I have to be honest: when the college admissions scandal came to light last Tuesday, I was NOT surprised. Just in case you missed it, the FBI arrested many parents for paying college coaches to bribe SAT proctors to change their child’s answers to get a high score. They also bribed college athletic coaches to get their child on sports teams even though there’s evidence that they’ve never played that sport.
The most notable people arrested in this scheme include actresses Felicity Huffman (from Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (aka Aunt Becky from Full House), both of whom willingly participated in this scheme, shelling out $15,000 and $500,000 respectively to get their kids into the school of their choice.
Let that sink in real quick: rich people bought their child a spot, that they did not deserve, at some of America’s elite colleges, such as USC, UCLA, and Stanford University, to name a few!
They purposely took a spot away from a child who actually worked very hard to compete fairly in the game of college admissions. Can you believe it? Well, I can believe it. We live in a society where money talks and if you say the right price, some people will sell their integrity away without thinking twice.
But, let me take a step back because even though I am disgusted with those who participated in this scandal, there are some valuable lessons we all can learn from this.
Lesson 1.College admissions/ college board need to do better!— This scandal has revealed that (some) wealthy people have been cheating on SAT exams and paying coaches to accept their child on sports scholarship for years!!! How did y’all let this go over your heads? Some of those students never played sports a day in their life, but received a full sports scholarship? No one was suspicious when the student came on campus and was never called on the field? Am I missing something?
Also, college board: I need you to get a new flag system because the one you have is not working. This year, a black student from Florida, Kamilah Campbell, was flagged because her SAT score was too high. College board assumed that she cheated when in reality she paid for SAT tutoring. College board was so focused on Campbell that they didn’t notice all these wealthy families cheating so their child could get a high score. College board, do better.
Lesson 2. For my People of Color at a PWI: you do belong there!— As a black student who attended a PWI, I know how it feels to question whether you belong at your college/university. Sometimes you feel unwanted or not as intelligent as your counterparts. Well, let me tell you: you do belong there. You obtained your seat at that institution without bribing someone, lying, or cheating. The hard work you put in during high school got you there and you should never forget that! You belong there.
You. Belong. There.
Lesson 3. You get by, but you never away.— Aunt Becky probably thought she would never get caught because other wealthy people before her have done the same thing and no one found out about it. But, what she failed to realize is that all bad things come to light eventually. So before using your power egregiously, remember there will be a time that it will come to light.
When the time comes, do you want that light shined upon you?