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College hopefuls at Bresee react to cheating scandal

Earlier this month, 50 people were charged in an elaborate college admissions scandal that saw wealthy parents using bribes to buy acceptance for their children into some of the nation's top universities, including Yale and Stanford. 

The scandal shined light on just how far wealthy families are willing to go in order to create an advantage for their children.

Several high school students at Bresee are in the midst of applying for college or preparing to apply for college in the next year. These students are taking SAT prep courses, writing their personal statements, and participating in multiple extracurricular activities, all in an effort to have a slightly better chance at gaining admission into their dream school.

Our students read the New York Times coverage of the scandal and shared their reactions:

I first learned about this scandal when I was scrolling through Instagram. Many of my classmates from my previous school had posted that Aunt Becky from the classic show Full House was one of the many wealthy parents who bribed their children’s way into some of the most competitive colleges, like Yale, Stanford, USC, and more. I wasn’t surprised because I’ve seen shows about parents who were paying for their kids to get into schools. I also read recently that parents of brown students were arrested just for putting a relative’s address so that their child could be in a good school district. 

I feel like this investigation has only been going on recently just because celebrities are involved. Many parents who are wealthy, own businesses, have connections with colleges and are famous, have been paying for their kids to go to colleges where the kids don’t even deserve to go. It is disappointing, but I am glad that they are investigating it. I am angry as well because I am going to college soon. I hope that these high institutions will be fair. - Francesca A.

I think it is entirely unfair for anyone to buy their way into college. College is meant for people who have worked hard to get there, not people who simply pay for a spot. Those spots could have gone to students who truly deserve to be there. I got into UC Santa Barbara - my dream school - because I always sought to do my best in school and keep my grades up. I joined multiple clubs, got involved in my community, and studied every week to make sure I did well on my SAT and ACT. I think the parents and anyone involved in the scheme should be criminally charged. - Reza M.

I feel as if these parents should be ashamed of themselves because they committed an act that is unfair to individuals in other communities.

When it comes to college, parents shouldn’t pay their children’s way because they have to be the ones to work hard for it and not have it be handed to them. Then it goes back to the idea of unfairness because there are students who actually work hard throughout their high school career to get accepted into a decent college. Yet, their chances are always limited because other individuals are getting their education paid for by their parents. That's a spot that a high-achieving student could’ve taken. It shows that economic advantages have been playing a large and negative role in what’s supposed to be a fair and equal process. - Akwia J.

What shocked me was that it was the parents rather than the students who were excessively cheating. Buying their kids a spot at a prestigious university like USC is such a cowardly, embarrassing, and self-deprecating thing to take part in. Lying about being mentally disabled is so offensive to those who actually are. The concept of allowing mentally ill people more time to complete the SAT is supposed to benefit them and here people are taking advantage of a system that does not apply to them. Pretending to be an athlete and having your face photoshopped on athlete pictures or even staging them is so extreme and ridiculous. What these parents and students need to realize is that it is not about where you go! A university is not a brand that automatically makes you successful. You make yourself successful at any college, whether it’s a community college or an Ivy League school. These parents are stealing spots that were meant for other students who genuinely deserved it!

In the long run, I feel sorry for these kids. I feel bad that they have parents who don’t support or believe in them and think they cannot get in on their own. What kind of message does that give the student? - Valerie G.

When I first heard about the scandal, I was not surprised. Although it’s unfair that students get into any school they want with the power of money, I feel that it’s been happening for many years. The upper class has always had that advantage everywhere they go. I understand that parents want the best for their child and will get it at any cost, but it’s wrong to take away a spot from a well-deserving student. For each student with an unfair advantage, a hard-working student loses a spot to their dream school. - Esther F.

My personal reaction to the article was I was shocked and a bit angry. I understand the process of applying to college and the hard work that can determine one's future. Seeing that parents paid to steal spots away from students that rightfully earned their acceptance, I do not think it is fair to anyone, including their child. Them paying for their child shows that they do not believe that they are capable of getting into the college of their choice on their own. The process that determines one's acceptance should be equal. Money is not something that will always be consistent in one's life. They will never cherish their education as much as someone who rightfully got accepted. - Jacky A.

When I heard that this was going on, I couldn’t believe that people would fake things just to go to a good college. The part that makes me unsure about this scandal is why doesn’t the school give a test or check a student's background even if they are a athlete? Overall, there are students that have the chance to go to these schools but are unable because of other people cheating their way in. - Kevin M.

I was actually shocked when I first read it because I had no idea people were doing things like this. It kind of makes me upset because there are other people of lower classes that are working so hard to even pay to apply to schools and people with money just find a way to cheat the system just to get in. I feel like this is a big slap in the face of those who don’t have as many opportunities just because others have money. Personally, as a first generation child coming from a lower income class, I feel so disadvantaged compared to those who have more money. My feelings about economic advantages playing a role in a fair process is annoyed and discouraged. - Maria F.


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