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Feds uncover admissions test cheating plot


Replies to: Feds uncover admissions test cheating plot

  • observer12observer12 Registered User Posts: 272 Junior Member
    @Gourmetmom @mtmind

    Actually, I think applying anonymously would make a lot of sense. But, apparently, people in the college office that oversees donations believe they must issue a special list -- presumably because without that list an admissions officer might actually treat that student like other students applying and judge their application only on merit.

    I think we can assume that if there was not a push to give children with famous last names and children whose parents donated a lot of money special consideration, those students would not be identified. In fact, the first few readers may even just pass over that application and it would never go to higher ups because there is nothing at all special about it to distinguish it from the hundreds or thousands of other applicants that might even have slightly higher test scores.

    I have no doubt that some of those students would absolutely be admitted if the admissions official had no idea who that person's parents were or whether they had donated a lot of money. So why not just put all the students in the same pile and see what happens? It seems as if colleges don't want to do that, which does suggest they don't think enough of the students they hope will be admitted for reasons other than who their parent is will be admitted.

    And if someone's "main motivation" in donating was unconnected to their child being admitted, then there would be no problem in treating their child like everyone else because that person would still have lots of other motivations to donate to that college for other reasons.
  • northwestynorthwesty Registered User Posts: 3,399 Senior Member
    edited March 17
    "That is the exception to the rule. There are plenty of highly competitive HS women rowers to fill the rosters of top D1 programs."

    @tonymom --

    I will go with what that Colorado kid herself said about D1 womens rowing. You'd think she knows what she is talking about:

    "A lot of rowers are actually able to walk-on in college because it's not that popular of a sport," Filer said. "When I started looking into Washington I learned that about half the team started off as walk-ons. I sent my information to probably about six (schools) but I was mainly focused on Washington."

    So half the kids on the UW team (one of the very best in the country) are unrecruited walk ons. Show me another D1 scholarship sport where that happens.

    Exactly the kind of set up you'd want if you were a dishonest asst AD looking to sneak some bogus athletes into a school.
  • websensationwebsensation Registered User Posts: 2,052 Senior Member
    edited March 17
    I rather have colleges be transparent and reserve let's say 70% of spots based on merits and 30% to special interests groups to the colleges. That way, normal applicants could care less how the colleges decide on the remaining 30%.
  • gallentjillgallentjill Registered User Posts: 2,388 Senior Member
    @privatebanker Post #2727 may be my favorite post of all time.
  • observer12observer12 Registered User Posts: 272 Junior Member
    @blueskies2day "If someone buys a building they can certainly have a seat in it."

    I agree. But right now they not only get a seat, they can deduct half of it as a charitable donation. I only suggested putting that donation up for bid so that instead of "buying a building" they give the money to the university - no strings attached" - so that their child can be admitted as long as he scores a 1400 on the SATs and his private school grades are okay. The university is better off because it can use the money for whatever they think is better and the country is better off because half of it isn't deducted from taxes.

    "And generally speaking, a lot of very wealthy successful people in fact do have successful and smart kids worthy of admission, they aren't all the wild crowd." I agree. But if you really believed those kids are smart and successful enough to get admitted on their own, just let them do it!

    I am astonished that people keep saying two contradictory things. 1. Those kids are successful and smart and would have been admitted anyway. 2. We must give special consideration to their application in exchange for their parent making an entirely charitable and altruistic donation for which they expect nothing and deduct from their taxes because their kids would have been admitted on their own.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,460 Senior Member
    It's just as easy for a rich family's kid to be born dyslexic as it is for a poor family's kid.
    OK, but speaking from the perspective of the parent of a dyslexic kid who truly struggled with reading --- most parents of kids with true learning disabilities aren't putting the kids into competitive private schools. Those with the means to do so may place their kids in private academies geared to students with learning disabilities, such as Landmark --- but you don't do that with the expectation that your kid is going to be Ivy League. Yes, some kids do come out of those programs and qualify for elite college admissions -- but for most, the post-high school options look more like this -- https://www.landmarkschool.org/admission/college-and-beyond -- and keep in mind that Landmark is one of the best-regarded private schools for dyslexic kids in the nation.

    When I had an 11-year-old who couldn't read, I worried whether my kid would be able to go to community college. I got lucky -- we found a solution that worked, and enabled him to become a reader, and (with time) a capable writer. But I didn't look for a competitive high school for him -- I looked for a good-fit high school. And when he came home and told me he wanted to sign up for the school's track to get into the AP English course -- I hesitated and counseled him against it. ("Are you sure you want to do all that extra writing?") When it was time to search for colleges, I found Loren Pope's book ("Colleges that Change Lives") and thought we had hit the jackpot. I wanted to find a school where my quirky dyslexic son would thrive-- I didn't care whether anyone else had heard of the school or how it ranked.

    And there is no way in the world that I would have asked for accommodations for my son on standardized tests after his PSAT score came back in NMSQT-qualifying range -- nor would he have wanted them. Could he have done better with more time? Sure --but he was ahead of the pack already with his score. So in our view we didn't need the accommodations-- because the goal wasn't to get the top score, the goal was only to get a score that fairly represented his capabilities as a student. Because his scores without accommodations pretty much put him in the top 98th percentile as it was.

    And yes, there are many students who do need the accommodations -- but wealthy parents of kids like that are going to be putting their resources toward getting their kids the specialized educational help they need.

    So color me skeptical -- especially because I have direct experience dealing with a kid who actually did struggle with a learning difference and needed specialized help to overcome it.

  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 3,907 Senior Member
    edited March 17
    @obsever12 @Gourmetmom @mtmind

    If one family donates 10-20mm to a school. Most likely their school.

    This helps to directly pay for the unaffordable educations fully for 10 to 20 low SES students per year for 50 years or more. This is just on the annual returns on the principal. And not taking into account the growth of the money over the years increasing the number of those it helps.

    Who cares if it was 80 percent the desire to help and 20 percent to help the future, perhaps talented kid get an admissions bump? Maybe they were once then lower ses kid who caught a break.

    Don’t the needs of the many outweigh the need of the few.

    One admission for the reality of 1000 lives changed by this one gift and perhaps the cycle of poverty for their entire family line forever

    The 1000 becomes 4000 children and so on.

    For one spot for an otherwise nearly or perhaps fully qualified legacy descendant?

    I’m not the beneficiary of any of this and it hurt my own d potentially in her own college search last year.

    It’s just not that big of deal when viewed in terms of outcomes. Though it does hurt when looking at rejections and emotions of our own children.

    Been there and done that.

    But we have to look at the big picture.

  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,452 Senior Member
    This thread isn't about ideas to change what is. It's about a particular scam.

    And arguing for your own assumptions is futile. There aren't thay many huge donors with high school kids and I'd agree it's a handful. Less than 1% of the class, from what I know, ime, is a discretionary admit and that includes various categories, not just big bucks donors.

    But some here seem to have so much anger to unleash. Some are determined to pull down the system, storm the Bastille. And yet, sorry, but viewing as outsiders. One Kushner seems all it takes to assure you it all stinks.

    Take these colleges off your list, find a nice rack-and-stack.

    "But, apparently, people in the college office that oversees donations believe they must issue a special list..." is that what you think happens with building donors?
  • gallentjillgallentjill Registered User Posts: 2,388 Senior Member
    edited March 17
    The schools are not suffering because wealthy donors are attaching strings to their money. Colleges and mega donors work together to find a way for them to donate in a way that suits the schools needs and the needs of the donors. The thing is, major donors don't just want to throw money into the wind. They want to make sure it is being used in a manor they support and isn't being wasted. They have that right. Its no different from when small folk like us check charity navigator before making donations so that we know our money is being used for good and not being wasted. Or when we designate a certain fund for our donations -- for example, we want it to help victims of a particular natural disaster.

    Trust me, the school is not giving away seats to donors who insist their millions are used in a way the college doesn't find useful.

    Many people donate for years before their own kids are ready for college. Often their kids choose not to attend those schools and they keep donating. However, if after years of supporting the school, it chooses not to admit their basically qualified child, they will often stop writing checks. Colleges know this and so they make room for the children of these mega donors when possible.

    Keep in mind, these are not ordinary legacies. These are few and far between. I have no problem with it, because in all honesty, I believe my kids have benefited from the generosity of others.
  • makemesmartmakemesmart Registered User Posts: 1,045 Senior Member
    Haha! Spot on!

    I believe good education is a social good, it might not be the right of everyone to have elite education (it won’t be elite if everyone has a seat!), but good education for the most people benefits everyone, elites or not. And good education promotes social upward mobility. Which is why, it is not a good policy for elite colleges to give preferential treatment for rich donors’ children, they already started ahead in the starting line, give common folks, who often are more driven and equally smart, a fighting chance to narrow the wealth gap.
  • 17yeargap17yeargap Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    edited March 17
    Page 183. Oh my. Have we begun discussing the TOEFL scandal, yet?
  • gallentjillgallentjill Registered User Posts: 2,388 Senior Member
    Which is why, it is not a good policy for elite colleges to give preferential treatment for rich donors’ children, they already started ahead in the starting line, give common folks, who often are more driven and equally smart, a fighting chance to narrow the wealth gap.

    How will those elite colleges continue to give out so much financial aid to those deserving low SES families if the lose their mega donors?
  • Waiting2exhaleWaiting2exhale Registered User Posts: 2,839 Senior Member
    @ websensation: "I rather have colleges be transparent and reserve let's say 70% of spots based on merits and 30% to special interests groups to the colleges. That way, normal applicants could care less how the colleges decide on the remaining 30%."

    "Normal applicants"? Hasn't this already been highlighted up thread somewhere?

    Those applicants who may be *designated* a member of a social interest group, or, as I think someone here put it, 'meets some part of the institutional needs" of a college or uni, perfectly fall within the realm of 'normal. I'm 100% positive of this.

    Outside of picking that aspect of the tone of your statement apart, hasn't it been shown here that there is no consensus on what the unis look for as the one true determining factor for why one or the other student is admitted?
  • alhalh Registered User Posts: 8,490 Senior Member
    edited March 17
    If it hurts your non legacy kid to get denied, imagine how a multi generation legacy feels.
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