Blog #628 Cheating to get into college

Cheating to Get into the “Right Colleges

This comes right out of this week’s new. It seems as if celebrities and wealthy parents have bribed and cheated their way to get their children admitted to selected colleges.

One way that cheating seemingly occurred is that the students were recruited as athletes. The CNN report (linked at the top) reported: “For example, according to the affidavit, one student who had been admitted to the University of Southern California as a track athlete had no idea about the arrangement and was surprised when his adviser at orientation asked him about track.”
[Aside, that is not quite as true as when I say “I played in the NCAA Division I Frozen Four Tournament”!!! Of course, I did PLAY in that tournament – with the Pep Band – high above the ice” ]

It seems that “money talks” – especially in minor sports. Coaches in crew, tennis and water polo seemingly were bribed into accepting ‘student-athletes’ on to their teams. A coach of water polo might deem a candidate as a highly sought after athlete – with the parents slipping him (or her) thousands (or hundred-of-thousands) of dollars.

Another way that students got top scores on SAT tests was to have the student labeled as “handicapped”. In that way, the student might get a proctor or assistant. This might be that a student is somehow legally blind and gets a proctor to help them read the SAT test. The proctor is paid to help with answers.

One report stated: “Students arrive on the date with photo identification, which is matched to their preregistration information and the photo they send to the ACT and SAT administrators validating who they are.”
“Students with disabilities who receive school accommodations and are served by the federal Individualized Education Program can apply directly to the ACT and SAT for similar accommodations, which may include testing documents in Braille for blindness, a text reader for dyslexia, snack breaks for diabetes, and extended time or one-on-one testing for attention deficit disorders.”

Another method was to bribe the people who proctor the tests (that is, hand out and collect the tests). “Clients paid $15,000 to $75,000 per test, according to the documents, “with the payments typically structured as purported donations” to a charity run by a cooperating witness.

As a long-time professor, I know that (a) having a college degree is highly valued (maybe even essential) for a successful professional career; (b) select college degrees (like Ivy League, especially Yale and Harvard) are deemed more valuable, and (c) [in my opinion] most students can find a way to get through and graduate from college with some diligence. I have also seen that special students (like disabilities) can have longer time on tests and even take tests in testing centers (where slipping the proctor some funds could help the student score a better grade).

There is an old adage “Cheaters never win”. But, the other adage is “Money Talks”. Maybe I’m too honest, but if a parent approached me with (say) $50,000 to guarantee an “A” grade for their student in my class, I am sure (or almost sure) that I would not take it.
What do you think? Do you know of people who have cheated on college admissions? Do you know of people that have cheated their way through life?

Posted by Bruce White

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