InGenius Prep Comments on the College Admissions Scandal
March 14, 2019
The massive college admissions scandal reported in every major news outlet across the country confirmed many people’s darkest suspicions about the college application process. The bribery, fraud, and cheating at hand raise important questions about how admissions decisions are made. Watch Susan Shifflett, one of our Former Admissions Officers from Yale, provide her perspective on Good Morning America, ABC News, and CBS' Off Script segment.
As Susan explains in her appearances, this scandal calls into question the factors behind admissions decisions. The impact of athletic recruiting, alumni connections, and parental contributions have always been at the uncomfortable edge of college admissions. This college admissions scandal also shines a light on some of the inherent inequities that emerge when trying to compare applicants. The illegal manipulation of these factors shakes the foundation of an industry that strives to be fair. As the process has become increasingly cut throat and competitive, it is essential for admissions officers to re-examine how to maintain integrity, honesty, and meritocracy as decisions are made.
While college admissions decisions are imperfect, the reason that this story is shocking is because it is not the norm. Admissions officers care deeply about trying to make the best possible decisions, admitting strong students who have explored their passions and made impacts in their communities. College admissions officers are keenly aware that some applicants have all the advantages, and, on the flip side, some have none. Context matters. Admissions offices train their readers to draw the context out of each application and try to see each student’s achievements in the context of their opportunities. But the recent college admissions scandal reveals the scale and systematic nature of the corruption that has infiltrated this industry. The news has privilege at its core, and underscores the need to address the role that inequity plays in college admissions and our broader societal framework. The goal should always be to reward hard work, creativity, and intellectual curiosity, instead of favoring privilege.
As independent counselors, we are proud of our ethical standard. We have never, nor would we ever, consider engaging in this kind of illicit and highly unethical behavior. InGenius Prep was founded with the mission of helping students get into their best-fit schools through their own merit and hard work. Unsavory donations, bribes, and other shady arrangements are antithetical to this mission. It’s incredibly concerning that others in our industry would accept offers from families looking to explore “alternative routes” to admissions. We hold ourselves to a high ethical standard. Our counselors have been on the other side as admissions officers. They guide students to develop a strong sense of character and to act as community leaders in college and beyond.
As students and families plan ahead for the college application process, it is essential to focus on personal development, community impact, and strength of character throughout high school. The best (and as evidenced by this scandal, the only legitimate) way into college is through the front door.