Why the College Cheating Scandals Aren't Surprising

Why the College Cheating Scandals Aren't Surprising

Legislators are implementing new proposals to rectify the illegal actions of several people, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, to admit their kids into leading colleges and universities. The proposals follow the news that William Rick Singer, a California consultant, created a fake charity to assist wealthy parents in having their kids admitted to schools like Stanford University. The charity enlisted heavy donations from wealthy donors to bribe anyone from coaches to admissions counselors. 

Now, colleges have to investigate the fine line between donations and bribery. 

In response, people like San Francisco assemblyman Phil Ting are helping push forth six proposals, one of which bans schools that have pleaded guilty to accepting admissions bribes from receiving state-funded financial aid from organization Cal Grants. Another bill proposes that the reviewing process by administration will be increased, indicating that schools will become stricter on legacy applicants or those who do not fulfill academic requirements. 

Standardized testing was a large factor in the scandal, with multiple parents bribing proctors to change a student’s test results. With tests like the ACT and SAT often considered critical components in a student’s application, it’s easy to see why the world of standardized test tutoring is so cut-throat. Sophomore Talia Whisking ‘21 details her experience with tutoring in high school. “Not only did the vast majority of people pay tutors for expensive testing and tutoring, but most kids in my high school would go to tutoring for everyday classes, whether they needed it or not.” 

Some students went so far as to pay off physicians to write them diagnoses of learning disabilities or mood disorders such as dyslexia and anxiety so that they could receive extra time on tests. “Even if there wasn’t an issue with classes, some of my peers would get tutored and have their tutors do their work for them,” Wiskind says.

Tutoring is almost exclusive to those who are able to afford it, dismantling the supposed objectivity and fairness of standardized testing. A number of California State Schools are considering eliminating the SAT from their applications, following suit from the proposals in their state. Colleges across the country have tried to — and should — combat this inequality by becoming test-optional.

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