College Scandal Reveals Corruption


Photo Courtesy of Yes! Magazine

William (Rick) Singer was the main facilitator of the college scandal, helping parents and student cheat their way through different aspects of the college applications.

Maya Sabbaghian, Opinion Editor

Thirty-three parents were charged on March 12 with allegedly trying to influence college admissions decisions for their children through money and bribes at various universities. UCLA, USC and Yale are among eight universities named in the indictment in what is now known as the largest ever admissions scam, according to USA Today.

Parents paid William Singer, the CEO of a college prep company, anywhere from $200,000 to over $6 million to give their students unfair and illegal advantages in admissions, according to NBC News.

“I think overall [the scandal] is really unfortunate because 99.9% of the students applying to these schools are putting in all of their hard work,” college and career counselor Nicole Rengifo said. “That tiny fraction is making it seem more negative…Just one little blip is unfortunately getting a lot of attention, but as a whole you guys should have faith the process.”

Some parents paid Singer to bribe SAT proctors to alter and correct specific students’ test scores. Some students were even erroneously classified as requiring special aid by pretending to act mentally deficient in order to get longer time on exams in private rooms with only the proctor, according to CNN.

Singer would also arrange false sports profiles for students by photoshopping their faces on stock images of people playing sports or taking posed shots to pretend that the student played a certain sport.

“It is no secret that elite colleges administer separate admissions tracks or niches for athletes, musicians, various ethnic groups and the children of V.I.P.s – who then compete only against one another rather than within the entire applicant pool,” attorney Jonathan Zell said in a letter published in the New York Times.

The parents involved in the scandal include actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. In addition, nine college athletic coaches, such as USC water polo coach and Yale soccer coach, were bribed up to $1.5 million to recruit students for sports that they did not even play.

According to the New York Times, many students did not know that their answers on the standardized tests would get corrected through the proctors after the exam.

“Seeing how people go to such great lengths where they can pay up to thousands of dollars just to get into a top college reveals the unreasonable amount of pressure that are on students today to get into a college,” junior Miranda Wang said. “This pressure is unfortunate, yet it is the reality many students face.”