receive admission to Harvard? Shortly after a donation of $2.5 million made by his father Charles Kushner, young Jared Kushner was accepted to join the ranks of elite academia.

No, it’s not the money that people are upset or shocked about. It’s the attitudes of the entitled children admitted to these universities. Here is a clip from one of “influencer” Olivia Jade’s YouTube videos where she says in her time at the University of Southern California she wants, “the experience of game days and partying…[she doesn’t] really care about school.” So it seems like mother Loughlin could have saved her $500,000 and given Olivia’s coveted USC admission spot to a more deserving student. After all the discussion about affirmative action, this feels like another slap in the face to students who actually work hard for and during their college careers.

Fellow Daily Collegian columnist Bhavya Pant wrote an excellent article back in January detailing the many problems with affirmative action. She brings up a point which I wholeheartedly agree with: when first implemented, affirmative action policies intended to promote diversity at colleges and universities across the nation, but now those same policies are harming the same groups they once helped. As an example, look to the lawsuit Harvard is facing from Asian-American students – the Ivy League university was accused of denying Asian-American students admission due to their diversity quotas, despite the fact that Asian-American students consistently had a higher academic performance than admitted students of other races.

Campus diversity has increased nationally since affirmative action policies were implemented, and I am of the belief that they should now be reformed in order to create a truly unbiased college admissions process. Colleges and universities should still promote a diverse campus in their admissions process, but they should do so in a way that rewards hardworking, well-rounded students as opposed to focusing on reaching certain quotas. If race and gender are not considered in admissions decisions, the amount of bribery that a prospective student’s parents can afford to pay the institution should not be considered either. It’s possible to comprehend that some colleges could take money into account when admitting students – at the end of the day, colleges are businesses – but it is reprehensible that the lackluster, disinterested children of the wealthy are permitted to attend prestigious universities because they bribed college officials.

The rhetoric is repeated throughout a student’s academic career that if they work hard, they can achieve their dreams. So what do hardworking students do with a system that rewards people who can simply buy their way into school? Many college students are not able to pick and choose between schools and are forced to decide which institution they will attend based mainly on the financial aid they receive. When colleges accept bribes, they undermine the intelligent students who may not be as financially privileged.

The admissions scandal also undermines the work of student athletes – many of the families involved fabricated entire athletic profiles in order to legitimize their attendance at the universities, going so far as to photoshop faces onto the bodies of different athletes. The students in question had little to no experience with the sports they allegedly played, let alone experience at a collegiate level. These students potentially took coveted spots on sports teams from actual athletes, athletes who are actually willing to work hard both physically and mentally in order to stay in good standing with their schools and who might not have otherwise had a chance to attend these prestigious institutions.

This entire scandal has opened up discussion around perceived fairness in the college admissions process. If prospective students can just buy their way in, then where does that place other hopeful applicants? What is the standard for admissions? What should students work toward? Colleges and universities should be transparent and fair in their admissions process and maintain an academic standard in order to ensure fairness for all applicants. Every hardworking student who wants to pursue higher education should have a chance to do so.

Ana Pietrewicz is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • A

    amyMar 24, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    There is obviously a double standard, liberals went bananas over the ‘elite’ gaming the system, but they don’t mind if minorities game it. The vast majority of minorities at least according to a Princeton study who get into college did not deserve to be there and only got in because of their skin color. Princeton study that if minorities except Asians were accepted on the base of merit, admission rates would be in the low single digits.

    The only difference is that colleges are gaming the system for minorities instead of minorities(although some people falsely identify as one) gaming it themselves. They are both corrupt ways of getting into college and stealing the seats of more qualified applicants.

  • J

    James HayesMar 20, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    The part most upsetting about the recent scandal is the college advisers advice to change race/ethnic to one that would favor admissions. We are hearing about a handful of parents who were caught but there were thousands of clients. This is also just 1 adviser who was caught.

    I was at a information session for one of the top 5 elite colleges and the admissions person spoke about having X % of students of color. When you walked around the campus you very very quickly realized the numbers the admissions office spoke about were not based on reality. The admissions person spoke and added “as self reported.” Did not mean anything to me then but now I realize students are gaming the system to gain admissions by altering their real race/ethnicity versus one that will get them accepted.

    My problem was both with students that pretended to be a race/ethnicity they were not and the admissions offices who clearly know they are getting fake data by adding “as self reported.”

  • A

    amyMar 20, 2019 at 2:07 am

    Who cares this is the reality of college today and most of the students once they got in did academically fine.

    If you go harvard or umass or a worcester state, the academic challenge is about the same. College today is about image, not actually deserving to get in because you had the brainpower. When college was originally founded thousands of years ago, it was basically by what we might call today’ geeks’ who were largely shunned and disrespected by most because all they did was think and use their mind and ask questions and pursue knowledge.

    Today it’s become some party-fest, communist , overpriced necessity to get ahead in life.

    You don’t think Umass plays the same admissions games? In a recent article Hampshire gazette, it was admitted by an umass administrator that around 2/3rds of the people who get in have family members who are alumni.