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"Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

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Replies to: "Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

  • blueringbluering Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Doesn't the student/applicant have to sign the common app before submitting it? Even if the Landry school forged and falsified the transcript and letters of recommendation, doesn't the student have access and a copy of the submitted common app? I think many of the students at this school were victims, however it is hard for me to believe that some of the students who gained admission from top schools didn't know what was going on.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,945 Senior Member
    edited December 3
    The student signs the common app but the student's view doesn't include recommendation letters or transcript, those are submitted directly by the school @bluering . They'd have to get a copy of the transcript from the school directly, and in most cases they are not allowed to see the rec letters because waiving that right is the norm - many schools won't send them at all (or write them) if the student doesn't waive.

    But either way they can't see any of that on the app itself.

    As we read in the NYT expose, this school used transcript access and content as a weapon against students who tried to leave the school.
  • hebegebehebegebe Registered User Posts: 2,305 Senior Member
    We don't have to blame the students much, but we have to admit the students were participants in this.

    The students had to coordinate their app with what the recommendations were going to say. You can't have a student talk about his loving parents and have the counselor talk about the parents being abusive alcoholics.
  • blueringbluering Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    I understand the part about not being able to see the transcript and letters of recommendation, but the extra curricular activities would have been listed on the common app. I'm not saying that we ought to blame the students for the school's egregious behavior, but I do think some of them played along, turned a blind eye or were complicit.

    Financial aid forms were also falsified. In the NY Times article, it states "Mr. Landry also advised Mr. Simon to state that his income was below $65,000 on financial aid forms to qualify for a scholarship." Falsifying admissions documents for the purpose of receiving financial aid should have consequences.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,573 Senior Member
    Don't you need tax forms for the FAFSA?
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,945 Senior Member
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,945 Senior Member
    edited December 3
    @hebegebe We don't have to blame the students much, but we have to admit the students were participants in this.

    The students had to coordinate their app with what the recommendations were going to say. You can't have a student talk about his loving parents and have the counselor talk about the parents being abusive alcoholics.

    True, and that was the whistleblower's exact situation. (Edited to add, that seems to actually not be the case:

    "Only this week did Mr. Sassau see the application that the Landrys submitted to St. John’s University on his behalf. He was stunned and angry about the fabrications. Mr. Sassau’s father paid child support and had never beat him or his mother, unlike the abusive parent described."
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/30/us/college-acceptance-black-students.html )

    ...apparently it was the NYU kid who was told to make up more family adversity than there was.

    Landry told them what to write. And was not only physically and emotionally abusive to them in general, also punished them for not doing as he told them to. The "I love you kneeling on rice" stuff but also specifically - if you don't write this I won't send your transcript at all. These are kids, he is an adult and an abusive one at that, with all the power in this situation. You think that isn't out of whack?
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,945 Senior Member
    Regarding ECs @bluering - it sounds like Landry did the app for these kids, basically. Or had their logins and added things before submitting them?

    https://heavy.com/news/2018/11/mike-tracey-landry/
    Bryson Sassau, only was able to see his St. John’s application this week, via The New York Times. Within his application, there were fraudulent claims that he had been beaten by his parents and that his father didn’t pay child support (Sassau claims he did). Sassau also said that there were several aspects of his academic transcript that were entirely false, including some classes he never took and an organization called the Dry House that he never founded. He said, “He was pulling all of the information out of thin air.”
  • blueringbluering Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    It's hard for me to believe that Landry students who gained admission to the most competitive schools in the country never took a peek at their application prior to submitting. Of course they knew. Maybe not 100% of them, but most of them had to know what was going on at least at the surface level.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,945 Senior Member
    I am sure most not only took a peek but wrote their essays and more. But they couldn't "take a peek" at the main things that were falsified in this case - the transcript (!) and recs. @bluering

    But the kid who said he just saw his app for the first time is hardly at a competitive school. He's at St. John's in NY, a school with an acceptance rate of 65% and a grad rate of 55%. ACT range is 22-28.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,945 Senior Member
    the Landrys drew black and low-income parents by using the legitimate concerns many have about the quality of their local schools and the way that a poor education can lock children out of opportunity. Then, they distorted and invented stories of deprivation about those children for their college applications that were lapped up by colleges and an American public eager for evidence that hard work and so-called old-fashioned discipline are all that’s needed to “make it” in America.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/what-t-m-landry-prep-scandal-reveals-about-race-stereotypes-n943526

    Landry isn't the only school marketing some kind of "tough love" high-discipline approach to teaching black kids.
  • goneawaygoneaway Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    I read the article and watched the video, I am just wondering how all those kids who went viral are doing now especially the Harvard and Stanford siblings on Ellen. Did the school not predict it being fishy when multiple students drop out after doing poorly like Asja and others? It is frustrating too how they claim to help out black kids especially, but just use them to push harmful stereotypes even more.
  • websensationwebsensation Registered User Posts: 1,785 Senior Member
    edited December 6
    I don't think it's a given that these students will drop out. First, they may be smart enough to catch up with all the resources offered by top colleges, especially if you take classes in some area in which you are naturally talented in. Second, they can take easier classes if needed. Third, it's not that hard to get Cs from top colleges to not get kicked out of colleges even if one doesn't study. I mean, I went to an Ivy, and I managed to maintain 3.0 GPA literally without going to 50% of classes and studying very, very little. I even managed to get 3.9 GPA in courses in a major which I was naturally good at without studying at all. Frankly, I had to try very hard to flunk out of an Ivy, and I was just a 3.0 GPA student in high school also, but I did have 99.99% in SAT score.
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,483 Senior Member
    edited December 6
    Did the school not predict it being fishy when multiple students drop out after doing poorly like Asja and others?
    The NYT article mentions the students they interviewed have had " mixed success in college." Specifically they mention the following students.

    3rd Year at Brown -- Maintained good grades, Plans PhD
    St. John’s -- Doing well academically, but had to drop out of some advanced math and science classes
    NYU -- Did well academically, but dropped out due to debt
    Weslayan -- Depressed over academic struggles and is on medical leave

    If all the students were failing out, I'd expect that the college would be more hesitant about keeping admitting students from the small, unaccredited HS whose degrees are not recognized by the state of LA. If you believe the acceptance videos and school profile, many selective colleges have been admitting them in 3 or more years. Some examples are below.

    Brown -- 2014, 2016, and 2018
    Harvard -- 2016, 2017, and 2018
    Columbia -- 2016, 2017, and 2018

    Having attended a HYPSM school, I believe it is not that difficult to pass classes and graduate. Even getting a B is often not difficult, depending on the specific class. Colleges also offer classes at a variety of different levels of rigor and starting points, particularly in freshman STEM. They typically give freshman placement exams, and offer basic classes that review HS material for students who need them.. Such colleges usually have numerous other programs to help students who need it like free tutoring, office hours, sections after class led by a grad student, programs to reach out to students who are higher risk of not graduating, etc. Even students who are given the biggest boost in chance of admission, such as key recruited athletes, have an extremely high graduation rate at such colleges. I certainly wouldn't assume that the NYT article mentioning one student did poorly academically and is on medical leave means most drop out for academic reasons.


  • notigeringnotigering Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member
    @websensation and @data10, we couldn't agree more. Would just like to add that I would even be careful with the Wesleyan student, clinical depression can make even menial tasks (such as getting out of bed...) a struggle and it is virtually impossible for the sufferer to distinguish between cause and effect in real time. That is: "life tasks are unbearable because I am depressed?" or "life tasks are unbearable causing me to become depressed?". If anything, it is much more common for a person suffering from depression to mistakenly assume the second in part because of the elusive nature of the illness (cause is oftentimes hidden) but also because the struggle is much more present (what seems to hurt most at the moment).
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